Cessna C172R, N377ES, recently received the first Garmin GFC 500 Autopilot installation in the Sporty’s fleet bringing sophisticated levels of automation including Garmin ESP, speed protection, automatic level mode, vertical navigation (VNAV) mode, and more.
Driven by the Garmin G5 and GTN650 interface, the GFC 500 provides smooth altitude roundouts and course intercepts and will fly a wide range of precision, nonprecision and GPS approaches as well as holds, procedure turns, missed approaches and more.
Flight director cues are displayed as command bars on the G5 and may also be used for visual guidance when you’re hand-flying. The “go-around” button, installed just above the throttle, will cue the correct pitch attitude required to fly a go around or missed approach and will even execute a missed approach procedure if loaded.
A control wheel integrated into the GFC 500 mode controller allows for easy and precise pitch, vertical speed and airspeed adjustments, while separate knobs allow quick twist control of heading and altitude. For added safety, a dedicated LVL button on the controller lets you command the autopilot to automatically return your aircraft to straight-and-level flight.
The included Garmin ESP technology functions independently of the autopilot to nudge the controls toward stable flight whenever pitch or roll deviations exceed the recommended limits or underspeed/overspeed conditions occur. If ESP is engaged for an extended period of time, the autopilot will engage with the flight director in level mode, bringing the aircraft back to level flight.
Before flying the new Garmin GFC 500 in 377ES, pilots should review these training resources (also available on the 377ES information page):
For an instructor-led checkout, contact us at Fly@SportysAcademy.com.