The FAA last week approved Garmin’s GFC 600 autopilot for retrofit installation in a select group of Beechcraft King Air C90 and E90 aircraft. Garmin said in a news release the GFC 600 digital autopilot is optimized for this class of aircraft and features new operational capabilities such as vertical navigation (VNAV), automatic course deviation indicator (CDI) switching (when paired with a GTN Series navigator), and enhanced go-around capabilities. The GFC 600 integrates with G600 and G600 TXi flight displays, the GI 275 electronic flight instrument, as well as the GTN and GTN Xi series of navigators. “The addition of an optional autopilot annunciator panel displays the selected autopilot mode in the pilot’s primary field of view and retains an identical footprint of third-party autopilot annunciators on the market,” Garmin said.
A standard feature of the GFC 600 is Garmin’s electronic stability and protection (ESP) that works in the background to help pilots avoid inadvertent extreme flight attitudes or bank angles and provide airspeed protection while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft. “Pilots can fly coupled ‘go-arounds’ during missed approach sequencing,” according to a blog posted on Garmin’s site. “A remotely-installed go-around button commands the flight director to display the appropriate pitch attitude required for the missed approach procedure and activates a loaded missed approach when paired with a GTN 650/750 or GTN 650Xi/750Xi navigator.”
The GFC600 STC is approved for the King Air C90, C90-1, C90A, C90B, C90SE, C90GT, C90GTi, and E90, but does not include aircraft equipped with Garmin G1000/G1000 NXi, or Collins Pro Line integrated flight decks.