Phenom 300 "Prodigy Touch" (Garmin G3000) Differences Training

  • Dec 10, 2013 9:09pm GMT

Out of a deep, wonderful slumber, I wake up to my iPhone playing that annoying marimba tone. It’s 4:15 AM in Santa Monica and my alarm has reminded me that it’s going to be an awesome day of aviation education! But first I have to get out of bed…

Today was the day that I got to learn about the new Garmin G3000 system for the Embraer Phenom 300. Embraer calls it the “Prodigy Touch” cockpit, but as I learned today, it’s so much more than just a touch-screen version of the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit.

After letting my dog out to pee and kissing my fiancée Jessica goodbye, I grabbed a taxi to LAX and hopped on the American Airlines flight nonstop to Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, home of CAE Simuflite and Embraer CAE Training Services (ECTS), a joint venture between Embraer and CAE. Northern Texas has been experiencing some extremely cold temperatures, and this morning was no exception. At top of descent, the Captain came on: “Uh, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve begun our descent for DFW. It’s 19 degrees there (that’s minus 7 degrees Celsius)…” Why was I doing this again? That’s a rude awakening for a California boy.

I was met at the entrance to the CAE facility by Danny Gildea, who is responsible for scheduling ECTS training events. I grabbed some lunch and headed straight to the classroom where I’d receive some one-on-one instruction from Steve Simpson. Steve has been a part of the Phenom training program since the beginning. He’s a great instructor and has done a lot of work on developing the Phenom curriculum over the years.

The Phenom 300 Prodigy Touch differences course consists of about three hours of classroom time and two hours of time with a fixed-base training device. Steve did a good job to make sure the classroom time was more than just “death by Powerpoint”. Actually, now they’ve switched to Mac, so it’s “death by Keynote”, but Steve made it engaging and good. The fixed-base training device has all of the major avionics fully functional – two primary flight displays (PFDs), a multi-function display (MFD), and two of the new Garmin Touch Controllers (GTCs), but everything else is basically a paper tiger.

One of the best new capabilities of the G3000 is the split-screen function. Each of the PFDs and the MFD can be split into two “Mutli-Function Windows”, or MFWs, that the pilot can customize. That means that the pilot can put the approach plate, for example, on the left half of the PFD during an approach procedure. The right half continues to display the primary flight instruments. This is a great situational awareness improvement. Also, you could display the electronic checklist in one-half of the PFD or one-half of the MFD. On the G1000, I found the electronic checklist basically useless because it took up the entire MFD screen. Now, there’s almost too much real estate to know what to do with. It’s going to take some time to figure out best practices for the configuration of all of these MFWs during various phases of flight.