Garmin's New ADS-B Products And A Fresh Take On Digital Radar

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Heading into the AirVenture product intro season, Garmin appears bullish on GA sales prospects and will show a pair of new ADS-B products along with a new digital radar. In addition, Garmin is also introducing upgrades for its GTN line of panel navigators.

Although the requirement for ADS-B is eight years off, Garmin is lead turning the market with the GDL88, what it calls a dual-link ADS-B that delivers both FIS-B weather and advanced traffic capabilities that will fit into the emerging ADS-B rules. The GDL88 will receive both 978 UAT and 1098 MHz frequency bands and depending on the model level selected, it can be ADS-B in only, or in and out for traffic and weather services. Think of the GDL88 as a versatile, installation-specific and configurable system that can be used with or without a display. We're told that the GDL88 is, among other functions, intended to complement aircraft that may already be equipped with an ADS-B output transponder or for ADS-B installations that are being built from the ground up. The GDL88 is available with or without a built-in ADS-B compliant WAAS GPS source that could solve the ADS-B dilemma owners with limited panel space or who own non-compliant GPS receivers. The base GDL88 starts at $3995 and the variant with WAAS GPS lists at $5995.

Portable ADS-B from SkyRadar and Sporty's Stratus box have found good traction in the market and now comes Garmin with its own portable, the GDL39 for $799 suggested retail. The glareshield-mounted GDL39 portable receives FIS-B and traffic data and can display on Garmin portables extending back as far as the GPSMap 396. For the older portables, it links via hard cable but for the aera796, it does Bluetooth. Tablets? Yes, those too—the Android and iPad—running Garmin's recently released Pilot app. The GDL39 can be powered from ship’s power or an optional external battery capable of about four hours of operation. It will be available for display and sale at AirVenture.

Last, Garmin has developed a new digital radar with sophisticated display and analytical capabilities, the first new such technology we've seen in years. The GWX70 is Doppler-capable and thus able to detect turbulence as well as precipitation. But the real eye-opener is that Garmin has ditched the expensive and occasionally troublesome magnetron tube, meaning that long-term maintenance of the system should be less onerous. The GWX70 will be suitable for 10-, 12- and 18-inch antennas and will be compatible with a range of Garmin displays included the G1000, G2000, G3000 and G5000, plus lesser systems like the G500/G600 and the MX20. Starting price will be $20,995.