Garmin Secures More Approvals for GFC 500 Autopilot

The GFC 500 makes many modern autopilot functions standard for older Piper aircraft now.

Garmin has secured FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for its GFC 500 autopilot, with the retrofit now available for installation on Piper PA-28-201T and -236, and PA-32-260 and -300 models. The GFC 500 was purpose-built for single-engine, piston airplanes, and specifically targets those models that have antiquated original autopilots and can benefit from the technologies now possible in a modern autopilot.

The GFC 500 covers all of the typical autopilot functions, and adds many that are particularly well-suited to its integration with the Garmin G5 electronic flight instrument and/or the Garmin 3X Touch or G500 TXi multifunction displays. These include altitude preselect and airspeed hold; coupled VNAV descent profiles (with a GTN 650/750 navigator); general instrument approach coupling; built-in roll steering for improved smoothness, Level mode, underspeed and overspeed protection; and coupled missed approaches and go-arounds.

An optional pitch trim servo adds automatic trim and manual electric trim, and an optional yaw damper servo can minimize yaw oscillations, particularly in turbulence. For those who already own a G5 electronic flight instrument, the GFC 500 starts at a suggested retail price of $6,995 for a 2-axis autopilot. The GFC 500 can be purchased with the G5 electronic flight instrument for a suggested retail price of less than $10,000.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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