Okay, I’m a hard-core airplane geek! So, one of the things I like most about my job is being able to walk right out into our avionics shop and see some really unique and interesting airplanes. Recently, along with the plethora of Wichita-whatever’s, we’ve had a North American T-6, Pilatus PC-9 turboprop trainer, and an amazing Boeing Stearman Model 4 Junior Speedmail.
But, out of them all, the unofficial Gulf Coast Avionics Award for the one, truly only-of-its-kind airplane we’ve completed recently has to be a Piper 6X.
What, you say, a Vero Beach-built, Piper 6X? Matt, how can that be??
Well, this is one that you have to see to believe. This is the first, and probably still only 2004, Piper 6X with three – yes, three – Garmin G500 TXi touchscreen displays. The panel has two 10.7” PFD/MFD displays and a single 7” display dedicated to the electronic engine indicators.
Flip on the avionics master, and the panel ‘o Garmin glass looks like a piston-engine Gulfstream. (Yes, I know Gulfstream doesn’t use Garmin avionics, but work with me.)
In working with our team to design his one-of-a-kind panel, the aircraft’s owner wanted to create the best, safest, and most digitally-capable Piper 6X on the planet. It’s a pretty safe bet that’s what we’ve achieved.
Of course, the triple-G500 TXi displays are just the beginning. The 21st-century panel also features dual Garmin GTN750 touchscreen navigators, Garmin ADS-B Out/In transponder, Garmin G5 backup display, Garmin AOA indicator, digital engine sensors, and a Gulf Coast Avionics custom-made metal panel – and yes, as they say, here’s more.
With capabilities like touchscreen functionality, synthetic vision, HSI mapping, and more, the G500 TXi displays are amazingly capable. While all that’s important, the one new-generation system that Mr. Linder is most excited about is the Garmin GFC 500 Digital Autopilot. 90-percent of his flights are with his wife and two children, so safety is paramount.
With features like Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), under-speed and over-speed protection, automatic Level (LVL) mode, vertical navigation (VNAV) mode, and flight director cues, this is about as safety-enhancing as any aftermarket autopilot can be.
As you can guess, everyone is extremely proud of the way the Piper 6X turned out. I think it met and possibly, exceeded all of our expectations.
Until next time, fly safely and have fun,