Garmin Autoland/Autothrottle Retrofit Certification ‘Imminent’ On King Airs


Garmin announced today (July 19) that FAA retrofit certification of its Autoland and Autothrottle technology is “imminent” for Garmin G1000 NXi-equipped Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops. First in line for certification is the King Air 200 series, to be followed soon after by the larger 300-series aircraft. The upcoming certification calls to mind the 2009 incident where the pilot of a King Air 200 collapsed due to a medical condition (sadly, with fatal consequences), and a low-time single-engine pilot/passenger landed the twin successfully. With today’s announcement, a repeat of that scenario could have a much less stressful outcome.

Phil Straub, Garmin executive VP and managing director for aviation, said, “Bringing Garmin Autoland and Autothrottle to the Beechcraft King Air, and for the first time to the aftermarket, is a tremendous step toward transforming the general and business aviation fleet with safety-enhancing autonomous technologies.” Straub noted that the G1000 King Air retrofit program launched in 2007, initially on the King Air C90. “With now over 800 G1000 retrofits in the King Air fleet, we are pleased to provide these operators an upgrade path to Autoland and Autothrottle,” he said.

A necessity for the Autoland upgrade, the Garmin Autothrottle retrofit installation enables automatic engine control by way of the power levers. And in the case of an engine-out situation (especially dangerous on takeoff), Autothrottle assists in setting the failed engine’s power lever while safely manipulating power inputs on the operating engine.

Once activated by the push of a prominent button on the instrument panel, the award-winning Garmin Autoland system “calculates a flight path to the most suitable airport, initiates an approach to the runway and automatically lands the aircraft,” according to Garmin. “Throughout an Autoland activation, the system provides simple visual and verbal communications in plain language, so passengers have the information and know what to expect.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. It’s great to see this technology coming to legacy aircraft. Not just auto-land will be a big safety bump but auto-throttle will also as many fatal King Air accidents have been due to throttle mismanagement after power failures.