Avionics News November 2015 - 35
Garmin's RV-7A is equipped with a complete suite of G3X Touch components that are networked with a GTN 750.
When the G1000 introduced the primary flight displays and
integrated avionics system, homebuilders (including a cadre of
homebuilding Garmin employees) said "me, too, please!" So the
company adapted that technology for homebuilt aircraft whose
builders wanted G1000 "certified quality and capabilities," Hupe
said. Most of those adaptations are software related, allowing
installers to configure the G900X for specific experimental aircraft such as the Lancair IV and ES and Van's RV-10.
Building on the G900X, the cadre of homebuilding Garmin
employees kept going. Garmin branded the group's efforts as
Team X, and most of them are pilots. About half the pilots are
homebuilders, and their enthusiasm for amateur-built experimental aircraft is contagious. "That's how it happened to me," Hupe
said. "Working with them, I saw that building an airplane was
something I could do, too. Right now I don't have an airplane; I
have a garage full of aluminum that is becoming an RV-7."
Enumerating the team's size is difficult, added Koss. The
number of people who contribute to the research, design and
development of Garmin's experimental products depends on the
scope of the project. It grows even larger when counting "the significant contributions of aviation product support, manufacturing
and administration," without which no product would ever exist.
What separates the experimental products from the certified
are performance demonstrations required for Federal Aviation
Administration certification. The GPS 20A, a remote-mounted
ADS-B position source, is a good example of this, Hupe said.
The FAA said ADS-B position sources for experimental aircraft
must meet all the TSO performance requirements, for such
things as accuracy, integrity and latency, imposed on certified
units, but they don't have to demonstrate this capability through
In simple terms, the technology and experience Garmin develops and demonstrates for its certificated avionics is a leveraged
resource for its experimental products. Beyond the GPS 20A,
there is the full range of capabilities in the experimental products. Among them are synthetic vision, terrain, geo-referenced
FliteCharts, and angle of attack.
Earlier this year, Garmin announced the addition of electronic
stability protection to the G3X's integrated autopilot, a standard
capability. When combined with Garmin's GSA 28 smart servos,
ESP-X gives pilots a safety backup even when the autopilot is
not engaged. Guided by pitch, roll and airspeed limits entered
by the pilot, the G3X autopilot constantly monitors attitude and
airspeed, Hupe said. When the aircraft exceeds any of these
limits, it tells the appropriate brushless DC motor to "nudge" the
appropriate axis into compliance.
"If you're getting a bit slow, it will nudge the nose down, for
example," he said. The system works with increasing force as
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