Garmin (NYSE: GRMN) said it received supplemental type certification from the FAA for use of its GFC 500 autopilot in certain Cessna and Commander models, including the Cessna 172A, 172B, 172C,175A, 175B, and 175C, and the Commander 112 and 112A.
The GFC 500 has become a favorite among pilots who own older models that may have received gradual avionics upgrades over the last decade or two. When the time comes to add or upgrade an autopilot, buyers tend to look for the most up-to-date model they can find, preferably one that is compatible with newer flight instruments that they might have installed previously.
The GFC 500 integrates with a number of other Garmin instruments that are popular retrofits, including the GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments. It can also work with a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 with G500 TXi or G3X Touch flight displays.
Pilots often focus on other panel upgrades before changing to a new autopilot, so many aircraft already have the supporting equipment necessary to operate with newer autopilots. The GFC 500 generally offers more features than older autopilots typically found in used aircraft. Of particular interest to pilots are features like Smart Glide, a system that helps pilots handle power-loss situations by automating certain tasks and reducing the pilot’s workload.
Garmin said it will continue to add aircraft models to its STC list for the GFC 500. View the latest list of aircraft approved for the autopilot and those expected to be approved during the next year.