The cost-effective GFC 500 retrofit solution will provide pilots of today’s most popular certificated light piston aircraft an easy, low-cost-of-ownership, full-featured, solid-state and attitude-based digital autopilot with precise and smooth in-flight characteristics and built-in selfmonitoring capabilities.
Incorporating our crisp, easy-to-read 3.5” G5 electronic flight instrument1, a mode controller and 2 “smart” servos, the G500 pairs silky-smooth flight control with a wide range of safety-enhancing capabilities never before available as an aftermarket solution for this class of light aircraft. Advanced AHRS-based flight control technology developed by Garmin for high-end business turbine aircraft is leveraged in the GFC 500 to provide superior performance and a sophisticated feature set that includes our ESP™ (Electronic Stability and Protection) technology, underspeed and overspeed protection, automatic return-to-level (LVL) mode, flight director (FD) command cues and more.
The GFC 500 autopilot’s architecture supports full pitchand- roll axis control capabilities as well as optional pitch and manual electric trim with an additional servo. By adding an optional adapter, the GFC 500 will interface with the GTN™ 650/750 and GNS 430/530 (WAAS and non-WAAS) series navigators to fly a wide range of precision, nonprecision and GPS-guided approaches as well as holds, procedure turns and missed approaches. GFC 500 also includes built-in GPS roll steering capability, allowing for smoother navigation tracking and eliminating the need for external roll steering converters. Flight director cues are displayed as command bars on the G5 electronic flight instrument. The command bars are always in view when the autopilot is doing the flying — and may also be used for visual guidance when you’re hand-flying the aircraft. With support for a remotely installed Takeoff/Go-around (TOGA) button, the flight director can be cued to automatically indicate and capture the correct pitch attitude required to fly a missed approach and then follow the missed approach procedure loaded in your compatible GPS navigator.
Any pilot who’s ever been startled to attention by a stall warning horn in a busy cockpit will appreciate the proactive stability augmentation of ESP, standard on the GFC 500 system. When the aircraft is being hand-flown, ESP functions independently of the autopilot — although it uses the same control servos — to nudge the controls toward stable flight whenever pitch or roll deviations exceed the recommended limits or underspeed/overspeed conditions occur. In the event of pilot incapacitation, after the system detects that it has been activated for a specified period of time, the autopilot engages with the flight director in level mode, bringing the aircraft back to level flight and helping to avoid the onset of inadvertent stall/spins, steep spirals or other loss-of-control scenarios. Additionally, ESP can be manually disabled to allow for intentional flight maneuvers.
With the autopilot engaged, GFC 500 also provides overspeed and underspeed protection. In a high airspeed situation — for example, if you’re descending and your aircraft is approaching VNE or VMO — the system will increase the aircraft’s pitch attitude, preventing a further increase in airspeed and potential structural damage. Likewise, at the other end of the speed spectrum, GFC 500 provides underspeed (stall) protection. For example, in the event the pilot does not immediately advance the throttle to full power, with the autopilot engaged while flying a missed approach sequence, the autopilot will help prevent an aircraft stall by reducing pitch attitude and provide the pilot with an “airspeed, airspeed” audible alert.
In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC™ 500 also includes:
Backed by a comprehensive warranty and the industry’s No. 1-rated product support team, the Garmin GFC 500 autopilot system is a price and peace-of-mind breakthrough for pilots who want to add this valuable capability to their existing light piston GA aircraft.
Aircraft Models Currently FAA Approved for GFC 500 Installation:
Grumman (American General) AA-5 Series
GFC 500 Certification Programs Currently In-progress:
GFC 500 Certification Programs Planned to Begin in the Next 12-months:
1 Required. G5 sold separately.
*Certain serial numbers excluded, see authorized Garmin installation center for details