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You Could Soon Hear an Autopilot Announcing its Intention to Land

Three aircraft have been certified with Emergency Autoland (EAL) systems in 2020: the Piper M600, the Daher TBM 940, and the Cirrus Vision Jet SF50. EAL systems can perform an emergency landing in the event of suspected pilot incapacitation. When these systems are activated, the autopilot will begin to announce its intentions on air traffic frequencies. ( More...

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bbabis 4
Good info to have. I hope I never hear it, because that would mean that a fellow aviator is in trouble. The limitations of the autoland system are small and constantly being mitigated. It sure beats the alternatives when an only/sole pilot is suddenly out of action.
lynx318 7
Does Elaine Dickinson need to inflate EAL before landing? (ref Flying High/Airport movie)
Ed Chapman 4
I think you mean “Airplane”.........
lynx318 2
We only knew it here in Oz as Flying High.....I plead ignorance...
Greg77FA 2
Pretty amazing and hope to see in more private airplane at...a much reduced cost. Wishful thinking, as these systems are expensive, but so are planes. Still, be very nice for family and others to know at least some backup in the plane. Next up, EAL that pulls a chute as well if the wings come off or whatever.
Seth Riklin 2
The Cirrus VisionJet already has a backup chute. If the plane starts flying in a potentially uncontrolled manner, EAL will take over and level the wings. It will then try to get a response from the pilot. If no response, EAL will land the plane. If the EAL finds the plane uncontrollable for whatever reason (including the wings coming off), the CAPS parachute will be deployed. If you are at 600 ft AGL, you and your passengers have a good chance of walking away.
Rico van Dijk 2
Good to know this exists. Thanks for sharing
linbb -5
So what model RC aircraft have had the ablity for several years using GPS?
max mobil 2
RC model aircraft had the ability to locate a suitable airport, change configuration extend landing gear and land there safely while announcing the procedure on the appropriate ATC frequency?
Didn't know that.
Adolfo Rosado 1
Short answer, yes.
Aaron Abel 1
No one is asking you to rely on the EAL system, that is why it is called emergency landing system. It is not meant for a normal landing procedure. But so far, it is a good shot which I beleive wiĺl continue developing over time but for now, I think it is a good alternative.
Yea, I do dig what you’re saying .
I’m just concerned about human complacency and reliance on an emergency system that may or may not work . Please check out the statistics for deployment of ballistic parachute systems for ultra lite A/C . Dreadful is the term !
But it’s a good start in the right direction, as long it’s not seen as a homing beacon for totally incompetent pilots . Just saying .
Tyler Cippen 1
Very Cool
Need to read the fine print on this system. e.g. If GPS coverage happens to be degraded for any number of reasons as per NOTAMS, then this system will just maintain straight and level flight.
You would think it could be coordinated to work with a number of systems and not just gps. I.E. it has a basic understanding of where it is, if gps fails revert back to basic dead reckoning with vor to vor navigation and then use ils approach to hit the runway. Yes it might be more technical to do and keeping the frequencies up to date but given planes live through redundancy this seems like a wise course of action. Given no gps at least as a backup this seems reasonable since the plane can’t make the decision yet where is safest to ditch.
linbb 1
I agree its stupid to rely on just one type of nav as at any time GPS during aproach or landing could go south leaving the AC to crash. Dont think it would be much harder to switch to normal nav aids.
Jasper Buck 7
I think that you'll find that "normal" navaids will sooner, than later, become a thing of the past.

It's all a part of the NextGen world which is the shift from ground-based to satellite-based technology. GPS satellites and the corresponding aircraft equipment are why we can transition from tracking aircraft using radar to Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) and provide a more accurate and precise way to fly from one place to another instead of using ground-based aids for Performance Based Navigation. Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) approaches take advantage of the refined accuracy of Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) lateral and vertical guidance to provide an approach very similar to a Category I Instrument Landing System (ILS). Like an ILS, an LPV has vertical guidance and is flown to a Decision Altitude (DA).

Basic GPS service lets users on or near the Earth's surface know where they are within 20 feet (or less) 95 percent of the time. For aircraft that use a satellite-based augmentation system, known as Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), their positions and altitude are accurate within 10 feet. Aircraft equipped with GPS/WAAS can fly shorter routes, and take off and land more safely and efficiently.

The Garmin "EMERGENCY" system uses RNAV(GPS) approach procedures at suitable (i.e. LPV/RNAV/GPS approach capable) airports within a 200 mile radius of the airplane. There are, at last count about 5000 RNAV (GPS) approaches in the U.S. In fact there are twice as many LVP approaches than there are those with a glide slope.

Here in my neck of the woods I practice LVP approaches using the St. Pete (PIS) RNAV(GPS) Rwy 18 and 36 approaches. Occasionally I'll meander on down to Naples (APF) and make a RNAV(GPS) Rwy 5/23 approach or two. Generally when my wife wants to go to her favorite Thai restaurant.

That said the handwriting is on the wall for the traditional ILS approach which has two antenna (the localizer at the far end of the runway and the glide slope which is third of the way down the runway.) Eventually ground based NAV systems will become a thing of the past. Years ago folks burned bonfires for approaching mail aircraft, then there was lighted beacon airways, big arrows and distance to an airport painted on top of barn roofs, Fan Markers (A and Z markers) Non Directional Beacons, then VORs. All that either did or will eventually disappear. The Garmin folks are simply developing technology that fits (or will fit) current (WAAS) technologies. The days of "shooting an approach" with an old Narco Mk III are almost over.

Much, much more on the FAA's website if you care to read it. Start here if you're interested


Capt J Buck

ATP DC-9 B757 B767
Flight Instructor
Ground Instructor
Aircraft Dispatcher
A&P Mechanic
Air Traffic Controller
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ret.)
FAA certified accident investigator (Ret.)
ICAO Panel Member
Aviation Safety Consultant
I agree mr. Buck. As a VisionJet type rated pilot, to say you would have a pilot incapacitation (extremely unlikely) AND a GPS integrity issue concurrently is infinitesimally small.

These are what the FAA calls “compound failures”. On my type ride, they could fail an ADC or AHRS, but they couldn’t fail both computers (AHRS 1 and 2 for instance) as the FAA says the likelyhood of compound failures is extremely low. We go over extreme system failures to exercise systems knowledge but they don’t flight test using such scenarios.
Jasper Buck 2
"...but they don’t flight test using such scenarios.."

That's right. The idea is to check the applicant to determine that he/she exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with airplane systems and their components and their normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures. All that stated in the FAA's Airline Transport Pilot and Type Rating for Airplane, FAA-S-ACS-11. That's located here:

The only emergency scenario I gave, per the ATP test guide, was a powerplant failure during takeoff (in a multiengine airplane certificated with V1, VR, and V2 speeds (in my case mostly the DC-9) with the failure of the most critical powerplant simulated at a point after V1 and prior to V2.

Multiple failures (e.g. powerplant, hydraulic, electrical, pressurization, etc.) were not something I did. Talk about it during the oral perhaps but not in the aircraft or simulator.

For those interested in the Garmin emergency autoland system and the Vision Jet here are links to a couple of You Tube videos.

Cirrus Vision Jet G2 Flight Trial

Vision Jet: Safe Return™ Emergency Autoland


Capt J Buck
Seth Riklin 1
Totally agree that risk of compound failures are extremely low. However, the VisionJet has a backup system with its CAPS (Complete Aircraft Parachute System) that will backup the EAL system. Safest turbine currently manufactured.
It's a dangerous notion to just rely on GPS / RNAV without scanning NOTAMS and having no fall back to other Nav Aids, especially if an emergency just happens in airspace that does not have the facilities nearby.
Jasper Buck 1

I believe that the Garmin system already receives all current Notices to Airmen as well as TAFs and METARs, etc.

patrick baker 1
your comments are most welcome, because of your experience, documented authentic experience. When i read you, i then know more than i did before . thanks.... I will miss having to make the localizer and glide slope bars behave. Instrument ticket was among the most valuable, most difficult test i ever had, and the most gratifying. Actual instrument approaches are exhilerating.....
Jasper Buck 0
I don 'think you have to worry about that, The localizer and glide slope needles/bars will be with for a time to come. Don't forget the recent experience requirements of FAR 61.57.

I agree with you that the instrument rating is a valuable one and one that I would encourage a new private pilot to get first vice a multi rating.

That is exactly right - as part of your relevant subscriptions. That's why I'm confused why the new EAL system doesn't make any good use of it !
patrick baker -4
this could be helpful in how many flights out of the hundreds of thousands of lights yearly? Don't get your hopes up much. Kinda like the fairytale garmin auto-land system, of which i clearly think little.


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