Garmin's GTX330 Mode S Transponder Expected to hit the skies mid 2002, the Garmin GTX330 Mode S transponder will be a revolutionary tool to enhance the safety of flight.

Mode "S" has send/receive capabilities and Garmin will be using this ability to send the same primary radar information ATC sees up to the aircraft to be displayed on the GarminClick To See Mode S Stations 400/500 series units. T.I.S. is a FAA software enhancement that was completed early in 2002. This TRAFFIC INFORMATION SYSTEM is received from the ATC system and therefore requires the aircraft to be within 60 NM (expected to be expanded to 90NM) of an automated terminal radar environment. It is designed to display all targets within 7 miles and 3500 feet above and below your position.

The traffic will be displayed on the moving map using standard traffic symbols, white targets (less of a threat) and yellow targets shown as objects of immediate concern with their respective altitudes and trend info (ascent or descent). An added safety bonus is having these targets shown with "VECTOR LINES". These lines will extend from the traffic symbols showing the expected direction of travel based upon latest track information,Be Sure to Click On This Pic! thereby eliminating the need for the pilot to "study" the screen in order to discriminate which aircraft may present a threat.

The GTX 330 will also have voice capability enabling the pilot to "hear" the warnings regarding traffic of concern through their headset or over the cabin speaker.

Adding to the list of useful features, Garmin has included an ALTITUDE ALERTER whereby the pilot merely sets the preferred altitude and the transponder will advise via voice and visual warnings if the aircraft ascends or descends through the programmed altitude buffer. The altitude buffer, (100ft., 200ft. etc.) for this feature is user configurable, according to the preference of the pilot.

In addition, the transponder will display "indicated altitude", (the altitude the encoder is reporting), count-up, count-down timers and flight time.

 The Garmin GTX 330 and GTX 327 also have the unique capability of being wired to the 400/500 series radios to decrease the pilot’s workload. Here’s how it works. When the aircraft reaches 35 knots the transponder automatically switches from standby to altitude reporting and starts the flight timer. The GTX327 and GTX330 Look Identical Likewise, the transponder also switches back to standby and stops the flight timer when the aircraft decelerates below 35 knots. Both functions can be over-ridden at any time by the pilot. The speeds being used are obtained from the GPS. Since it is automatic, this feature effectively eliminates the chance of forgetting to turn the transponder to ALT or forgetting to start the flight timer.

List Price is $4,995.00, not bad for a box with such utility.  I'd highly recommend the GTX330 to any aircraft owner who already has a GNS 430/530 installed or will be purchasing one in the near future.  I'll soon have up an article called "Garmin Mode S Verses SkyWatch TCAD".  It should prove interesting. For more information on the GTX330 drop us a Note.