So what are the parts and pieces of a Glass Panel airplane? With glass panels, we don’t have lots of moving parts like we do in our “steam gauges”. Much like the accelerometer and compass in your cellphone, everything with a glass panel is “solid-state” meaning no spinning gyros and annoying errors associated with the gyros. The basic parts of a glass panel’s “sensors” are:
- AHRS (Attitude Heading and Reference System) – This is basically your Attitude indicator and Directional Gyro. Through solid state “laser ring gyros” that do not have moving parts, this little electronic box can tell you the airplane’s attitude in three dimensional space.
- Air Data Computer (ADC) – gives you Airspeed, OAT, Static Pressure (Altitude and VSI)
- Magnetometer – Heading information, basically a compass generally located somewhere out in the left wing tip where it shouldn’t be affected much by all the metal and electronics in the cockpit.
- Engine Computer (Engine/Airframe Unit) – Feeds engine information and fuel information to the displays
- Transponder – You know what that does right? Works the same in a G1000 or a Steam Gauge airplane…..(remember the three codes that get you lots of extra attention: 7500,7600,7700)
If you are doing your training in a G1000 airplane, take some time to peruse through this manual: G1000 , to get a very good idea of what all those expensive electronics are doing while you’re flying!