Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today
announced it has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
approval of the retrofit GFC™
500 autopilot for fixed-wing general aviation aircraft in
Europe. Delivering superior performance and in-flight precision, as well
as self-monitoring capabilities, the GFC 500 incorporates a number of
safety-enhancing technologies, including Electronic Stability and
Protection (ESP™), underspeed protection, overspeed protection, Level
Mode, Flight Director (FD) and more. The GFC 500 also offers aircraft
owners with a simple, light-weight and cost-effective autopilot upgrade
path and a lower cost of long-term ownership. Intended for less complex
piston single-engine aircraft, the GFC 500 is available immediately and
approved for installation in hundreds of aircraft throughout Europe.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:
GFC 500 autopilot in a Cessna 172 (Photo: Business Wire)
“As we work alongside EASA, we are excited to bring this popular,
game-changing autopilot to thousands of aircraft in Europe,” said Carl
Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “This STC
is representative of EASA’s commitment to improving overall safety in
general aviation, which permits modern avionics and autopilot upgrades
that boast superior features and capabilities compared to older
generation equipment in aircraft today.”
Designed to be paired with the popular G5 electronic flight instrument,
the GFC 500 autopilot uniquely integrates with the G5 to provide pilots
with an economical autopilot and modern flight instrument. The autopilot
mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel
that allows for easy adjustments to aircraft pitch, airspeed and
vertical speed and a level button that returns the aircraft to
straight-and-level flight. G5 also provides the display and input of
altitude preselect, heading, vertical speed target, airspeed target and
Flight Director (FD) command bars.
“Through a well-established relationship and a combined pioneering
vision, we are grateful for EASA’s commitment to improving safety in
general aviation through a progressive approach to implement simpler,
scalable regulations that allow aircraft owners to more easily install
modern avionics in their aircraft,” said Robert Murray, Garmin director
of aircraft certification. “Without the willingness of EASA to accept
alternate means of compliance for fielded single-engine piston aircraft,
safety enhancing technology like the GFC 500 autopilot would not be
possible at a cost-effective price.”
When the GFC 500 is paired with a compatible navigator, pilots receive
the capability to fly fully coupled instrument approach procedures,
including Localizer Performance with Vertical (LPV) approaches. Vertical
navigation (VNAV) also allows pilots to generate vertical descent
profiles by setting altitude constraints in a flight plan. An optional
adapter allows the GFC 500 and G5 to interface with select Garmin GPS or
VHF navigators. The GFC 500 is also compatible with the G500 TXi and
G500 flight displays.
The GFC 500 incorporates solid state attitude and robust self-monitoring
capabilities, providing superior autopilot performance, greater
reliability and safety tools that are similar to the popular GFC 700
autopilot. A brushless DC motor and a gear train also eliminates the
need for a mechanical slip clutch, further reducing maintenance
requirements when compared to decades-old servo designs on the market
today. Minimal maintenance needs, particularly compared to older
generation autopilot systems, also lowers the overall cost of ownership
of the GFC 500 autopilot.
As standard, the GFC 500 comes with Garmin ESP, which functions
independently of the autopilot and works in the background to help
pilots avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provides
airspeed protection1 while the pilot is hand-flying the
aircraft. Should the pilot become inattentive and exceed pre-determined
pitch, roll or airspeed limitations, ESP provides gentle nudges on the
flight controls to lessen the aircraft’s pitch attitude or bank angle.
The correcting force becomes stronger if the aircraft pitch, bank or
airspeed exceedance grows further away from the preset limits. In the
event the pilot becomes incapacitated and the system detects ESP has
been activated for an extended period of time, the autopilot engages
with the Flight Director in Level Mode, bringing the aircraft to level
flight until the pilot commands otherwise. For maneuvering flight, ESP
can be disabled manually.
In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold,
vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes:
Premium functions and advanced capabilities such as altitude
pre-select, indicated airspeed hold mode and VNAV when appropriately
Pilots can select, couple and fly various instrument approaches,
including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches2.
Built-in GPS roll steering capability eliminates the need for external
roll steering converters, allowing for smoother navigation tracking
when installed with a compatible navigator.
Level Mode button, which automatically engages the autopilot to
restore the aircraft to straight and level flight.
Underspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from stalling the
Overspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from exceeding aircraft
maximum speed (VNE).
With the addition of an optional yaw servo, Yaw Damping (YD) mode
minimizes yawing oscillations while also helping to maintain
coordinated flight by keeping the slip/skid indicator centered.
- Flight Director command bars can be displayed on the G5
Pilots can fly coupled ‘go-arounds’ during missed approach sequencing.
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 the new GPS 175/GNX 375 navigators.
An optional pitch-trim servo adds automatic trim and manual electric
For customers who already have a G5 electronic flight instrument, the
GFC 500 starts at a suggested price of $6,995 USD for a 2-axis autopilot
for the Cessna 172 (installation extra; pricing for other aircraft
models may vary). The GFC 500 can be purchased with the G5 electronic
flight instrument for a suggested price of less than $10,000 USD.
Aircraft approved today include select models of the Beechcraft Bonanza,
Cessna 172/182/210, Grumman AA-5, Mooney M20 and the PA 28. To view the
most up-to-date aircraft STC list, to view certifications that are
expected to begin in the next 12-months, or to express interest in a
specific aircraft make/model, please visit: www.garmin.com/GFC500.
Garmin’s aviation business segment is a leading provider of solutions to
OEM, aftermarket, military and government customers. Garmin’s portfolio
includes navigation, communication, flight control, hazard avoidance, an
expansive suite of ADS-B solutions and other products and services that
are known for innovation, reliability, and value. For more information
about Garmin’s full line of avionics, go to www.garmin.com/aviation.
For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless
devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active
lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary markets, including automotive,
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visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom,
contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin,
1. Low speed ESP requires a compatible Garmin GPS navigator.
2. GFC 500 requires a GTN/GNS navigator or GNC 255/SL 30 for
navigation and approach functions.
Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN).
Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal
subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United
Kingdom. Garmin is a registered trademark and GTN, GFC and ESP are
trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.
All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service
marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
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and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current
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a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting
Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2018, filed
by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file
number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at www.garmin.com/aboutGarmin/invRelations/finReports.html.
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