GPS simulations for flight simulators are a surprisingly small market. For such a vital component of all GA flight, there isn’t that much competition. Out of the small set of big players in the market though, one truly stands out against the background, and that is Flight1 and their GTN line of products. Originally two separate purchases (the 750 and 650) they have recently been combined into a single product: The GTN Complete Edition. Now, for the price of one of their units, you can have both the 750 and 650, all in one nice v4 compatible (as well as v3, v2, and FSX) package. This review is going to be structured differently to most other ones, as reviewing such a deep but necessary unit is difficult to do in text format. If you want what is essentially a pure tech demonstration of the GTN and all of its capabilities, go watch this video by Goblin’s Flight Sim Reviews, which does a great job with showing off every little feature. Be warned, it’s about the length of an average episode of T.V, so be sure you have enough time to sit through it all if you’re looking to cover every single GTN feature.
We’ll start by taking a look at the model of the GTN unit itself. The GTN unit (in its 3D form) can be added to the panel of an aircraft if the developer supports it. If the developer does support it (like A2A) the plane will typically have an option in its configuration panel to insert the GTN. If your plane does not support integration to the panel, it can be added to a plane then opened as a 2D panel, which should work for almost any payware GA plane on the market (except Carenado/Alabeo, for which you can find configuration files on the Flight1 Library to fix, usually by replacing the G1000 nav screen with a blown up GTN 750 screen.) This ensures that no matter what you’re flying, the GTN can be used in some form or fashion. Big marks for compatibility there. Additionally, the actual 3D model that can be added to the panel of a plane is quite well done, and can be made to blend well with whatever plane you try to put it in. It looks just as at home in the C182 as it does in the PA-28 Arrow III, and that means that no matter what you do with it, it won’t be an eyesore or a detractor from the visuals of your plane of choice.
The Flight1 GTN series is the most accurate rendition of a GTN750 in all of flightsim. It actually pulls most of its hard core systems straight from a real world trainer application, meaning that features still exist in the interface that could never realistically be implemented in the simulator exist in their full form. Here’s the full feature list, courtesy of Flight1:
- Includes the GTN 750 and GTN 650
- High-Resolution Moving Map Display with full data integration
- Simulated touch and drag interface – allows you to interact with the system, graphically edit flight plans, and much more using the mouse cursor or touchscreen monitor
- Smooth Framerate Performance
- SafeTaxiTM – Allows you to view detailed airport information on the moving map (US Only)
- FliteChartsTM – Allows you to view the electronic versions of AeroNav terminal procedures charts (US Coverage Only / GTN 750 Only)
- High resolution terrain maps and TAWS-B audible alerts for North and Central America
- TCAS / TAWS Systems w/Alerts
- Full WAAS Approach Support
- AD-S B traffic with directional target information
- Airways Display On Map
- Worldwide Database of Roads, Rivers, Cities, Oceans, Lakes, etc.
- Worldwide Obstacle Database and Obstacle Alerts
- Easy-to-use GTN Series Gauge Configuration Utility
- Quick Access GTN Stack Gauge Controller
- Full COM/NAV Receiver Integration
- Fuel Type Selection: Jet-A; Jet-B; AVGAS
- Fuel Units Metric or Imperial
- Search and Rescue Patterns
- User-Created Custom Checklists
- Custom User Defined Holds
- Custom Flight Plan / Waypoint Loading
- Pixel by Pixel Accuracy To Real World Avionics
- Over 95% of the features are included when comparing to real-world counterpart (XM Radio and Weather not included)
- Plus Much More
Most of this detail you would never even scratch, and yet it’s there. My favorite of those features is by far the screen cleaning mode (a mode on the GTN750 that allows you to clean the screen of the unit with a cloth without triggering the touchscreen.) Of course, flight simulators lack microfiber cloths (a real shame in my opinion,) but Flight1 left the option in for you to use that mode anyways (and the exit method from the screen is simulated too.)
It’s also not like any other addon where small detail detracts from the detail of the big stuff due to time, since F1 is essentially pulling from a flight training simulation itself. Anything that is simulated in the training module (which is used to train students with the unit) is in the simulator, making it probably the most realistic and close-to-life GPS to ever be made for any simulator. Period.
Everything from route planning to custom waypoints to SIDs and STARs and transitions and more. Fuel planning and vertical descent calculations galore. The GTN 750 does it? The F1 is going to do it (except Sirius XM radio, which to be honest, I would actually really like in the simulator, but that’s the pettiest of petty complaints.)
Does this panel perform well? I couldn’t tell a difference at all in my FPS after installation if that answers that question.
Can you change the voice of the GTN TAWS system like Siri? Yes, you can choose from two voices.
Can you update the navdata? Yes and no. Yes, you can update it. The no being that it cannot use Navigraph, instead you must buy a real AIRAC cycle from Garmin (which can cost hundreds of dollars.) If you live in a country or fly in an area with a recently overhauled airspace layout, you’d be sinking a couple hundred dollars into the product to get it up to date from the admittedly lackluster navdata provided by default.
Can this cook you a pizza? It’s not documented anywhere, but I’d honestly be surprised if this unit couldn’t do that.
So, before the conclusion, if you didn’t watch the video above, you should take time now to do that. He has made an incredibly detailed video showing off all the systems in a way I couldn’t realistically do with text, and it will show you the extent of the detail of this addon.
Once you’re done with that, here’s the TL;DR of my time with it. This is the single most detailed addon when it comes to navigation a simulator has ever seen. I think this quote fits the addon into a sentence so beautifully:
“so this GPS navigator” “what does it do?” “everything.” “what do you mean everything?” “every. thing.”
The GTN unit is already one of the most impressive real world units to date, and it is just so completely translated over to the simulator. It’s essentially a real training unit in your simulator, and I think it’s not possible to top that. All rounded up into a $65 package, you’d be hard pressed to find anything even 1/2 as good as this package. If you have even a passing fascination with a plane less than 10 seats big, this addon should be number one on your list this holiday season. No questions asked, this addon is on my top addons list, somewhere higher rather than lower on said list.
This product was provided to me free of monetary charge courtesy of Flight1 to review. This in no way influences my opinion, or represents a bias in my review process.
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