Daher, on Wednesday, became the third owner-flown turbine aircraft maker to announce that it would equip one of its models with Garmin’s revolutionary Autoland capability, which it calls HomeSafe. Last year, Piper announced its M600 turboprop single would feature Garmin’s autoland, which it implements as Halo, a suite of safety features. And shortly after that, Cirrus Aircraft announced its implementation, called Safe Return, in its SF50 Vision Jet.
Daher expects to earn certification for its HomeSafe-equipped TBM 940 by this summer.
Autoland does just as the name says and more. When activated either automatically or by a passenger after the pilot has become incapacitated, Autoland will aviate, navigate and communicate, in that order. It keeps the plane out of harm’s way, picking the nearest suitable airport to land at, configuring the plane for landing and performing the landing. It will then bring the plane to a full stop on the runway and shut down the engine, all while communicating the nature of the emergency to ATC.
Last year, Plane & Pilot was among the first to fly with Autoland, and I had the chance to fly the Piper M600 SLS with it. It was a short flight, one in which I logged no time. After takeoff, we activated the Autoland utility, and the system did the rest while we sat back and watched the magic happen.
While it’s a game-changer, not every new model will be a good candidate for Autoland, in part because it requires a fairly sizable and costly hardware investment, including adding the capability for the system to control power, flaps, and gear, not to mention the flight control.
Daher is not the first to market with Autoland, but its fielding of it is a first. It will be the only company so far to offer Autoland as a retrofit option. That upgrade will be available to owners of some late-model, Garmin G3000-equipped TBM aircraft.
During the web conference, the company announced that it was expecting deliveries to be down this year, though not because of customer demand but due to production slowdowns in its plant in France, The company, which also owns the Sandpoint, Idaho,-based Kodiak utility turboprop single, says Kodiak production remains on schedule.