October 21, 2021
Garmin receives additional GFC 500 autopilot certifications
Garmin International received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the GFC 500 autopilot in additional aircraft to include select Beechcraft 19/23/24. The GFC 500 autopilot is intended for light piston aircraft, explains Garmin, to provide in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance requirements when compared to older generation autopilot systems.
New aircraft models now approved for the GFC 500 autopilot include: Beechcraft 19 Sport, Beechcraft 23 Musketeer/Sundowner, and Beechcraft 24 Musketeer/Sierra (certain serial numbers excluded).
The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with Garmin’s 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 explains the autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for easy adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed, and a Level Mode (LVL) that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight with the push of a dedicated button. In addition, with the GFC 500, appropriately equipped aircraft can also take advantage of Smart Glide, a safety tool that helps pilots in an engine power loss emergency by automating tasks and helping to reduce pilot workload.
As a standard feature of the GFC 500, pilots receive Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), which works to assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition. Garmin explains ESP functions independently of the autopilot and works in the background while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft to help avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles by nudging the pilot to return the aircraft back to a safe flight attitude.