• Garmin Smart Glide displayed on the avionics of a G36 Bonanza. (Garmin)
    Garmin Smart Glide displayed on the avionics of a G36 Bonanza. (Garmin)

Garmin this week announced the release of new software designed to assist a pilot execute a forced landing.

Called Smart Glide, the system interacts with compatible avionics and an autopilot to relieve pilot work load after engine failure in a single-engined aeroplane.

Smart Glide assists the pilot by recommending a suitable airport estimated to be within glide range and provides information and select avionics settings to reduce work load. When paired with a compatible Garmin autopilot, Smart Glide can automatically engage the autopilot and pitch for the aircraft’s best glide speed while navigating to a selected airport, where the pilot can execute the landing.

“Garmin continues to provide pilots with safety-enhancing tools through our Autonomí family of technologies that help simplify emergencies to reduce the workload required during these task-saturated and stressful situations,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing.

“We are so proud to continue to help make aviation safer with the introduction of Smart Glide, a monumental safety enhancement available to the thousands of fielded aircraft already equipped with the compatible Garmin avionics by automating tasks in an engine power loss emergency to help the pilot manage the situation safely.”

Smart Glide can be activated by pushing a dedicated button or holding the Direct-To button on compatible avionics for two seconds. The system the identifies the best airport within gliding distance and creates a direct route. Information such as terrain, runway information and weather are collected from the avionics to establish the destination airport.

The system then engages the autopilot to fly the route and reduces the aircraft to best glide speed.

If no airport is within gliding distance, the pilot will received aural and visual alerts.

In certified aircraft, Smart Glide will become available with a GTN Xi navigator paired with a compatible Garmin flight display including the G500/G600 TXi, GI 275 electronic flight instrument, G3X Touch or G5 electronic flight instrument. It is expected other systems will be added with further development.

Smart Glide is currently compatible Garmin GFC 500 or GFC 600 autopilts. For aircraft without a compatible Garmin autopilot, the system will still provide critical information and features to help manage engine emergencies. Experimental aircraft with G3X Touch and a G3X autopilot can also enable Smart Glide technology.

Garmin says the new system will be available next month as a free software upgrade for compatible Garmin avionics.

More information is on the Garmin website.

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