After living through an incident in which a G600 with synthetic vision saved quite literally saved his life, the experienced owner of this Cessna 340 was motivated accelerate plans for further upgrades to his panel. There’s not many pilots who walk away from an incident involving simultaneous engine, pressurization, and deicing failure over mountains in IFR conditions, so being stoked on avionics after an experience like that is understandable.

This 340 was and still is used for serious single-pilot IFR operation in Northern Alberta and BC as part of the owner’s mechanical contracting business, which serves customers across both provinces. At the time of the incident it had already been outfitted with a fairly modern and IFR-capable avionics suite and was scheduled for further upgrades at Maxcraft. The G600 was accompanied by GNS530 GPS, a JPI 960 Engine Monitor, and SL30 NAV/COM. However, when Don came back to Maxcraft for this dual GTN 750 upgrade, he didn’t only come with a list of equipment. He also had a list of sixty-four tweaks, alterations, and changes he wanted made to the layout of his panel. Our design team loves informed input like this, especially from seasoned pilots with so many IFR hours logged. That said, customization of this sort is neither quick nor simple; a run-of-the-mill GTN install is fairly routine by comparison. Many of the changes will be immediately evident from the photos you see here. The engine monitor, for example, was moved closer to the pilot side for better visibility, and backup instruments were grouped together on the co-pilot’s side. If you’ve read the Garmin blog on this incident, you’ll know that a JPI 960 engine monitor gave the pilot his first indication that something was wrong. We won’t list all sixty-four changes here, but know that they range from simple to complex and involve everything from overall layout to small modifications involving lighting, usability and ergonomics. If there’s one thing to take away here, it’s that the core of this project was more than a simple equipment upgrade — it was a customization, one that reflected the experiences and preferences of the pilot, as well as his intended use for the aircraft.

Completed: Spring 2014

Summary of Major Equipment

  • Dual GTN 750 Navigators (Garmin)
  • G600 PFD (Garmin)
  • JPI 960 Engine Monitor (JPI)