How would you like to be trained as pilot? On Glass cockpit or Steam gauges?

Steam gauges disappeared from commercial aircrafts but they still exists in GA aircrafts. Old days most PPL students used to get trained on steam gauges to learn real skills But now days expensive aviations schools have new aircrafts fitted with fancy G1000 glass panels.

Source - Boldmethod

Full details about the Flight instruments

My questions is

  1. Which instruments you got trained on? Which instruments you will go for in the future?
  • Glass Cockpit (glass panel)
  • Steam Gauges (six packs)

0 voters

  1. Did you have choice which instruments you wanted to get trained on?
    Pls don’t answer this if you haven’t flown in real life.
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

You can add comments why you think one is better than other.


Those “steam gauges” were the ones we’re stuck with and it was the best we had concerning the times - but all this considering that a glass cockpit were too expensive. True, fun times, and still necessary, but as safety is number one nowadays a glass cockpit nips out just a bit of the time out from… working your brain.

The following is a true story, a long time ago:

Somewhere between 2000-4000 feet where the clouds rest at the time…

Flight instructor: “Where are we?”
Me: “Umm…”
Flight instructor: “Where are we??”
Me: “Ummmmm…”


I currently train in a C172 with a G1000 display.
However, I started my training in a C150, and a DA-20, both with steam gauges. (The basic 6 pack).

I think it is important to be trained in both. I find it necessary to understand how to work steam gauges, as a basic part of information. Understanding the 6 pack has made it a lot easier to use the G1000.
Currently, I love training in the glass flight deck. It is organized, fluid, and and a lot easier to get things done. (My opinion). However, The standby to the G1000 are steam gauges, and I should most definitely be able to understand how to operate them.


C150 with the yoke, and DA-20 with the stick. Both 6 pack.
Can’t find a photo from my camera roll of the C172.

tl:dr - I love the G1000, and use it in my training, but it is vital to understand how to operate and understand steam gauges.


Imagine this…

You’re flying around with your instructor and all of a sudden that screen goes black. You have no clue what your speed or heading is (At least when I’ve used a glass cockpit in the C162). Now my main aircraft is a Piper PA-28. That plane is all gauges minus the Garmin G400 navigation system.

My point is, it’s safer to use steam gauges since they’re reliable. but it is important to learn how to use a glass cockpit since more and more planes are being built with them.

However, all aircraft equipped with G1000 screens have backup displays. So, if the master and the standby battery fail, we still have standby steam gauges that can help us return.

1 Like

This varies by design. Although when I flew the skycatcher it didn’t have any backup instruments.

This link talks about a buyers guide for glass panel instruments. In the article it says:

"the Federal Aviation Administration requires modern digital electronic panels to employ a backup set of instruments
— often a compact, but old style, spinning-mass attitude indicator, plus an airspeed indicator and altimeter. Typically, the standby AI is electric and the aircraft sports a secondary source of electrical power."


Very nice article about back up system.

1 Like

Honestly I think all new students and all instrument students should learn on a six pack w no autopilot. Why? Situational awareness. It teaches the pilot how to fly and figure out were they are without the use of technology (I know some planes have GPS, but you don’t have to use them).


Absolutely right. I try not to turn on the autopilot unless taking a photo, or when my instructor is explaining something to me.

1 Like

Here’s my relatively inexperienced opinion:
I’m working on my private in planes with analog gauges and a couple of the planes have Garmin attitude indicators/heading indicators. For my further ratings/licenses, I will be in G1000 equipped planes. I personally think both are important to have experience with, although so far I only have experience in all analog cockpits and partial glass cockpits.

1 Like

I think a part of it is also just nostalgia. But I do enjoy using the glass cockpit, don’t get me wrong. I just prefer gauges over glass cockpits.

1 Like

the reason i had, and still have, a six pack (hehe ;)) is because the plane i fly in is the Piper Warrior. it just doesn’t have the glass cockpit, although i wish it did!

I’ll be honest though, i kind of prefer the six pack style because if i need, for some strange reason**, the turn coordinator, i can look at one display and it will be there rather than looking at this screen that’s got so many different things going on on it!

I say ‘for some strange reason’ because, in the words of my flying instructor, “it’s a tonne of st”. And, let’s be honest, he’s not wrong!

1 Like

I have the option to train with both and use both regularly.

I have found I much rather prefer our G1000, especially since we have ADSB in and out, connecting to ForeFlight is great with that.

Though, if I am needing to do specific mentally challenging things, I have found that the G1000 can quickly overwhelm you, and possibly cause you to make errors.

So for flights when I’m going out to do maneuvers, or just run through all the different landings and takeoffs, I book the steam gauge planes.

Steam gauges are much simpler, 6 dials to watch and they are adjusted right there compared to the 2/3 screens for the G1000 and their dials not making much sense.

When I’m flying cross country, G1000 all day long.

The best part about flying between the two, at least at my school, is there is only a $10 dollar difference between them.

Now, you wanna know what’s better than both of those, an aircraft with air conditioning… that is the bees knees! And yes, we have one of those too.


I would like to train on steam gauges because I would be able to fly steam and glass instead of only glass. I would have more flexibility when talking about the airplane flown.

I can see Its like different dashboards in a 1967 Shelby cobra 427, a Nissan GT-R, a Tesla. :)

1 Like

If you start on glass, you can 100% fly steam… going steam to glass, you’d want a few training sessions to learn the glass

Why so? I thought that steam gauges were much more complex than the glass.

A good modern day comparison of the two would be an original NES Nintendo compared to an iMac.

Steam gauges are super simple, g1000, well, it’s the iMac

1 Like

I see it like this, I’m in Geometry right now for math, and we do a lot on calculators, because fancy graphing calculators exist, and are fairly common. But you still need to know the equations, and how to graph something on paper since you gain a better understanding…

1 Like