Is there a 'complete unit' with nav/com/gps/adsb/xpnder?

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TFF

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First GPSs were in route. Airport to Airport. Once you got there you had to fly normal IFR approaches with the radio equipment. Then came GPS that could put you on the runway. The minimum clouds stayed the same but you could stay on one piece of equipment and with the right equipment could hooked to the autopilot could go to the hold and fly the pattern until released to attempt a landing. WAAS GPS let’s you fly with lower minimums. The non WAAS minimum at my airport is pretty high at I believe 1100ft. That’s almost VFR. It’s 400 with WAAS. That’s a big difference on what day you can land or not.

Learning to fly IFR the old way only will be hard. I think you actually have to fly a minimum glass panel time today and the difference between video game IFR and old where you had to use your imagination with what instruments you have is almost night and day. All is valid but the old is almost becoming emergency equipment not primary. Good for you if you do practice the old way to high competency. Old style IFR is a craft.

Although I am not IFR rated I have done enough with friends and work to know traveling with it is easier than VFR. ATC tells you everything, just comply and you are there. Landing is different. I have only flown IFR being instructed and a WAAS glide slope is low and flat. You fly that too low and you are hitting someone’s tree or roof. Airliners that do LLM CAT2 or 3. CAT2 I think is 200 ft and 3 is 0 clouds. Mind you, they are landing at 150.
 

pfarber

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First GPSs were in route. Airport to Airport. Once you got there you had to fly normal IFR approaches with the radio equipment. Then came GPS that could put you on the runway. The minimum clouds stayed the same but you could stay on one piece of equipment and with the right equipment could hooked to the autopilot could go to the hold and fly the pattern until released to attempt a landing. WAAS GPS let’s you fly with lower minimums. The non WAAS minimum at my airport is pretty high at I believe 1100ft. That’s almost VFR. It’s 400 with WAAS. That’s a big difference on what day you can land or not.

Learning to fly IFR the old way only will be hard. I think you actually have to fly a minimum glass panel time today and the difference between video game IFR and old where you had to use your imagination with what instruments you have is almost night and day. All is valid but the old is almost becoming emergency equipment not primary. Good for you if you do practice the old way to high competency. Old style IFR is a craft.

Although I am not IFR rated I have done enough with friends and work to know traveling with it is easier than VFR. ATC tells you everything, just comply and you are there. Landing is different. I have only flown IFR being instructed and a WAAS glide slope is low and flat. You fly that too low and you are hitting someone’s tree or roof. Airliners that do LLM CAT2 or 3. CAT2 I think is 200 ft and 3 is 0 clouds. Mind you, they are landing at 150.
I don't think I would push my limits that hard. I want IFR mostly for the convenience to get to places with low cielings but I have no desire to push an absolute minimums landing, rain/ice etc. I'll just wait. But to say punch through some clouds etc.

As a new PPL you get 3 hours of 'simulated' instuments and I did fly the approach (with my CFI) and while the magenta line did make it easy, I could see doing it without it. The GNS430 was nice, but I don't know enough to decide if its a MUST HAVE. From reading other posts, many people seem quite happy not dicking with a GPS and flying an ILS... but again, the question is more of 'how many airports will I lose if I don't go GPS/WAAS?'

I think THAT will probably be the deciding factor. Looking at my local fields, it seems the answer is 'a lot', but then I really wouldn't want to fly to a random non-towered airport in IMC anyway... I can simply wait. The $7k+ plus map subscription doesn't fit into my budget. Right now, the total cost I have into my E/AB is less than $4k.
 

TFF

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If you are flying old style IFR, you will be flying technically VOR to VOR. A friend who has probably a 1000 hrs IMC VOR to VOR in GA can use a hand held GPS to good use in a old style panel. The Russian Antonov transport planes were flying all over the world with a Garmin 496. Its much harder to go the other way. GPS works so good. It’s not that an approach is flown different, it’s how it’s delivered to you with the interface.

Most people have to build up. You build a panel that is updatable. The 430 is a legacy item, it’s just that it’s just about in every ifr plane, which is why it’s still supported. It would be a major issue if Garmin stopped, but what it does is almost a monopoly. Minimum IFR is a VOR, a clock, and a certified altimeter and an artificial horizon. Is a lot of work, but you can go anywhere. What you don’t want is to be caught out with the wrong equipment. Hard IFR with old equipment is work. I have been stuck out at night VFR when the hand held and the Fourflight signals crapped out. We had the chart but it’s not what we were expecting. No big city lights to guide us. Not that big of a deal but were were not on a local flight. Hard to pick a landmark out when there is no light.

Build a niceVFR updatable panel. Get a 696 or better and fly up to minimums until you really are IFR ready, not just IFR licensed, then make the leap. Popping through a cloud layer is handy use of IFR and that requires minimal equipment and a good head. If you are seriously going to fly IFR don’t skimp.
 

Turd Ferguson

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I don't think I would push my limits that hard.
If you are going to train for your instrument rating in your plane it will have to be equipped per the ACS or you‘re spinning your wheels. No idea what you have now so can’t recommend the most economical route, however, if your planning to train with absolute minimum gear it’s not going to be much fun.
 
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gtae07

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I am starting from scratch and want to try and flesh out a path the won't involve a rebuild in a year or two because I didn't make the right initial decisions.

My initial thoughts are no, I can't put a ton of money into IFR gear. And since I'll freely admit that I don't know (other than reading very contradicting viewpoints) I was hoping there was a 'box' that would have all/most if what I need at a sane price.

So: reading the FARs I can go without a GPS nav but will still need certain equipment to fly IFR (either steam or glass).

BUT if I go down the no-GPS path, what % (WAG is fine) of airports will I not have access to because of my limited IFR setup? 20%? 50%? 80%? From a cursory look, it seems that most smaller airports would have some sort of GPS approach?

My aviation decisions are 80% based off cost. I'll learn and fly IFR without GPS if GPS gear is simply to much. It might be a limitation, but I'd rather fly anything than not at all.

Sorry for being all over the place with questions.. but I did admit that I have almost no idea of what I was doing.
Full disclosure: I am not yet IFR rated but am equipping my RV for IFR so I can get the rating once it’s done. I’ve been talking to several people with lots of IFR time in large and small aircraft (mostly active/retired airline pilots) for advice along the way. I also spent the last year pricing out and comparing avionics for my RV so I’m fairly familiar with the options on the market right now. And finally, I’m a full glass convert for anything beyond local day VFR flying. I’ve flown VFR cross-country with steam, sectional, and E-6B; I’ve done it with a single-screen Skyview; I’ve done both of those in the same airplane. I know which one gave me much better SA and much more eyes “out of the cockpit”, and it wasn’t the steam-and-sectional option.

An IFR GPS will get you access to a lot more runways and a lot more smaller airports than a Nav receiver. Looking at most of the small airports in my old stomping grounds south of Atlanta, if those airports have an ILS or localizer at all, it’s only available on one runway (my home airport even still has an active NDB approach!). But almost all of them have GPS approaches to both ends of the runway. Same with here in Savannah - KSAV has ILS for 1 and 10, but GPS for all directions, and most of the local airports have GPS all around and maybe one ILS or localizer. A Plane and Pilot article from 2016 cites an FAA press release stating “As of September 2008 there are now more LPV instrument approaches in the US than Category-I ILS approaches”. That’s only gone up since then. Remember also that many VORs are slowly being decommissioned, and maintenance on some of them seems to be falling behind. It wouldn’t surprise me if some “less important” ILS/localizer installations are also being decommissioned rather than repaired.

Long story short, every single one of the guys I talked to (see above) have said “don’t bother doing it without GPS”, and a majority wouldn’t even bother with installing a Nav receiver as a backup. Opinions on the latter question vary widely though. But every last one of them is a glass convert.

The most affordable approach-capable GPS on the new market looks to be the GPS-175. You can occasionally find an older unit on eBay, perhaps with com and/or nav built in, but I don’t really think it’ll save you much (if any) money over separate units, and the GPS-175 is noticeably smaller (requiring less space behind the panel) and lighter than, say, an older GPS-400W for only a couple hundred more. The biggest benefit of the all-in-one units is that they save space, and if you’re retrofitting into an existing (and especially) certified aircraft, that’s at a premium. In a new experimental build it might not be as big a deal.

Now, on to the panel itself... unless you can find an absolutely screaming deal on someone‘s used steam gauges (e.g. an RV owner upgrading to glass) I would think you’re going to wind up spending in the ballpark of $5-6k just on your vaccum pump, sixpack, and engine gauges. And at that point, you’re in the range of a modern single-screen EFIS installation (Skyview, GRT Horizon) and the benefits those bring to the table, like easy autopilot integration, data logging, full engine monitor, and so on—not to mention the weight savings. So, IMHO there’s no reason to fit steam gauges to a new homebuilt (except perhaps as backups?) if you ever intend to go IFR. For the same price, and less weight, you get a whole lot more going glass. You might even be able to score a decent glass display off someone upgrading (e.g. a Classic Skyview, non-touch G3X, or older GRT/AFS unit) to save a little money.

Now, that doesn’t include your com radio, or your transponder, or any IFR equipment. But the latter items will be needed regardless of whether you go steam or glass. Figure $2k or so for an ADS-B-legal transponder, $1500 or so for a com radio,, $1500 for autopilot servos, and maybe $5000 for an IFR GPS. If you have steam you’ll also need a CDI or something, so add at least another few hundred. Yeah, it starts to add up...

So some quick ballpark numbers:
Minimum single-screen EFIS package, no radios: $7k
Single-screen EFIS package with com, transponder, autopilot: $11k
IFR GPS: $5k

So all-in, you’re in the ballpark of $17k, for an IFR GPS, ADS-B legal glass cockpit with engine monitor and autopilot. Figure another $800-1500 for a standby EFIS (why have needle-ball-airspeed when you can have full attitude and synthetic vision?). Again, not penny-pinching cheap... but good reliability, incredible capability, and better redundancy.

If it were me... I wouldn’t be trying to find the all-in one IFR GPS. I would use one of the various experimental EFIS products with whatever radios/transponders integrate with them. Get a GPS-175, and use the cost savings for autopilot servos. I know autopilot gets panned for degrading skills or whatever... but having flown several 2.5+ hour legs VFR that autopilot sure is nice for reducing fatigue, just like the cruise control on my car. I know many people have opined that, provided you make the effort to maintain proficiency at hand-flying, the autopilot is a huge safety benefit for IFR as well. For the relatively small cost to add to any modern EFIS, I think it’s worth it.

Finally, keep some of it in perspective... consider what an IFR panel would have cost 20 years ago, and what that would have bought you. For a little perspective, my first engineering co-op rotation was in the engineering simulator, testing bleeding-edge business jet avionics. We had the most advanced civilian cockpit in the world at that time; features that we were speculating we might be getting to test in the lab in the next couple of years can now be found in experimental-market EFIS products for under $5k.

I actually have an old 2000-2001 Spruce catalog at home; if I can remember tonight I’ll look up the pricing for an IFR panel back then and run some inflation-adjustment on the numbers. I have a feeling the difference will be shocking.
 

gtae07

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Looks like it's $6k. That's beyond my budget. I'll bet for most here on this board as well.
Bear in mind that price includes your transponder too. Gonna need one of those for IFR, so you’re going to be paying for it one way or another...

Yes, it sounds like big money. But we‘re talking a full-blown IFR-legal certified navigator with approach capability, and an ADS-B transponder with a 375. You might find a non-WAAS GPS, or an ancient enroute-only GPS for a little less on eBay... but why bother?

Look, I’m all for super-affordable flying if you can pull it off. But at least to do it legally, IFR takes a certain minimum level of equipment. Doing it safely, comfortably, and with some actual utility, takes more equipment. You aren’t going to get either one with a $500 box and an ipad. And at least to me, it doesn’t make any sense to try and do it “the old way” just to try and save a few bucks when the newer way gives you so much more capability and SA.

We like to bemoan all the “fancy gee-whiz” stuff these days... but again, let’s look at what that 200-era “simple, affordable” IFR panel could do and what it would have cost you 15-20 years ago, and compare it to today’s cost. I’d bet that a full IFR panel (steam six-pack, engine gauges, single com, Mode C, single nav, one CDI) would have a cost in y2000 dollars comparable to an experimental single-screen glass panel with IFR GPS in today’s dollars. It probably won’t be anywhere close if we adjust for inflation.
 
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TFF

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You might not be able to write the check today but there is an invention called saving up for it.

It’s hard to play without modern stuff. IFR is not something you skimp at, you just don’t do it. You are flying blind. The longest IMC for me was 4 hours from Oshkosh. The roughest was only an hour and a half in rain that was yellow the whole way.

A friend flies a new Citation and he has to tell the owners the weather is too bad all the time, at least for certain times of the year. They have to buck it up and fly commercial or drive, the Citation will get there to being them home.

It’s not a magic bullet to fly IFR, it’s a handy tool that will get flights in 15% more than without it, unless you just chaise bad weather for fun. Most people I know who expect IFR on a trip will go practice before the trip, unless they had just recently flown IFR. Real IFR you just don’t skip into it.

The hangar we are in, we inherited the lease from the estate after the owners/ friends were lost in IFR. Truly lost as they were never found. Went into the Mississippi River after a missed approach. One night working third shift at the airline, heavy low IFR. I’m at the parts window talking to the parts guy who was working on his licenses. A twin tried to land but it was too low, and the parts guy said I was supposed to fly that trip but I had to be here. The pilot couldn’t get into the primary so he came over to us couldn’t get in and then went back to his primary. Hits a water tower trying to sneak in low to see the ground. I FR doesn’t play.
 

djmcfall

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Twin Falls, Idaho
Go with a GNX-375 and find a clean Used GNS-430 wass or non-wass. That will give you the following:

IFR precision approach certified GPS
ADS in and out transponder (displayed on the 375)
Communication (430) IFR certified
Nav VOR (430) IFR certified
Localizer (430) IFR certified
Glide slope (430) IFR certified
Backup GPS (430) non wass will not be approached certified

if you elect to not install another comm, carry a good handheld as a backup comm.

2 boxes give you a lot for low cost. $11K plus install cost (estimated $2-5K)
 

Pops

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Been IFR rated for many decades, flew for a living a lot of years. Unless you are flying IFR routinely and stayed current in each month , not 6 months, you are rusty. For myself, it highly current or nothing. I prefer to fly when its 500' or less. I especially don't like to do an non precision approach at a non-towered airport . Have to worry about breaking out on top of someone that is just going to fly and stay in the pattern.

If you want a bad day. Fly hard IFR in the NE in the winter time in bad weather , single pilot, no autopilot.
 
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wsimpso1

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If you are flying old style IFR, you will be flying technically VOR to VOR. A friend who has probably a 1000 hrs IMC VOR to VOR in GA can use a hand held GPS to good use in a old style panel. The Russian Antonov transport planes were flying all over the world with a Garmin 496. Its much harder to go the other way. GPS works so good. It’s not that an approach is flown different, it’s how it’s delivered to you with the interface.

Most people have to build up. You build a panel that is updatable. The 430 is a legacy item, it’s just that it’s just about in every ifr plane, which is why it’s still supported. It would be a major issue if Garmin stopped, but what it does is almost a monopoly. Minimum IFR is a VOR, a clock, and a certified altimeter and an artificial horizon. Is a lot of work, but you can go anywhere. What you don’t want is to be caught out with the wrong equipment. Hard IFR with old equipment is work. I have been stuck out at night VFR when the hand held and the Fourflight signals crapped out. We had the chart but it’s not what we were expecting. No big city lights to guide us. Not that big of a deal but were were not on a local flight. Hard to pick a landmark out when there is no light.

Build a niceVFR updatable panel. Get a 696 or better and fly up to minimums until you really are IFR ready, not just IFR licensed, then make the leap. Popping through a cloud layer is handy use of IFR and that requires minimal equipment and a good head. If you are seriously going to fly IFR don’t skimp.
All well and good if you have VOR transmitters. The problem is they are going away. We lose the VOR that gives us our non-GPS approaches at my home 'drome this year. Last summer, we needed a non-GPS approach in central Wisconsin to get down and land for some fuel, and it was work to find one. VOR transmitters are going away when they break...
 

lear999wa

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Lots of Doom and gloom here about flying IFR. It's really no different than anything else in aviation, firstly always have a plan b. And secondly don't get in over your head, take it slow. You should be fine.
 

imacfii

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Lots of Doom and gloom here about flying IFR. It's really no different than anything else in aviation, firstly always have a plan b. And secondly don't get in over your head, take it slow. You should be fine.
Before we get too excited about flying IFR in a RV, try to find an RV pilot who does it regularly. I did a bunch of hours with a buddy in an IFR Cherokee 235, it was all good. The Cherokee got totaled in a microburst. The owner bought an IFR RV6, it was way too sensitive. We shortened the stick put friction washers in the controls all to no avail. After about 90 minutes it made him feel unwell, it was not a pleasant IFR machine. I'm not trying to put you off, just suggesting you 'try before you buy'.
 

rdj

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Before we get too excited about flying IFR in a RV, try to find an RV pilot who does it regularly.
The industry rags (Kitplanes, Sport Aviation, AOPA Pilot et al) are full of planes with high-end IFR panels, in just about anything, from RVs to Glastars to Bearhawks and everything in between. I've always wondered what percentage of hours these usually sporty aircraft ever actually flew in real IMC. I've never seen any of the magazines run an article trying to quantify that percentage. The ad manager probably has something to do with that.
 

BJC

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Before we get too excited about flying IFR in a RV, try to find an RV pilot who does it regularly. I did a bunch of hours with a buddy in an IFR Cherokee 235, it was all good. The Cherokee got totaled in a microburst. The owner bought an IFR RV6, it was way too sensitive. We shortened the stick put friction washers in the controls all to no avail. After about 90 minutes it made him feel unwell, it was not a pleasant IFR machine. I'm not trying to put you off, just suggesting you 'try before you buy'.
I know a homebuilder (two airplanes) who flew his RV-4 all over the USA in IMC, and did so without an AP.


BJC
 

4redwings

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If we are talking IFR, the most important part of the equation "in my opinion" isn't navigating, it's the attitude indicator. In the airlines we have 3 which makes it easier to tell which one went bad. I suppose if I were going that route in a homebuilt I'd want at least two attitude references?? I guess needle, ball, and airspeed counts and it's fairly reliable.

If this is just a backup mode of keeping yourself out of trouble you'd better be well practiced at flying under the hood with a friend that includes some hard turns before you open your eyes so you learn how to roll out using the sky pointer (the noon day sun). Your seat of the pants, or what your eyes thought they saw, is a powerful force to overcome sometimes. It's only happened to me once many years ago in a fighter at night in a climbing turn with the Florida Keys bending into a false horizon while I went in and out of the clouds. I had to put my face practically right on the attitude indicator and my left hand on the instrument itself to force myself to roll the correct way. It's a feeling I'll never forget. Now try it with needle, ball, and airspeed.

So now you can stay upright. As far as navigating, there are videos on youtube where guys fly approaches on their ipads with foreflight. I use a bad elf out under the windscreen bluetoothed to my ipad running FDPro for taxiing at complex airports and although I don't need or want to use it for navigation in flight, the airplane is right there on the approach plate. Just sayin' it's there, not saying it's a good way to fly an approach. Trying to imagine myself in an unplanned or emergency situation. It might save the day?
 

TFF

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IFR in an RV is a non event for most people and I would say most are IFR today. With or without an autopilot.

I have two friends that have double G5s with 430 WAAS and various extras in simple certified planes, one with autopilot. They are not fast but they go everywhere with their equipment and anything less ability already starts ten years behind technology.

Both of those pilots spent a career flying gauges and they don’t want to go back. I will say except for the challenge in something like a Queen Air for old times sake and to see the panel full of glorious gauges top to bottom and end to end. Another friend had an RV 4 with a full panel of gauges. He to spent a career with them and did not want to relearn.

If you want to fly as close as possible to thunderstorms to cut time, buy a Bonanza. If you want a little IFR mixed with sport plane, hard to beat an RV. Those are known markers of performance. Where ones plane fits, in front, in the middle, or behind has to be evaluated. As for touchy controls, the Tailwind has touchy controls on purpose for cross country flying. Steve Wittman wanted to only use his finger tips for corrections on long trips. No death gripping the stick.
 

Pops

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To many pilots are over confident in their ability. Can be deadly especially in an low drag airframe.

How many of you can fly a partial panel ILS approach down to minimums at night time in a hard rain storm with strong gusty crosswinds ? And one engine out in a loaded light twin , single pilot in the same conditions ? **** happens.
How many stay current in non-gyro Radar (GCA) approaches?
 

Bill-Higdon

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Before we get too excited about flying IFR in a RV, try to find an RV pilot who does it regularly. I did a bunch of hours with a buddy in an IFR Cherokee 235, it was all good. The Cherokee got totaled in a microburst. The owner bought an IFR RV6, it was way too sensitive. We shortened the stick put friction washers in the controls all to no avail. After about 90 minutes it made him feel unwell, it was not a pleasant IFR machine. I'm not trying to put you off, just suggesting you 'try before you buy'.
Have a friend who flies his IFR a lot, it depends on what you're used to IMHO
 
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