468: Glass vs Steam

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sballmer
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:40 am

468: Glass vs Steam

Postby sballmer » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:46 pm

Gentlemen,

I just listened your discussion of Glass vs Steam gauges on UCAP468. Great discussion, but felt the urge to share a few thoughts.

- Jack mentioned readability - one of my biggest problem with glass is that basically all glass manufacturers fill the real estate with irrelevant number, and make the import information smaller and smaller. The other day I was I was flying right seat with an Aspen installation, when ATC inquired about the altitude - i had to tell him to stand by while I tried to de-cypher the tiny numbers on the altitude tape on the other side of the cockpit. Sometimes I wish the PFD would simply have a 6-pack mode to fall back on.
- Reliability: while I always hear that glass is more reliable, I am wondering whether someone actually looked at statistics. In my own experience, I definitely had to deal with more glass failures (3) than steam gauge (vacuum) failures (1), despite flying significantly more steam airplanes. Now all of the glass failures I had could be classified as “infant mortality” or installation issues, so maybe it will get better. But at the end of the day a failure is a failure...
- Reliability, part 2: The other big difference between glass and steam gauges that I rarely hear discussed is inter-dependability: with steam gauges I know exactly what I have, the six instruments are either completely independent, or affected by a simple, well-understood common system (vacuum pump, pitotstatic port, etc). So if say the attitude indicator fails, there is absolutely no reason to be suspicious of the turn coordinator or the airspeed indicator. With glass on the other hand you never really know. All 3 glass failures I had took out the whole PFD at once. On top of that there are subtle interdependencies, which are different between different manufacturers. For instance, the G5 Jeb mentioned uses GPS to correct for drift in the solid state gyros. The bottom line is that I would be suspicious of the whole PFD, even if just one functionality died. These subtle dependencies really proof to be the Achilles heel of automation - I will just mention AF447 and Lionair 610 to make the point.

Keep up the great podcast! And for Jeb, thanks for the Aviation Safety Magazine - it has been my favorite monthly read for over a decade.

Blue skies and tailwinds.
Stefan

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bruceh
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Location: Ramona, CA
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Re: 468: Glass vs Steam

Postby bruceh » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:00 am

Familiarity is the key. My RV-9A has a Dynon Skyview and for the first several flights I had the "6 pack" mode turned on, since my most recent flying was all done on steam gauges. During my Phase 1 flights I switched over to the EFIS display and haven't looked back. It did take a while to train the eyes and brain where to look for certain information, because there is a LOT on the screen, and it is all very customizable. It took me a while to fully get all of the menus and options down enough to fly confidently. Zooming in and out on the map also has a lot of configurations about what sort of data you want at various resolutions. Don't want to see Seaplane bases? Turn it off! Same for grass or dirt strips, or private airports or....

OK, quick test. What time is it? What's the temp outside? How long have I been in the air? If the engine stops where am I most likely going to try and land? What's that orange lined area on the map mean?

Image

I'm sure if I jumped into a Garmin equipped RV-9A I would be able to fly it no problem. I might not know how to work my way through all of the menus and options, though.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H now FLYING!
http://www.overthehills.com/RV-9A-Project

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Scofreyjet
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Location: Billerica, MA/KBED

Re: 468: Glass vs Steam

Postby Scofreyjet » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:52 pm

Hi all - I'm posting these comments for listener Greg B. as he hasn't joined the forums yet - but he's in the process of doing so...

Jeff "Scofreyjet" Ward

+++++++++++++++++++

First off many thanks for all the time and all of you have obviously invested in producing your podcast.

I am not a pilot, but a very big aviation enthusiast who is seriously looking into becoming a student pilot and have listed to almost every episode.
My father few P-38s in WWII. That's where I got the bug so I am actually alife long enthusiast.

UCAP has helped me learn a great deal about aviation and again I truly appreciate the efforts. I would however like to point put that I believe several of the statements Jeb made in episode 468 starting at 1:09:47 and just not so...

Apparently things have changed significantly since the last time Jeb had a look at this. Despite the organizations name "Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association" one does not have to be a pilot, nor an aircraft owner in order to join. AOPA whole heatedly welcomes enthusiasts such as myself as well. Joining AOPA without being a pilot or an aircraft owner is certainly not"fraud".

After hearing Jebb's statements I actually called AOPA to confirm that they were not true and their representative very gratuitously did confirm their invalidity. I am a proud AOPA member - #10338024 - and to the best of my knowledge I am not interested in committing fraud.....

AOPA has been there for me to answer many questions that have come up RE: becoming a student pilot and have always treated me with a very high level of respect, the very same one would expect for a pilot or an owner.

I think for the good of the AOPA as well as your entire listening audience,it would be good for Mr. Burnside to retract and correct his comments regarding the requirements for AOPA membership so as not to confuse and or dissuade enthusiasts from joining. I assume the AOPA, like all
associations, would like as many members as they feel they can properly service.

Sorry for the correction but I guess after hearing so many valuable pieces of information from the lot of you, i guess i was just a little shocked to hear anything misleading.

That said, please keep up the good work, I have leaned much from all the UCAP team and always greatly enjoy the show!


Greg
Jeff Ward
I love things with wings!
Scofreyjet on Twitter

PULLUP!
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:13 pm

Re: 468: Glass vs Steam

Postby PULLUP! » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:58 pm

First off many thanks for all the time and effort all of you have obviously invested in producing your podcast.

I am not a pilot, but a very big aviation enthusiast who is seriously looking into becoming a student pilot and have listed to almost every episode.
My father flew P-38s in WWII. That's where I got the bug so I am actually a lifelong enthusiast.

UCAP has helped me learn a great deal about aviation and again I truly appreciate the efforts. I would however like to point out that I believe several of the statements Jeb made in episode 468 starting at 1:09:47 and just not so...

Apparently things have changed significantly since the last time Jeb had a look at this. Despite the organizations name "Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association" one does not have to be a pilot, nor an aircraft owner in order to join. AOPA whole heartedly welcomes enthusiasts such as myself as well. Joining AOPA without being a pilot or an aircraft owner is certainly not "fraud".

After hearing Jebb's statements I actually called AOPA to confirm that they were not true and their representative very gratuitously did confirm their invalidity. I am a proud AOPA member - #10338024 - and to the best of my knowledge I am not interested in committing fraud.....

AOPA has been there for me to answer many questions that have come up RE: becoming a student pilot and have always treated me with a very high level of respect, the very same one would expect for a pilot or an owner.

I think for the good of the AOPA as well as your entire listening audience, it would be good for Mr. Burnside to retract and correct his comments regarding the requirements for AOPA membership so as not to confuse and or dissuade enthusiasts from joining. I assume the AOPA, like all
associations, would like as many members as they feel they can properly service.

Sorry for the correction but I guess after hearing so many valuable pieces of information from the lot of you, i guess i was just a little shocked to hear anything misleading.

That said, please keep up the good work, I have learned much from all the UCAP team and always greatly enjoy the show!


Greg B.
Los Angeles CA


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