Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., announced continued progress in aircraft approvals for the GFC™ 600 and GFC 500 autopilots. The imminent certification of several aircraft also add to the growing list of approvals for both autopilots. The Bonanza/Debonair (C33, E33, F33, G33), Cessna 210 and Grumman AA-5 series will soon be approved for the GFC 500 autopilot, while the Beechcraft Baron (58P, 58TC) and Cessna 208B will add to the list of the GFC 600.
In just under a year, Garmin has completed Supplemental Type Certifications (STC) on ten popular aircraft models between both autopilots, with more aircraft approvals in progress and many more soon to follow. The unique design of these autopilots deliver superior in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance needs when compared to older generation autopilot systems. With safety-enhancing technologies such as Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP™), underspeed and overspeed protection, Level Mode, Flight Director (FD) and more, pilots receive a suite of advanced autopilot capabilities that reduce pilot workload throughout all phases of flight.
“Since the introduction of the GFC 600 and GFC 500 to the market just one year ago, we have been working hard to complete a broad range of STC’s on some of the most prevalent aircraft flying today,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “We are very humbled by the popularity and adoption of these game-changing autopilots as they have redefined the standard of what aircraft owners should expect from an autopilot and based on the overwhelming demand – our customers agree.”
The full-featured GFC 600 & GFC 500 autopilots provide thousands of existing fixed-wing general aviation aircraft with a simple, light-weight and cost-effective autopilot upgrade path. Designed as a standalone autopilot, the GFC 600 also has integration potential with the G500 TXi/G600 TXi and G500/G600 flight displays, Garmin navigators, as well as a variety of third-party flight displays, instruments and navigation sources. The GFC 500 uses the popular G5 electronic flight instrument, offering an economical autopilot and modern flight instrument. Adding to its flexibility, the GFC 500 and G5 will soon be able to pair with the G500 TXi or G500 flight displays.
The GFC 600 is intended for high performance piston and turbine aircraft that have a wide range of aircraft speed and performance characteristics, while the GFC 500 is intended for less complex piston single-engine aircraft. The GFC 600 & GFC 500 boast traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, as well as the capability to fly fully-coupled GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back-course approaches. Indicated airspeed climbs/descents, control wheel steering, as well as built-in roll steering add to the extensive feature set. Both autopilots contain a brushless DC motor and a gear train that eliminates the need for a mechanical slip clutch, offering significantly improved performance and reducing maintenance requirements. The GFC 600 & GFC 500 also incorporate solid state attitude and robust self-monitoring capabilities to provide superior autopilot performance, greater reliability and safety benefits.
New to the GFC 600 & GFC 500, pilots can select the vertical navigation (VNAV) button on either autopilot mode controller to fly a fully-coupled VNAV profile when the autopilot is paired with the GTN™ 650/750 touchscreen navigators and the G5, G500 TXi/G600 TXi or G500/G600. Within the GTN, pilots can easily enter altitude constraints on the flight plan page to set-up a vertical descent profile. Using VNAV, pilots also experience a near-seamless transition to an arrival and instrument approach as step-down altitudes are automatically populated. When the GFC 600 & GFC 500 autopilot is fully-coupled on a VNAV descent, pilots receive the benefit of a smooth and controlled descent so they can focus on preparing for the approach to land.