Garmin introduces new avionics for experimental aircraft

Garmin International has introduced seven products for experimental and light-sport aircraft.

Garmin’s newAir Data Attitude Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) and new Engine Indication System (EIS) interface module enable a significant reduction in the G3X price, with systems starting at $4,375, company officials said.

In addition, Garmin has introduced new product options that bring enhanced capability to the G3X system (pictured above) including a fully integrated Garmin autopilot, an angle of attack probe and a remote mount ADS-B receiver.

“These new products are designed by our dedicated experimental engineering team, many of whom are pilots and homebuilders, and they have created the kind of smart, cost-friendly avionics that they want to have in their own aircraft,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing.

Garmin’s new integrated autopilot offers capabilities such as flight director cues, coupled approaches, coupled VNAV, automatic trim and more.

GSA 28 Servos[1][1]The GSA 28 “smart” autopilot servo (above) is a new design developed specifically for the experimental market, Garmin officials note. Weighing 1.4 pounds, it is more than 40% lighter than most experimental autopilot servos. A gear train with engagement clutch and ability to back drive the brushless DC motor provide multiple levels of protection without the need to use a shear pin. The engagement clutch also decouples the motor from the flight controls, which minimizes the friction the pilot will feel when the autopilot is off.

Each servo also provides a built-in interface to drive a customer-supplied trim servo. When the autopilot is off, the servo provides speed scheduling for the manual trim commands. When the autopilot is on, the servo automatically trims the aircraft to constantly keep it in trim. Plus, servo software updates are done over the CAN bus using the G3X SD card, eliminating the need to send the servo back to the manufacturer for updates.

GMC305_HR_074 copy[2][1]With the optional GMC 305 autopilot control panel (above), pilots gain a dedicated autopilot user interface, as well as additional autopilot functionality including airspeed hold, independent flight director, and optional yaw damper. A control wheel integrated into the GMC 305 makes for easier pitch, vertical speed and airspeed adjustments. Plus, for added safety, the panel’s advanced Level (LVL) mode button commands the autopilot to help restore the aircraft to straight and level flight. And because the servos interface directly with the ADAHRS, the GMC 305 control panel allows for standalone operation of the autopilot in the unlikely event of a display loss, company officials said.

A two-axis Garmin autopilot option for G3X is expected to be available in May for $1,500 (installation kit sold separately). The optional GMC 305 control panel can be added for $750.

Garmin has also introduced a new smaller ADAHRS unit. The GSU 25 ADAHRS (below) provides referencing of the aircraft position, rate, vector and acceleration data, while providing the flexibility to be mounted in any of 16 different vertical or horizontal positions. For enhanced system redundancy, G3X customers now have the option to install multiple ADAHRS units, or add one to their existing G3X installation.

GSU25_OF_006[1][2][1]The ADAHRS unit also supports new G3X features like optional Angle of Attack (AOA). The AOA system provides real-time measurement of wing performance to provide stall margin indication to the pilot both audibly and visually. The GAP 26 pitot/AOA probe is available in three versions: unheated, pilot-controllable heated or fully-regulated heated for protection against inflight icing.

The GSU 25 ADAHRS is expected to be available in April for $799. The optional AOA probe is expected to be available in April and can be added for $199 (unheated) or $299 (heated). The fully-regulated heated version is expected to be available in July for $449.

GEA24_OF_010[1][2][1]With Garmin’s introduction of the new GEA 24 stand-alone EIS interface module (above), homebuilders now have greater flexibility in the installation location, and the new design incorporates standard-density connecters for easier wiring, according to company officials. The GEA 24 enables aircraft-specific tailoring of instrumentation inputs for display of engine gauges, color bands, alerts, fuel, flaps, trim and other vital sensor data on the G3X. The GEA 24 interfaces with most popular engine models including the Rotax 912iS, and sensor kits (sold separately) are available for most popular engine configurations. The GEA 24 is expected to be available in April for $599.

Garmin has also introduced the GDL 39R remote mount ADS-B receiver for fixed installation in light-sport and experimental aircraft. The GDL 39R combines a dual-link ADS-B receiver and a GPS receiver into a single product that streams ADS-B traffic and subscription-free weather information to the G3X displays, select Garmin portables and mobile devices like the iPad. The GDL 39R is expected to be available in June for $799.

For IFR operation and advanced navigation capabilities, aircraft owners can use the new GAD 29 ARINC 429 adapter to interface up to two GTN or GNS navigators and/or a GTS 800 active traffic system to the G3X. The GAD 29 is expected to be available in July for $425.

The G3X system is modular and expandable, allowing existing G3X owners to bring new capabilities to their system by adding new features such as multiple ADAHRS, AOA, a GMC 305 autopilot control panel, or a complete Garmin integrated autopilot with GSA 28 auto-trim capable servos.

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  1. mike says

    I am considering a IFR, RV10. I will need to do a lot of price comparison before I spend this much on a panel. Seems kind of costly for experimental eqpt. .

  2. John Oliveira says

    It all sounds very cool, but a quick look at the prices suggests that Garmin is out of touch with the leading competition.

  3. Lee Ensminger says

    When are we going to allow some of this state-of-the-art equipment in our “certified” airplanes like my 1959 C-172?!? It doesn’t have much panel space and would benefit from something like this.

  4. John says

    Your prices above are listed wrong, The 2 axis auto pilot is 1500.00 but the GMC 305 is 750.00 the AOA probes are 199.00 299.00 and 499.00 repectively and the other prices are off by thousand of dollars.

  5. says

    I am definitely a gadget guy–I confess. There you have it…but unless one spends most of ones time in IMC, I am confused. Why? I like looking outside, besides it is safer that way. I like the convenience of an electronic moving map, and GPS, but an investment of some $12,000 in a panel for VFR, that buys lots of gas–even at $6 per gallon.

    I am flying in a congested area with 9 airports from which 5 are towered, all this in about 25 miles radius. CZBB near CYVR BC Canada, just in case you want to verify my claim. I have this little imaginary mark on my windshield, that once referenced against the horizon tells me my airspeed, the hum tells me the rpm of my engine, and the mountains are my “ground proximity warning.”

    There you have it. I could retire at lest three instruments out of my “six-pack” during day VFR. OK, they come handy at night, but I prefer to sleep at night–there is not much to see, so why burn expensive gas.

    • Steve Kane says

      I am a glider pilot. We have three instruments on the panel – altimeter, air speed indicator and variometer (Going up or going down?). Perhaps our most important instrument is a piece of yarn taped on the outside of the canopy. It is the “yaw string” to tell us if we are coordinated. Obviously, this would not work in a power plane because of the prop wash. Like you, we rely a lot on non-instrument inputs to fly the glider. Nevertheless, the new Garmin instruments may be helpful to those experimental or LSA pilots who do not have much space on the panel.

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