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Garmin Receives FAA STC Approval for GFC 600 Digital Autopilot for King Air F90 Aircraft


Garmin Receives FAA STC Approval for GFC 600 Digital Autopilot for King Air F90 Aircraft

Garmin announced this week it has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the GFC 600 digital autopilot in Beechcraft King Air F90 aircraft.

The GFC 600 autopilot system is optimized for turbine aircraft to reduce workload and provides features such as Vertical Navigation (VNAV), automatic Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) switching when paired with a GTN Series navigator, enhanced go-around capabilities including missed approach sequencing, etc.

The GFC certification for King Air F90 grants an autopilot upgrade with superior integration potential with G600 and G600 Txi flight displays, the GI 275 electronic flight instrument, as well as the GTN and GTN Xi Series of navigators. 

Self-contained, the autopilot controller features backlit keys, a bright, sunlight readable display, and a built-in control wheel for adjustment of aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed modes. When selected, the level button will automatically return the aircraft to straight-and-level flight. 

Additionally, the autopilot servos contain brushless DC motors which offer improved performance and reduced maintenance requirements vs. older servo designs. The servos also offer more torque to assist pilots with the response requirements of turbine aircraft.

Standard mark-width (6.25-inch) design of the GFC 600 mode controller ensures the autopilot controller allows for routine installation into the aircraft’s avionics stack. In King Air F90 aircraft, GFC 600 requires a G600 TXi or G600 flight display.

F-90 in flight

In addition to those mentioned above, Garmin provided the following features list:

  • Premium functions and advanced capabilities such as altitude pre-select2 and indicated airspeed hold mode.
  • Ability to 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 and allows for smoother navigation tracking when installed with a compatible navigator.
  • Level Mode button, which automatically engages the autopilot to restore the aircraft to straight and level flight.
  • Underspeed and overspeed protection.
  • Yaw Damping (YD) mode minimizes yawing oscillations while also helping to maintain coordinated flight.
  • Flight Director command bars can be displayed on a flight display such as the G600 and G600 TXi.
  • Coupled ‘go-arounds’ for pilots to fly 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 or GTN 650Xi/750Xi navigator.
  • Included pitch-trim servo adds automatic trim and improved manual electric trim.
  • Control wheel steering is available, which allows the pilot to adjust pitch, roll, altitude hold, vertical speed or airspeed references using the control yoke while the autopilot is engaged.

The GFC600 Digital Autopilot (Image: Garmin)

A standard feature also included with the GFC 600 is Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) to assist pilots in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition. It works independently of the autopilot in the background to help avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provides airspeed protection while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft.

The approval of the GFC 600 will have the King Air F90 receiving Low Bank Mode to automatically lower the autopilot roll limit at higher altitudes. A separate switch may also be used by the pilot to activate/deactivate Low Bank Mode at any altitude. 

Finally, the GFC 600-equipped King Air F90 aircraft will feature Emergency Descent Mode (EDM). In the event an aircraft loses cabin pressurization, EDM is capable of automatically descending the aircraft to a preset altitude without pilot intervention to help avert hypoxic situations.

The GFC 600 digital autopilot for the Beechcraft King Air F90 will be available in early September through select Garmin authorized dealers. For more info concerning the GFC 600 visit here. Garmin's aviation website is www.garmin.com/aviation.

Garmin has also produced an in-depth video breaking down the GFC 600's capabilities:

Author: Scott Cooper, Communications Specialist

Info/Imagery: Garmin