Garmin International has received FAA STC approval for the GFC 600 digital autopilot in select early Cessna CitationJet 525 models, the first jet certification for the autopilot solution. The GFC 600 digital autopilot delivers superior in-flight characteristics and new operational capabilities such as autopilot-coupled vertical navigation (VNAV) descent, auto course deviation indicator (CDI) switching and fully coupled go-around capability. The STC excludes models equipped with the G1000.
“We are thrilled to announce the first jet aircraft approval for the GFC 600 digital autopilot, providing these turbofan aircraft with a modern and advanced autopilot upgrade and further simplifying single-pilot operations,” says Carl Wolf, Garmin VP of aviation sales and marketing. “The GFC 600 combines our flight control capabilities with hardened smart servos specifically tailored to the demands of turbofan aircraft. With this upgrade, it is easier than ever for CJ owners and operators to get the most out of their aircraft.”
For Cessna CitationJet owners and operators, the GFC 600 digital autopilot will be installed as part of a complete package that requires single or dual G600 TXi 10.6” flight display(s), dual GTN or GTN Xi Series navigators, and a GI 275 electronic flight instrument configured as a standby flight instrument. With this installation, the system offers new operational capabilities and features including autopilot-coupled VNAV descents, automatic GPS-to-LOC switching during ILS/LOC approaches, fully coupled missed approaches and supports reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) operations, among other features. Further, the installation of the GFC 600 digital autopilot also removes the requirement to retain the power inverter driving the legacy autopilot, aiding in weight savings. Optional upgrades include a dedicated PFD controller, audio panel, ADS-B transponder, Iridium datalink, weather radar, datalink SiriusXM weather and Garmin Connext connectivity via the Flight Stream 510 wireless gateway.
To optimise selection and control of GFC 600 modes, a compact self-contained autopilot controller incorporates backlit keys and a bright, sunlight readable display that depicts autopilot status and mode selection. An intuitive built-in control wheel also provides convenient adjustment of aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed modes. The GFC 600 also features a dedicated level mode (LVL) button, an active safety-enhancing feature that gives the pilot a single touch autopilot-engage button to command the aircraft to roll wings level and pitch to a level attitude, if momentarily distracted or disoriented.
The GFC 600 offers environmentally hardened autopilot servos designed for harsh operating conditions. Its brushless DC motors offer improved performance and reduce maintenance requirements when compared to decades-old servo designs on the market today. In addition, these smart servos are optimised specifically for turbine operations by offering broader speed scheduling in addition to more torque to help better command and respond to control demands required of turbine aircraft.
As a standard feature, pilots receive Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) with the GFC 600 digital autopilot, which works to assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition. ESP functions independently of the autopilot and works in the background when the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft to help avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provides airspeed protection.
The GFC 600 digital autopilot for the Cessna CitationJet is available immediately through authorised Garmin dealers.