Will GFC-500 work with Aspen?

I currently have a S-Tec 50 autopilot in my 182P that doesn't work very well. I'm considering replacing it with another A/P and one option is the Garmin GFC-500, I thought. I have an Aspen 1000 Pro EFIS and a Garmin GTN 750. Speaking to one of the local shops I was told that autopilot will not work with my Aspen 1000 Pro. I know Garmin is trying to force their customers to stay with their line of avionics but didn't realize they are this successful at it. Does anyone know if that is correct? My other options are TruTrak, Trio and the S-Tec 3100. The first two would probably be cheaper then Garmin or S-Tec but also less capable.

Comments

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    I have an stec 55x. Nicest a/p I've ever had. It works perfectly with my aspen and avidyne 540.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • The "Heart" of the GFC 500 is the G5 ADI. It is the position sensor and the GFC cannot function without it. At this time, the interface is unique to the GFC 500. Even Garmin's new GI 275 is not compatible with the GFC 500 at this time. Frankly, the S-TEC System 50 is a good light IFR autopilot and likely with a little maintenance is probably the best place to spend your money. The Trio ($9500) and Bendix King ($8500) are light IFR, GPS based autopilots and more than enough for light IFR pilots who don't fly anywhere near approaches to minimums. More serious flying and the 3100 and GFC 500 make sense @ $23,000 but you need to have a long term plan for the aircraft to justify that expenditure. Short term plan ... fix the System 50.

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Roger that, Bob. I concur.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited April 1

    Bob Hart,

    My STec 50 has been worked on multiple times. It banks as much as necessary to make small course changes but more than a few degrees of course change and it overshoots dramatically. A full GPS approach, even at slow speed, brings course overshoots of almost a mile. GPSS computations don't take this into account. Following the course on any approach produces S turns down final that put me at least a 200'-400' off centerline at minimums. Plus the altitude hold has constant pitch oscillations. Those have been improved but not eliminated. And it only has altitude hold, no vertical guidance.

    Ultimately I will not throw anymore money at it. It's acceptable for enroute use with small course changes and so so altitude hold. I'll hand fly approaches and maybe get a Bendix/TruTrak in the future.

    Thanks

  • I have a Trio Pro Pilot and an Avidyne IFD550 in my 172. It virtually lands my airplane. But I'm supposed to not use it below 500'. My mechanic has a Trio also, he loves it too.

  • Most of my clients who are Light IFR, don't want to go anywhere near approaches with ceilings much lower than 500 feet, many want to see 1000 ft AGL. If that is you, the TRIO Pro Pilot or BK AeroCruze is all you need. I think the AeroCruze says disconnect at 700'. Trio is at 500' but both manufacturers expect that this will be lowered in the future.

  • Installed a trio autopilot in my C182P last October along with a new Garmin Gnc355, Absolutely love it, although is is operationally limited to 500’ agl by regs at this time. It will fly the gps vertical quidance to the runway. Also does vs, and altitude preselect, along with course offset tracks. At least in my plane after getting used to it, it works better than expected. Also customer service with trio was great when I needed to fine tune it.

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Good to know, thanks so much for sharing. :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • My avionics installer has a short answer to the Aspen coupled to a GFC500. No

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Right. Either G5's with the GFC-500 or an Aspen with an Stec autopilot. I have the latter and it's flawless.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • The GFC-500 has come down from it’s original a lot. Having one installed right now (G-5s already in my panel) for not quite $14K.
  • Hi Chuck, you're suggesting that the price of the GFC 500 has come down? Sorry, but I think your budget just got bigger! The GFC 500 price has not changed from the introduction.

  • All of those autopilots work well. However, the place Garmin has them all beat is in the Human Factors. The ops of the GFC 500 is dirt simple. No punch a button "x" times to get "y" mode. The control panel is laid out intuitively and the G5 interface with heading bug, Alt Sel, Vs command, etc is simple and logical. I've flown the other APs and I find myself getting into a mode I did not want way to often, either do to hitting a button the wrong number of times or poor control panel layout. I know we all say, "Just learn the sytem". But, when it doesn't require many gray cells to work the systes, the more of my limited gray cells I have left to keep any eye on other things in the bird. I am a semi-retired test pilot who has certificated autopilots in ultra-long range biz jets. Garmin has taken what industry has learned from very expensive a/c and back fed it into the light aircraft arena. I have the GFC 500 in my 180K and it flies comparable to what top-of-the-line equipment does in the Global jets I flew professionally for many years. I had to swallow real hard to spend the $s, but looking back I have absolutely no regrets.

  • Agree on the GFC review. I have flown the TruTrak and the GFC500. GFC far superior.

  • I had the GFC 500 installed at Bragg Avionics in Jacksonville, FL in my R172K in February with the 3rd added servo for trim/pitch control. Total with install was $11,270.
  • That's a good deal but you already obviously had the G5's installed.

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