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First turbofan certification for GFC 600 digital autopilot


May 17, 2021
Wings Staff

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The Garmin GFC 600 features a dedicated level mode (LVL) button as an active safety-enhancing feature. (Photo: Garmin)

Garmin International Inc. on May 13 announced it received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate approval for the GFC 600 digital autopilot in select Cessna CitationJet 525 models, including aircraft with serial numbers 0001-0359. This STC approval excludes models equipped with G1000.

Garmin notes this is the first jet certification for the GFC 600 digital autopilot, which provides capabilities like autopilot-coupled Vertical Navigation (VNAV) descent, auto Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) switching, automatic GPS-to-LOC switching during ILS/LOC approaches, and fully coupled go-around capability.

“The GFC 600 combines our state-of-the-art flight control capabilities with hardened smart servos specifically tailored to the demands of turbofan aircraft,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “With this upgrade, it is easier than ever for CJ owners and operators to get the most out of their aircraft.”

For Cessna CitationJet owners and operators, the GFC 600 digital autopilot will be installed as part of a complete package that requires single or dual G600 TXi 10.6-inch flight display(s), dual GTN or GTN Xi Series navigators, and a GI 275 electronic flight instrument configured as a standby flight instrument.

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Installation of the GFC 600 digital autopilot, according to Garmin, also removes the requirement to retain the power inverter driving the legacy autopilot, aiding in weight savings. Optional upgrades include a dedicated PFD controller, audio panel, ADS-B transponder, Iridium datalink, weather radar, datalink SiriusXM weather, and Garmin Connext connectivity via the Flight Stream 510 wireless gateway.

Garmin explains, to optimize selection and control of GFC 600 modes, a compact self-contained autopilot controller incorporates backlit keys and a bright, sunlight readable display that depicts autopilot status and mode selection. A built-in control wheel also provides for adjustment of aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed modes.

The GFC 600 also features a dedicated level mode (LVL) button, an active safety-enhancing feature that gives the pilot a single touch autopilot-engage button to command the aircraft to roll wings level and pitch to a level attitude, if momentarily distracted or disoriented.