The announcement of our G5 electronic flight instrument for certificated aircraft at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year made quite a splash. The thought of a simple, reliable and cost-effective electronic attitude indicator or turn and bank coordinator generated waves of excitement in the general aviation community. But with such a momentous announcement, came a lot of questions. On the surface, the G5 for experimental aircraft and the G5 for certificated aircraft look identical, but it requires a deeper look to understand the key differences.
In basic terms, capability is the differentiator. The G5 for experimental and light sport aircraft is loaded with capabilities. It can be used as a standalone primary or backup flight display and can toggle between two screens – one displaying attitude, airspeed, altitude, barometric pressure, turn coordination (plus ground speed and ground track if GPS equipped), the second displaying a horizontal situation indicator. The G5 for experimental can also integrate with other EFIS’ such as the G3X and G3X Touch flight displays, and has optional autopilot capability.
Where the G5 for experimental benefits from a broad range of capabilities, the G5 for certified was designed for two specific purposes – either as an attitude indicator or turn and bank coordinator (one G5 cannot replace both the attitude indicator and the turn coordinator in a traditional six-pack). In order to satisfy the FAA certification requirements, new software needed to be created for the G5 that does not include the HSI/Attitude display toggle capability that the experimental version boasts. Instead, since this unit was intended to replace the vacuum driven attitude indicators and turn coordinators, the software needed to be designed for those specific purposes.
The good news in all of this is we finally have a simple, reliable, cost-effective way to replace old, unreliable vacuum driven instruments in many small general aviation aircraft. In fact, the G5 for certified is currently approved for installation in 562 certificated aircraft models as an IFR replacement for the attitude indicator or turn coordinator. The other piece of good news is that we also have a simple, reliable, cost-effective all-glass primary or backup flight instrument for the experimental market.