Garmin Acquires More GFC Autopilot Certifications

Three more aircraft can now use the Garmin GFC 500 autopilot. Garmin

Select Beechcraft are now among the aircraft that can utilize the Garmin GFC 500 autopilot.

Garmin has received FAA approval allowing supplemental type certification for the GFC 500 autopilot for the:

  • Beechcraft 19 Sport
  • Beechcraft 23 Musketeer/Sundowner
  • Beechcraft 24 Musketeer/Sierra.

The autopilot display is pure Garmin—the mode controller contains large, dedicated keys and knobs, and a control wheel that allows for easy adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed, and vertical speed. The unit has 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
  • VNAV3
  • Underspeed and overspeed protection

When coupled with a compatible Garmin GPS navigator, the GFC 500 can be used to fly various instrument approaches, including:

  • GPS
  • ILS
  • VOR
  • LOC
  • Back-course approaches

Garmin electronic stability and protection is a standard feature of the GFC 500 that works to assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition. 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.

Appropriately equipped aircraft can also take advantage of Smart Glide, a safety tool that helps pilots in an uncommanded loss of engine power situation by automating tasks reducing pilot workload to give them more time to troubleshoot the situation.

The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with Garmin’s GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments with 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.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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