By Phil Lightstone

The move to an all-glass cockpit for aircraft with legacy ‘steam gauges’ is one step closer thanks to Garmin’s recent announcement of their newest product, the GI 275. The GI 275 is a 3.125-inch instrument designed to replace many instruments in the six-pack. The GI 275 is a STC’d and TSO’d multifunction computer delivering edge-to-edge glass, a touch screen, a push-button interface and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity.

As a platform for aircraft instrumentation, there is a tremendous amount of functionality embedded into the instrument lineup. The GI 275 has five models, delivering various capabilities driven by technologies in the aircraft including GNC/GNS/GTN navigators, Sirius XM weather receiver, autopilots, radar altimeter, a variety of engine probes, fuel transceivers and selected ADS-B IN receivers.

With dual GI 275 displays as the primary flight instrumentation, reversionary backup capability retains attitude and heading data on the remaining HSI or MFD if an instrument failure occurs. Wireless capability allows data from the GI 275 to be streamed to a smart device. The attitude indicator supports an optional on-board battery, designed to provide flight information during an electrical system failure. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The GI 275 is purchased for either Class 1 & 2 aircraft (piston aircraft below 6,000 lbs) or Class 3 aircraft (piston or turbine aircraft weighing between 6,000 lbs and 12,500 lbs). Available versions and their prices for Class 1 & 2 aircraft are: an attitude indicator (U$3,995), an HSI (U$4,295), a CDI (U$3,195), an MFD (U$3,195) and an EIS (U$5,295). Pricing does not include labour or any additional components, such as cabling, interface modules, etc.

The pilot may control the GI 275 either through the touch screen or a traditional knob, making it very pilot-friendly. Database updating is performed using Garmin Pilot or other technologies supporting GSB 15. As compared to ‘full glass’, such as a G500 TXi, retrofitting a ‘steam gauge’ aircraft should be simpler and more cost effective, allowing for a gradual retrofit rather than a big-bang approach. Check out Garmin’s website for more detailed information.