Retrofit Glass Cockpit is Here!

Rick WahlmanAs I see it, the big three in retrofit Electronic Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS) are the Chelton Flight logic system, the Garmin G600 and the Aspen Evolution.

Chelton has been the leader of the race. The Flight Logic system has been available for some time and is approved for installation in most general aviation aircraft. The FlightLogic Synthetic Vision EFIS is a complete flight/navigation instrumentation system that provides information to a pilot via panel mounted LCD displays.

The FlightLogic system includes an integral WAAS GPS receiver and integrates a Class C TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System), which may be upgraded to Class B or Class A TAWS. The FlightLogic system supports optional traffic and weather systems to create a single, unified console for all flight deck operations.

Separating FlightLogic from nearly all other EFIS systems are real-time, forward-looking 3D Synthetic Vision and Highway-In-The-Sky capabilities. In real time, the system is able to present precise three-dimensional visual images of your aircraft’s relation to the terrain surrounding it on the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi-Function Displays (MFDs).

Garmin introduced the G1000 system several years ago, but this is not able to be retrofit in most aircraft. The answer is the new G600. This system has just recently been certified and has an Approved Model List (AML) that includes most general aviation aircraft.

The G600 combines critical flight data and displays it on two 6.5 inch diagonal flat-panel LCDs. High resolution screens are mounted side by side in a single bezel that fits neatly into the “six-pack” slot in your instrument panel. On the left-hand side, the PFD integrates all situational information regarding your aircraft’s position, speed, attitude, vertical rate, altitude, steering and flight progress. On the right side, the MFD provides detailed movingmap graphics of your aircraft’s current position in relation to ground features, chart data, navaids, flight plan routings and more.

Aspen Avionics EFD1000 Pro system is now STC’d in many general aviation aircraft. Their AML includes most GA aircraft with a 6000 pound or less gross weight. Aircraft weighing over 6000 pounds will be added in the near future.

The EFD1000 Pro PFD gives you all the major tools that help professional pilots fly safely and easily in instrument conditions. The Pro features an integral ADAHRS, backup battery, emergency GPS, altitude alerter and lot more. The Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) integrates a course pointer and course deviation indicator (CDI) onto your slaved compass rose, and adds two bearing pointers that you can set to any VOR or GPS waypoint, for added situational awareness. In the near future you will be able to overlay datalink weather graphics and traffic on the map. The Attitude Director Indicator (ADI) shows the aircraft attitude with airspeed and altitude tapes. Aspen will have an optional Multi- Function display available early next year.

All of these systems require back up instrumentation; in most cases an airspeed indicator, attitude gyro and altimeter. Many times the existing instruments can be used.

The new generation Glass Cockpit is more affordable than ever before. The added safety and enhanced situational awareness are worth the investment.


The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul. -Walter Raleigh