Here is some extra info about the Arnav “H” release. My two bottom-line points are that it’s a big step forward, and that for existing Arnav owners, the $2k price for this upgrade is, in my judgment, a better value than paying five or six times that much to switch to Avidyne.
Resolution vastly different. I was flying along the Atlantic coast yesterday, and it was surprisingly valuable to have a realistic-looking modeling of rivers, ocean, inland hills, and so on.;
Declutter options work well for different circumstances;
Some other Arnav upgraders have said that changes in the control system were confusing. I’m not sure I would have noticed that the controls were different at all. They’re tied to on-screen icons and I was able to use the system without ever looking at the manual.
Display is bright, even in direct sun;
Integration with Stormscope was good – and in some vague way seemed more informative at-a-glance, because the improved display gave a more realistic sense of situational awareness; NOTE IMPORTANT CAVEAT BELOW.
Surprisingly valuable feature: the “terrain box” ahead of the plane. As shown in Del’s Alaska report and the Arnav web site, there is a little rectangle that extends in front of hte airplane, to show where your current path will take you. One intended purpose is to indicate terrain clearance. I was flying over the East Coast flatlands, so that didn’t matter. What DID help was this box’s indication of where my current heading would take me, in terms of restricted zones, Class B airspace, etc. I was hand-flying my way down the coast rather than on a point-to-point Garmin plan, and having this guidance to let me know whether I was going to hit various airspace was handy.
Did I mention that the resolution was better?
- SLOOOOOOOWWWW. Switching from one resolution to another – zooming in and out – can take 20 seconds or more. As Don Rennie, I believe, pointed out, you can click the zoom button several times and then let it refresh, so you don’t have to do sequential cycles of 20 seconds for each zoom level. This is very much different from old Arnav and indicates the system’s older-tech heritage than Avidyne. STILL, once you understand this point, it leads to more “strategic” use of the screen, and less tactical fiddling with it. I didn’t mind that much.
This may reflect the fact that I didn’t yet read the manual, but so far I can’t figure out how to do one of my previous favorite Arnav tricks. This is the “runway alignment” trick: If you’re heading for Runway 32, you set the HSI to 320, hit OBS on the Garmin, and then you see a big magenta line on the Arnav showing the extended centerline of the runway you’re heading for. That trick still works for the Garmin itself, but it doesn’t seem to transfer to the Arnav in the way it did before. (For some airports, you can approximate the effect by choosing an ILS approach for the runway in question and activating “vectors to final,” which gives you the controllers-eye view.)
Agree with Don Rennie that the point-obstacle display (tower elevations etc) is clumsier and more obtrusive than before.
– If I were buying new, I would get the Avidyne, because I just have more faith in the company’s technical future;
– As an Arnav “legacy” owner, I am happy to have gotten this upgrade, which is a big improvement and by GA standards quite a bargain;
– We’ll leave for another time the relative value of other Arnav add ons, the engine monitoring and the Stormscope. The Stormscope is twice as expensive as the engine system, but my experience to date (contrary to prevailing wisdom) is that the Stormscope is about 100 times as valuable. In part I say that because I’m now using the Stormscope in its ideal east-of-the-rockies location. (During the year I used a Cirrus in California, I don’t think I ever turned it on.) In part I say it because the oddities of my engine monitoring setup so far limit its value – I trust it for CHT/EGT but not for anything else, including RPM reading, power %, or remaining fuel. Presumably I can get those adjustments tweaked.
That’s it. If you have Arnav, my vote is to get the upgrade.
IMPORTANT STORMSCOPE CAVEAT. If you install the software upgrade yourself (after necessarily getting the ICDS hardware swapped at Arnav HQ), the procedure is easy and straightforward. HOWEVER, by default the installation-and-upgrade process turns OFF the Stormscope. As I mentioned yesterday, my first trip with the new software was the kind of day the Stormscope was meant for. A muggy East Coast day with a known band of thunderstorms far enough away to be safe but too close to ignore. When I was doing the runup, after installing the software myself, I found to my dismay that I no longer had a Stormscope. I vaguely remembered that Stormscope settings were part of the Arnav “Setup” screen, so I went through the drill (on the runup ramp) to configure the Stormscope to “On.” My point is, be aware that adding the new software initially switches the Stormscope “off.”