Garmin International recently announced an updated version of its popular GTN series of GPS/NAV/COMs. Building upon the capabilities of the previous GTNs, they are releasing the new units – named GTN Xi – with higher resolution displays and faster processors. The GTN 650Xi and GTN 750Xi represent the fourth generation of GPS/NAV/COM systems since they released the GNS series. The Xi series is a slide-in replacement for existing GTN installations for those owners that wish to upgrade to the latest technology.
I’ve flown all of Garmin’s avionics systems, and they continue to amaze me with their innovation. When the original GTNs were released, I was one of the first to install the units in my Cirrus SR22. They have continually upgraded the software, which now incorporates features such as user-defined holds, visual approaches and radius-to-fix approaches. Some of these features were previously only available on avionics suites in much larger turbine aircraft.
Prior to the official release of the GTN Xi, I was able to see and work with the units in person and was immediately impressed. The new series incorporates dual-core microprocessors and other updated electroniccomponents, as well as slight changes in bezel design to complement their TXi flight display units.
When you boot up the GTN Xi, the faster startup time is easily discernible. After startup, the high-resolution display (which was impressive with the original GTNs), renders the map considerably faster and the new processors improve the panning speed. As with their original GTN units, they also support Garmin’s Connext technology through their Flight Stream 210 and 510 – allowing wireless sharing of traffic, weather and GPS position, as well as transfer of flight plans with Foreflight and Garmin Pilot. If you have Garmin Pilot, you can also update the GTNs databases through Connext.
The new dual-core processors also enable the overlay of geo-referenced instrument approach charts on the map page. These features are coupled with terrain and obstacle alerting using their internal database. Additionally, the GTN Xi units provide audible alerts, in addition to the visual alerts, including “terrain ahead, pull up” and “obstacle ahead, pull up.” For helicopter operators, Garmin offers a Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS), as well as TAWS-A and TAWS-B capabilities as options. The updated hardware also supports Garmin’s Telligence voice control when coupled with its GMATM 35C audio panel. These are just some of the new features that will enhance situational awareness and safety.
To ensure the largest number of aircraft can utilize the equipment from the release date, Garmin has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval and immediate availability for single-engine and multi-engine piston and turbine airplanes, as well as experimental aircraft. They anticipate approval for helicopter and business aircraft to follow in the near future.
The GTN 650Xi has a retail price of $12,495, and the GTN 750Xi is $17,995. They are immediately available through their dealer network.