Avionics manufacturer Garmin is celebrating having achieved delivery of more than 25,000 integrated flight decks since launching the G1000 avionics suite in 2003. The systems have been installed as forward-fit and retrofit applications in regional airliners, business jets and turboprops, light airplanes, helicopters, and military and government aircraft.
Garmin introduced the G1000 in March 2003; the avionics were first selected by Cessna for its Citation Mustang very light jet, which was certified on Sept. 8, 2006. The first in-service G1000 systems flew in Cessna and Diamond single-engine airplanes starting in June 2004. While Garmin has continuously upgraded the G1000 avionics—the current version is the NXi configuration—it also expanded the reach of its integrated flight decks by introducing the G3000 and G5000 systems for turbine aircraft in 2010. Honda Aircraft played a major role in the development of the G3000 system, which it selected for the HondaJet.
The G3000/G5000 avionics adopted the first widespread application of touchscreens in the aviation market, using touchscreen controllers that simplified the way pilots interact with the avionics. Most significant, however, is that Garmin leapfrogged traditional avionics manufacturers with its flight management system (FMS) design. Instead of replicating the challenging interface used on most FMSs, Garmin designed the touchscreen controllers with a simplified icon-based interface that eliminated the need to memorize complicated FMS commands.
Not only did the interface make it easier for pilots to move between Garmin-equipped aircraft, but the unified operation of Garmin avionics also highlighted a strategy that helped Garmin gain significant market share in aviation. Garmin wasn’t the first avionics manufacturer to design a common interface for all of its products, but it took this a step further, encouraging aircraft manufacturers to adopt its products in a variety of airframes.
This gave new pilots an easy path to upgrading when they moved from, for example, a G1000-equipped Cessna 172 to a G1000-equipped turboprop then a job flying a jet with a G3000 or G5000 flight deck. No other avionics manufacturer has replicated this strategy successfully, although Honeywell is now embarking on this design effort with its new Anthem avionics suite.
“Pilots around the world have spent millions of hours flying behind a Garmin flight deck and it’s a true privilege to know that our avionics help them safely reach their destinations time and time again,” said Phil Straub, Garmin executive v-p and managing director for aviation. “As the leading provider of integrated cockpit systems, we are very proud to celebrate this extraordinary achievement, and we wish to extend our sincerest gratitude to our aircraft manufacturers, as well as the aircraft owners, who have selected and trusted Garmin over the years. The G1000 was a vision of our late co-founder Gary Burrell, and he would be deeply honored to be celebrating this milestone with the thousands of talented Garmin associates who made it possible.”