Garmin Unveils The GFC 600H Helicopter Flight Control System
Garmin is pleased to announce the GFC 600H flight control system for helicopter owners and operators — a breakthrough in cost-effective technology that reduces pilot workload, improves mission effectiveness, and can enhance safety. This attitude-based (AHRS-derived) flight control system boasts many helicopter-tailored features, including a stability augmentation system (SAS), dedicated return-to-level (LVL) mode, Helicopter Electronic Stability and Protection (Garmin H-ESP™), hover assist as well as overspeed and low speed protection. GFC 600H can operate as a full-featured standalone flight control system, but also offers integration with compatible flight displays, including Garmin’s G500H and G500H TXi flight displays, instruments and navigation sources.
With its advanced AHRS technology and redundant, cross-checking sensors, GFC 600H was designed for smooth handling. GFC 600H includes SAS that provides inputs to help stabilize the helicopter while hand-flying. The corrections provided by SAS serve to improve the helicopter’s basic handling characteristics by maintaining a commanded attitude. Designed with the pilot in mind, its cyclic-mounted trim controls allow for seamless interactions without taking a hand off the helicopter flight controls during basic operations, including system initialization of the SAS in attitude mode, adjustments of the pitch and roll trim, and much more. While flying with SAS, the pilot can easily “fly through” the flight control inputs for smooth maneuvers beyond the preset trim condition.
The flight director can be displayed on an optional G500H or G500H TXi flight display to help guide the pilot’s hand-flown inputs toward the desired flight path, including heading, altitude, vertical speed and airspeed modes. For enroute and approach navigation, the system uses guidance from a compatible Garmin navigator, such as the GTN™ 750/650 series, to automatically fly approaches and search and rescue patterns. Additional vertical and lateral modes include altitude hold, altitude select, vertical speed, indicated airspeed and heading select.
Thanks to the hover assist mode, the system will also automatically detect a hover condition and provide flight control inputs to help maintain position over the ground. When equipped with the available yaw axis control, GFC 600H will also hold heading in hover.
As a standard feature, Garmin H-ESP helps the pilot remain within an appropriate envelope when hand-flying the helicopter. Should the pilot exceed predetermined pitch, roll or airspeed limitations, H-ESP provides a corrective force on the flight controls proportionate to the exceedance. H-ESP works in all modes — even when the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft with the system not engaged — and can be manually disabled to allow for maneuvering flight as needed. In potentially disorienting situations, GFC 600H features a dedicated LVL mode that can be engaged by the pilot to automatically initiate recovery from unusual attitudes and return the aircraft to straight-and-level flight, helping to avoid a potential loss-of-control scenario.
GFC 600H features a stack-width 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. Integrated “smart” servos provide pitch and roll inputs as commanded by the system, and the available third servo and collective sensor provide yaw axis control capability and smooth flight control adjustments when the pilot moves the collective. Digitally controlled, high-torque servos allow for faster, crisper, more powerful response, which enables GFC 600H to perform with smooth efficiency and advanced capability.
With its extensive features and advanced technology, GFC 600H will offer unprecedented value in a flight control system for helicopters. Initial FAA Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the Airbus AS350 B2/B3 is expected in fourth quarter 2018. GFC 600H includes a two-year warranty, which is supported by Garmin’s award-winning avionics product support team.
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