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Garmin expands offerings in autopilot, device-charging, and app lines

Garmin has received FAA approval of supplemental type certificates authorizing use of the GFC 500 autopilot in additional aircraft models including select Socata TB20 and TB21 single-engine aircraft, Garmin said.

The GFC 500 autopilot is intended for light piston aircraft and offers self-monitoring capabilities and less maintenance required than older generation autopilot systems. It can integrate with the GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument and a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument interfaced to a G500 TXi flight display or a G3X Touch flight display can provide pilots an economical and modern autopilot solution.

“The full-featured GFC 500 autopilot provides a long list of existing general aviation aircraft with a simple, lightweight, cost-effective autopilot upgrade path,” Garmin said, noting that a standard feature is Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), which “works to assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition.” ESP functions in the background independently of the autopilot while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft and when necessary “nudges” the pilot to return the aircraft to a safer flight attitude.

An updated list of aircraft STCs approved for the GFC 500 autopilots, including approvals expected soon, can be viewed on the Garmin website.

Garmin also announced the availability of new models of the GSB 15, “a powerful USB charger designed for a wide range of aircraft,” now available with 27-watt USB-C charging ports.

“While maintaining the same compact and lightweight design, the new GSB 15 models include two USB ports that support up to 27W of power output per port simultaneously, allowing pilots and passengers to charge most mobile devices while they are using them,” Garmin said. The announcement noted other enhancements including dimmable halo lighting around each port, and new USB power delivery technology.

“With USB Type-C models and new USB Power Delivery technology that is designed to provide optimized power output, pilots and passengers can truly get the most out of their devices,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “The combination of a sleek design and options for rear and side power input connectors” makes  the unit “an ideal charging solution for every cockpit or cabin,” Garmin said.

The GSB 15 is priced at $399 for either the dual USB-C variant or for a combination USB Type-C and USB Type-A variant. Installation is not included. Garmin said it planned to showcase the GSB 15 at the Garmin exhibit during the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo April 13 to 18, in Lakeland, Florida. For additional information, visit the Garmin website.

Garmin also announced new enhancements of the Garmin Pilot app for iPad or iPhone mobile devices, including capability for users in the United States and Canada to generate a graphical weather briefing from Leidos Flight Service. They can also review graphical navaid notams that inform the pilot of navaid service limitations. For subscribers in Europe, new airspace and notam filtering options and a VFR trip briefing were among other enhancements.

The latest Garmin Pilot release for iOS mobile devices (version 10.4) is available immediately. For new customers, Garmin Pilot is available in the Apple App Store as a free download for the first 30 days. After the trial period, an annual subscription of Garmin Pilot may be purchased starting at $79.99, Garmin said.

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