Garmin Unveils ‘Smart Rudder Bias’ For Piston Twins

A yellow annunciator on a Garmin primary flight display identifies an inoperative engine.
Credit: Garmin International

Garmin on Dec. 15 announced upgrades to its GFC 600 autopilot that include a Smart Rudder Bias system designed to help the pilots of select piston twin-engine aircraft maintain control if one engine fails.

Available on GFC 600-equipped Beechcraft Baron and Piper Navajo piston twins, Smart Rudder Bias determines a one-engine inoperative (OEI) condition by comparing the power output between the two engines and detecting when the difference exceeds a predetermined threshold. It identifies which engine is affected and applies control force to the rudder to offset yaw tendencies from the loss of power and added drag.

Smart Rudder Bias continuously monitors engine parameters using engine indication system (EIS) data displayed on a Garmin G500 TXi or G600 TXi touchscreen configured as a primary flight display with EIS. A yellow annunciator on the display identifies the associated inoperative engine. A GFC 600 autopilot with yaw axis option must be installed.

The system also enhances Garmin Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) settings for an OEI condition, applying aileron inputs to correct for roll tendency caused by the inoperative engine, and elevator inputs to control pitch.

Smart Rudder Bias automatically engages when the aircraft reaches the manufacturer’s published minimum control speed, or VMC, during the takeoff roll, and can be deactivated with a panel-mounted switch once stable flight is re-established.

“With the introduction of Smart Rudder Bias technology, working together with the other Garmin systems onboard, pilots can react to an engine failure by quickly and accurately detecting the issue while simultaneously receiving automatic assistance applying the correct flight control input—providing an additional safety tool not seen before in twin-engine piston aircraft,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing.

Aircraft now certified with Smart Rudder Bias include the Beechcraft Baron 58 and 58A and the Piper PA-31-300, PA-31-310, PA-31-325, and PA-31-325CR. Additional certifications will follow, Garmin said. 

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, DC, Bill covers avionics, air traffic management and aviation safety for Aviation Week. A former daily newspaper reporter, he has covered the commercial, business and military aviation segments as well as unmanned aircraft systems. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2017, he worked for Aviation International News and Avionics and Rotor & Wing magazines.