Portable Touchscreen Aviation Navigators With 3D Vision
By Eddy Metcalf
September 12, 2011 - Garmin announced the Aera 796 and
Aera 795, a new series of portable aviation navigation
devices. As Garmin’s new flagship portable aviation
product, the Aera 796 incorporates the popular features
of the GPSMAP 696, while also adding new capabilities
such as a touchscreen user interface, pilot-selectable
screen orientation and 3D Vision.
The Aera 796 also takes the pilot one step closer to a
paperless cockpit with a digital document viewer,
scratch pad and pre-loaded geo-referenced AeroNav IFR
and VFR enroute charts. The Aera 796 and 795 will be on
display and available for purchase at AOPA Aviation
Summit in Hartford, Conn., September 22-24, 2011.
“Pilots continue to embrace touchscreen in the cockpit because they see how much faster and easier it is to access information while in flight,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing.
“Not only does the Aera 796 have the increasingly popular touchscreen user interface, but it is so robust with features and capabilities that only a dedicated aviation device can offer. With everything from 3D Vision to electronic charts and weather data, it’s almost like having a glass cockpit that you can fit in your flight bag.”
The Aera 796 has a high-resolution, 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display that can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode. The physical design has been optimized to fit on the yoke and is sized perfectly as a knee-mounted device.
four touch keys on the bezel of the unit representing “Back”,
“Menu”, “Direct-To” and “Nearest” for quick navigation to
frequently used functions, and because the Aera 796 is
customizable, the user can also pick favorite features or pages
to anchor as icons along the bottom of the screen for even
display has large, finger-touchable icons with intuitive
pictures and labels to indicate their function such as: map,
terrain, 3D Vision, WPT info, FPL list, active FPL, numbers, doc
viewer, charts, weather, SiriusXM and tools. Pilots can choose
any of these functions by simply touching the appropriate icon.
The touchscreen interface also allows the pilot to quickly pan
across the map and pinch zoom.
The Aera 796
features 3D Vision, a unique 3D view of database-generated terrain. 3D
Vision uses GPS position and the terrain-alerting database to recreate a
behind-the-aircraft perspective view of the topographic landscape. The
resulting virtual reality display offers pilots a supplemental 3D
depiction of land and water features including terrain, obstacles,
runways and airport signposts all shown in relative proximity to the
With the flick of
a finger, the 3D view can be rotated around the aircraft to easily view
the surrounding terrain. Using forward-looking terrain avoidance
capability, the Aera 796 predicts in advance where potential hazards may
exist and colorizes the landscape showing amber or red overlays on those
areas. Any towers or obstacles that may encroach upon the flight path
are color-highlighted and clearly displayed with height-appropriate
Because of the comprehensive offering of electronic charts, the Aera 796 may be qualified for use as either a Class I or Class II Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). Geo-referenced IFR Enroute charts and VFR Sectional charts come pre-loaded, and the Aera 796 also includes geo-referenced Garmin FliteCharts®, an electronic version of the AeroNav U.S. Terminal Procedures Publication.
pilots can quickly find and view all departure procedures (DP), standard
terminal arrival routes (STARs), approach charts and airport diagrams.
For pilots who prefer Jeppesen charts and diagrams, Garmin also offers a
ChartView enablement option. Garmin ChartView utilizes Jeppesen’s
extensive library to provide global charting capabilities.
Other new features
include a built-in digital document viewer that enables the pilot to
load and view PDF documents, JPEG photos, and many other electronically
formatted materials including checklists and detailed
performance/procedural data from the aircraft flight manual. There is
also a convenient scratch pad for writing down clearances or other
The addition of
optional City Navigator data on the Aera 796 allows the user to search
and locate any desired surface address for use as a flight plan waypoint
or for direct-to navigation. This makes it even easier for helicopter
and fixed-wing operators to respond to critical missions around streets
and highways, survey land or perform search and rescue operations.
Panel Page on the Aera 796 offers a backup solution to the instrument
panel with its exclusive display of GPS-derived panel information,
including track indication, GPS altitude, groundspeed, vertical speed
and turn indication. Plus, the internal GPS provides position updates
five times per second (5 Hz), allowing it to present flight data more
smoothly and accurately.
Like many other
Garmin portable devices, the Aera 796 also includes a GXM™ 40 receiver
for XM WX Satellite Weather and SiriusXM Radio. XM WX Satellite Weather
gives next generation radar (NEXRAD), aviation routine weather reports
(METARs), terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs), temporary flight
restrictions (TFRs), lightning, winds aloft, turbulence forecasts,
PIREPs, icing forecast and several other important weather products.
The weather data
may be laid directly over the unit’s navigation and topographic map
databases. And because the GXM 40 is powered through the Aera 796, the
set up is simple, and satellite weather and radio can continue to
operate for up to four hours without external power. XM WX subscription
data and coverage area information is available from XM WX Satellite
The Aera 796 will
also display traffic if coupled to a compatible traffic source like the
GTX 330, showing TIS (traffic information service) where available.
Garmin has increased the interface capability through the addition of a
second serial port to allow even more connectivity simultaneously. With
two serial ports, the pilot can display traffic information, send
frequencies to a Garmin SL30 or SL40 radio, send position information
and more to other select aircraft devices.
Taxiing at unfamiliar airports is made easier thanks to SafeTaxi®, which includes geo-referenced diagrams of over 1,000 U.S. airports that identify runways, taxiways and hangars, as well as the aircraft’s exact location on the field. The Aera 796 also has AOPA Airport Directory data, an electronic version of AOPA’s popular U.S. pilot guide, which includes information for over 5,300 public-use airports and nearly 7,000 FBOs.
can purchase the AC-U-KWIK airport directory database, which features
worldwide airport information for more than 7,800 airports globally, and
contains hard-to-find information for pre-flight planning in North
America, Europe, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, South America,
Africa and Australia.
North American customers that do not require XM WX Satellite Weather and SiriusXM Radio, may be interested in the Aera 795 Americas that has identical features to the Aera 796 except that it is not XM capable. Garmin also offers Aera 795 Atlantic and Aera 795 Pacific versions for customers in Europe and in Asia/Australia, respectively.
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