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While working towards my private pilot's license in the United States in 2004-2005 (in a steam gauge only airplane), I very much remember my instructor covering one or more instruments to simulate failure and recovery techniques. He used covers which are commonly available in pilot shops:

enter image description here

I don't remember the examiner asking me fly under such conditions, but this type of failure is covered in the FAA PTS both for private and commercial.

Now that more and more pilots are training with glass cockpits, I was wondering how covering instruments the same way would work. For reference, let's take the Garmin 1000, standard in the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, which I have to guess is one of the most common civil aviation trainers:

enter image description here

I am, of course, assuming it would be much more difficult to cover the altitude indicator, airspeed indicator, artificial horizon, etc. on a glass cockpit display, not to mention being a questionable practice on a multi-thousand dollar LCD screen.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps the glass cockpit manufacturer would just provide the ability to temporarily disable specific instruments. But (at least for the G1000) I did not find this feature in the manual.

To summarize, my question is, how do flight instructors/examiners simulate the loss of one of the "six pack" flight instruments in an airplane with a glass cockpit?

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    $\begingroup$ You can use a post-it note and you can cut it to whatever size you want and put it directly on the glass. $\endgroup$
    – Devil07
    Jul 9 '17 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the avionics system has training mode which allows for the disabling and hiding of certain displays? It is software, I am rather surprised that's not a feature at least in more fancy systems $\endgroup$
    – cat
    Jul 9 '17 at 3:39
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For conventional instrument gauges, I recommend the disks above for blanking out the attitude indicator or the DG/HSI. Post-It notes are also a common way to blank out instruments to be used.

For partial panel work in glass cockpits, manufacturers and pilot supply shops sell soft stickers custom made for this purpose.

enter image description here

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Based on the bounty description, the bounty poster would like to see how a failure of the Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) would be depicted. Unfortunately, that would be the hardest partial panel instrument failure to simulate. There are no stickers that I have seen that will cover the entire Primary Flight Display (PFD) screen while leaving the Airspeed Indicator (ASI), Altimeter, and Heading Indicator (DG) visible. Although, one may be available for purchase.

Conversely, my instructor would just dim the PFD down to near 0%. Then, I would have to fly using the backup analog instruments and the magnetic compass. Also, some PFDs like the Dynon Skyview models have the option to switch the displays to instead represent an analog six-pack. This would make covering each individual instrument easier.

All aircraft certificated to fly in IMC with a glass panel have to have a separate set of backup avionics. These are either analog or glass. They have to have an independent power source like a backup battery or vacuum system. The purpose is to get the aircraft safely to the ground as soon as practicable after the main avionics fail.

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  • $\begingroup$ Lots of good answers to this question; I especially liked the note about the option to switch to a traditional 6-pack style style display. Interested in trying to understand how well pilots trained in glass cockpits would be prepared to deal with fail of attitude indicator, and/ or full failure of vacuum system, if they were to fly an older aircraft with traditional "steam gauges"... $\endgroup$ Feb 11 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ @quietflyer - Studies have shown that a glass panel pilot may not necessarily have trouble using analog instruments. But, they usually have a lag time in switching from the glass panel to the analog backups during a systems outage. The transition time to the backups is much quicker when the backup is also another glass panel like the Aspen Evolution. Flying partial panel without an AI at all is made easier if there if the backups include a Turn Coordinator. This is typical in aircraft with G500s (like the Archer III). But, it is not typical with G1000s (like the C172SP or the Archer TX). $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 11 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ In my case, my primary training for PPL was all in glass panel aircraft. All of my instrument training was done with the glass panel turned off, relying on the steam gauge backups. Some of that was done with the backup Attitude Indicator covered to simulate partial panel. A G430 was used for VOR indications. And, most of my rental time and my simulator time has been in steam gauge aircraft. The biggest difficulty is not in the difference in appearance since backups look like any other steam. It is in trying to ignore the steam gauge AI when it goes bad. A big red “X” does not cover the gauge. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 11 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ @quietflyer - So far, I have had 3 or 4 actual steam gauge AI failures in rental aircraft without any incident. Most were in the same aircraft. What was challenging in renting older aircraft was trying to fly simulated IFR with an OBS when I had spent all of my previous experience with an HSI $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 11 at 21:32
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I believe that behind the panel, the wires connecting the G1000 to the 3 or so computer boxes can be removed one-by-one, rendering each instrument on the glass face inoperative. - However, this should never be done without a technician.

Another option is to black out or cover the screen entirely. This one I've seen done before by pulling the circuit breaker to the monitor for an example on the ground, not in flight. Do note that this kills the display entirely, and is not recommended to be done without a technician, if at all.

As required by Transport Canada or C- registered aircraft, the aeroplane must be equipped with a traditional ASI, ALT, and HI underneath or to the side of the G1000 in case of an electrical failure, as well as a traditional magnetic compass that is usually mounted on the dash. If that is followed, the previous might be able to be done. However I've never attempted it, and I probably never will - Again something that should be approved by a mechanic/technician.

Under normal training, I've never had the attitude or heading indicators blocked out on the G1000. Sticky notes are used to block out instruments on the second 172 that does not have a G1000 at my local flight school.

As a last (and most realistic) option, refer to pages 6 and 8 of this manual on the FAA site: https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/training/fits/guidance/media/g1000.pdf

Hope that answers your query

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to AviationStackExchange. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 5 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ Unless you are an A&P aviation maintenance technician, I would strongly advise against disconnecting any wires from your glass panel. I would also advise against constantly pulling your circuit breakers to the AHRS as recommended in your link. This is an especially bad idea in flight since the AHRS will have to re-selfcalibrate at a possible non-stable attitude when brought back online. Especially since it is much easier to just dim the screen to make it unavailable to the student pilot. If CAA regs are similar to the FAA’s, not every glass panel aircraft requires backup instruments. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 5 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ Search the term “standby” in the following FAA Advisory Circular, AC 23.1311-1C - Installation of Electronic Display in Part 23 Airplanes. This allows for multiple PFDs or displays with reversionary mode to be used as primary flight information instead of traditional analog backup instruments. faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/… $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 5 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DeanF. I'm not 100% familiar with the FAA's glass cockpit regs, but as far as TC goes, the four instruments I listed in the original answer. You are indeed correct about removing wires and will update the answer accordingly $\endgroup$ Feb 10 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ By TC, I assume you mean type certification. As an example, an aircraft can be certified for VFR flight only. In which case, they would not need to have backup analog gauges. Especially if the PFD and MFD had a reversionary mode. Light Sport Aircraft like the Czech Sports Cruiser are an example of this. Aircraft certificated for IFR can replace all of their analog backup instruments with one independent backup PFD like the Aspen Evolution backup display. It is a self-contained glass panel with its own ADC, AHRS, and battery power source. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 10 at 16:02
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Manipulating panel instrument controls for partial panel training can be accomplished in a static flight simulator training environment in professional flight schools. T

Pulling circuit breakers is unwise in any live training scenario, on the ground or in the air. Putting a post-it note over a panel was the recommended path used by my instructors in the live environment in military or civilian training.

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