Garmin International last week announced a revolution in general aviation - the first Garmin Autoland system. In the event of an emergency, Autoland will control and land the aircraft without human intervention.
The pilot or passengers can activate autoland to land the aircraft with a simple press of a dedicated button. Autoland can also activate automatically if the system determines it’s necessary.
During an Autoland activation, the system takes into account a breadth of information and criteria. Factors taken into consideration when identifying the most suitable airport include weather, fuel on board, runway surface and length, terrain, obstacles and more. The availability of a GPS approach with lateral and vertical guidance to the runway is also required when the system is considering various airports and runways. Even further, the system will automatically communicate with air traffic control (ATC), advising controllers and pilots operating near the aircraft of its location and its intentions. Throughout an autoland activation, the system provides simple visual and verbal communications in plain-language so passengers in the aircraft know what to expect. Passengers also have the option to communicate with ATC by following instructions on the display using the touchscreen interface on the flight deck. At any time, a pilot can easily deactivate an autoland activation. Piper Aircraft’s M600 turboprop and Cirrus Aircraft’s Vision Jet are to feature this new automatic landing capability in a first for general aviation aircraft.