Garmin Introduces New Primary Flight Instrument Replacement


Garmin unveiled its GI 275, an electronic replacement for legacy primary flight instruments, on Wednesday. The GI 275 can serve as an attitude indicator, attitude directional indicator (ADI), course deviation indicator (CDI), horizontal situation indicator (HSI) and engine indication system (EIS). It is also capable of multifunction display features including traffic, weather, terrain, and Garmin’s SafeTaxi airport diagrams and Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT). Instrument interface is accomplished via a high-resolution touchscreen display and dual concentric knob.

“The capabilities of the GI 275 are amazing—it can provide ADAHRS, autopilot interface and replace ADI, HSI, standby and EIS indicators, along with 60 minutes of battery backup for primary or standby applications, or it can just be the coolest-ever CDI,” said Garmin Vice President of Aviation Sales and Marketing Carl Wolf. “If it’s round and in their panel, pilots can likely replace it with the GI 275 to receive modern flight display features and benefits in a powerful yet compact touchscreen flight instrument.”

According to Garmin, the GI 275 was designed to fit the standard 3.125-inch flight instrument form factor to aid in reducing installation time and preserving existing panels. It has been FAA approved for installation in more than 1,000 single-engine and multi-engine aircraft models. Several GI 275 variants are available starting at a unit cost of $3995.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. This is subtle but major news for owners of older legacy airplanes. Those that can’t afford, justify or need a major panel retrofit of a full glass panel can now achieve similar results within the confines of the 3 1/8″ instrument locations in their airplanes. They’re a bit pricey but if the retailers of these things discount them a bit … they’ll be hard to beat. I see an AI / ADI in my C172’s future …

    I wonder why Garmin didn’t wait until SnF to make everyone weak in the knees??

    • My club has been debating about upgrading one of our planes to all-glass. There is definitely still value in going with something like the G3X/G500, but these new displays are very compelling. I liked the AV-30 too, but somehow I suspect these will integrate more nicely with the rest of the Garmin avionics we have installed in our planes. There’s also the commonality of interface design, vs the AV-30. I definitely think we’ll be considering these (even over the G5).

      • What you say is DEFINITELY something to think about, Gary. When I decided on a GTX335 single box solution and put it in myself, Garmin didn’t say and I didn’t know that the position info from the transponder could be shared IF you have the correct version of operating software in the box. Staying with one manufacturer is definitely a good thing. Someone I know is mixing and matching stuff and having all sorts of problems. Looks to me as if you could put a couple of these things in your airplanes a lot easier than tearing out the whole panel for a major retrofit. I’ve uncovered a few places where the big Gorilla DOESN’T do a good job but — overall — it’s hard to beat this stuff.

        I look forward to seeing them at SnF.

  2. ‘What’s my speed?’ Squints to see odometer… Is it just me or do you also find digital airspeed tapes wrong? To me, it’s like driving down the highway and having to insure you’re not exceeding the speed limit via the little numbers in the odometer window. There’s a reason the cars most important gauge is analogous. I really glad the G3x has a ‘six-pack’ view. Maybe I’m just old…

    • Good point!! If you REALLY want to fly a lot, and want to build real time and experience for professional (or professionalism) reasons, then buy an airplane that has been upgraded by previous owner. Then fly the heck out of it, and sell it for similar number, and then buy the next one for more experience. Upgrading is for the LAST owner! Always buy from someone that just HAS to have everything perfect, but then is never satisfied and sells anyway. ….and time the offer to coincide with with life changes or spousal anger…

  3. Analog gauges are easier to use because we do not have to read numbers. We just look at the picture that we see and compare it to what is stored in our brains. I really don’t care if my airspeed 60 kts or 61 kts, however, I do care if it is 51 kts. I just look at where Mickey’s big hand is and I know that either life is good or I better do something now. We become familiar with the position of the indicator and don’t have to use the extra brain time to read the number.

    When instructing from the back seat of the Citabria, I can’t see the airspeed, but can see the bottom of the wing. If the bottom of the wing is level with the ground on approach, life is good if not do something NOW. the brain knows the visual is either good or bad from the sight picture.

    On digital read out instruments, I like and use bugs to set a parameter. If the bug is where it should be life is good, if the bug is off center correct toward the bug. The G5 HI and AI setup is nice for this. The G1000 is good for altitude but the speed would be nice if it could be bugged manually.

    • “Correct toward the bug.”

      And yet, most tape-style displays of airspeed position higher speeds ABOVE the current value; lower speeds BELOW the current value. This requires you to move the nose AWAY from the displayed position of the bug (raise the nose to get lower airspeeds, displayed below; lower the nose to get higher airspeeds, displayed above). So rather than “chase the bug,” it’s “flee the bug.”

      But that’s just another YARS’ Human Factors Pet Peeve.

      Meanwhile, a steam-gauge-style moving-needle display provides four kinds of information, at a glance:
      1. Absolute value.
      2. Relative value (with respect to the entire range of values)
      3. Direction of change.
      4. Rate of change.

      All at a glance; no actual reading necessary. AND the entire range of available values is visible at all times – not just what’s displayed by the “visible” window of the “moving tape” display.

      Politicians talk about “change.” Engineers (are supposed to) talk about “improvement.” Despite the often-willful ignorance of politicians, “change” and “improvement” are NOT synonyms. There’s change that makes things better – THAT’s an improvement. There’s change that makes things worse (clearly NOT an improvement). And then there’s change that merely makes things DIFFERENT – neither better nor worse.

      So what kind of change are tape displays of airspeed? Better, worse, or merely different?

      Another YARS-ism: Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.

  4. The Uavionix AV-30 is soon to be certified at half the price. It’s not touchscreen, but touchscreen on such a small instrument in other than completely smooth air is useless anyway. As usual, Garmin is out of touch with the average private pilot. Uavionix beat out Garmin with the SkyBeacon and now they will do it again with the AV-30. My motto is still “Never Garmin”!

    • MY motto is … consider Garmin first and then make an educated decision, Billy.

      On the comments section on A/C Spruce, I saw something about the uAvionix AV-30 that caught my attention right away and something I MUST consider. The guy said he interfaced the CDI with his Aera 660 GPS and it works great. Since I’m going to be using an Aera 660 (probably two of ’em), I have to think about that.

  5. In defense of glass, when I made my change over from analog to glass, I did realize a 50 lbs. net increase in useful load. There’s a lot of weight in all of the wiring and hoses not to mention the instruments themselves.

    You can’t beat the engine monitoring systems glass provides. My 960 already paid for itself in one event. Indications provided suggested I shut down the engine and I did. It saved me from blowing up an engine. The detail the glass monitors provide is is incredible.

    Shooting approaches with the visual that glass provides is pretty much a piece of cake. Having the the speed and altitude on either side of and right next to the visual display provides for very little eye movement required in the scan. The ultimate of course would be a heads up display. In my opinion that would be Nirvana. Throw everything else out the window. That’s all I want.

  6. I find the lead photo disappointing. Too cluttered, no redundancy. I replaced the AI and HI in my 172B with a pair of G5s and now have the best of both worlds: analog ASI and altimeter, plus the tapes. Plus it looks and flies like a regular six-pack, which makes life easier for my wife, who is working on her PPL. As Owen K. says, very nice system for older aircraft.