Garmin G500 – glass cockpit for the Piper Malibu
The Piper Malibu received Garmin’s new G500 glass panel flight display system with synthetic vision technology, along with a GAD43 Gyro Adapter System interfaced to an existing autopilot
The Aircraft and Owner
A Calgary resident, Martin Merrit frequently commutes. Regularly flying over mountains at 22 000 feet, he flies back and forth from Calgary to Vancouver in his 1989 (PA-46) Piper Malibu.
Martin flies single pilot IFR and wanted to bring his panel up to the latest glass technology for safe flight over the mountains at all times of the year.
Martin’s old system was failing. He wanted to upgrade the aircraft with a new ‘glass cockpit’ to ensure safety and reliability while enhancing situational awareness during IFR flight.
The Maxcraft Solution
To enhance and modernize, Maxcraft proposed replacing the traditional 6 pack of analog instruments with a Garmin G500 Flight Display with Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), and a GAD43 Gyro Adapter.
Martin flew his Piper Malibu from Calgary to CYPK (Pitt Meadows Airport). After a tour of Maxcraft, discussion and design consultation, Maxcraft became his top choice for the upgrade.
The GAD43 Gyro Adapter System was installed. By installing the GAD43 Gyro Adapter System, we were able to remove the Bendix/King KI256 primary attitude indicator. With every task, our experienced technicians worked around the aircraft with care.
Maxcraft removed a few more redundant instruments, re-arranged the remaining avionics, and fit the dual screen Garmin G500 ‘glass cockpit’ electronic flight display. The glass panel replaced the standard six-pack of instruments with a twin screened display
Martin’s dog slept peacefully under the wing throughout the day while technicians got to work on their first challenge: Cleaning out the wing wiring to install a magnetic sensor for the G500 was difficult, but it ultimately passed the necessary interference checks.
Behind the scenes, the Garmin G500 had to integrate with the GNS530W GPS/Nav/Comm and KFC150 autopilot. The GAD43 gyro adapter was wired to the G500 display which was wired to an existing autopilot. The whole integrated system was configured and adjusted for optimal operation.
Adding new wiring, the team was able to move the VOR to the right side of the panel, underneath the radio rack. An additional hole had to be cut for this modification. Additional wiring was also installed to extend the oil pressure gauge.
Flight testing went well, with the aircraft’s autopilot and Garmin G500 performing admirably. Everything functioned well, working reliably and without snags.
As Martin had just refurbished the interior, our technicians took great care to keep everything clean while managing to complete the project with the ‘Maximum Craftsmanship’ which Maxcraft has become known for.
With the new avionics installations Martin’s pristine aircraft was ready for departure, and optimized for single-pilot IFR flight over the mountains.