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GNS430W or GTN650?

I just acquired a Columbia 400 equipped with dual GNS430s. I love the “Load Airways” feature of the G1000 on which I have a few hundred hours by now, and feel that it is a function I will really miss although it was not available with the Cirrus/Avidyne I have flown lately. Therefore my first thought was to upgrade the GNS430s with GTN650s, but then I learned they are not drop-in replacements and require a new wiring harness (in addition to antennas and possibly antenna cables).

I have flown some with the GTN650 but never really got used to it, and apart from the “Load Airways”, I do not really see what else it has that the GNS430 does not have.

Used GNS430W can be acquired for around $6,000 while the list price of the GTN650 I believe is around $12,000. The GNS430 can be sold for about $3,000

So this got me thinking about the cost/benefit of GTN650 vs GNS430W.

Then it has also been suggested to me that I may not need to replace both units.

What are your thoughts?

LFPT, LFPN

When you replace a single unit, you will loose crossfill.

On which is better, both have simulators. Have a go with these, and see for yourself which works best.

One benefit of the GTN is that it is new, since about 1,5 year I see quite a lot of GNS units coming in all kinds of repairs (both non WAAS / WAAS). Garmin does have fixed repair fees, so this doesn’t have to be a showstopper, but something to keep in mind.

The GTN requires more heigth as well, so besure the panel allows for this should you want this option.

A thirdth option would be a IFD. According Avidyne the now have fixed all issues with these units.

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

2×IFD440 would be a good fit. I would make sure the avionics shop buys two and bench tests both to make sure they are fully working.

Then you can get some other stuff; I recall they do a bluetooth keyboard for entering routes, which would be much better than any touch GPS screen.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Then you can get some other stuff; I recall they do a bluetooth keyboard for entering routes, which would be much better than any touch GPS screen.

I think the GTNs can interface with Garmin Pilot too.
I realise it’s still nice to have the keyboard for things that are done on the fly (maybe vecro a litlte BT keyboard somewhere).

Both GNS and GTN can interface with Garmin Pilot.

Avidyne also has an app, which basically becomes a large screen IFD.

These are options for Garmin and Avidyne. I fail to see the use of the bluetooth keyboard, being quite small. IMHO this is more a toy. The interface to a tablet app is more usefull.

For the IFD there is also a simulator. So it could be a good idea to try all three (GNS, GTN, IFD) and see what suites your needs an preferences best. There is no single answer possible.

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

Aviathor wrote:

I just acquired a Columbia 400 equipped with dual GNS430s

Congratulations As to 650 vs 430 I have no idea.

The 430 is out of support which means that in case of a repair you might have to update it to a WAAS unit.
Further benefits of the 650 despite the airway feature are user defined holds and flightstream 510 capability, easier frequency and waypoint input, touchscreen, larger display, more colours and better terrain depiction, visual,reporting points, airways ….

I don’t think you need a new harness as the signals are all the same. What has to be done is exchange the tray and rewire the signals to the new D-Sub connectors. Furthermore you might need a new GPS antenna and cable. That is due to the WAAS requirement and will also rise up for a 430W oder Avidyne installation.

If you don’ t want to do the rewiring the Avidyne might be a good solution.

I think I read about the capability to crossfill between the 650 and 430 but it might only have been the 430W….

Thanks for all your insights.

Jesse wrote:

I see quite a lot of GNS units coming in all kinds of repairs (both non WAAS / WAAS). Garmin does have fixed repair fees, so this doesn’t have to be a showstopper, but something to keep in mind.

So if I understand correctly you are saying that the age of GTN430s (WAAS/non-WAAS) make them more prone to having problems, and for that reason I may be better off with a new set of radios?

It is also my understanding that the GNS430W is still being sold by Garmin, so I expect they will be supported for a while longer…

Jesse wrote:

The GTN requires more heigth as well, so besure the panel allows for this should you want this option.

I did not expect that, but now I see they are 0.25" higher. There are however Columbia 400s for sale on Controller with dual GTN650s and it looks like they fitted right in, but I will keep this in mind.

Sir_Percy wrote:

Further benefits of the 650 despite the airway feature are user defined holds and flightstream 510 capability, easier frequency and waypoint input, touchscreen, larger display, more colours and better terrain depiction, visual,reporting points, airways ….

I have gotten so used to twisting the Garmin knobs both for waypoint and frequency entry that I do not really mind. And I did not think that the GTN650 waypoint entry was that great. As for the size of the screen, althought the terrain depiction is not THAT great, I do have the Avidyne MFD. As for holds I am not going to lose sleep over them because I have never gotten one in real life, and a hold can easily be done with a DCT/OBS. The flightstream sounds like a very attractive capability, though. At the end of the day it is a question of bang for bucks and how loud you really want the bang.

Sir_Percy wrote:

I think I read about the capability to crossfill between the 650 and 430 but it might only have been the 430W….

Yes indeed. Garmin do say so on their GTN650 product page.

The one drawback about having two different units is that you need two different subscriptions from Jeppesen…

LFPT, LFPN

Aviathor wrote:

I just acquired a Columbia 400

Welcome to the very elite “Mach Club” of Lancair pilots !

FAA A&P/IA
LFPN

I would go for GTN750 as 650 is very limited in screen size and thus data entry is a pain. I am very satisfied user of GTN750 with remote audio panel (saving panel space, which might work in your case as well), have it in my airplane since 2013 and after several software updates it is now almost perfect. Now you can even do things like pinch to zoom or fly holds at any waypoint. The main advantage of GTN750 is that it is generally computer with touchscreen with minimum of HW keys so it can easily evolve with software upgrades. The logic and menus are very similar to Garmin 3000.

LKHK, Czech Republic
17 Posts
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