Garmin has received FAA Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the GFC 500 autopilot in additional models of the Piper PA-28, PA-32, and select models of the Cessna 177.
Specific aircraft models now approved for the GFC 500 autopilot include:
- Piper PA-28, Models 235
- Piper PA-32, Models 301, 301T, 301FT, 301XTC
- Cessna 177, Models 177B, 177RG, F177RG
The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with the G5 electronic flight instrument or a combination of both the G5 and either a G3X Touch or G500 TXi flight display to provide pilots with an economical and modern autopilot solution, according to company officials.
The autopilot mode controller contains 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.
As a standard feature, pilots receive Garmin ESP with the GFC 500 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 to help pilots avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provide airspeed protection while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft, Garmin officials explain.
In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes:
- Altitude pre-select and indicated airspeed hold mode.
- Pilots can fly fully coupled descent Vertical Navigation (VNAV) profiles throughout the enroute and terminal phases of flight with a GTN 750/650 navigator.
- Pilots can select, couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches.
- 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.
- Underspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from stalling the aircraft.
- Overspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from exceeding aircraft maximum speed (VNE).
- 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 navigator.
For customers who already have a G5 electronic flight instrument, the GFC 500 starts at a suggested retail price of $6,995 for a 2-axis autopilot. The GFC 500 can be purchased with the G5 electronic flight instrument for a suggested retail price of less than $10,000. Installation not included.