Garmin last night announced the world's first auto land system for general aviation aircraft.
The Autoland technology will soon be made available on select aircraft fitted with Garmin 3000 avionics and has already been confirmed for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet and Piper's M600 single-engined turbo-prop.
In the event of an emergency, the pilot or passengers can activate Autoland to land the aircraft. Once activated, the system calculates a flight plan to the most suitable airport, initiates an approach to the runway and automatically lands the aircraft.
The system takes into account several factors in identifying the most suitable airport including weather, fuel status, runway surface and length, terrain, obstacles and more. The availability of a GPS approach with lateral and vertical guidance is required when the system is considering airport and runway options. Autoland will communicate with ATC, advising controllers and pilots operating near the aircraft of its location and intentions.
“The vision and development of the world’s first Autoland system for general aviation was a natural progression for Garmin as we looked at our aircraft systems and existing autonomous technologies and recognized it is our responsibility to use these building blocks to deliver a technology that will change lives and revolutionize air travel,” said Phil Straub, Garmin executive vice president and managing director of aviation.
Garmin has integrated Autoland with Emergency Descent Mode (EDM) and Electronic Stability Protection (ESP) to form the Autonomi suite of avionics.
Piper Aircraft has included the Garmin Autoland as part of its HALO Safety System installed on the new M600 SLS.
"The M600 SLS and its HALOSafety System with Autoland is the result of an unwavering commitment to safety as well as the desire to evolve our products based on market input, said President and CEO, Simon Caldecott.
"The HALO System greatly enhances situational awareness and operational safety through the use of advanced technology and is one the most significant advancements in general aviation history. The team at Piper Aircraft is proud that they will be first to market with Garmin Autoland, which will ultimately help pave the way for others."
HALO includes Autoland, EDM, ESP and an autothrottle. The system will bring the aircraft to a complete stop on the runway, shut down the motor and instruct passengers on how to exit the aircraft.
Cirrus Aircraft will make Autoland available on future SF50 Vision G2 airframes as the Safe Return system, with the Autoland button positioned in the room within easy reach of the back-seat passengers. If a passenger inadvertantly activates the system, pilots can easily disengage it by pressing the autopilot disconnect on the control stick.
"Our mission is to make personal aviation more accessible by continuing to improve passenger comfort and safety,” said Zean Nielsen, Cirrus Aircraft Chief Executive Officer. “Safe Return delivers the next step towards autonomous flight, bringing a new level of confidence to the overall flying experience by providing the ultimate level of safety and control to passengers.
"Together, with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), we have once again set a new standard for safety in personal air travel."
Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO said yesterday's announcement was a milestone in general aviation history.
“Today, aviation is forever changed as we introduce one of the industry’s most significant innovations – the first Autoland system for general aviation aircraft,” he said. “The unveiling of Autoland demonstrates Garmin’s deep commitment to develop advanced technologies that enhance aviation safety and save lives.”
Autoland will be available on airframes once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certification.