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23 Nov 2017, 07:15 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 17 Oct 2017, 16:39 
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Joined: 05/29/13
Posts: 6553
Post Likes: +3075
Company: Easy Ice, LLC
Location: Marquette, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: C310P, C560, C185F
Wanted to give my overall impression of this unit. Typical Garmin quality. Typical Aera software with some exceptions.

Positives:
Light weight
Familiar GUI (some notable exceptions)
Ability to update databases over WIFI (not hooked to PC)
Interface GDL39D, and GDL51 products
Small batteries that are the same as Virb Elite
Hardwire and BT connectivity
Ability to push flight plans from GP to 660. - note this is not nearly as good as i had hoped. Pushing STARS and SIDS won;t work because even though the waypoints exist in the 660 the STARS and SIDS don't. Hence the STARS and SIDS don't transfer. Useless in my opinion.

Limitations (specific to Aera 660 as opposed to Aera products in general):
Small screen - 796 and GP are far easier to see and deal with
No scratch pad
No checklists
No document reader (.pdf)
Battery life is not great...3-4 hours

AERA specific issues:
No STARS/No SIDS
Limited approaches (FAF forward)
No more then 1 BT connection at a time (big issue)


Bottomline...I would not rebuy the 660. I would just stick with GP on an ipad and use my iphone as back-up when it overheats. I would also use the GDL51 and the GDL39D both of which connect via BT simultaneously to the iPad.

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Mark Hangen
Deputy Minister of Ice (aka FlyingIceman)
Power of the Turbine


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:29 
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Joined: 05/10/09
Posts: 622
Post Likes: +78
Location: KBDR Bridgeport, CT
Aircraft: V35
Seriously? Dislikes for a guy who takes the time to tell you about a box, one he bought and learned how to use, its strengths and weaknesses and give you a boiled down conclusion as well as specific details? Why? Because you don't agree with his conclusions? If you have real hands-on time with the 660 and disagree on one or more points, by all means let's hear about it which is a lot more constructive than a dislike for a guy who puts real effort into sharing here on BT.

My like offsets one of those, hopefully in a few minutes everyone will be wondering what I'm even talking about ;)

And PS the SIDS/STARS thing is a big deal.


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 20:53 
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Joined: 01/06/08
Posts: 2477
Post Likes: +443
Location: Pottstown, PA (KPTW)
Aircraft: 1965 Debonair C33
Mark,

Your review is great.

I have an Aera 660 and several other things (like dual G5’s) ready to be installed in a couple weeks. The Aera 660 will replace my aging Garmin 496.

I don’t need SIDS and STARS on the 660. They are on the Garmin 530W. And I don’t fly them that often.

I use an IPad for charts and I like ForeFlight. But, for me, an IPad is no replacement for a Garmin portable. My Garmin 496 provided me reliable service for 10 years. Solid as a rock. The IPad won’t do that, IMHO. YMMV.

I look forward to receiving XM weather on a more modern platform. I have ADSB weather but it is not as good as XM.

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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 21:18 
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Joined: 05/29/13
Posts: 6553
Post Likes: +3075
Company: Easy Ice, LLC
Location: Marquette, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: C310P, C560, C185F
Username Protected wrote:
Seriously? Dislikes for a guy who takes the time to tell you about a box, one he bought and learned how to use, its strengths and weaknesses and give you a boiled down conclusion as well as specific details? Why? Because you don't agree with his conclusions? If you have real hands-on time with the 660 and disagree on one or more points, by all means let's hear about it which is a lot more constructive than a dislike for a guy who puts real effort into sharing here on BT.

My like offsets one of those, hopefully in a few minutes everyone will be wondering what I'm even talking about ;)

And PS the SIDS/STARS thing is a big deal.


What you talking about Willis? No -1? No worries. Probably just Trek standing tall. :lol:

Don't get me wrong. Big Garmin fan. Just calling this as I see it. Lots of things to like. Just some limitations that I wish I knew about before I bought.

PS. STARS/SIDS is a huge deal. :bud:

_________________
Mark Hangen
Deputy Minister of Ice (aka FlyingIceman)
Power of the Turbine


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 21:20 
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Joined: 05/29/13
Posts: 6553
Post Likes: +3075
Company: Easy Ice, LLC
Location: Marquette, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: C310P, C560, C185F
Username Protected wrote:
Mark,

Your review is great.

I have an Aera 660 and several other things (like dual G5’s) ready to be installed in a couple weeks. The Aera 660 will replace my aging Garmin 496.

I don’t need SIDS and STARS on the 660. They are on the Garmin 530W. And I don’t fly them that often.

I use an IPad for charts and I like ForeFlight. But, for me, an IPad is no replacement for a Garmin portable. My Garmin 496 provided me reliable service for 10 years. Solid as a rock. The IPad won’t do that, IMHO. YMMV.

I look forward to receiving XM weather on a more modern platform. I have ADSB weather but it is not as good as XM.


If SID / STARS aren't your thing less of a deal. I do fly aircraft without panel mounted GARMIN stuff so portable info is important.

_________________
Mark Hangen
Deputy Minister of Ice (aka FlyingIceman)
Power of the Turbine


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 21:33 
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Joined: 09/06/11
Posts: 282
Post Likes: +11
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Aircraft: Debonair 35-C33A
PRO'S
Better screen brightness and intensity compared to any iPad.
Won't overheat compared to many iPads.
Data bundles from $150, comparable to an annual IFR subscription to GP on an iPad.
Downloads via wifi.
Can't get lost with other apps.
Easy auto Bluetooth connect with GTX 345.
Precise internal gps.

CON'S
No airways, but can upload these from GP.
Very slow data download rates for IFR plates and charts - need a quiet evening.

CONCLUSION
No overheating, competitive data pricing, and very good sunlight viz make this unit a keeper for me. :thumbup:


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 22:37 
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Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 2666
Post Likes: +485
Location: --------- Charlotte, NC (KEQY) Alva, OK (KAVK)
Aircraft: 1970 Bonanza A36TN
I am happy with my 660 so far. Still waiting for the GDL 52 portable so sadly still have to keep the 396 installed for weather. I don't have space for a 796 so small size is perfect for my install.

The disconnects/differences between the 660 and Pilot (and worse between iOS vs Android and tablet vs phone Pilot versions) are numerous and maddening. Hopefully that will converge someday.


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 16:13 
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Joined: 04/01/13
Posts: 2154
Post Likes: +1442
Location: Overland Park, KS (KOJC)
Aircraft: 1975 Bonanza F33A
Username Protected wrote:
Wanted to give my overall impression of this unit. Typical Garmin quality. Typical Aera software with some exceptions.

Positives:
Light weight
Familiar GUI (some notable exceptions)
Ability to update databases over WIFI (not hooked to PC)
Interface GDL39D, and GDL51 products
Small batteries that are the same as Virb Elite
Hardwire and BT connectivity
Ability to push flight plans from GP to 660. - note this is not nearly as good as i had hoped. Pushing STARS and SIDS won;t work because even though the waypoints exist in the 660 the STARS and SIDS don't. Hence the STARS and SIDS don't transfer. Useless in my opinion.

Limitations (specific to Aera 660 as opposed to Aera products in general):
Small screen - 796 and GP are far easier to see and deal with
No scratch pad
No checklists
No document reader (.pdf)
Battery life is not great...3-4 hours

AERA specific issues:
No STARS/No SIDS
Limited approaches (FAF forward)
No more then 1 BT connection at a time (big issue)


Bottomline...I would not rebuy the 660. I would just stick with GP on an ipad and use my iphone as back-up when it overheats. I would also use the GDL51 and the GDL39D both of which connect via BT simultaneously to the iPad.


Mark

Good write up. I have a couple of points to make that mostly revolve around the way I use the 660 vs the way you use it (or want to).

Small Screen size: The 660 screen is almost exactly the same size as an iPhone 6,7 or 8+. That's pretty big in my estimation, a lot bigger than a Garmin 396 or 496. If it were bigger it would be more awkward to mount. I don't think of the screen size as a negative, where I've got it mounted it's just right.

No Checklist: I don't need it.

No PDF reader: I don't need this either. I still have my iPad and iPhone in the plane.

Battery life 3-4 hours: That seems like plenty to me. It's wired into the ship's power so it starts charging as soon as I turn on the avionics master; as a result, it's always fully charged. In 3 or 4 hours I expect to be on the ground. I actually think I get closer to 5 hours on a charge, and that's more than enough.

No STARS/No SIDS: Yeah, it doesn't have them. Flying around the Midwest, I rarely get them. When I do they are easy to program in the GTN-750 and they do copy into the 660.

Limited approaches (FAF forward): Same as the SIDs and STARs, load them in the 750 and they instantly copy to the 660. Works great.

No more than 1 BT connection at a time (big issue): I dropped XM and have gone all ADSB for weather. So, this issue has not come up for me.

While your complaints are valid, most of them go away if you are using the 660 in conjunction with a GTN series panel mount GPS. I understand you are not using it with a GTN or GNS box so I see where you are coming from.

I just love the thing.

Jack


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 17:39 
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Joined: 05/29/13
Posts: 6553
Post Likes: +3075
Company: Easy Ice, LLC
Location: Marquette, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: C310P, C560, C185F
Username Protected wrote:

Mark

Good write up. I have a couple of points to make that mostly revolve around the way I use the 660 vs the way you use it (or want to).

Small Screen size: The 660 screen is almost exactly the same size as an iPhone 6,7 or 8+. That's pretty big in my estimation, a lot bigger than a Garmin 396 or 496. If it were bigger it would be more awkward to mount. I don't think of the screen size as a negative, where I've got it mounted it's just right.

No Checklist: I don't need it.

No PDF reader: I don't need this either. I still have my iPad and iPhone in the plane.

Battery life 3-4 hours: That seems like plenty to me. It's wired into the ship's power so it starts charging as soon as I turn on the avionics master; as a result, it's always fully charged. In 3 or 4 hours I expect to be on the ground. I actually think I get closer to 5 hours on a charge, and that's more than enough.

No STARS/No SIDS: Yeah, it doesn't have them. Flying around the Midwest, I rarely get them. When I do they are easy to program in the GTN-750 and they do copy into the 660.

Limited approaches (FAF forward): Same as the SIDs and STARs, load them in the 750 and they instantly copy to the 660. Works great.

No more than 1 BT connection at a time (big issue): I dropped XM and have gone all ADSB for weather. So, this issue has not come up for me.

While your complaints are valid, most of them go away if you are using the 660 in conjunction with a GTN series panel mount GPS. I understand you are not using it with a GTN or GNS box so I see where you are coming from.

I just love the thing.

Jack


Jack:

You and others make a good point. Your satisfaction is highly dependent on how you use it. In my case, flying a number of different Citations, only one of which has Garmin, is what is driving my issue.

For example, I do use checklists, I do copy my clearances on the scratch pad, I do reference POH type stuff on the document viewer etc. The work around is the iPad for these things but the fact they weren't available on the 660 was noticeable only when they weren't there when I went to use them. Just thought I would call it out.

Regarding battery life. Upon further review I only get 2-3 hours. That is likely because I am connected to the GDL51 and no doubt that burns battery. As I write this I think that I might pick up was battery life if I turn off the wifi receiver while in flight. Maybe Garmin Steve can weigh in on this idea. A lot of my flights with the rocker are quite long. I might fly from Scottsdale to Chicago and back in the same 24 hour period. Let's call it 8 hours. At two hour battery life that is four batteries. The 660 battery form factor is way smaller than the 796 and 1/10th the weight. But it is still 4 batteries. Just sayin. Won't impact most people.

One other issue. I find that I have had to be careful how I grip the device. Sometimes to steady my hand in turbulence I grip the edge of the 660 where the on/off switch is located. Just a light brush will turn it off. Anyone else notice this "feature"? If you don't mount the 660 and just hold it like an iphone this will be a real issue.

_________________
Mark Hangen
Deputy Minister of Ice (aka FlyingIceman)
Power of the Turbine


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 18:24 
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Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 2666
Post Likes: +485
Location: --------- Charlotte, NC (KEQY) Alva, OK (KAVK)
Aircraft: 1970 Bonanza A36TN
Username Protected wrote:
One other issue. I find that I have had to be careful how I grip the device. Sometimes to steady my hand in turbulence I grip the edge of the 660 where the on/off switch is located. Just a light brush will turn it off. Anyone else notice this "feature"? If you don't mount the 660 and just hold it like an iphone this will be a real issue.

Agree - that switch is poorly placed and way too light of a touch required to activate it. I have mine hardwired and mounted with a MyGoFlight mount which can switch easily from portrait to landscape orientation. I almost always bump the power button when re-orienting.


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 15:18 
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Joined: 04/01/13
Posts: 2154
Post Likes: +1442
Location: Overland Park, KS (KOJC)
Aircraft: 1975 Bonanza F33A
I just pulled the trigger and ordered a RANs S7 Courier kit yesterday. Here's a link to a thread I started about this experimental plane I've been contemplating.

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=141979

I'm already starting to think about the panel for this bird. My current thinking is that the panel will feature a G5 (or maybe two G5s), an Area 660 and a Garmin autopilot. The plane will be set up for VFR, but I'd like to have enough gear in the panel to get out of a jam in an inadvertent IMC encounter. This seems like it will be an ideal inexpensive but capable setup.

I'll probably flush mount the 660 like I did in the Bonanza. That along with the G5 will give a nice capable setup and not cost a lot of money.

I still need to figure out what I'm going to do for ADSB, but that can wait awhile. I also need a COM or NAV/COM radio and hopefully an inexpensive experimental engine analyzer.

I'm posting about it in the thread because I think the 660 will be perfect for this application. The 660 will be all the GPS that I need for VFR. It should drive the Garmin autopilot and give GPSS just like the expensive stuff in the Bonanza. Not IFR certified but capable of shooting a non-precision approach in an emergency. If I ever decide I need an IFR panel, just add at GTN or GNS certified GPS and it would be all set.

Jack


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 15:34 
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Joined: 12/13/07
Posts: 14190
Post Likes: +3395
Location: Seeley Lake, MT (23S)
Aircraft: 1964 Bonanza S35
Username Protected wrote:
I just pulled the trigger and ordered a RANs S7 Courier kit yesterday. Here's a link to a thread I started about this experimental plane I've been contemplating.

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=141979

I'm already starting to think about the panel for this bird. My current thinking is that the panel will feature a G5 (or maybe two G5s), an Area 660 and a Garmin autopilot. The plane will be set up for VFR, but I'd like to have enough gear in the panel to get out of a jam in an inadvertent IMC encounter. This seems like it will be an ideal inexpensive but capable setup.

I'll probably flush mount the 660 like I did in the Bonanza. That along with the G5 will give a nice capable setup and not cost a lot of money.

I still need to figure out what I'm going to do for ADSB, but that can wait awhile. I also need a COM or NAV/COM radio and hopefully an inexpensive experimental engine analyzer.

I'm posting about it in the thread because I think the 660 will be perfect for this application. The 660 will be all the GPS that I need for VFR. It should drive the Garmin autopilot and give GPSS just like the expensive stuff in the Bonanza. Not IFR certified but capable of shooting a non-precision approach in an emergency. If I ever decide I need an IFR panel, just add at GTN or GNS certified GPS and it would be all set.

Jack



Why not the Dynon? My buddies put that in their S20. After seeing that it's hard to believe anybody would choose Garmin. Nav, comm, ADSB Out/In, autopilot, engine monitor, charts, plates, wifi, etc all built into the one box. All customizable as to where and how big. They have two screens and you hit a button and they can swap back and forth.

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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 18:50 
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Joined: 04/01/13
Posts: 2154
Post Likes: +1442
Location: Overland Park, KS (KOJC)
Aircraft: 1975 Bonanza F33A
Maybe a Dynon, but how much? A G5 and an Aera 660 would run a little over $2K. Seems like all you need for a VFR panel.

I’ll be doing a lot more research before getting that far into the project. Just seems like this would be a capable cheap soulution.

Jack


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2017, 18:50 
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Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 2666
Post Likes: +485
Location: --------- Charlotte, NC (KEQY) Alva, OK (KAVK)
Aircraft: 1970 Bonanza A36TN
Username Protected wrote:
Regarding battery life. Upon further review I only get 2-3 hours. That is likely because I am connected to the GDL51 and no doubt that burns battery. As I write this I think that I might pick up was battery life if I turn off the wifi receiver while in flight. Maybe Garmin Steve can weigh in on this idea. A lot of my flights with the rocker are quite long. I might fly from Scottsdale to Chicago and back in the same 24 hour period. Let's call it 8 hours. At two hour battery life that is four batteries. The 660 battery form factor is way smaller than the 796 and 1/10th the weight. But it is still 4 batteries. Just sayin. Won't impact most people.

Mark I am curious about the need for batteries. I know you fly in a bunch of different aircraft, but do most not have a place to get USB power or 14/28V cigar lighter power?


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 Post subject: Re: Garmin Aera 660
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2017, 19:24 
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Joined: 05/29/13
Posts: 6553
Post Likes: +3075
Company: Easy Ice, LLC
Location: Marquette, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: C310P, C560, C185F
Username Protected wrote:
Regarding battery life. Upon further review I only get 2-3 hours. That is likely because I am connected to the GDL51 and no doubt that burns battery. As I write this I think that I might pick up was battery life if I turn off the wifi receiver while in flight. Maybe Garmin Steve can weigh in on this idea. A lot of my flights with the rocker are quite long. I might fly from Scottsdale to Chicago and back in the same 24 hour period. Let's call it 8 hours. At two hour battery life that is four batteries. The 660 battery form factor is way smaller than the 796 and 1/10th the weight. But it is still 4 batteries. Just sayin. Won't impact most people.

Mark I am curious about the need for batteries. I know you fly in a bunch of different aircraft, but do most not have a place to get USB power or 14/28V cigar lighter power?



None of them actually. Weird huh? Note I would need two batteries for a round trip.

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Mark Hangen
Deputy Minister of Ice (aka FlyingIceman)
Power of the Turbine


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