December 22, 2020

Garmin adds GFC 500 Autopilot certifications


Garmin International on December 17 received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the GFC 500 Autopilot in additional aircraft to include select Mooney M20 C through G models, and the Cessna 172RG.

The GFC 500 Autopilot is intended for light piston aircraft while delivering in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance needs when compared to older generation autopilot systems.

New aircraft models now approved for the GFC 500 autopilot include: Mooney M20 Models C, D, E – 1965 and later, as well as Models F and G; and the Cessna 172RG.

The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with the GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments; a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument interfaced to a G500 TXi flight display; or a G3X Touch flight display. Garmin states it is designed to provide pilots with an economical and modern autopilot solution.

The autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed and a Level Mode that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight with the push of a dedicated button.

In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes altitude preselect, VNAV1, Level Mode, Underspeed and Overspeed protection and more. Pilots can also select, couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches when paired with a compatible Garmin GPS navigator.

For customers who already have a GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument, the GFC 500 starts at a suggested retail price of US$6,995 for a 2-axis autopilot.

Garmin continues to add additional aircraft models to the FAA STC list for the GFC 500 autopilots.

GFC 500 Certification Programs Currently In-progress:
• Beechcraft 19, 23, 24 (Models: Musketeer, Sport, Sundowner, Sierra)
• Piper Comanche (Models: PA-24-260, 260B, 260C, 250)
• Socata Trinidad (Models: TB-20, TB-21)

GFC 500 Certification Programs Planned to Begin in the Next 12-months:
• Beechcraft 35 Bonanza (Models: H, J, K, M)
• Cessna 182 (Models: 182, 182A, 182B, 182C, 182D)
• Cessna 210 (Models: 210, 210A, 210B, 210C, 210D, 210F, T210F, 210R, T210R
• Mooney M20 (Models: 1962-1964 C, D, E)

FAA-certified aircraft now include select Mooney M20 C through G Models and the Cessna 172RG. (Photo: Garmin)