Anyone interested in a Garmin GFC500 autopilot in a Robin DR400 (linked to the already-approved G5) if there was an EASA STC available?
May be ! Obviously dependent on cost and the extra weight ……….. call me and we can have a chat about it.
We are just in the process of buying two G5’s for our DR400 and the prospect of fitting a GFC500 after putting these in sounds fab. Any idea of the cost including installation?
After a bit of a delay the two G5’s should be fitted in the DR400 this week. Does anyone know if it’s remotely possible if a GFC500 EASA STC will eventually be issued for installation in the Robin?
I very much doubt if you could find anyone to write a GFC 500 for the DR400 simply because most of the owners in the UK are so tight that getting them to invest in an oil filter gasket at a 50 hour check requires weeks of negotiation.
The EASA validation of the existing Part 23 AML STC is still months away, so there’s no chance yet of creating something for the Robin, even if a launch customer was available. With significant changes in our organisation, we sadly won’t be the ones to do it.
I have only had the aircraft just over 12 months and with my co owner it’s been repainted, seats recovered, 2 new trig ty96 radios, 2 G5’s, mode S transponder , new audio panel, all being fitted so I hope we don’t fall into the category of tight Robin owners!
I don’t profess to know what the procedure is for getting it approved or what the financial implications are but if you have any information I would be interested to look at it?
Does someone not have to volunteer their aircraft for testing, which carries the caveat it may be grounded for months, in order for Garmin to get the STC on another type? I sent in the email for the type we have but was wondering who is brave enough to volunteer for the this…
“Interested in loaning your aircraft for our autopilot certification efforts?
Garmin is working to expand GFC™ 500 and GFC 600 availability to a wide range of aircraft models. To do this, we undertake a certification program for each aircraft model we certify. This involves the design, installation and flight testing of the autopilot in the aircraft, and we are constantly looking for aircraft to use in these efforts. If you are interested in allowing us to use your aircraft in a certification program, please let us know.
NOTE: This may involve you being without your aircraft for an extended period of time
most of the owners in the UK are so tight that getting them to invest in an oil filter gasket at a 50 hour check requires weeks of negotiation.
A number of avionics shops have discovered this… there is usually a lot of interest in some STC but when it comes to paying money, it nearly always collapses. There is rarely money in doing STCs for airframes which are worth a few tens of k and where nearly the entire fleet is used for short range VFR. I say “nearly” intentionally as there are exceptions. It is also evidently difficult to get an avionics manufacturer to stick with the project, once they realise there isn’t a huge potential.
This may involve you being without your aircraft for an extended period of time
I wonder why this is. For example, in the US, testing of uncertified avionics involves putting the plane on the Experimental regime (a specific version IIRC, limited to avionics testing) and you keep it during that time. With AP testing, Garmin would need to do a number of flight tests but these could be knocked off within a week. Basically you need to do control loop performance checking all the way around the loading envelope, and you need to measure up the airframe to draw up the metalwork for the servo mounting brackets etc.
The interest in STCs of such kind is high, but the willingness to really buy one still low, indeed. Only part of the game is price, even for the two small players on the low budget size it is tough to get customers. Yes, we talk on airframes in the value range below 100k and even spending the 10k on the low side is often too much for the budget. Does anybody here have real world numbers of a GFC500 installation total cost? How does that compare to the average value of a DR400 frame and how many of them are a target market? I wonder whether there is economical sense to do the STC for DR400, given Garmins trend to big money planes? A lot of effort for little money ain’t sound good.