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XM Satellite Weather for Garmin G1000, Garmin GPS 396,
GPS 496 and Avidyne Entegra

Near real-time available is now available in any general aviation cockpit. Currently XM Satellite is the primary source of this data, though WSI recently announced a deal with Sirius satellite, so you can expect some competition in this arena. The XM Satellite weather products are similar for the Garmin G1000, Garmin GPS 396, Garmin GPS 496 and Avidyne Entegra, though the way they are accessed and displayed varies depending among units. The Garmin GNS 430 and Garmin GNS 530 can also display a few of the weather products available from XM Satellite. If you want G1000 training materials to help you learn, than consider our award winning Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook and Max Trescott's Garmin G1000 CD-ROM Course.

At present there are two levels of service available. Aviator LT is the basic package, which is suitable for many general aviation pilots. It includes NEXRAD radar, METARs and TFRs, which are some of the most important weather products, and costs $29.95 per month. Aviator is the full package and it costs $49.95 per month. If you're like the majority of pilots who fly normally aspirated aircraft at lower altitudes, the basic service meets your needs, particularly if your aircraft is also equipped with a Stormscope®. Together with the NEXRAD radar, you'll be able to steer clear of problem areas. Yes, it would be nice to have the AIRMET data, but you'll get this information when you phone for a briefing before you leave, and you can always call Flight Watch on 122.0 for updates while en route.

The full package is a good match for pilots flying at higher altitudes. When you're flying high, you're more likely to want to know how high the clouds are, where the freezing level is located and which flight level will provide the most favorable winds. If you fly at lower altitudes, particularly in cold winter locations, you may also be interested in the full package.

Here's a summary of weather products available through XM Satellite:

Weather product
Aviator
LT Aviator
NEXRAD Radar
X
X
TFRs
X
X
METARs
X
X
City Forecasts
X
X
County Warnings
X
X
AIRMET/SIGMETs
X
X
Echo Tops
 
X
Severe Weather Storm Tracks
 
X
Surface Analysis Weather Maps
 
X
Lightning
 
X
Winds Aloft
 
X
Satellite
 
X
Freezing Level
 
X

Accessing Weather Data
The Garmin G1000, Garmin GNS 396 and the Avidyne Entegra use the XM Satellite weather service and deliver essentially the same services. However, the way the services are displayed is very different. For example, all of the weather services for the G1000 can be found on a single weather page, and some of those services (such as NEXRAD radar) are also available on the main navigation map page. On the Avidyne, you won't find all of the weather services on one page. For example, for METARs, go to the Trip page or Nearest page. For NEXRAD radar, go to the Map page.

NEXRAD data
In the best case, some of the data you view in a NEXRAD image is at least eight minutes old. While eight minutes may not seem like a long time, consider that cumulous clouds can grow at up to 3,000 feet per minute. Therefore, use NEXRAD to steer well clear of any radar returns displayed.

Lightning data
If you have a Stormscope in your plane, you can display two types of lightning data, though only one can be displayed at a time. There are big differences between the Stormscope data and data link lightning, which is received through the XM weather subscription. You'll find full details on these and all of the XM weather products in Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook.

Learning to Fly the Garmin G1000
Now, there's finally a comprehensive guide to the popular Garmin G1000 glass cockpit: Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook. Written by a Master CFI, this book makes it easy for you to quickly become an expert on operating and programming the G1000 system in any aircraft.


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Learn more about Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook





 
March 2010:
New iPhone GPS Guides available for the Garmin 430 GPS and for the Garmin aera 500, 510, 550 and 560. Use as self-learning guides and quick reference checklists.