Friday, March 12, 2010

Garmin 430 Overview

I'm training on a new GPS NAVCOM next week. (That is a GPS receiver that has an integrated communications radio and simulates traditional navigation instruments). This one talks to the radio navigation instruments and can combine their knowledge with its. The GPS can drive my HSI CDI so that I'm looking at the traditional instruments, but navigating by GPS information. This is good, because the traditional instruments have a better display and are right in front of me, so more comfortable to use. The system is complicated, but fortunately it's a Garmin, and I've used a lot of Garmin GPS receivers, so the logic isn't completely foreign; I'm working my way through the first online manual now.

Equipment like this has a lot of context sensitive keys. For example if you push the middle of the bottom right knob, you activate or deactivate the GPS cursor. If the cursor is deactivated, turning that knob changes screens, but if the cursor is active, turning that knob moves the cursor from field to field. But not to all fields. There's a separate cursor for changing VHS standby frequencies1, and two separate frequency swapping buttons. I like that, as I have been caught out on units that had one cursor, messing up my standby frequency just before I needed it, because I was hunting for the approach page. The section of the screen that acts as what would be labelled NAV on the analog radios is designated VLOC here. That represents VOR plus LOCalizer2, i.e. this radio is used to tune VOR or ILS frequencies. They needed a more specific term than NAV, because the whole thing is for navigation.

The 29 possible display pages are in logical groups, so you first use the bottom right knob, cursor deactivated, to select a group, i.e. NAV, WPT, AUX or NRST, then you turn the inside right knob to select an individual page within that group. I need to familiarize myself with which information is available on which pages. Setup is under AUX. Airport information is under WPT. If I get lost3, I can press and hold the CLR key to get back to the default NAV page.

Hmm, on page 17 it says that to stop navigating a flight plan I select Delete Flight Plan. Single use flight plans? That seems a little drastic. That option is usually Stop Navigation. It isn't until page seventy-five in the full Pilot's Guide that it confirms "Deleting a flight plan does not delete the waypoints contained in the flight plan from the database or user waypoint memory." You're really just deleting it from RAM and it's still stored, ready to be selected again.

Some of the pages can be accessed without going through the menu system. The approaches and all their associated pages are accessed with one touch, the PROC key. This is good. All those other pages are just pretty information screens. The approaches are going to actually tell me--or the autopilot4--where to go. The unit will tell me if I select an approach that has not been approved as standalone GPS. For such approaches I have to navigate primarily by the traditional nav aids, and monitor the GPS only for situational awareness. If traditional nav aids are available, I'll be monitoring them anyway, but it's a matter of what is driving my CDI5. I press the CDI button to select that, or "An ‘Auto ILS CDI’ setting provides automatic switching to ‘VLOC’ once established inbound on the final course segment of an approach." Nice, but dangerous, in the way that autothrottles are: more than one pilot accustomed to the airplane doing things for him has forgotten to do them himself when the occasion called for it. I'll have to make verifying that that AUTO CDI switch occurred a part of my routine.

Ever memorized something because you were told to, without being given enough context to use it or even understand it? I hate doing that, but I did so years ago in order to know the answers to questions I was told would be on the exam. I guess they were. I had to know the CDI scaling for different phases of flight. I don't remember them now, so I don't know if they are the same as on this 430, but the numbers here are:

ENR5.0 nmenroute
TERM1.0 nm<30 nm from destination or 1-5 nm from departure
APR0.3 nm<2 nm from destination when on a GPS approach

I think those are full scale deflection each side. I'll have to confirm that with the next manual. I'll make the procedures for flying an approach on this unit a post unto itself, for another day, because despite all the bells and whistles, that's what I'm really here to learn. This whole week will be Garmin 430 posts.


Anyone know if there is an html tag that will automatically number footnotes, and superscript the index, like in LaTeX? Ideally it would provide internal page links to the footnote and back to the text, too.

1. If you press and hold the com swapping button for about two seconds, you get the emergency frequency of 121.5. I wonder how long it takes before the unit malfunctions and you risk getting 121.5 any time you swap frequencies. It's very common for older radios to double-flip when you try to swap them, leaving you talking to the same controller who just told you to switch frequencies. Embarrassing, but having that happen on 121.5 would be more so.

2. This makes VLOC a deeply recursive acronym, as VLOC is short of VOR/LOCalizer, and VOR is short for VHF Omnidirectional Range, and VHF is short for Very High Frequency, but no one ever thinks about what VOR stands for as they are saying it. It's usually pronounced Vee-Oh-Are, but there are a few people who say "vore." I suspect they are all students of the same eccentric flight instructor.

3. Lost in the menu screens, not lost flying the plane, nor can I get Lost the TV series on the little screen. It is in colour, though.

4. I'll believe that the autopilot works in this plane when I experience it myself.

5. The CDI is the little needle that tells me which way I need to correct to be on course.


Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Trix:

You are going to LOVE it! I've been driving N631S with the aid of a GNS530 for nearly five years now (and the WAAS version for half that) and it is a remarkably well thought out and reliable machine. (The switches are all holding up quite nicely.)

The best part of the deal is to be able to use the RNAV approaches and have the runway show up Right There, as opposed to the old VOR approaches where you got to MDA and had to find the runway at some odd offset to straight ahead.

Another delight is to be approaching an unfamiliar airport on a hazy day and select Direct To the airport and hit the OBS key and spin the CDI to the runway heading, and just let the magenta line tell you where the extended runway c/l is.

Yes, it can bite. Get really good about when to load an approach vs when to activate an approach and how to abandon an approach to go back around for another go. Lots of traps there.

I hope your boss is springing for the WAAS version. Well worth the extra bucks. And then all you need is the GPSS module to connect the Garmin to the autopilot! You just sit back and watch the magic. Very cool!

Fly it safely -- keep us apprised of your adventures.

Best regards,


Matthew Flaschen said...

Unfortunately, there is no such HTML tag for smart footnotes. Some systems take care of it for you at a higher level. For instance, MediaWiki has cite.php for this. I don't know if Blogger has a plug-in for this.

sounddoc said...

i'll be taking my instrument checkride with dual GNS430s very soon. I only use it when doing GPS approaches though as I also appreciate the traditional radios in the older (cheaper) rentals. although, no HSI or AP/FD in any of the warriors at the club! heck, even a heading bug would be nice!

working with the single knob to change 2 active and 2 standby frequencies can get confusing at first (do i press this, turn this half or press that now...?) but after a flight or 3 you'll get it committed to muscle memory. it's like putting on pants, when you stop to think about every move you're making, you'll get tripped up!

Also - the full deflections in nm are displayed on the sides of the scale, so you don't have to remember in the clag. you can actually see them walk down as you enter the next phase of flight!

no doubt you've seen the simulator they provide?

have fun!

Julien said...

The simulator is great, although I found that there's nothing like actually manipulating the physical knobs on the real unit to reliably imprint my brain with how the whole thing works.

Something to do with muscle memory or the combination of muscle memory with higher cognitive functions I guess.

The only bad thing with Garmin receivers is that they make it very hard to find out which TSO each unit is certified to. As far as I remember it's only the color of a dot (blue or grey for memory) near the COM volume knob that gives it away.

I never used the Garmin 430 for instrument flying, but it's a fantastic unit for VFR anyway as long as you remember to take your eyes off it from time to time :-)

Aviatrix said...

Yup, I'm playing with the simulator now.

Sarah said...

Oooh, good news. You're going to love it. It does take some "muscle memory" to learn some commonly done things.

What is not intuitive in these things actually may vary from person to person. The top 2 things that confuse me are

1) How do I get rid of an approach? Not from the menu in "proc", but press FPL, MENU then scroll down to see the hidden "remove approach" ENT

2) I have three waypoints loaded, with direct-to set to the middle one. Why does "proc" keep offering me approaches to the third airport? Instead, FPL MENU scroll(Select approach) ENT MENU MENU scroll(select next FPL Apt) ENT ... ahhh finally.

Julien said...

I heard good things about Max Trescott's book GPS and WAAS but haven't got my hands on it yet. The cover mentions the Garmin 430 as well as other models up to the G1000 Glass Cockpit.

Jeremy said...

Not sure about the scaling figures that you give for departures - the way I read it, the CDI scaling is set at 1NM when you are inside 30NM of the ARP (Dep or Dest) for all departures, arrivals and initial approaches.

Unknown said...

LaTeX? You don't seriously know how to use that do you? I thought that was limited to university professors and the odd author here and there.

Aviatrix said...

A computer system cost over a thousand dollars; Microsoft Word was a couple of hundred and ran off floppy disks. Unix accounts were free on school machines and LaTeX was already installed. How do you think I wrote my essays?

Before I got the Unix account I wrote them out by hand and paid a woman in the math department who had "scientific" font module for her IBM Selectric to type them for me.

Paul said...


You're going to love/hate it.

Yea, approaches are neat, there is airport data for like a million airports and navaids, and just click, highlight, and press a couple of buttons and the radio is tuned to that frequency.

But, wait until you are given a new routing by ATC. You'll still have to break out the chart and find every intersection marked with a ---| |--- because Garmin 400/500 boxes don't do airways.

So, the, "Join V1 at DANDO then HEW..." is going to cause some consternation and frantic chart action if you want to stay on the airway.

The other overrated feature is the radio tuning. You may be able to look up the frequency and tune it with a click, turn, push, push, but that's not the frequency in use and ATC isn't listening there. Bah.

I wish they still made the CNX-80.


Mario in PY said...

Dear Aviatrix,

I am a long time reader of your wonderful blog. Please keep posting!

OTOH I wanted to inform you that this post contains some code that causes Firefox to crash. I am positing this with Konqueror (the Linux KDE browser). So I have not tested with the MS IE browser.

It does not matter if I use my bookmark to the blog homepage or the article link from the "Blogging Pilots" website. Both crash Firefox 3.5.8 on Linux.

Anonymous said...


Running Firefox 3.6 in windows 7 and no crashing issues here.

Maybe a linux specific issue?

Aviatrix said...

I just upgraded Firefox this moment, and no problems here with either 3.5.8 or 3.6 on Vista.

I suspect the problem is with either the overwide cartoon or the clunky video link in the previous post. I'll fix those.

Jim said...

Vista.. Makes Win ME look good.

Other than that, I refret that I'm breaking my mommy's rule about "if you can't say something good ...."

Steve C. said...

Based on what I've observed some students doing, an easy trap with the 430/530 is to forget to toggle the HSI source between GPS/VLOC. It seems pretty easy to do all the other necessary things and miss this, and then you fly off in the weeds. Most embarassing.

Nasty instructors know this, e.g. "Are you sure the intersection is still in front of you?"

SwL_Wildcat said...

"I wish they still made the CNX-80."

I agree 100%. The 430/530 is more like a VFR pilots dream, the CNX-80 was a much better setup for IFR flying. Garmin bought out Apollo and used some of the technology to get the 430/530 to work. Apollo was years ahead of Garmin in R&D. They had mode S transponders, and WAAS before Garmin ever knew what it was. I regret selling the CNX-80 in my last plane. Had I known they would be discontinued I would have dropped in a 430 and kept the 80.

Jimmy said...

A GNS430 saved my butt one time. Lost both VORs and the DME due to a mix of wiring and water just inside the FAF. As Frank said it was just follow the magenta line to the runway. I would love to have one again...

Aviatrix said...

Did the comic/video change fix the crashing problem?

It's not like I chose Vista. It was on the computer I had to buy to replace the broken one, and I didn't have my XP discs.

Mario in PY said...

Yes the problem is fixed. No more crashed browser here.
Thank you, Aviatrix!

Anonymous said...

LaTeX? "Deeply recursive?" You are such a geek. And you fly an aeroplane.

Gosh, some people are so much cooler than me.

(Oh, and grrr.....<sub> tag is not allowed.)