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Old 11-09-2010, 12:11 PM
Denok Denok is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Quebec City, Qc.
Posts: 36
Default Best EFIS system

Well, what had to happen, happened. My Blue mountain lite G4 Efis went dead on me this week having suffered from a toasted CPU Board. I can have it fixed for approximatly 1000$ but is it really worth it? Will I have a few years of trouble free operation? From what I have seen so far with the unit, it's reliability is somewhat shaky so I've been wondering, would it be better to start thinking about a whole new panel with reliable avionics?
Many systems are out there and none are more tempting that Garmin's dual screen G3X system but as with any systems Garmin makes, it is also the most expensive so I'm asking all you avionics techno wizards: What would be the best Efis system (excluding G3X), having engine monitoring capabilities, synthetic vision, compatibility with a GNS 430W and can interface properly with an autopilot (to be bought since my BMA autopilot would also have to be removed..) would you choose? Dynon, GRT, Advanced, Trutrack? Any feedbacks on past experiance with any of these systems. What Autopilot would you add to it? Is Garmin the only way to go regardless of priceconsidering I will fly IFR with my new avionics.
Thanks For your help.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:18 PM
Bill Dicus Bill Dicus is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Shorewood, WI (Milwaukee area)
Posts: 1,066
Default EFIS

Two summary articles in Kitplanes by Stein Bruch might be helpful. Have you read these? Sorry about your Blue Mountain and agree the best course might be a new panel. Best of luck to you.
Bill Dicus
Shorewood (Milwaukee) Wisconsin
RV-8 N9669D Flying 12/4/14!
Flying Pitts S-2A, Piper Lance
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:45 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,088

Your questions is not something that is easy to answer.

Everyone has personal likes and dislikes that will filter into any recommendation.

Also, what may be recommended today may be obsolete tomorrow, at least that is what the state-of-the-art in EFIS seems to be doing.

I notice you did not include MGL in your list, you might take a look at them. The owner is a member here, and seems to be absolutely straight forward with his advice and info, he will even recommends other competitors products if they fit the bill better than his do. Hard to get more honest than that.

I have GRT, older units that came with the project, and I am having a real love/hate relationship with them.

The units have an incredible amount of versatility, and ability, but it is very frustrating to understand/learning how to use them.---but as I said they are older units, so hopefully the newer stuff is more user friendly.

On the other hand, the support at GRT is absolutely top notch.
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."

Last edited by Mike S : 11-09-2010 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:50 PM
rleffler's Avatar
rleffler rleffler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 3,862

Originally Posted by Denok View Post
What would be the best Efis system (excluding G3X), having engine monitoring capabilities, synthetic vision, compatibility with a GNS 430W and can interface properly with an autopilot (to be bought since my BMA autopilot would also have to be removed..) would you choose? Dynon, GRT, Advanced, Trutrack? Any feedbacks on past experiance with any of these systems. What Autopilot would you add to it? Is Garmin the only way to go regardless of priceconsidering I will fly IFR with my new avionics.
The answer is the one that meets all your mission requirements.

You'll get many biased opinions and everyone on VAF has one.

Since you mentioned IFR, I would go with a independent auto pilot, such as Trutrak. I would personally avoid integrated APs, but then that is a risk decision that you'll need to decide for yourself.

With all kidding aside, any of the vendors you mentioned will work, but there are differences between the vendors. Only you can determine what's important to you. What's important to me or anyone else doesn't count.
Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:21 PM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,305

I have the GRT dual screen, dual AHAR and have been extremely happy with them, both in regards to functionality, reliability and customer services has been next to none. I believe much user friendlier then the standard six pack in IFR.
RV7A - IO360M1B - SOLD
Dues paid
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:40 PM
penguin penguin is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: England
Posts: 1,034

It does very much depend for what you use your airplane. For IFR I would stick with AFS or GRT - or Garmin if you have deep pockets - and I would steer clear of boxes that come with an on-board autopilot. My current favorite is Advanced Flight Systems - a huge amount of functionality all in one box with an autopilot provided by Trutrak if you require it.

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Old 11-09-2010, 06:41 PM
Adam Adam is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 253

I love my Advanced Flight Systems but it is a hard decision. The competition and quality of most of the units out there are really good. AFS, GRT, MGL, Dynon, and of course Garmin are all fine equipment, so take your time and make sure of what you need and what you want, and have fun doing it!
Adam Silverstein
Technical Counselor Chapter 643
Flying RV-8 10/30/07
Pittstown, New Jersey

2015 Donation
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:41 PM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 6,784

Yeah it would be terrible to purchase an EFIS that gives you the AP controller for free...terrible.

How many attitude backups does a person need to fly IMC?

Who in their right mind would fly an aircraft in IMC with one EFIS and one stand alone AP and no other backups?

Put together the right panel with an integrated AP can save you money and also be just as redundant. It is about the total package not the individual components!

Also, nothing says you have to use the integrated AP. There is not an EFIS out there that will not work side by side with a third party stand alone AP. The typical third party AP does not have to be controlled by an EFIS or even connected to one to work.....

Are there advantages to using an EFIS in between the NAV sources and the less expensive AP's to gain features that are not in the AP natively? Sure there are but if that EFIS dies, you just lost all those advantages and I hope you put in an EFIS/GPS switch so you can drive your stand alone AP directly from the NAV sources.

How long will a stand alone AP stay sunny side up if it loses its NAV source?

GRT, MGL and Dynon seem to think there is value in integrated AP's...are they wrong?
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB
Lyc. O-360 carbed, HARTZELL BA CS Prop, Dual P-MAGs, Dual Garmin G3X Touch
Track N159SB (KK4LIF)
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Last edited by Brantel : 11-09-2010 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:56 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 11,602

Hi Denis,

I can see that you are fairly new to VAF (based on your post count), so you may not be aware that this question gets asked over and over again, and there are literally hundreds of threads in the archives that will help you to understand the choices available to. I moved your post from the "General" area to the "Glass Cockpit" forum. Sit yourself down with a tall beverage of your choice and lots of time - there is plenty to keep you reading for hours...make that days!

In the end, no one is going to make that choice for you - you'll have to collect all the data you can, then make an informed decision based on your actual needs. There are not that many people who have a lot of time behind more than one of the popular EFIS choices, so it is hard to get valid comparisons - you can add to your "filter" as you read.

I helped Stein Bruch with a forum at OSH this year on EFIS choices. We are most proud of the fact that we talked and answered questions for an hour and a half and never once recommended a particular brand! One size does not fit all....

Paul (three airplanes, three different EFIS's - for different reasons and different jobs!)
Paul F. Dye
Editor in Chief - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:07 PM
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RV10inOz RV10inOz is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brisbane Qld. Aust.
Posts: 2,086

I would personally avoid integrated APs
What kind of logic is that

If your Tru Trak falls over....what ya gunna do then? Still down an AP!

Facts boys FACTS!!!

If you have an aircraft you want to use IFR have a back up attitude system, have a back up radio and a back up NAV. On that topic I think two VOR's is a waste, even in the USA where there are VORs everywhere. a G396/496 is a perfect backup that is the perfect tool to save your bacon even if not a TSO'd NAV.

So here is my panel

So having the D100 as the master if it fails, one button and the D180 page flips to being the D100 again, so all I have to do is hand fly the plane for a change.....which you should keep your hand in at. Ohhh and the CDI is gone too! OK will have to use the one on the GNS530

I must apologise for the sacrastic tone but I am forever seeing far too much **** about systems and failure modes that is not justified at all.

Think it through very carefully.

If I was to build another IFR panel it would be a dual Skyview system, but if space and $$ were an issue another D100/D180 system.

AFS looks lovely too........
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