Yesterday at EAA AirVenture 2010, Garmin
introduced a new stability augmentation system for incorporation into
its G1000 and G3000 integrated flight decks to help prevent a pilot from
losing control of the airplane.
Garmin calls the system its electronic
stability and protection system (ESP) and said the new capability will
prevent the onset of stalls and spins, steep spirals and other
loss-of-control conditions should the pilot become distracted,
disoriented or incapacitated during flight.
“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’s vice president
“We’re thrilled to be the first to
make this safety enhancing technology available to business and general
The Garmin G1000 and G3000 systems are so
fully integrated into the aircraft that Garmin realized it could add the
ESP capability, which continuously tracks the airplane’s attitude,
airspeed, G-loading and other parameters. While ESP is new and
sophisticated technology, it actually builds on safety systems that came
For example, the Learjet 20 and 30 models
all have stick pushers that move the elevator to prevent an approaching
stall. They also have a stick puller that raises the nose to prevent an
overspeed. These are very basic “on-off” systems, but ESP is a smart
safety system that can move the ailerons and elevator to recover from
unusual attitudes, not just prevent stalls or overspeeds.
If, for whatever reason, the airplane
approaches a risky attitude or airspeed, ESP automatically begins to
move the controls to correct the situation.
For example, if the airplane banks beyond
45 degrees, ESP will return the attitude to a more normal 30 degrees. It
also will control the pitch attitude and airspeed. The pilot will feel
the controls moving in the proper direction for recovery, but if for
some reason he wants to maintain that unusual attitude, he can choose to
simply overpower the ESP or disengage it.
If the airplane is slowing toward stall,
ESP will lower the nose. It also will raise the nose if airspeed nears
the limit—even when the autopilot is not engaged.
Most importantly, ESP will not overpower
a pilot, and he or she can uncouple it at any time.
Until it’s disengaged, however, ESP
will manipulate flight controls to recover the airplane to a normal
attitude and speed.
Garmin said it is doing initial
development work in the Beech King Air 200 equipped with the G1000
system and expects to certify it later this year. In a related
announcement, Cirrus said all of its piston singles equipped with Garmin’s
Perspective avionics system will also have ESP once it is certified.