Garmin Smart Glide Now Free for Some Systems

Technology reduces pilot load in the event of engine power loss.

Smart Glide can recommend an airport estimated to be within the aircraft’s best glide range and create a best direct route. [Courtesy: Garmin]

Garmin International Inc. (NTSE:GRMN) announced Wednesday that Smart Glide is now available as a free software update for the G3X Touch and G5 electronic flight instruments in aircraft equipped with a GTN Xi series navigator. 

Smart Glide is a safety technology that can assist pilots in emergencies involving a loss of engine power. By automating tasks, some workload is lifted from the pilot—and by installing Smart Glide on compatible avionics—pilots can tap into suitable airport recommendations within the aircraft’s glide range, along with optimization of  select avionics settings. 

WhenSmart Glide is paired with the aircraft’s autopilot, it can automatically adjust the aircraft’s pitch for best glide speed while navigating the aircraft to a suitable airport for landing. 

Smart Glide joins Garmin’s Collier Trophy-winning Autoland as a part of the Autonomí family of autonomous flight technologies.

Activation and Airport Selection 

If a loss of engine power occurs, you can activate Smart Glide by simply holding the direct-to button for two seconds. After activation, Smart Glide will recommend an airport that is estimated to be within the aircraft’s best glide range and create a best direct route based on current conditions. 

To select the best airport, Smart Glide takes into consideration: 

  • Runway length
  • Runway condition
  • Proximity
  • Terrain
  • Available weather 
  • VFR/IFR conditions—If the aircraft is appropriately equipped with either a GTX 345/GTX 345R transponder or a GNX 375 acting as a transponder, or a GSR 56/GDL 69/GDL 69A with a weather subscription.

Alternate airports within the best glide range will also be shown and can be selected. 

In the event there is not an airport within the best glide range, Smart Glide provides an aural and visual alert to the pilot while continuing to search for suitable airports. 

Approach and Landing 

At 4 nm from the selected destination, Smart Glide will notify the pilot with both an aural alert and visual banner. At 2 nm from the destination, audible airport position alerts and a flashing red alert displayed on the GTN Xi will advise the pilot to take control and begin the landing sequence.

If the landing zone selected is not on an airport, Smart Glide provides audible agl altitude alerts to ensure the pilot is aware of the aircraft’s height above terrain  while landing.

Supporting Systems 

In addition to the G3X Touch and G5, Smart Glide is also available for certified aircraft equipped with a GTN Xi series navigator paired with a G500 TXi/G6000 TXi or a GI 275 electronic flight instrument. 

Compatible Garmin autopilots such as the GFC 500 or GFC 600 can be automatically engaged when Smart Glide is activated, including those installed on experimental-category aircraft. 

Based in Texas, Ashley is the former Marketing Manager at FLYING and focuses deeply on training and education. She graduated from the Baylor Institute for Air Science with a Bachelor's in Aviation Science and holds an MBA specializing in Marketing. She is an also instrument rated private pilot and licensed FAA dispatcher.

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