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Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. has announced that the GFC 600H flight control system has received supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for installation on the Bell 505 helicopter, providing a cost-effective flight control solution that reduces pilot workload and improves mission effectiveness. The GFC 600H provides a number of helicopter-tailored safety features, including attitude hold with speed stability, the innovative hover assist mode, Garmin Helicopter Electronic Stability and Protection (H-ESP), dedicated return-to-level (LVL) mode, as well as overspeed and low-speed protection, and more. “The GFC 600H provides a highly capable and advanced flight control solution while aiding to reduce inflight workload to the many Bell 505 owners and operators,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “We are proud to build on Garmin’s proven flight control capabilities and safety-minded aviation technologies with the state-of-the-art GFC 600H and its fly-through technology to better assist pilots in conducting their important missions.”
“The Garmin autopilot provides a significant pilot workload reduction during every phase of flight, including hover,” said Yann Lavalee, Bell senior test pilot. “Not only does the autopilot fly the helicopter smoothly, it also includes advanced safety features like automatic altitude leveling airspeed and low G protection. The GFC 600H integration with the advanced G1000H and G1000H NXi avionics system offers ease of operation and precise navigation.”
The GFC 600H features a console-mounted mode controller with push-button controls and a night vision goggle (NVG) compatible display. Its robust architecture allows for both 2-axis and 3-axis configurations to provide the features and handling characteristics needed for a helicopter. Integrated smart servos provide pitch and roll inputs as commanded by the system, and the collective sensor and the optionally available third servo provide yaw axis control capability, including a new yaw trim feature, to provide smooth flight control adjustments when the pilot moves the collective. Digitally controlled, high-performance servos allow for faster, crisper, more powerful response, which enables the GFC 600H to perform with smooth efficiency and advanced capability.
Thanks to the innovative hover assist mode, the system can also automatically detect a hover condition and all for flight control inputs to help maintain position over the ground. In addition, when equipped with the optional yaw axis control, the GFC 600H can hold heading in hover. With the GFC 600H, aircraft navigation works in conjunction with the G1000H or G1000H NXi integrated flight deck and uses navigation information to automatically fly approaches, provide enroute navigation guidance, fully coupled missed approach procedures including holds, as well as search and rescue patterns.