Garmin Hand-Flying Backup

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Garmin has introduced redundancy for the pilot with its Electronic Stability and Protections System (ESP) that keeps hand-flying pilots from getting into trouble. The system operates when the GFC 700 autopilot has been disengaged. It operates in the background and if the pilot becomes distracted or incapacitated the system uses the autopilot servos and sensors to detect and correct unsafe flight conditions. It will also prevent overstressing the airframe during pullouts. After it senses things are back to normal it goes back into the background. "Until today, this type of stability augmentation system has only been available on fly-by-wire aircraft that cost millions of dollars," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's vice president of marketing. "We're thrilled to be the first to make this safety enhancing technology available to business and general aviation pilots."

The system will sell for about $18,000 and the first will go into a King Air later this year. It will be available as an option on Garmin G1000 and G3000 systems installed in some aircraft. It will be up to manufacturers to decide how it works and what features are used in their aircraft.