Learn the G1000 in the comfort of your home

Is a technologically advanced aircraft with a G1000 in your future?

If so, you’re going to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. Wouldn’t you rather do it in the comfort of your own home where you don’t have to pay for Hobbs time? You can, with “The Complete G1000 Course” available from Aviation Supplies and Academics Inc. (ASA). The course comes on DVD and is FAA/Industry Training Standard (FITS) approved. It runs on both Mac and PC systems.

LEARNINGTHE PANEL

Several aircraft manufacturers are using the G1000 in their models. The course features representations of these aircraft, the point being that it doesn’t matter what kind of airframe the G1000 is attached to, the use of the unit is primarily the same. There are some subtle differences between models, such as start procedures, which are noted.

The nice thing about the G1000 is that once you learn the panel and where things are located, you can pretty much fly any G1000-equipped airplane.

Spend some time looking at the computer simulation of the panel and figuring out what is what. Instead of steam gauges to give you critical information like airspeed, you now have tapes like the airliners use. It will take a few hours to develop a good scan that allows you to read and assimilate the necessary information. Don’t ignore the annunciator lights on the panel either. They may be telling you something critically important.

The course divides the panel into the Primary Flight Display, Audio Panel, and Multi Function Display, then further breaks down their uses.

SYSTEMS ANDPRESENTATION

I was pleased that the program begins with an overview of the components that make up the G1000 and goes into how and why they work. One of the first things that pilots who transition from steam gauges to glass comment on is how quickly the attitude indicator “spools up” because it is running off a computer now. On the Cessna G1000 it takes approximately 45 seconds as opposed to a few minutes with vacuum units. Another bonus: the transponder automatically goes to “altitude” when the aircraft accelerates to lift-off speed. How many times has the tower advised you, “we’re not receiving your transponder” when you’re on the upwind leg?

The program carefully notes that those big red Xs you see when the system initializes are supposed to go away as the unit wakes up, so to speak, so taking off with a red X in place is just plain foolish.

You will want to spend some time getting familiar with the presentation of coordinated, standard rate turns on the attitude indicator. Because it is larger than a steam gauge, there is a tendency for pilots to over-control the aircraft. Instead of having “the ball” you have a triangle with a base that slides. Instructor pilots will have to drop “step on the ball” from their lexicon in favor of “step on the line.”

There are caveats as well, such as don’t block the vents on top of the panel because heat is the bane of avionics, and how to change a data card and protect the screens from scratches.

Using the G1000 takes a lot of learning what button to push, and when, to get the result you want or the menu you want to utilize.

CHAPTER AND VERSE

Each chapter takes you through a different function. Critical items are highlighted in red and you can point and click on them to pull up a window with details. In addition there are key words highlighted in blue. Click on those and another window pops up with details. For example, the acronym LRU is used frequently and written in blue. It stands for Line Replaceable Unit, a key piece of information you need to know to understand how the G1000 works.

There are 14 chapters in all, each with an objective clearly stated in the beginning, such as “learn how to program a flight plan.” (The program emphasizes creating flight plans rather than relying on the “Direct to” button for all GPS needs.)

The chapters are short and give you the option of hearing the instructions or reading them from the screen. I did notice discrepancies between what I read off the screen and what the audio narration provided. The audio track, supplied by an authoritative male voice, provided more detail but I found it distracting to try reading along when the narration was slightly different; distracting to the point that I turned off the narration and relied on the highlighted terms and phrases to open new windows for more information.

The goal of each chapter is to take you from the “explanation” level to the “practice” level with the G1000. In short, push this button or turn that knob and this will happen. Throughout the DVD there are warnings about the dangers of getting fixated on the knobs and buttons and colorful displays and “dropping the airplane” to “fly” the G1000.

QUIZ TIME

At the end of each chapter the key points are summarized. This is followed by a short scenario-based quiz. The quizzes take the form of “You want to enter a flight plan from Point A to Point B. What do you do?” There are three choices, A, B or C. Sometimes both A and B are correct.

If you don’t satisfactorily pass the quiz the computer tells you that you must retake the entire quiz in order to pass that chapter. The section is not considered complete until you get 100% on the quiz. The quizzes are based on the Manage/Decide concept. There is an emphasis on aeronautical decision making.

There is a final exam at the end of the program. If you do well on the quizzes you should pass the final because the quiz questions make up the final exam.

The entire 14 chapters took me about two hours to get through. I had to go back and retake a few of the quizzes because I did not get 100% on them, but I have found that I am more likely to learn something if I get it wrong on a test, then go back and review it.

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