Garmin Receives STC for Beechcraft King Air Autopilot

The GFC 600 offers vertical navigation, automatic course deviation indicator (CDI) switching, and enhanced go-around capabilities.

Garmin GFC 600 [Courtesy: Garmin]

Garmin has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the GFC 600 digital autopilot for Beechcraft King Air F90 twin turboprops. 

According to Garmin, the GFC 600 can reduce pilot workload by offering new operational capabilities such as vertical navigation, automatic course deviation indicator (CDI) switching—when paired with a GTN Series navigator—plus enhanced go-around capabilities, including missed approach sequencing.

The autopilot controller incorporates backlit keys and a display that can be read in sunlight. A built-in control wheel allows the pilot to adjust aircraft pitch, airspeed, and vertical speed modes.

"When the level button is selected, the aircraft automatically returns to straight-and-level flight,” according to Garmin. “Environmentally hardened autopilot servos designed for harsh operating conditions contain brushless DC motors offering improved performance and reducing maintenance requirements when compared to decades-old servo designs on the market today. In addition, these servos offer more torque to help pilots better respond to demands required of turbine aircraft."

The GFC 600 can be integrated with the G600 and G600 TXi flight displays, and the GI 275 electronic flight instrument, as well as the GTN and GTN Xi series of navigators. The GFC 600 offers altitude preselect and indicated airspeed hold mode, along with the ability to select, couple, and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC, and back-course approaches.

Safety Features

As a standard feature, pilots receive Garmin’s electronic stability and protection (ESP) with the GFC 600 digital autopilot. Garmin ESP functions independently of the autopilot and helps pilots avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provides airspeed protection while the pilot is hand flying the aircraft.

There is also a “level mode” button, which automatically engages the autopilot to restore the aircraft to straight-and-level flight. This comes in addition to underspeed and overspeed protection and emergency descent mode that, in the event an aircraft loses cabin pressurization, is capable of automatically descending the aircraft to a preset altitude without pilot intervention to help avert hypoxic situations.

The GFC 600 digital autopilot for the Beechcraft King Air F90 will be available in early September through select Garmin authorized dealers.

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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