Garmin expects to certify the GFC 600H flight control system for the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X in the first half of next year, the Olathe, Kansas-based avionics manufacturer announced today. The attitude-based system will have several helicopter-tailored features, including attitude hold, Garmin Helicopter Electronic Stability and Protection (H-ESP), dedicated return-to-level mode, hover assist, and over-speed and low-speed protection. Following STC approval, the GFC 600H will be available through select Garmin dealers as a retrofit installation.
According to Garmin v-p of aviation sales and marketing Carl Wolf, “The GFC 600H combines our expertise in safety-minded technology for helicopters with our flight control experience to deliver a system that essentially affords the pilot the option to fly hands-off, which would be unheard of without an autopilot.”
The GFC 600H includes AHRS technology and redundant, cross-checking sensors to support smooth handling throughout the flight envelope, Garmin said. It features a console-mounted mode controller with push-button controls that interface with the Garmin integrated flight deck on the Bell 505. Using navigation information from the integrated flight deck, the GFC 600H can also be used to automatically fly approaches, provide en route navigation guidance, and search-and-rescue patterns.
Additional autopilot modes include altitude hold, altitude select, vertical speed, indicated airspeed, and heading select. The GFC 600H on the Bell 505 will also be night vision goggle compatible.