Glass Cockpit Survey


I am conducting a simple survey for an undergraduate research paper I am currently writing regarding glass cockpits mainly in light GA aircraft; although, do not hesitate to post your experiences if you fly corporate or airline. I have some general questions I would like to ask all of you pilots out there with experience in, or who have recently transitioned to, glass cockpits. Feel free to answer any or all questions as you please. Do not be afraid to elaborate, the more information the better. Participation and information are strictly voluntary.

1.What type of glass avionics package do you use (Garmin, Avidyne, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, etc.)?

2.What type of aircraft do you fly that are equipped with this system(s)?

3.What kind of operations are you primarily engaged in with this aircraft (part 61, 91, 121, 135, 141, etc.)?

4.If part 61 or 91, do you own or rent this aircraft?

5.What do you like most about the glass system you use?

6.What are your dislikes?

7.Did you go through any special training while transitioning to glass, such as Flight Training Devices, simulators, etc.? Feel free to include details regarding who conducted the training, location, and your experiences there.

8.How about training software? If so, what kind?

9.If you were ever stuck with a decision to rent or purchase an aircraft with glass avionics vs. one with the traditional six pack, which did you choose and why?

10.For those of you who are IFR rated, do you feel a greater sense of confidence and security flying IFR with glass avionics vs. the traditional steam gauges?

11.Do you ever find yourself on an IFR trip with glass avionics that you would not normally make with traditional avionics?

12.For you Instructors, do you generally find it easier for a student to transition from traditional instruments to glass or the other way around?

13.Have you had any maintenance issues with your glass avionics package?

Any other information or experiences you would like to share would be very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to participate in my survey. I do appreciate your input.

  1. garmin

  2. C172

  3. 141

5.I like how it tightens up your scan for ifr, I also like how when you load an approach it cuts down your workload by putting frequencies in for you. The large map is wonderful, wind vectors in the corner of the screen and the fuel ring (shows you how far your tank of gas will get you w/ current wind conditions and also has a ring for your 30 min. or 45 min. reserve, which ever you set it for) are also pretty cool. The tracking arrow is pretty sweet also (an arrow on the map coming from the nose of the plane that shows you your track.)

  1. I can’t think of any right off hand.

  2. My school has a ground school that you go through, they show you how to navigate through all of the pages and show you how to do the certain features.

  3. We have some cd’s that you can download on your computer to simulate the instruments, I believe they are offered by garmin but I’m not 100% sure on that one.

  4. Depends on my money issue, the ones I rent cost a little more than the steam gauges, but I think they’re more fun to fly.

  5. I’ve only made actual ifr trips in glass cockpit, but I feel that it would give you more confidence because it will map out the approach on such a large screen and you can get a really nice feel for exactly where you are in relation to the approach paths, I feel that you can fly a more precise approach w/ the added info.

  6. Sometimes I’ll have issues getting the terrain feature to work on the mini map, and small stuff like that, but it’s never been anything serious.


This is something where the responses should go directly to the requestor. So, jschneider, please edit your posting to give your email address or make sure you have PM (private message) set up.


I disagree dami. The questions are good ones, and I am interested in hearing the responses. I was born, raised, and trained looking at steam gauges, and the glass cockpits in general aviation airplanes look quite foreign to me, and I often wonder how transitioning would be.


I’d also have to concur with CC1229

I’d also be interested in the responses even though I have only flown the steam gauge flavor of airplanes.

The questions at hand are aviation flavored unlike some of the off topic posting you have done in the past.



I’d like to hear about other people’s experience with glass cockpits as well, kinda hard to do that if they just email it instead.


Well, it’s 3 to 1. Sounds like we’d like to hear about glass cockpit GA experience. So, with that said, and in reply to the original post, does anyone have any good glass cockpit GA experience that they’d like to share with us?

  1. Primarily Garmin G1000, but have had experience and training with the Avidyne Entegra Flightmax.

  2. Cessna 172 and 182, Cirrus occasionally, but hope to be getting behind the controls of the Citation Mustang in the next year or so.

  3. 61 and 91 for recreation and training.

  4. Company plane.

  5. Many things… but mostly, Large clear attitude presentation with an easy scan to airspeed, altitude and VSI. Also, the ease of entering approaches and the wonderful situation awareness it proves.

  6. Transitioning from analog steam gauges to vertical tape scale for altitude and airspeed takes more concentration to stay at altitude because you cognitively have to recognize the number instead of seeing the needle point strait up (or down…etc…). Also, there are many functions of the system that you need to be completely comfortable with before attempting to go single pilot IFR.

  7. Required to watch the Cessna transition training video and get checked out by one of our certified CFI’s. I did have the chance to spend some time with Garmin’s cardboard mock-up. The kind you see at conventions. It was a fully functional G1000 that sits on your desk.

  8. The Garmin G1000 PC simulator is junk. Garmin will even tell you so. I have recently reviewed the ASA G1000 training software and was not very impressed. Very dry and not very thorough. I did enjoy Max Trescott’s G1000 CDROM course although it was mostly a PowerPoint presentation.

  9. If i were to spend my own money, I would rent a steam gauge. It’ll get me where I want to go just the same and costs considerably less.

  10. Definitely. Especially with the Satellite WX and collision avoidance.

  11. Maybe. It does make it much easier to navigate the Weather instead of relying on the report from your briefer, but you still can’t take any thunderstorm for granted.

  12. I’m not an instructor, but I have helped develop some training curriculum and it seems that if a student needs to transition, its best from steam gauges to glass. Students who initially train on glass have a harder time moving to steam gauges.

  13. In my short two year experience with glass cockpits I haven’t experienced any mechanical or maintenece problems, only the occastional software upgrade. The most annoying issue I can think of is that the XM radio would kick off anytime you used the intercom. But a simple software upgrade recently fixed that.

I’d be happy to answer any questions.


I appreciate everyones input so far, and thanks for backing me up. Seeing as how the topic is aviation related and others want to see the replies, I do not see any problem posting answers in a public forum. However, feel free to PM me if you are not comfortable posting answers openly.



Without going too far off topic, just a few questions out of curiosity. If y’all don’t mind my asking…

magnetoz, you say your experience is in a company aircraft. Based on the aircraft you listed, do you work for Cessna?

Denton, where do you go to school, and what class is the research for?

Again, if either of you care not to divulge that information, I completely understand.

My only glass cockpit experience was on MS Flight Sim, with the sweepstakes airplane AOPA had avaliable for download some time back. Like I said, I am a steam gauge person. I had a heck of a time with interpreting the instruments, much like what magnetoz alluded to (holding altitudes and quick checks of the airspeed on final). Granted, its MSFS and all the “stuff” that goes along with that (let’s not turn this into an MSFS pro-con thread), but the glass cockpit just didn’t seem intuitive to me. Perhaps it would be different in a real airplane, with an instructor at my side.

I guess its sorta like being able to read a clock w/ hands versus a digital watch.


What I was thinking was that you’d get more answers if people sent you a PM or email you because you would lessen the possibility of missing an response.


Ahh okay, I see where you’re coming from dami. Sorry I misinterpreted.

I am a CFI/CFII and work for a 141 school in Texas. I am doing this research paper for an undergraduate course through Utah Valley State College’s Global Aviation Degree Program.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help.


No, don’t work for Cessna, but there is a Cessna Sales Center here on the Field. The plane belongs to the company and is mostly reserved for employees recreation and currency, but we also have a few other glass cockpit equipped aircraft around that i get to hop into occasionally.

Yeah, sorta like that. Kinda like when GM tried to put a digital dash in their cars and nobody knew how fast they were driving, but another nice feature of the G1000 is customizable airspeed bugs that really help visualize your V speeds.


Magnetoz isn’t gonna budge…but I know where he works!

BTW, I graduated from UVSC too. My thesis was “Suggested Changes to the Certification of US Airmen.”


cool. If it all works out I should graduate this semester.

  1. Honeywell Primus 1000/2000/Epic

  2. Citation XL, XLS, X, Sovergen

  3. Part 91, 135, 142 (Simulator training)

  4. Fly for private owner, work for Flight Safety.

  5. Everything is one spot. On Primus 2000 and Epic system you have ICAS also, which is all your system pages in pictoral form so you can "see"what’s going on

  6. None

  7. New hires spend at of 12 hours working on just avionics. This includes malfunctions and FMS work. This is done in a flight training device or Level D simulator

  8. Honeywell does provide software for the FMZ but not the avionics, which is OK b/c the FMZ software is worthless.

  9. GLASS

  10. With the glass cockpit more information is shown automaticly, whether its a waypoint, an RMI pointer, DME, or map. With steam gauges I need to do more setup to get the same amount of information. This comes into play when you start flying into KJFK or KLAX and they change runways on you 15NM frim the airport and your doing 200kts. With all the info being there for you, you can spend more time breifing the approach.

  11. No. If you allow the aircraft to determin your skill level your going to end up in trouble.

  12. When it comes to setting up the avionics. Younger generations (grew up with computers) have very little problem with glass cockpits. Older generations (sorry) tend to have more issues. They want to setup everything and are uncomfortable with the fact that it’s already done.
    When it comes to interpruting the information anyone that has flown steam gauges sees the bigger picture quicker and has better situational awareness, someone with just glass (or little steam experience) tend to narrow their scan and miss the big picture.

  13. I’ve had 1 complete attitude failure, 3 vacume pump failures, and an inverter failure which killed my Attitude, RMI, and DG with steam guages. With glass cockpits (at least in the a/c I fly) there are 2 or three of everything. If something breaks on my display I can barrow the information from the otherside and dosplay it on my side, as if nothing ever happened. The only thing I 've ever had break in a glass cockpit a/c was the glass on a screen when a seat belt buckle hit it. $15,000.

I have only flown about 1 hour in a 172 with glass. I will says this though, from what I’ve seen and read about the glass packages available to GA it beats the pants off of what I’m flying.


I always wondered how often that happens. So many airplanes have the FMS and other screens right between the seats and I’ve smacked the seatbelt on it a few times accidentally and almost wet my pants. (in a CJ2, the PC12 doesn’t have an FMS) I would not want to be responsible for breaking one of those things!


I’ve wondered why they don’t design the glass cockpits as to display the information in traditional steam-gauge form. That is what they did for the Boeing 737NG. Looking at gauges just seems more intuitive to me, and personally, if I were designing the displays, I would display information on replications of the steam-gauge dials instead of tape-type displays.

As far as the breaking glass is concerned, what’s the problem with using LCD displays with a soft screen (like my laptop)?

Maybe after I get my degree I’ll go have a talk w/ Cessna. :wink:


The g1000’s use lcd screens. Are you referring to the larger planes?


There are no “soft screen” LCDs in any laptop.

They all consist of a soft plastic overlay, a thin glass substrate and then the liquid and electronic magic bits and pieces.

Rubbing your finger over the display and making pretty colors just means it’s flexible, not "soft’. It’s also not a good thing to do too often, although pressing hard from the back of the display is worse.