Just ahead of EAA AirVenture 2021, Garmin released two products for the general aviation marketplace—one, Smart Glide, is a safety enhancement to engage during an engine power loss, while the other is an improved GI-275 engine indicator system.
When the pilot of a single-engine aircraft experiences a sudden power loss—whether instructor induced or for real—they must decide where to put the airplane down safely. Whether that’s into an empty field or a nearby airport, the task of deciding demands plenty of the pilot’s brain power. Enter Garmin’s Smart Glide, the newest addition the Autonomi family of landing safety products. In a news release, Garmin said, “Through compatible avionics, such as GTN Xi series navigators, Smart Glide provides assistance to the pilot by recommending a suitable airport estimated to be within glide range.” When Smart Glide is also paired with a compatible Garmin autopilot, it can automatically engage the autopilot that will pitch the aircraft for best glide speed while simultaneously navigating the aircraft the selected airport.
Garmin continued: “In the event of engine power loss in flight, pilots can activate Smart Glide with an optional dedicated Smart Glide button or by holding the direct-to button for two seconds to initiate an activation. Once activated, Smart Glide recommends an airport estimated to be within glide range and automatically creates a direct-to route. The product considers a number of factors when recommending an airport including runway length and condition; proximity; terrain; and available weather from sources such as FIS-B, SiriusXM3, and Garmin Connext weather while considering VFR/IFR conditions.”
“When the aircraft is within four nautical miles from the selected airport, Smart Glide will alert the pilot that they are approaching the airport environment with both an aural alert and visual banner. Within two miles of the airport, audible airport position alerts and a flashing red alert displayed on the GTN Xi will advise the pilot to resume control and begin maneuvering for landing. In the event of an off-airport landing, Smart Glide provides audible AGL altitude alerts to help ensure the pilot is aware of the altitude while maintaining their focus on landing locations.”
Garmin’s lightweight, compact GI 275 engine indicator system was also updated in time for an AirVenture announcement and an August, 2021 release. The newest version—intentionally designed to take advantage of a common 3.125-inch flight instrument hole—includes improved EIS page layouts and capabilities, a new flight summary page, EIS page shortcuts, customizable fields and wireless EIS data logging and streaming. The EIS page layouts include a new bar graph to display both exhaust gas and cylinder head temperatures by cylinder.
Other features include a normalized mode and turbine inlet temperature (TIT) lean functionality for appropriately equipped aircraft, improved fuel tank gauges, and the ability to display engine percent of power at the top of the screen. The flight summary page adds aircraft timers, maximum RPM and temperature limitations, as well as dynamically updated fuel and lean data throughout the flight for analysis in the air and a comprehensive post-flight review capability on the ground.
Shortcuts have been added allowing pilots to quickly access more detail like a single touch EGT/CHT indications. Pilots can touch the fuel gauge to switch to the fuel computer page or customize the auxiliary page EIS fields. EIS data can be streamed in real-time directly to the Garmin Pilot app, with the data later uploaded automatically to flyGarmin.com for storage and further review.