Garmin has added an upgrade—Smart Rudder Bias—to GFC 600 autopilots installed as retrofits in Beechcraft Baron 58 and 58A models, as well as a number of Piper Navajos. The feature is part of Garmin’s family of Autonomi automated flight technologies, which also includes Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and Autoland.
Intended for use in piston twins, Smart Rudder Bias works in the background and automatically applies corrective rudder forces in engine-out situations. The system is approved for certain Beechcraft Barons and Piper PA–31 Navajos equipped with Garmin’s G500 TXi or G600 TXi primary flight displays, as well as Garmin’s GFC 600 digital autopilot with the yaw axis option. Aircraft without the yaw axis option can install a yaw servo to make the automatic rudder correction operable.
Initially certified for Smart Rudder Bias are the Baron 58 and 58A, and the Piper PA–31-300, PA–31-310, PA–31-325, and PA–31-325-CR Navajos. Garmin says future certifications will follow.
The system automatically arms as the airplane reaches its published minimum control airspeed with an inoperative engine (VMC) during the takeoff run. After that, the system monitors the engine indication system and activates when it detects a predetermined power differential between the engines. Using the autopilot servos, rudder force dynamically adjusts to help the pilot manage the sideslip caused by the power imbalance. A yellow annunciator identifies the inoperative engine, as do annunciations on the G500 TXi or G600 TXi.
An enhanced, modified version of Garmin’s ESP envelope-protection software also kicks in during engine-out situations. ESP operates independently of the autopilot, preventing excessive roll tendencies and raising the wing with the inoperative engine. In addition, ESP’s underspeed protection nudges the airplane’s nose downward at a safe margin above VMC, preserving airspeed and preventing a loss of control.
For training situations where practicing engine-out procedures is a priority, a switch is provided to turn off Smart Rudder Bias.
Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing, said, “With the introduction of Smart Rudder Bias technology, working together with the other Garmin systems onboard, pilots can react to an engine failure by quickly and accurately detecting the issue while simultaneously receiving automatic assistance applying the correct flight control input—providing an additional safety tool not seen before in twin-engine piston aircraft.”