Garmin unveils synthetic vision

1 min read

Just last month we shared Garmin’s latest hardware update, the GDL 39 3D, an ADS-B receiver that includes an Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) for backup attitude. At the time, this attitude information was displayed as an attitude indicator in the Garmin Pilot app, as a part of its panel page.

Now the avionics giant has raised the bar, adding a stunning synthetic vision option to the app that creates a “permanent VFR” view of the world outside, including terrain, obstacles and traffic. While other apps, including WingX, have offered synthetic vision displays before, Garmin’s implementation is by far the most polished that we’ve seen. It appears to be taken directly from the company’s glass cockpit avionics, so the colors are vivid and the backup instruments are just how you would expect them to appear:


Here’s the full list of information Garmin Pilot will display, when connected to a GDL 39 3D:

  • AHRS-based pitch and roll information
  • Color-coded, 3D terrain
  • Ground features, including lakes and rivers
  • Obstacle icons
  • Traffic symbols
  • GPS-derived groundspeed, altitude and vertical speed
  • HSI with flight plan data fields

The new synthetic vision features are available for all Garmin Pilot subscribers flying with the GDL 39 3D (no additional subscription is required), This is available now as a free app update in the iTunes App Store.

If you don’t have a GDL 39 3D, you still have access to many of these same features when connected to a GPS source. You’ll lose the pitch and roll data, but it’s still a pretty impressive list. Note that synthetic vision features without a GDL 39 3D do require a premium subscription level.

More information on the GDL 39 3D is available here.

More information on the Garmin Pilot app is available here.

4 replies
  1. Mcchan
    Mcchan says:

    I am not sure what you find not user friendly in garmin. They just upped the bar with all the features of foreflight and then some. The VFR dynamic chart is amazing and easy to use and adjust. The only thing I don’t like it having to use the graphically edit route function. The centerline function is great along with the track vector. Also the airspace on the VFR map is a life saver when you need a quick reference.

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