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Garmin GFC 500 autopilot approved for more aircraft models

Rockwell Commander 112/112A, early Cessna 172, 175s now eligible

Garmin announced FAA supplemental type certificate approval for its GFC 500 autopilot for certain Rockwell Commander and (Textron Aviation) Cessna models, including its first STC approval for Cessna 175 models.

Photo courtesy of Garmin International Inc.

The GFC 500 has a listed retail price starting at $8,395, and was recently FAA-approved for installation in an extensive and still-growing roster of general aviation, light piston aircraft.

Designed to create an affordable digital autopilot retrofit option for legacy aircraft, the GFC 500 incorporates “solid state attitude with robust self-monitoring capabilities,” and enables modern functions such as altitude preselect, VNAV, and underspeed and overspeed protection. The digital autopilot is now available to retrofit in Rockwell Commander 112 and 112A models, as well as Cessna 172A, 172B, 172C, 175A, 175B, and 175C models, adding to the many previous approvals.

The GFC 500 also has traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, and vertical speed and heading modes. It is designed to integrate with Garmin's GI 275 and G5 electronic flight instruments interfaced with G500 TXi or G3X Touch flight displays. The GFC 500 allows pilots to couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC, and back course approaches.

Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) comes standard on the GFC 500. ESP works independently of the autopilot and helps pilots maintain the aircraft in stable flight conditions when hand-flying the aircraft to avoid unwanted flight attitudes and bank angles by “nudging the pilot to return the aircraft to a safe flight attitude.”

Niki Britton
eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.

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