Garmin GTN avionics trainer gets big update (and it’s now free)

2 min read

Garmin’s GTN series of panel avionics, the replacement for the legendary GNS 430/530,  has set the standard for panel-mount GPS navigators in aviation. Most notably the system features a touchscreen interface that is powerful, yet easy to learn in a matter of minutes.

To help pilots better learn the system, Garmin released a GTN training app for iPad several years ago that allows you to fully interact with either the GTN 650 or 750 using the iPad’s touchscreen interface. Garmin has done a good job with keeping the app up to date over the years to match the software updates to the GTN avionics, and the latest update is the biggest yet.

Improved Controls

While previous versions of the app excelled at simulating interactions on the GTN display, the controls for operating the app weren’t as friendly. It was tricky to switch back and forth between the GTN 650 and 750 display, and the controls to change airspeed, heading and altitude were buried in a separate menu on the home screen.

This has all been fixed, and now the app displays a welcome screen with a setting to select which version of the GTN you’d like to launch, either the 650 or 750. It also adds new controls on the edges of the screen that allow you to quickly change airspeed, altitude, and heading, providing a more realistic training experience. You can also quickly switch from flying a specific heading to tracking the flight plan, which is very useful when practicing IFR procedures in the trainer.

Furthermore, the new launch screen also allows you to choose between fixed-wing and rotorcraft configuration, along with your preferred database, either Garmin or Jeppesen.

GTN avionics updates too

In addition to improved usability, the trainer app also includes the latest GTN features:

  • Visual approach guidance – Visual approach guidance is now available within the GTN 650/750, which provides advisory vertical guidance in visual flight conditions based on a published glide path angle or a three-degree glideslope from the threshold of the runway while considering terrain and obstacle clearance.
  • LNAV+V approaches without WAAS/SBAS –Pilots operating into airports throughout the world that are not served by WAAS/SBAS can now receive advisory vertical guidance (LNAV+V) while flying LNAV approaches with the GTN 650/750.
  • Terrain awareness –  GTN 650/750 iOS Trainer’s terrain configuration has been upgraded to enable TAWS-B and HTAWS demonstrations based on which airframe the pilot has selected.

Garmin initially charged $25 for the trainer app when it was first released, but they’ve since dropped the fee and you can now download the app for free. You can download the Garmin GTN trainer app here.

2 replies
  1. Dave Kagey
    Dave Kagey says:

    You seem to be in the know. I was told….for I guess the past six months…that Garmin was going to release audio terrain guidance to the 650/750 line. When they put this in the GTN Trainer, I wrought it was really coming, but nothing. They released the vertical guidance in their last software release. Any idea on when they will release the obstacle guidance?
    Dave Kagey

  2. Geoff Bertie
    Geoff Bertie says:

    Congratulations Garmin for using +&- controls and not sliders for the flight simulator. Also note that both IAS and ALT commence at zero, and the screen touch equals Apple in sensitivity and accuracy. When you close the trainer and reopen it again, it will still be in the part of the world where you left it last. We have NDB and VOR gauges because we have the corresponding networks that they work with. In my locality that’s not the case with numerous navigation aids being replaced with GPS waypoints. As a consequence of this aircraft and trainers that rely on NDB and VOR for flying and training will experience a gradual degrading of their usefulness. GPS commenced at 2D GoTo, where today with the Garmin GTN trainer and instrument have progressed into the GPS 3D stage with Visual Approach Guidance providing both horizontal and vertical alignment approaches to all sorts of airfields and airports. NOTAMS: All horizontal navigation can be automatic. Visual, LNAV+V, VCALC, and Ascent / Descent are the only Procedures that work vertically automatically. Ascent / Descent will always work vertically automatically with HDG selected, and TRK Mode when you load an Arrival and use Visual when it activates for the Approach, also when you load an LNAV+V Approach with or without an Arrival and Visual only. Think of this one as resetting your altimeter. After you commence descent with VCALC to a target altitude, use ALT to reset it to the target altitude. Also after you commence descent with any of the automatic procedures on approach, use ALT to reset them to the field altitude. For either of these descents the consequence of not resetting ALT is when your Aircraft has finished descending it will climb again. If the topography screen goes black, just touch home and map to reset, also to pause the simulator, enter Demo, NAV, and Time Scale and select 0x -Freeze Position. I am impressed with frequencies identifying in relation to their GPS location, however while in cruise at level altitude I noted a VOR which was within 200 nm had not identified. The workaround I found was to enter Demo, GPS, and Solution. In Solution I selected No SOLN and then received a MSG which I cleared. I then selected Solution again and selected my original setting 3D DIFF, and then returned to the Map where my VOR had identified. I tried this Solution again on an LNAV+V approach and immediately received an APPROACH DOWNGRADE with an LNAV result and numerous TERRAIN icons and warnings. It’s one thing to have a simulation of an instrument only where you can just play with the controls, and another where with a flight simulator, experience dynamic actions and reactions. Regarding reactions, when on an automatic descent and adjusting speed the program immediately reacts by readjusting the angle of descent, and no matter what, you arrive at your target waypoint and altitude together. Programming accuracy can also be seen after you have landed with an automatic approach, zoom in and even with the narrowness of runways your aircraft is dead in the centre of the runway over the centreline. You know this app is free, but if you have not downloaded it yet, it is also free of adds. I suggest when you download this app, you also download from Garmin the “Cockpit Reference Guide”, and the “Pilot’s Guide” for both the 650 and 750 models. In the guide’s front pages there is a title “Product Registration and Support” heading with a table of revisions below where you should find “Updates for software v6.30” is the Guide you require. Flying a Cirrus SR22 at 30000 ft at 500 knots is not exactly realistic, and with this app having a top speed of 990, altitude 99,900 and time scale of up to 15x, Garmin could you please add to this simulator the Turboprop icon (that looks more swept wing than the single engine jet) for a jet and the High-Wing Prop to complete the immersion experience. In conclusion thanks to Jeppesen for graciously providing the Worldwide Navigation Database for this simulator, and Garmin for graciously supplying free of cost a cutting-edge instrument simulator.

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