Garmin, Avidyne Let the Servos Do the Flying

 - July 27, 2010, 11:42 AM

Garmin announced yesterday at EAA AirVenture that its new electronic stability and protection (ESP) stability augmentation system will be available on G1000-equipped King Air 200s later this year. ESP is being developed for G1000 and G3000 systems and helps prevent stall and spin onset, steep spirals “or other loss-of-control situations should the pilot become distracted, disoriented or incapacitated during flight,” according to Garmin. It uses autopilot servos to “nudge” controls to bring the airplane back within normal pitch, bank and speed parameters, even when the autopilot is off. Pilots can overpower ESP or disable it using autopilot disconnect or CWS buttons. “All we’re doing is enhancing the natural stability of the aircraft,” said Ben Kowalski, Garmin's director of OEM sales. ESP will retail for $17,995. A few days before AirVenture opened, Avidyne announced that it received an FAA STC for its new flight envelope protection (FEP) system, part of its DFC90 digital flight control system. FEP works when the autopilot is on and calculates available lift and speed margin, according to Avidyne. Stalls are prevented by reducing bank and pitch “to maintain a 20-percent airspeed margin over stall speed, while visually and audibly annunciating the condition to the pilot.” FEP also helps prevent overspeeds.