Originally Posted by GusBiz
How many actually have flown the full new Skyview and AFS? Only those people have the experience needed to give a real world answer to this.
I think you have to remember the lead time between someone purchasing an EFIS and flying IFR. I purchased my AFS 4500 in the initial batch (before Rob released at Oshkosh). At that time it was clear that AFS were the leader. They had the best screen, best AHARS, best user interface etc. Rob has always said his products were designed for IFR - Dynon has not. Today the world is a bit different with Skyview on the scene.
My point is that in order to have experience flying behind this stuff in the soup takes time. In my case probably at least two years from purchase to flying, then some time to bed the aircraft and pilot in before I flew any night/IFR. IFR flying requires a complete aircraft system, which works together to fly safely. The EFIS is a small part of that. If you keep that in mind you will easily build a capable IFR ship with your budget.
I now have 3 years and over 350 hours in my 7A. I regularly fly IFR in IFR conditions. I sat my CIR SE initial issue (for the second time) in the aircraft and have approvals for Night, ILS, VOR, RNAV and DGE (We don't have LPV approaches here in Australia).
For what it's worth, the equipment in my panel consists of:
• AFS 4500s (upgraded around 9 months ago)
• Garmin 430W
• Garmin SL30 Com
• Garmin Audio Panel
• Garmin GTX 330 ES (ADS-B compliant transponder), with Ameriking Encoder
• Garmin CDI
• Trutrak VSGV with close to the latest firmware (I did not upgrade to the AFS unit due to feature limitations)
• WX-500 Stormscope (purchased second hand on EBay and installed)
• Backup steam gauges: Vans ASI, ALT, United 2.5" VSI, Trutrak electronic TC, Vertical Card Compass.
My main comments are:
The AFS is rock solid, 4500 and 4500s have never let me down in the air, more importantly it wouldn’t be a significant problem if they did. The new 4500s is an improvement with the dual knobs and joystick allowing much better control of the bugs/autopilot. The synthetic vision is not that great using Australian data. It may be better in the US.
Having the AFS HSI on screen and the CDI allows you to display GPS and VOR at the same time on either unit. This is helpful for intercepting VOR radials while using GPS guidance.
The Trutrak VSGV is a necessary item and I would never consider using a system which consists of servos attached to the EFIS. At minimum I can put it in heading/alt hold mode. Consider not mounting the AP disconnect switch to your stick and/or putting in an annunciator for the AP. It is not so funny when you bump the disconnect switch in IMC, even if you notice pretty quickly. I do not have auto-trim. That was a safety decision and I have never needed it. Sorcerer would be wasted with my setup as the AFS + VSGV can do everything you need.
I am 100% happy with my back up steam gauges.
The WX-500 is one of the best investments I made. In Australia we do not have NEXRAD and the WX-500 gives me the confidence to launch on days where ISOL TS are forecast. The AFS EFIS provides the heading output required by the WX-500 to plot strikes correctly, which are displayed on the 430W.
As Rob said, the AFS cannot display strike data on the map. I do not own a map license (I have tested it). With only one EFIS screen I did not like all that data displayed at the same time. What works for a VFR pilot, will quickly overwhelm an IFR pilot in IMC/turbulence so I doubt I would use it even if the AFS supported it. Also, the data is somewhat limited in this part of the world. In Australia we have cheap 3G Internet which makes weather data available on an iPad. The iPad mapping and approach plate systems are far cheaper and more capable than most of the EFIS maps.
IMO traffic is a luxury under the IFR. Nice to have but heavy and expensive unless you live in the US and can receive it from ADS-B, UAT or the radar site.
Remember at the end of the day, you cannot fly through ice in an RV. Flying approaches to the minima is not something to do lightly. No matter how much money you spend there are days when you may need to launch VFR and keep out of the weather/ice using your eyes and/or not go at all.
I can’t help with Skyview. I have seen one, but not flown behind it. They are competitive on price and for a VFR / NVFR ship it would be hard to beat. However, my preference for IFR would still be AFS.
Lastly, customer service and warranty support are important. Both AFS and Trutrak have been outstanding. Garmin, more particularly their local dealer, not so much. I can't speak to the others.
Rv-7A - Flying,