I have been pinging Garmin every 6 months or so about an autopilot for Commanders. Max is the point man for this program. This was his most recent response and he had a question at the end of his letter.
The Twin Commanders have not risen very far up our autopilot priority list.
We are still working on aircraft families such as the remaining King Airs, 400 series twin Cessna’s and the Piper Cheyenne / Navajo Chieftain’s.
There are two things that currently prevent the Commanders from moving up higher in our list. First off – there are readily available retrofit autopilots that can be installed in these aircraft and Garmin does not benefit from any first mover advantage. Next, the sheer number of Twin Commander variants would likely prevent us from getting coverage of the entire fleet with one program. This extends the duration and increases the costs of investing in this family.
If I use the Twin Cessna’s as an example. We have so far done 6 separate efforts to cover the 310R, 340, 414A, 421C, 425 and 441. We still have at least 3 effort to go to cover the 421B, straight 414 and the 310P/Q. Then we have to figure out what to do with the older 310s and aircraft such as the 402 and 404.
I guess this is a longwinded way of saying – the twin Commander is still on my list, but we are still working through some of the “bread and butter” aircraft on our list and not ready to consider this aircraft just yet.
I do have a question for you – how much desire is there in the twin commander community to have a Garmin TXi EIS solution? What 3rd party glass engine instrumentation solutions are out there for this model?