Garmin Introduces Connext Wireless Cockpit

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While Connext is Garmin's wireless interface concept, the Flight Stream is the name of the remotely mounted Bluetooth transceiver that enables the flow of data to and from the permanently installed sensors in the aircraft. These include the GDL88 ADS-B transceiver and the GDL69 XM weather and entertainment receiver, in addition to panel-mounted radios, including the GTN750 and GTN650 touchscreen navigators and the GNS430W and GNS530W WAAS navigators. There are two models to choose from. The $549 Flight Stream 110 is the entry-level transceiver that has integral WAAS GPS. Using Bluetooth connectivity, it sends GPS position, FIS-B ADS-B weather and TIS-B ADS-B traffic data received from Garmin’s GDL88 ADS-B receiver to an Apple and compatible Android tablet that run Garmin’s Pilot app.

This interface potentially solves a huge problem because the GDL88, while a one-box ADS-B solution, still requires a cockpit screen to display weather and traffic data. In lesser aircraft (and for lesser budgets) that can’t support a compatible panel display, the Flight Stream device is an economical solution for playing the GDL88 data on a tablet display.

The $999 Flight Stream 210 takes the interface to a higher level. Since it has an internal AHRS sensor, it provides attitude data to the Pilot app—a feature that’s already available with the GDL39 3D portable ADS-B receiver. The real utility, however, is recognized with an interface that connects the tablet with Garmin’s panel mounted navigators. That enables flight plan transfer to and from the navigator.

“What we’re trying to do with the Connext interface is create a new freedom in flight plan execution where pilots can flight plan in advance at home and then go out to the airport and push the flight plan into the panel navigators with one button,” said Garmin’s Jessica Koss.

Essentially, pushing the flight plan into the navigator is as simple as turning on the avionics, establishing a Bluetooth connection with the Flight Stream device through a Connext tab in the app and transferring the flight plan that was created in the Pilot app. 

In a GNS430W/530W interface, that means finally having the ability to load victor airways into the flight plan, rather than entering the associated fixes.

You can also set the Garmin Pilot app to watch for changes made to the active flight plan in the panel navigator. This means any changes made to the flight in the GNS or GTN navigator instantly appear on the tablet or you can have the option of updating the flight plan manually. Flight Stream can also push limited data to the D2 pilot watch.