Team Xtreme Sponsors
Based at Lanseria International Airport (FALA), Century Avionics offer a wide range of avionic solutions for most general aviation platforms including fixed-wing and rotor-wing glass cockpit upgrades. They excel in Avionics Sales/Marketing, Installations, Repairs/Maintenance, Support and Certification to the highest standards. Private aircraft owners flying for business comprises the core of Century Avionics’ customer base. The company has a large footprint servicing corporate customers such as AMOs, charter operators, aircraft manufacturers and a number of government and/or military projects also eagerly eyeing various opportunities, including the growing leisure and sport aviation category.
Team Xtreme Airshows teamed up with Century Avionics, Garmin Aviation and Bose Aviation in 2017 to upgrade the MX2 and XA41 aircraft to the modern, light-weight Garmin G3X Touch (glass) panels. Bose Aviation geneorously sponsored four Bose A20 BT noise cancelling headsets.
The Team recently decided to equip each aircraft with the Garmin GDL 50 Receiver which provides full ADS-B "in" Traffic & Weather, and provides a backup source of attitude reference and GPS position, speed and altitude to the Garmin Pilot App. Nigel Hopkins was the first to install the remote mount unit in his Extra 330SC for the ferry of more than 4,400 miles through Africa. See his feedback to African Pilot Magazine below.
Bose A20 headset provides excellent sound quality, noise reduction and connetion to BT devices for those long ferry flights.
The G3X Touch Displays enable EMS, EFIS, Terrain and Autopilot functionality for LSA and experimental aircraft.
The GDL 50 Receiver provides ADS-B "in" Traffic & Weather, and GPS attitude, speed & altitude to your Garmin Pilot App.
Absolute Aviation Group
Absolute Aviation Group has evolved from a specialised aviation management and consulting company into a full spectrum aviation group, offering customers unparalleled levels of support and expertise in the form of a bespoke aviation service. As the authorised Sales, Service and Parts Representative for Cessna and Beechcraft in Southern and Central Africa, and the authorised representative and distributor for Blackhawk, BLR and Raisbeck Engineering in Africa, Absolute Aviation is one of the only general aviation businesses able to offer full turnkey aviation service to aviators on the Continent.
Skeerpoort is an established non-refining petroleum wholesaler and distributor, licensed under the Petroleum Products Act. Under the guidance and stewardship of founders Tokkie and Marina Botes, Skeerpoort Verspreiders strive to be a trusted, reliable and committed supplier of bulk and aviation fuels and packed lubricants within Southern Africa.
Team Xtreme's Garmin G3X Touch Panel upgrade on the XA41 and MX2
Century Avionics and Garmin teamed up to fit brand-new Garmin G3X touch screen panels to the two aerobatic aircraft flown regularly on the South African and international airshow circuit. Mark Sampson (MS) and Mark Hensman (MH) answer the questions for African Pilot Magazine...
1. Have you ever used any Garmin products in your aircraft before? If yes, which product and why the change?
- MS - Yes, GPSMAP 496. I wanted a combined GPSMAP and engine monitoring unit with a large multi-function display that also provided AH, terrain and autopilot functions for ferry flights.
- MH – I have always been a fan of Garmin, all my aircraft, including the MX2 have always been fully Garmin equipped.
2. Why did you choose to remove the steam driven gauges and install the Garmin G3X Touch display?
- MS - The G3X Touch provides many additional and improved functions in a clean, light-weight installation and easy to use touch screen display. I opted to keep the airspeed and altimeter gauges for completion aerobatic flying.
- MH - I do a lot of long ferry flights between airshows and felt that it would be a good idea to install gyro instruments for added safety. Being a Garmin fan and after hearing so much good about Century Avionics, I took the aircraft to Lanseria and spent a whole day with Shane at Century deciding what could be done with the space available. The decision to install the G3X touch with the 10 inch screen was a no brainer and I was delighted to discover that there was just enough space available. It’s an amazing piece of kit and exactly right for the MX and for me.
3. Being a high-performance aircraft, does the Garmin G3X Touch meet your expectations and performance requirements?
- MS - Yes, I am very impressed with the G3X. We have tested it to +9G / -6G loads and all unusual attitudes successfully.
- MH - Definitely. The G3X has far exceeded all expectations. It really puts a whole new level of fun and confidence into cross country flying. A joy to use.
4. How did you find the operation of the unit itself and did you get the necessary assistance from Century Avionics?
- MS - The full set-up was done by Century Avionics followed by a few personalised settings we did together. Both Century Avionics and Garmin support have been very helpful in guiding me through the personal settings and explaining the many options and functions available.
- MH - I found the operation of the unit to be really intuitive. I spent a few hours sitting in the plane with the manual and managed to cover pretty much everything. I had questions afterwards and Century were right there with all the answers.
5. How did you find the EIS interface and compatibility to your specific aircraft engine type?
- MS - I have the Lycoming AEIO-580, 6-cylinder, 315HP engine in my XA41. All engine data is displayed in many useful screen layouts while also being recorded on the SD card. This allows for a very impressive virtual replay of your flight while also presenting all engine parameters in coloured graphs.
- MH - Totally compatible, no issues at all, couldn’t have been more straightforward.
6. Would you suggest installing the Garmin G3X Touch to your peers / colleagues’ friends with LSA / Experimental aircraft? And Why?
- MS - Yes definitely! The G3X Touch is an all-in-one, high quality package that replaces all conventional instruments with a light-weight and easy to install unit, while offering many additional and useful functions to your aircraft.
- MH - Absolutely. I could not recommend the G3X strongly enough. After spending a little time with it, I believe it is the only choice.
7. What extra functions would you like to see added to the Garmin G3X touch system?
- MS - Visual reporting points (VRP) for South African VFR maps. Ability to view PDF files and JPG images from the SD card.
- MH - Garmin have pretty much got it all covered. All I can only think of very small things that might be helpful to add a couple of default fuel settings, such as ‘full’ or ‘acro tank’, the ability to select a pilot name to make paperless record keeping easier, and the ability to use the built-in flight director without autopilot servos installed.
8. How did you find the experience, workmanship and after install service with Century Avionics?
- MS - They are extremely professional, friendly and helpful. The workmanship on my composite aircraft was immaculate. I can highly recommend Century Avionics for all your avionic requirements.
- MH - Exceptional. The installation in the MX2 is particularly difficult because there is very little space. The instrument panel is built into the back of the front seat and the dimensions of the panel are exactly the size of the 10-inch G3X! They had to make all sorts of plans and modifications to get it to work. The result was both elegant and robust, an amazing job!
Nigel Hopkins fits the Garmin GDL 50 Receiver
Providing an easy-to-use and completely portable aviation datalink, the compact GDL 50 ADS-B receiver lets you access the subscription-free ADS-B weather and traffic services only available in the U.S. — all while providing GPS position, speed and altitude information as well as backup attitude reference. The GDL 50is equipped with a dual-channel ADS-B In traffic receiver. There’s no ADS-B Out but the device outputs the ADS-B data via Bluetooth to tablet, smartphone and Garmin portable GPS displays.
The GDL50-series Bluetooth receivers connect with a Garmin Pilot subscription-equipped smartphone or tablet via the Connext tab in the main menu. The GDL receiver can connect to multiple devices/displays at the same time. For example, with the optional power/data interface harness you could hard-wire the GDL to two additional displays, for a total of four when you count the two Bluetooth displays. Maybe you have the GDL connected wirelessly to an iPad and also an iPhone but also want to connect to a hard-wired aera660 or GPS796.
Nigel Hopkins bought a GDL 50 before his trip which was 2,200 nautical miles each way through Africa and he answers a few questions about his experience with this portable unit.
1 – What was the main reason for purchasing the GDL 50?
The Extra 330SC has a very basic instrument layout and I needed a GPS solution with a back-up horizon for safety for our 2200nm ferry up the African west coast. The GDL provides the ideal portable solution.
2 – How well does the GDL 50 and the Garmin Pilot App work together?
Ideal compatibility with IPad mini display and the option of a split screen for map and PFD and IPhone back up use. Very user friendly and easy plan trips.
3 – Any specific problems that occurred on the trip?
4 – What was the result of ADS-In Traffic receiving like?
We used a Cessna Caravan as a "chase plane", the ADS-B display allowed us to "find" the Caravan at times when we were split from the formation. Also used the display to make contact with An SAA aircraft to get weather updates.
5 – How long does the battery last?
Had the GDL powered through the USB socket never used the battery. The manual indicates up to 8 hours though.
6 – Is it user-friendly to use?
Very. The unit self-powers when connected to the main power. The Garmin app is very simple to operate.
7 – Would you recommend the unit to your friends?
Absolutely! It's a perfect portable solution and great value.
For further information please give Century Avionics a call on Tel: +27 11 701 3244 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org