G1000 NXi Phase III

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chili4way
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by chili4way »

TL:DR - Diamond is making progress, just not nearly fast enough. Transport Canada is one problem; owner & used plane economics is another. How much greener is that grass over there?
This not a software development delay, it's all about Diamond's poor relationship with Transport Canada.
Another explanation might be that Transport Canada considers that Garmin's SW development certification process to be insufficient, despite EASA and the FAA's experience. The other Canadian aircraft manufacturers do not use Garmin avionics. I know first-hand that NXI Phase II certification was held up several months for this reason. This is an unfortunate consequence of moving the DA40 and DA62 type certificates to Canada and suggests why NXI Phase III was certified first by EASA for the DA50. The relationship was an issue, and it sounds like Diamond has made progress to improve it. To the extent this happens, subsequent software releases should be more timely. And the additional delay on Phase III software is frustrating (as is the delay for V15 for legacy G1000).
G1000NXI Phase 1 hardware shipped as recently as early 2019 is no longer supported because new airplanes ship with Phase 2 hardware.
C172's that shipped with G1000 in 2008 were offered a G1000NXi panel upgrade and NXi software two years ago.
These are essentially the same LRU configurations, except that the Diamond Phase I aircraft have a cost-effective upgrade program (essentially half-price hardware). I've seen nothing regarding how Cessna owners get GIA64s, what KAP140 support is offered when they do (vs requiring a GFC700 upgrade), or what subsequent software feature upgrades are available for these upgraded Cessna aircraft. I'd be interested to know which of our Phase II "missing features" are supported for Cessna aircraft with upgraded NXI Panels, GIA63Ws, and KAP140 autopilots. Does anybody know what Perspective+ (NXI) upgrades Cirrus is supporting (and what they cost) for G1-G2 (Avidyne) or G3-G5 Perspective (G1000) planes?
Diamond, aircraft just 3yrs old have a "legacy" hardware configuration.
We've used the term Legacy to refer to the original hardware generation of G1000 to differentiate it from G1000 NXI. This is to reduce the risk of miscommunication when just "G1000" is used as a reference. (I suppose we could have just used "G1000" and "NXI".). This is a generational difference, separated by more than 10 years. Phase I was a half-step between "Legacy" and "NXI", possibly due to delays in introducing and certifying the GIA64, which almost certainly required flight testing because of the role the GIA plays in autopilot operations.
Within a year or two Phase 2 hardware will be replaced by Phase 4 hardware, and Phase 2 hardware will no longer be supported.
This speculation really seems unlikely in a "year or two". I suppose this might possibly be the case for a few older peripheral models, e.g. ADF, DME, etc., but even this seems unlikely. I don't see this happening with the core LRUs, i.e. the GDUs and GIAs. If there are any changes in other LRUs or sensors, I fully expect these changes will be transparent to owners and pilots. Sure, some new versions of the boxes (e.g. weather radar) may have new features enabled by newer hardware, and that's different than not providing software-centric feature updates for 2019 and later Phase II hardware configurations.
Diamond is solely focused on sales of new airplanes.
This is overstated. The G1000 WAAS upgrade program and the V15 software update are evidence to the contrary. The NXI Phase I to Phase II hardware upgrade program is another. Are they "primarily" focused on new plane sales? Sure, and I think the other manufacturers are too. Diamond has been too slow to come around to address the long-standing issues with Legacy G1000, and there's a lot of pent-up owner frustrations.
We can only hope that Diamond's certification link between avionics with a 10yr life cycle and an airframe with a 75yr life cycle, will at some point be broken.
The other part of this is that owners need to plan for "avionics overhauls" like they do for engines. For some reason, the investment in an overhauled (or new) engine retains 100% value. So far, the prevailing expectation seems to be that an investment in avionics nets only a 50% return, despite that a new plane with equivalent avionics capability costs >2X more (and you may have to wait quite a while to get it). Until this economic mindset evolves, the business opportunity for avionics overhauls is limited. This is a major reason why there is no work instruction to upgrade a Legacy DA40-180 to NXI Phase II (or better). Unlike the DA42-TDI, there is no certification barrier.

I guess sometimes "what you have is what you'll always have" is sufficient capability. This is the only reason I can fathom why non-WAAS DA40-180 owners haven't put down a deposit for the WAAS upgrade program to secure their place in line. (DA42-TDI owners may be reasonably waiting for the required software to be available.)
Last edited by chili4way on Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by pietromarx »

Russ -

This is perhaps the most cogent explanation I've seen about the software / avionics software issues with Diamond. Thank you for the reply -- and I agree with everything you have written except for one thing: their behavior has been the same whether they have a full order book, an empty one, one product or multiple, etc. Having flown and owned Diamonds since 1997 I can say that the company's culture has remained consistent. They were more than a year late in delivering the first G1000 installation in 2004, too, and consistently underperformed with updates and improvements since then (check the GTX345 issue which still remains!).

I truly doubt that anyone at CAA has much of an objection to certifying a software upgrade for well-characterized hardware that has been granted multiple national approvals. They may have thrown it to the bottom of the pile, but that's on Diamond.

In another part of my life I am working with the Canadian (and many other governments') regulatory groups. Whatever Diamond did to gain such a poor relationship...well, perhaps I see a pattern here, too. As you imply, having approvals from the FAA, despite the Boeing mess, and the EASA are typically "good enough" for the rest of the world to get a pretty fast process going. Typically there is just a conformation process and then it is good to go.

Diamond's historic strengths have been in composites, manufacturing, and airframe (specifically, safety vs performance).

While my crystal ball never performed to spec, there appears to be relatively little left to do in actual airframe innovation. The future is clearly electric, autonomous, safety, and services. All are based upon software.

Look at the consistent level of interest on these boards for software to see what the customers want.

My appetite today to go buy another walled garden Diamond product is about the same as my wanting to get an AOL account.

Time to evolve, Diamond.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by pietromarx »

chili4way wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 6:14 pm TL:DR - Diamond is making progress, just not nearly fast enough. Transport Canada is one problem; owner & used plane economics is another. How much greener is that grass over there?

Another explanation might be that Transport Canada considers that Garmin's SW development certification process to be insufficient, despite EASA and the FAA's experience. The other Canadian aircraft manufacturers do not use Garmin avionics. I know first-hand that NXI Phase II certification was held up several months for this reason.
Knowing them like I know them, it is very unlikely that Transport Canada has any issue with Garmin's software development process. The Garmin product line is used by every major airframe manufacturer and in almost every airplane flying over Canada today.
The other part of this is that owners need to plan for "avionics overhauls" like they do for engines. For some reason, the investment in an overhauled (or new) engine retains 100% value. So far, the prevailing expectation seems to be that an investment in avionics nets only a 50% return, despite that a new plane with equivalent avionics capability costs >2X more (and you may have to wait quite a while to get it). Until this economic mindset evolves, the business opportunity for avionics overhauls is limited. This is a major reason why there is no work instruction to upgrade a Legacy DA40-180 to NXI Phase II (or better). Unlike the DA42-TDI, there is no certification barrier.

I guess sometimes "what you have is what you'll always have" is sufficient capability. This is the only reason I can fathom why non-WAAS DA40-180 owners haven't put down a deposit for the WAAS upgrade program to secure their place in line. (DA42-TDI owners may be reasonably waiting for the required software to be available.)
You have examples right here in this community where people are willing to pay for avionics. This is why I am asking the question. I did install WAAS into my last DA40 and it was expensive (perhaps the same). I found no issue when selling the airplane.

The issue here is Diamond. They are the only manufacturer I can think of who has such an issue with software. (Let's not discuss Boeing here.)
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by chili4way »

Knowing them like I know them, it is very unlikely that Transport Canada has any issue with Garmin's software development process.
How do you know them? What makes you say this is "very unlikely"? This was not the case for my airplane, which was the first production DA40NG with G1000 NXI Phase II hardware. Diamond is the only manufacturer with Garmin integrated avionics that has Transport Canada as the primary certification agency (for the DA40 and DA62). And Boeing's software issue probably didn't help matters, but that's speculation.
You have examples right here in this community where people are willing to pay for avionics.
The question is "how much"? What would you pay to upgrade a 2005 legacy DA40-180 to G1000 NXI Phase II if the market value of your airplane is $170,000? Or your 2008 DA40-XLS with a market value of $250,000? And if you "flipped it" (sold it right away, not crashed it) what would you expect to sell it for?

Or to put it a different way, I have a 2009 DA40-XLS that I've upgraded to G1000 NXI Phase II with a freshly overhauled engine and no damage history. What would you pay for it?
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by Paul »

$350k. Maybe a little more depending on prop and condition.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by Chris »

chili4way wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:04 pmOr to put it a different way, I have a 2009 DA40-XLS that I've upgraded to G1000 NXI Phase II with a freshly overhauled engine and no damage history. What would you pay for it?
In this hypothetical world where Diamond actively supports its existing customers with timely avionics updates, I would likely pay enough to recoup 100% of the investment in the avionics upgrade.

In the world we appear to be living in today, I would rather pay for a 2009 DA40-XLS that had been converted to G3X or equivalent platform that isn't orphaned and which gives me options for futher future refinements.

Both of these seem to be mythical beasts at this point.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by chili4way »

Paul wrote:$350k. Maybe a little more depending on prop and condition.
That would be a very good deal compared to the ~$490,000 you might pay for a used DA40-XLS with NXI Phase II if you could even find one. Appreciate the answer.
Chris wrote:I would rather pay for a 2009 DA40-XLS that had been converted to G3X or equivalent platform that isn't orphaned.
What makes you say the G1000 NXI Phase II is orphaned?
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by pietromarx »

This thread may be disintegrating a bit, so I will just say that their products are great planes to fly, but maybe a little bit anxious to own over the long-term. The discussion in pricing above helps a bit as I think we can also see that purchase price is rapidly increasing, perhaps offsetting the discounting from being orphaned. I acknowledge that many private planes are only held for a few years, so perhaps this is an issue for the few who actually buy and stay.
chili4way wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:06 pm How do you know them?
Since you ask ... I have worked in aviation (and healthcare and other highly regulated industries) and with regulators worldwide on a daily basis. I've sat on both sides of the table.

While someone at TC may be saying that they have an issue with Garmin's software development process, it is cover for something else and, in this case, likely the relationship with Diamond. Garmin has received certifications for their software and avionics in a very consistent manner and I've not heard of any regulator objecting until now. By comparison, imagine how hard the FAA and EASA would look at Garmin commercializing an automated "fly to the nearest airport and land" functionality ... yet they did ... and we are only discussing some minor well-characterized things here.

Regulators generally *want* to encourage economic growth, especially for local companies. Given that Diamond is competing internationally, has no other Canadian competitors, and is certainly not breaking new ground in software, it is even more likely that they would receive a reasonable response from their own government.

This is why I discount the story that it is the Canadian regulatory side that initiated holding things up. Or, put another way, if they are it is because someone moved the application to the bottom of the pile for reasons that have not been explained. We are not seeing the whole story here.
chili4way wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:06 pm What makes you say the G1000 NXI Phase II is orphaned?
I would posit that Diamond has demonstrated time and again that they are willing to orphan the airframe-integrated avionics before other manufacturers in an increasingly software world. It is logical to worry about their commitment to providing updates.
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by Boatguy »

pietromarx wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:08 pm I would posit that Diamond has demonstrated time and again that they are willing to orphan the airframe-integrated avionics before other manufacturers in an increasingly software world. It is logical to worry about their commitment to providing updates.
I don't think it's worry, it's policy.

There are at least a few historians on DAN. Has Diamond ever certified software for an avionics configuration not currently in production?
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Re: G1000 NXi Phase III

Post by pietromarx »

It would be one thing if they were discrete avionics, but these systems are integrated into the airframe. While the DA-40-180's G1000 installation is, at least, an STC, the rest are TC's. It never occurred to me that a 1970 C-172 would be more upgradeable than a modern airplane ... especially after all of the marketing BS about the G1000 using LRUs (line-replaceable units) which would allow for upgrading.

Go check out the original fawning pieces on the G1000 and you'll see that it was sold as being easily upgraded.
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