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Aero-TV Exclusive: Bigger, Better, Brighter-The NEW Garmin GPSMAP 696 (Part 1)

Part 1: Just When You Thought The Portable GPS Map Game Couldn't Get ANY More Interesting...

We've been sitting on this secret for several weeks now and FINALLY, we get to let the feline out of the paper sack... Garmin has upped the ante in the ongoing portable GPS/Map wars. They call it the GPSMAP 696.

The GPSMAP 696 is an all new, tablet-style device with a large, 7-inch portrait screen that makes it possible to view an entire approach plate on the display. The high-resolution, sunlight readable screen uses Garmin's latest technology to ensure that pilots will be able to read the vibrant display day or night. The bezel that frames the bright screen has multiple keys on the bottom and right sides. The soft keys at the bottom of the display control the most commonly used features of the current page, such as turning the weather display on/off. The dedicated keys on the display's right side have specific functions such as nearest, direct to, flight plan, zoom in/out and menu. Also on the display's right side is a rotary knob/joystick, similar to the G1000's joystick, that lets pilots enter airport identifiers, pan the map, or scroll to page and sub-page groups.

The GPSMAP 696's IFR map mode displays a map similar to a standard enroute chart that has important features like victor airways, jet routes, minimum enroute altitude (MEA) and leg distance. The 696's IFR map mode also offers more situational awareness than traditional charts because it subtlety displays major visual reference points like rivers, state boundaries, highways and railroad tracks from Garmin's built-in basemap.

The GPSMAP 696 also includes Garmin FliteCharts, an electronic version of the National Aeronautical Chart Office (NACO) U.S. Terminal Procedures Publication. With FliteCharts, pilots can quickly find and view all NACO departure procedures (DP), standard terminal arrival routes (STARs), approach charts and airport diagrams. If the current approach is known, the GPSMAP 696 automatically selects the correct chart based on the flight plan. FliteCharts are available every 28-days and will not be available on the 696 if they are not updated regularly. The GPSMAP 696 may be used in lieu of paper approach charts when used in accordance with AC 90-78.

Garmin notes that other popular features found on the GPSMAP 696 include Smart Airspace, SafeTaxi and AOPA Airport Directory data. During flight, Garmin's Smart Airspace automatically highlights airspace close to the pilot's current altitude and de-emphasizes airspace away from the current altitude, which ultimately aids in situational awareness. With SafeTaxi, taxiing at unfamiliar airports is also easier because the GPSMAP 696 includes geo-referenced diagrams of over 850 U.S. airports that identify runways, taxiways and hangars, as well as the aircraft's exact location on the field.

The AOPA Airport Directory data is an electronic version of AOPA's popular U.S. pilot guide that includes information for over 5,300 public-use airports and more than 7,000 FBOs, such as pilot services, ground transportation, lodging, restaurants, and local attractions. In addition, Garmin's electronic version of the AOPA Airport Directory highlights airports where pilots can save on fuel by using self-service fueling locations.

The GPSMAP 695 and 696 are available immediately for an expected street price of $2,695 and $3,295, respectively. The GPSMAP 696 package includes a yoke mount, GXM 40 smart antenna, cigarette-lighter adapter, AC adapter cable, USB-to-PC interface cable, low-profile remote GPS antenna, unit cover, free Jeppesen update certificate, owner's manual and quick-reference guide. 

Join Aero-TV For An Exclusive FIRST Look At The NEW Garmin 695/696!

FMI: www.garmin.com, www.aero-tv.net, www.youtube.com/aerotvnetwork, http://twitter.com/AeroNews

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