FAA OKs Electronic Flight Instrument for Two Robinsons

Certification gives owners the option to replace legacy instruments with glass.

As panel real estate is at a premium in helicopters, the GI 275 was designed for minimal space disruption. [Courtesy: Garmin]

Garmin International Inc. has received supplemental type certification (STC) from the FAA for the GI 275 electronic flight instrument for Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. 

The two-place R22 and four-place R44 are the backbone of the helicopter training fleet. It is hard to find a rotor-wing pilot who hasn't logged some flight time in one or both of these aircraft.

About the GI 275

The GI 275 was originally launched for fixed-wing aircraft in January 2020, and after hearing interest from helicopter operators, the first Part 27 certification was completed for the Bell 206 in March 2022.

As panel real estate is at a premium in helicopters, the GI 275 was designed for minimal space disruption. It takes advantage of the common 3.125-inch flight instrument size, reducing installation time and preserving the existing instrument panel. The unit features a bright, high-resolution touchscreen display, and a dual concentric knob allows pilots to access a variety of key functions. 

According to Garmin, the GI 275 is a direct replacement for a variety of legacy primary flight instruments, including the attitude indicator, course deviation indicator (CDI), horizontal situation indicator (HSI), or the multifunction display (MFD).

The GI 275 as a Primary Attitude Indicator

Garmin notes that when installed as a primary attitude indicator, the GI 275 offers improved reliability, potential weight savings, and reduced maintenance compared to old-style vacuum-driven attitude indicators.

The GI 275 offers optional Helicopter Synthetic Vision Technology (HSVT) that overlays a rich, 3D topographic view of terrain, traffic, obstacles, power lines, and airport signposts all within the GI 275 attitude display. 

The unit also provides other information vital to flight such as:

  • Outside air temperature
  • Groundspeed
  • True airspeed and wind information on the attitude indicator
  • Wireless functionality, like sharing of GPS position and backup attitude information to the Garmin Pilot mobile application.

CDI and HSI Options

When installed as a CDI or HSI, the GI 275 is designed to accept a variety of GPS and navigation inputs, allowing up to two GPS sources and two VHF navigation sources. 

The GI 275 features an Omni Bearing Resolver allowing the instrument to interface with a variety of legacy navigators on the market without the need for an expensive adapter. 

Garmin notes the unit, "with an optional magnetometer, is also capable of providing magnetic-based HSI guidance. The HSI can also provide enhanced features such as map inset and traffic, terrain or weather overlay. 

“Selecting the CDI source is simple and can be accomplished through the touchscreen interface, while course and heading selection is completed using either the touchscreen or dual concentric knob."

According to Garmin, the GI 275 is a direct replacement for a variety of legacy primary flight instruments. [Courtesy: Garmin]

Multifunction Display (MFD)

The multifunction display (MFD) of the GI 275 doubles as a modern digital indicator and adds MFD-like capabilities such as:

  • A moving map
  • Weather
  • Traffic
  • Obstacles
  • WireAware power lines
  • SafeTaxi, airport diagrams
  • Five-color terrain shading 

For backup navigation information, the unit has a built-in VFR GPS, enabling convenient direct-to navigation guidance while displaying aircraft position information. 

Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS)  is available on the GI 2754 offering forward-looking terrain and obstacle avoidance (FLTA) capability to alert in advance where potential hazards may exist. 

When paired with Garmin's GRA 55 or GRA 5500 radar altimeters, or other select third-party products, the unit can display altitude AGL while also providing visual and aural annunciations to the pilot.

According to Garmin, "The GI 275 will offer several benefits, but helicopter operators should be especially happy to have a digital option to directly replace their analog instruments. In addition to improved reliability, features such as HSVT and weather overlays should help provide better situational awareness to helicopter pilots. Plus, the ability to fit in the same instrument hole as the instrument it is replacing should result in significant cost and downtime savings."

The GI 275 comes with a two-year warranty and is supported by Garmin’s aviation support team, which provides 24/7 worldwide technical and warranty support.

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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