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Any interest in a GFC500 STC for a Robin DR400?

It probably does because dealing with the two certification authorities involves a lot of manpower, so normally you do one only and then use that to apply for the other. US firms normally go for the FAA (the big ones have large full time teams dedicated to this, and crucially have all the contacts) and then do EASA on the back of it, sometimes.

Also Garmin have their own in house approval authorisation for FAA STCs. See here.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Kev wrote:

No doubt the factory fit price will be ridiculous

Have you asked them directly?

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

An STEC 55X installation is normally around 30k, depending on detail. If you have to pay some share of a 30k STC on top of that, it could be another 10k because finding funding partners in this community is very hard. Actually it is hard in any European GA community; I have seen other STC funding attempts which all failed and they had a much better chance.

I am told by someone in this game that Robin are struggling to just make the planes. There is a long backlog of orders. They are making about one a week, and no two are the same size. Doors are custom fitted because all the airframes differ, etc. So their incentive to spend resources on certification for the existing fleet is perhaps minimal.

Factory fitted installs tend to be pricey no matter what it is. Socata were charging €48k+VAT for a G500+GNS430W in a TB20… They have also been selling an STC package to avionics shops, but I am informed that no more than single numbers have been sold.

I know this doesn’t help existing owners but the lesson in all this is to buy a plane with the really critical stuff already fitted.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Sorry for popping up this tread but I feel concern by it.
As most of you knows, DR400 are widely use in France. Most of them are owned by aeroclubs, few of them are private owned. They are use for VFR flight and mainly for scenic flights.
Purpose is to fly at interesting cost and it is why retrofits are not very demanded.
My case is a bit different; I own a DR360 and I love it because it is very flexible. I can do very nice scenic flights due to the nice windshield. I enjoy flying it because these planes are really enjoyable to fly. But I also travel. It cruises at 105kt with 4X77kg for PAX 15kg fo luggages, 155l of Avgas for only 30 l/H. It not a “real” travel plane but real travel planes are not enjoyable on Alpes Valleys or on very scenic places.
I m coming back from a trip to Greece with it, I enjoyed it a lot. And the idea of an autopilot for safety reason and also workload make sense.
I know you can think investing such money on a plane which is old can be stupid, but the first think I like in my plane is its configuration and caracteristics. I don’t want to change.
If something move around STC for Garmin GFC500, I will be interested in….

Globally speaking I think we can not compare a G500 retrofit and an AP installation. AP installation bring you something new. Glass Cockpit give you a better environment. In my opinion, using tablets with all kind of apps, AP can have more customers than glass cockpit… (and may be I say that because I like also my old-fashion clocks !).
Fly safe


@PPG I totally see where you are coming from with the DR360 it is a great aeroplane to just enjoy flying.I always get confused with the numbering, does the DR360 have the 160hp engine or is that the DR380. But I remember one of our club’s DR300 had the 160hp engine and plodded along happily, fully laden, at 120kts IAS.
But back to topic I too have been hoping that one day Garmin or another of the digital AP manufacturers will bring out STC’s for retrofitting all Robins but sad to say I am not holding my breath. I would like STC’s to fit more modern gnss equipment too. It would be great to be able to do PBN in an old Robin.

Last Edited by gallois at 21 Aug 09:52

This may be of interest.

The main issues seem to be:

  • lack of an FAA Type Certificate (for most Robins)
  • mission profile of the largest community not being a big IFR touring / money spending market
  • as a result, limited willingness of avionics shops (specifically EASA 21 companies) to take a risk – example
  • most Robins are in France and reaching them would require a local (French) agent to push the project, and how will he get paid? It would probably have to be an installer and be given exclusive rights for France, which a US company is unlikely to offer (sole agencies are illegal in the EU anyway).

Many previous threads. See “Threads possibly related to this one” below.

A few owners have tried to do major projects at major expense but still found problems – example.

The fleet is of a roughly similar size to the Socata TB fleet, say 2k, and the situation there is only slightly better, despite the TB having an FAA TC. There has been an ongoing attempt to do a GFC500 for the TBs and it has been taking years, with very few owners interested in participating. The “toy” autopilots (Trio and Trutrak) exist but don’t do pitch trim, or ILS.

I think the problem is that there are much bigger fleets out there e.g. Cessna Piper Mooney Beech etc and these have several times bigger numbers on which to recover a development/certification investment. And they are mostly in the US which is (a) easily reached and (b) the rest of the world watches it anyway.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@gallois Yes, DR360 is “Chevalier” model it is a DR300 with a O-320-DA engine, 160CV. 120kt is a bit high even if my 105kt is a bit pessimist as I use it for preparation. let’s say 110kt is the good one. I use it smoothly also.
DR380 is equipped with O-360 and consumption with. Advantage of 160CV is 6 liters less consumption for 10kt less and DR300 has better airspeed than DR400 with same power but of course less space inside the plane.

Thank you peter I agree with your analysis.

few days ago, I was speaking about that with my airworthiness inspector. When I say most of Avionic workshop don’t want to do it, he said it is possible to request for an individual STC., he has a bit different analysis:
Avionics are always invoicing at high rates (in comparison to mechanical) and they invoice paperwork at same rates.
Such modification cost is driven by
Equipment Cost
Installation Cost
Paperwork Cost
We are speaking of the last point, we can spare in two : EASA files costs and Paperwork preparation costs. I see on EASA website a doc with all fees but it is so boring to read that I have no idea between EASA fees and paperwork to be done. I saw also for ELA1 plane you needn’t oblige to be a DAO (design approved organization) you can do it thought a Certification Program.
In fact I know only few people want to share high cost for a STC but there is a lot of skills in GA community what can we save doing ourselves paperwork ?
Any idea ?


The problem is I just do not understand why if a piece of avionics equipment works, and is certified as such, it costs big money to write a certificate to say it can be used in such and such an aircraft, especially if there is no real safety reason why not.
I mean if someone built his own Jodel, stuffed a whole load of this equipment in it, and tested it and it worked safely, the owner could fly that aircraft. In some countries the pilot could even use all the equipment to the full in the experimental category. So it’s not the testing that costs the money.And we know what the equipment costs and the installation or at least we can find out.
That just leaves the great unknown the cost of the STC.What exactly does that consist of.
A design for installation, paperwork, testing to do things the owner may never want to do, more paperwork, a maintenance and future testing regime, more paperwork. And all this done by people who receive the same hourly rate as a top barrister. I can only assume that that is why companies as large as Garmin think it’s too expensive to get one for certain makes of aircraft:( And sadly many owners have been burned trying to get one and failing.:((


I agree, you just dream reading advertisment in magazines to understand how good are such equipment to improve your safety. You can install it in experimental or ultralight and US planes (STC exists)….
You can’t install new avionic and everybody is using an Ipad to do almost everything. Is there a plane flying without tablet ?
AP is a bit more tricky because of mechanic aspects of the device, I agree.


Peter wrote:

There has been an ongoing attempt to do a GFC500 for the TBs and it has been taking years, with very few owners interested in participating.

In my experience, Genesys will do an STC for the S-Tec 3100 if they have on the order of magnitude of 10 to 20 orders, with some group discount or extended warranty.

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