Garmin International has received FAA supplemental type certification (STC) for the GFC 500 autopilot in additional aircraft to include Piper Twin Comanche PA-30/39 models as well as select Robertson STOL-equipped Cessna 206 models. The GFC 500 autopilot is intended for light piston aircraft while delivering superior in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance requirements when compared to older generation autopilot systems.
New Piper aircraft models now approved for the GFC 500 autopilot include the Twin Comanche PA-30 models B1 & C1 and PA-391.
The GFC 500 autopilot uniquely integrates with: Garmin's GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments; a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument interfaced to a G500 TXi flight display; or a G3X Touch flight display to provide pilots with an economical and modern autopilot solution. The autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for easy adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed, and a Level Mode (LVL) that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight with the push of a dedicated button. In addition, the GFC 500 allows appropriately-equipped aircraft to take advantage of Smart Glide, a tremendous safety tool that helps pilots in an engine power loss emergency by automating tasks and helping to reduce pilot workload.
The full-featured GFC 500 autopilot provides a long list of existing general aviation aircraft with a simple, lightweight, cost-effective autopilot upgrade path. Incorporating solid state attitude with robust self-monitoring capabilities, the GFC 500 provides superior autopilot performance, greater reliability and invaluable safety tools that are similar to those featured on the popular GFC 700 autopilot. In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities, such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes altitude preselect, VNAV3, underspeed and overspeed protection and more. Pilots can also select, couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches when paired with a compatible Garmin GPS navigator.
As a standard feature of the GFC 500, pilots receive Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), 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 while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft to help avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles by nudging the pilot to return the aircraft back to a safe flight attitude.
Garmin continues to add additional aircraft models to the growing STC list for the GFC 500 autopilot.