Garmin announced that it is developing a new stability augmentation system called Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (Garmin ESP) system, which is electronic monitoring and exceedance-correcting technology for the Garmin G1000 and G3000 integrated flight decks (the G900X package used in Lancairs and the Vans RV series is similar to the G1000). The ESP system will assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a safe, flight stable condition in certain situations to prevent the onset of stalls and spins, steep spirals or other loss-of-control conditions should the pilot become distracted, disoriented or incapacitated during flight.
Garmin ESP functions independently of the autopilot, and operates “in the background” whenever the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft. It gently nudges the controls back toward stable flight whenever pitch, roll or high-speed deviations exceed the recommended limits. Garmin ESP will then disengage when the aircraft returns to normal flight.
High- and low-airspeed protection will also be available with Garmin ESP while pilots are hand-flying the aircraft. If a Garmin ESP-equipped aircraft approaches the aircraft’s speed limits (VMO or VNE), ESP engages and applies force to the control yoke to increase the aircraft’s pitch attitude and prevent a further increase in airspeed. The system also has built-in parameters to prevent the aircraft from exceeding G-limit load factors upon pullout. In high-performance aircraft with angle of attack/lift sensors, ESP offers low airspeed or stall protection that reduces the probability of stalling the aircraft by providing a gentle pitch-down control force through the yoke when the aircraft’s wing approaches its critical angle of attack.
“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 vice president of marketing. “We are thrilled to be the first to make this safety enhancing technology available to business and general aviation pilots.”
Garmin ESP will be offered as an option on select aircraft. The implementation and functionality of the system will be determined by individual aircraft manufacturers. A retrofit G1000-equipped King Air 200 will be the first aircraft to receive Garmin ESP later this year, and the system will have an expected list price of $17,995. For more information, visit www.garmin.com.