Garmin has received FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for the GFC 500 autopilot in some Piper PA-24 Comanche aircraft, including:
- PA-24-260C (does not include PA-24-260C turbocharged models).
The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with the 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, according to Garmin officials.
The autopilot mode controller contains dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for 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 button.
In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities, such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes altitude preselect, VNA, underspeed and overspeed protection, and more, according to company officials.
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 officials explain.
Garmin continues to add additional aircraft models to the STC list for the GFC 500 autopilots. To view the most up-to-date aircraft STC list and certifications that are expected to begin in the next 12 months, or to express interest in a specific aircraft make or model, go to Garmin.com/GFC500.