As expected, G1000 sim developers are starting to offer SV (synthetic vision). China-based SIMIONIC, which provides a solution based on pairing iPads with their apps and bezels (see our review here) has submitted its SV Beta to a few test users. We installed it on one of our sims and took it for a test flight. Pressing the PFD soft key now reveals a new menu, ‘SYN VIS’, which activates the feature. Under that, you find four additional soft keys. ‘PATHWAY’ shows the familiar approach rectangles if on an instrument approach. ‘SYN TERR’, must be on to see the actual synthetic environment. ‘HRZN HDG’ displays the heading on the horizon, and finally pressing the ‘APTSIGNS’ softkey displays available airport signage. We did not test this last capability.
We tested the available features on several approaches, so far with “Beta quality” results. Depending on the Autopilot settings, some were flawless all the way to minimums, while others were slightly off. We experienced an app crash. Overall, the technology is impressive and the Beta is actually working better than expected for its early stage. This is technology that makes training par with real, advanced, avionics. We are confident that flight schools will find value in having SV now available. On one of the simulated ILS approaches we shot (KJFK R 13L), the pathway led us from a 45 degrees intercept straight to DH on final. In IFR weather, this can be a real life saver, especially if the approach is complex. Like any new technology, pilots should be aware of its limitations, accuracy and potential failures to use it effectively in the air. We look forward to seeing the final release. Knowing that SIMIONIC is extremely responsive to customers’ feedback, we predict that SV will be a great feature for users to adopt, and for SIMIONIC to expand their share of this already crowded and competitive market.