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Have you been flying the “steam gauges” and want to know what the new glass cockpit technology is really all about and how to transition?
The older steam gauges use mechanical devices to drive them; these consist of the “six pack”. The old six pack is made up of the Altimeter, Vertical Speed Indicator, Airspeed Indicator, Directional Gyro, Turn and Slip and the Attitude Indicator. These instruments are displayed very differently in the glass cockpit world, but they are not difficult to read.
As seen in the picture of a Garmin 1000 glass cockpit you will see what looks like measuring tape displayed vertically in parallel to each other towards the middle of the screen on the right. These are called tape. The one on the left is the Airspeed indicator tape and the one on the right is the Altimeter Tape. If you look closely on the Altimeter tape you will find the barometric setting. The black boxes on the tapes display the current state of the aircraft. This particular picture shows an aircraft at 110 Knots and 8,000 feet. In the middle of the tapes is the Attitude indicator and the background is nothing more than a huge attitude indicator with blue as the sky and brown and the ground. Above the attitude indicator is the turn coordinator replacing the old dog house or turn and slip instrument. The arrows will indicate your slip and the degree of the turn. At the bottom of the screen you may have noticed a compass. This compass is the new Directional Gyro. As you may have noticed it is set to 011 degrees. So as you can see there is nothing overly complicated about this new technology. However I have only touched the surface of this subject, so please take this in moderation and do not attempt to fly a glass cockpit without seeking training first. Generally training can be accomplished in as little as 5 hours. FITS, the industry’s standard for glass cockpit training recommends an 8 hour hands on ground training course followed by about 5 hours of in the cockpit mission style training. Good luck and congratulations on taking the next step to building your knowledge of aviation.