At the indoor static at Heli-Expo Garmin was showing off its STC retrofit of the G500H flat panel avionics into the popular Robinson R44 four-place piston powered helicopter. The STC can be applied to every iteration of the R44, including those with Spartan panels — the seven hole versions — and those with all the limited bells and whistles Robinson offers — the 10-hole variety. The installation can be performed by any authorized Garmin dealer.
At a press conference on the first day of Heli-Expo, when asked about his company’s plans for offering the G500H avionics as a factory option, Robinson Helicopter president Kurt Robinson said that the company was currently evaluating the program but that a surge in business has kept its engineers busy on certification programs, including for the turbine-powered R66 in Europe and Canada.
The G500H, which combines PFD and MFD in a single instrument, is designed for VFR helicopter use. It features synthetic vision, HTAWS with an extensive database of obstacles, XM WX with Nexrad radar and a variety of other weather products and the ability to interface with a forward-looking infrared camera. There are nearly 5,000 R44s in service around the world.