When we flew the Piper M600 SLS with Garmin at its Olathe, Kansas, flight test center last year, we were blown away not only by Garmin and Piper’s implementation of the technology but by its potential to influence the future of aviation, especially GA. The one big question we had was, would the FAA sign off on it?
We got that answer this week, when Piper announced that it had earned FAA approval for autoland, as part of its Halo system for its flagship M600 SLS turboprop single.
Autoland, as you have likely read here in Plane & Pilot, is a brand-new technology that Garmin has developed as part of its Autonomi safety system. When activated automatically by the compromised pilot or—in case of total pilot incapacitation—by a passenger, Autoland will take control of the plane, find the nearest, best airport, announce its intentions to ATC, configure the plane for the arrival, approach and landing, and lower the flaps and gear while adjusting power as necessary. It will then land, brake and bring the plane to a complete stop and shut down the engine, all while briefing the passengers on what’s happening and what they need to be doing. Our assessment? It’s a mind-bogglingly complex system that has been implemented brilliantly.
Now that Piper has FAA certification in hand, Autoland is available immediately on the M600 SLS. For more information, read our flight report on the system in the M600 and check out Piper’s video about the new system.