I'm not sure this is a step forward or backwards, but, if I had an old Cessna 172N I might consider pulling the old yellowing vacuum gauges out and going with this GI 275 / GFC 500 combo. Imagine having all that info in your basic 6 instruments. Got to have good eyesight though, some of that stuff is really squeezed into the 3 inch circle.
Personally I'm not a big fan of small instruments with huge amounts of data cramped into such a small space. There are also many visual effects, gradients, vibrant colors and other "goodies" which I think mostly distract the eye and don't make this particularly user friendly. I really have to strain my eye to read out the heading, airspeed and altitude.
E.g. compare the typical vertical speed indicator in the lower right. That has one needle that is easily identifiable with a large enough scale so that you can read the text. Now compare that to the barometric altitude setting in the attitude indicator. Tiny font size, cyan on a gradient background on a moving attitude indicator earth/ground plane. I'm already sure I would have to lean forward to read that in turbulent conditions. Another example would be the selected heading and course. Why not move them all the way into the corner? Who profits from that small tiny corner on the map and that gradient background behind the selected heading?
If I had to develop a instruments like these I would probably not add transparency and would try to avoid covering up some of the information by more important information. E.g. I would separate the airspeed and altitude areas from the attitude indicator with monochrome background. And I would probably put the ILS needles on the center of the attitude indicator, much like the F18 heads up display.
All good points. Like I said I probably would not be able to read the small text and numbers with my poor eyesight. I doubt these units will sell very well. It is too easy to have someone cut a rectangle in the panel and mount an off the shelf full function GTN unit right where you would like to have it.
For simulated safety in the FS2 Cessna 172 put in a second mechanical altimeter. We could check both and look at the GPS calculated altitude too (if we get working GPS units). The FS2 172 has a mind blowing autopilot for such a basic aeroplane, a single altimeter implies a good weather only plane.
Some simulated risk would be nice, variable and unpredictable weather and system unreliability such as failing gauges, vacuum pumps (working gauge please) or autopilot would give us an extra dimension of entertainment. The jets could have variable numbers of defects just to make us work harder.
The one electronic feature I would have loved for light aircraft blind flying is a Flight Path Vector, it is the single greatest aid in a HUD display. It makes the FS2 Learjet and 320 nearly too nice.