At AirVenture 2021, Piper announcement that it has certified Garmin’s new GWX 8000 weather radar system in its M-series turboprop and piston models. The GWX 8000 StormOptix Doppler radar is Garmin’s flagship weather avoidance system and has a variety of high-end features not seen in any GA ship’s radar to date. This includes turbulence detection, wind shear and hail identification, volumetric scanning and 3D buffering—automatically adjusting the tilt as the aircraft moves through the weather.
In the Piper M600 turboprop single, the all-digital radar interfaces with the Garmin G3000 integrated avionics (and G1000 NXi in the piston line) and is smart enough to automatically scan, analyze and remove ground clutter, while providing automatic analysis for storm cell detection. Garmin’s digital, software-enabled radars have come a long way since the early days of analog systems. For example, the GWX 8000 is optimized for close-range scanning with its Watch feature, which helps eliminate the guesswork of interpreting the images because it identifies the shadowing effects of short-range cell activity by highlighting areas where radar returns are attenuated by heavy precipitation. It has four time more color palettes (a total of 16) than most other systems, which in theory makes it easier to interpret storm cells.
The GWX 8000 StormOptix radar joins a well-rounded suite of safety systems in Piper’s flagship singles, including emergency Autoland, which was first certified in the M600 turboprop and is now standard.