Garmin's GFC 600 is now available for the Cessna 208B. Photo courtesy of Garmin
Garmin autopilots are available for more Cessna aircraft in the wake of supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals by the FAA. The GFC 600 has been approved for use with the cargo pod-equipped version of the Cessna 208B, and the GFC 500 has been approved on Cessna 210 models K, L, M and N as well as the turbocharged versions of those models.
The G500 is intended to integrate with Garmin's G5 electronic flight instrument and, optionally, one of the versions of the G500 flight display and any of multiple wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) or non-WAAS navigators. It is an upgrade specifically targeted to single-engine piston aircraft, Garmin said, compared to the GFC 600, which is for high-performance piston single or twin-engine and turbine aircraft. While the GFC 600 can integrate with flight displays and navigators, it is designed as a stand-alone autopilot, unlike the 500; that is reflected in the starting MSRP of approximately $20,000 rather than $7,000.
The GFC 500 and 600 have a similar feature set. Both offer traditional attitude hold and vertical speed and heading modes as well as various instrument approach options, including instrument landing system; very high-frequency, omnidirectional range; GPS, localizer and back-course approaches when paired with a compatible GPS navigator.
Both autopilots also feature under- and over-speed protection, vertical navigation, altitude presets and Garmin's electronic stability protection, which acts independently of the autopilot engages to "nudge the controls toward stable flight whenever pitch or roll deviations exceed the recommended limits," according to the company.
To date, the GFC 600 is available for various Beechcraft Baron and Bonanza and Cessna 182 and 340 models. The company said that certification is in progress on the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B and 414A with additional STC programs slated to begin within the next year on additional Cessna platforms as well as the Piper PA-46 and Socata TBM.
The GFC 500 is currently certified for many Beechcraft Bonanza models, the Cessna 172 and 182, Piper PA-28 and Grumman AA-55 series aircraft. The Cessna 210 and Mooney M20 will be among the next two platforms to receive certification for the GFC 500 with later efforts to begin for a host of additional Cessna, Mooney and Piper aircraft, according to Garmin.