Eagle Creek Aviation Services, a factory-authorized Twin Commander Service Center, has begun flight-testing a Garmin 1000-equipped Twin Commander with Garmin’s latest software release.
Eagle Creek is seeking supplemental type certificate (STC) approval to upgrade turboprop Twin Commanders with the Garmin 1000 panel and the S-Tec 2100 Digital Flight Control System. The STC also will include Garmin’s new GRA-5500 Radar Altimeter, GTS-850 Traffic system, GWX-70 Weather Radar, and an emergency standby instrument.
The prototype installation is on a refurbished Commander 1000 owned by Eagle Creek. The Garmin 1000 Commander was first shown at the NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention last October in Orlando. It will be on display at the Twin Commander University April 25-27 at the Scottsdale, Arizona, Airport, and at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh July 29-August 4 (Booth #379).
STC approval is expected in July. Eagle Creek said that in June it will begin its first customer G1000 installation on a Commander 1000 owned by a South American-based client.
A primary goal of the Garmin 1000 retrofit program is to offer the latest in avionics technology to owners and operators, according to Eagle Creek. “The development of the Commander G1000 STC coincided perfectly with Garmin’s release of Version 13.01 software,” commented Eagle Creek CEO Matt Hagans, “which means our program utilizes the most up-to-date Garmin package available, as well as refinements to the S-TEC 2100 digital interface.”
Garmin’s new software release will allow operators to take advantage of new-product features such as Turbulence Detection (Doppler-enabled technology) and Ground Clutter Suppression in the new solid-state, pulse-compression GWX-70 Weather Radar.
Another feature made possible with the new Version 13.01 software is an integrated hour meter and automatic cycle counter for engine maintenance purposes. This should help owners and maintenance facilities take better care of these legacy aircraft by providing more accurate information about the Honeywell TPE331 engines.
The Commander Garmin 1000 also includes a major update to the Crew Alerting System (CAS), with MFD-displayed messages and aural alerts replacing old-technology, panel-mounted Caution- and Warning-light annunciator systems. The CAS feature is a major upgrade for the Commander fleet, and opens a new era in operating these capable legacy aircraft, according to Eagle Creek.
“Retrofitting a state-of-the-art CAS system on legacy aircraft has never been done before, and is not offered as a part of any other avionics retrofit on any brand or model of aircraft,” Hagans commented.
“Because the Commander G1000 CAS is operationally similar to the CAS systems in today’s new aircraft, we can now provide pilots and fleet operators with commonality among brands and models in terms of color coding of warning messages that is in line with today’s industry standards,” Hagans said.
The Eagle Creek Garmin 1000 Commander also has been updated recently to include the new MD-302 SAM (Standby Attitude Module) manufactured by Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics. It is the first digital, two-inch standby attitude module with a unique two-screen display. The unit, weighing only 1.6 pounds, has a 2.4- by 5.5-inch footprint including a self-contained, rechargeable Nanophosphate lithium-ion emergency battery. (For more details on the Mid-Continent SAM unit see www.flySAM.com.)
This new SAM unit will be an option on the Garmin 1000 Commander, along with the popular L-3 Trilogy ESI-2000 standby electronic attitude indicator.
“We are confident of the July date for STC approval, even with the added effort to incorporate all of the changes made possible by the new software,” Hagans said. “The Garmin 1000 Commander will be the best and latest in avionics equipment available to our Twin Commander owners, and at an affordable price.
“Our engineering team has been hard at work designing a pre-fabricated harness as a solution for all the different models of Twin Commander aircraft. This will help keep labor costs to a minimum for customers upgrading to this exciting new system.”
Here are the key features applicable to the Twin Commander G1000 program made possible by Garmin’s Version 13.01 software release:
- Configurable EIS – Garret Engine Interface
- GWX 70 Interface, including advanced features
- NextGen Traffic Interface – GTS 825/855
- GRA 5500 Interface
- Build your own holds
- Baro-VNAV approaches
- ADS-B 1090ES “out” support for GTX 33 w/ES