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Garmin Delivers High-Performance, All-Digital Radar Altimeter
By Shane Nolan

February 12, 2013 - Garmin announced the GRA 5500, a high-performance, all-digital radar altimeter for transport category, helicopter, business and general aviation aircraft.

Using patent-pending digital signal processing technology, the GRA 5500 works to provide smooth altitude tracking resulting in a consistent and highly accurate altitude above ground indication, even over the most challenging environments like rough terrain, tree canopies, sand and choppy water. 

“The GRA 5500 meets the highest altitude accuracy standards only previously seen in products for transport and military aircraft, providing pilots unprecedented confidence in their actual altitude,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing. 

Because of its all-digital design, the GRA 5500 is able to intelligently process hundreds of altitude measurements per second and apply advanced digital filters to help detect and mitigate false altitude returns.

In addition, the robust and rugged hardware is designed to withstand even the harshest environmental conditions, meeting the latest, more rigorous flight test standards recently issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Patent-pending technology in the GRA 5500 incorporates built-in self-test monitors that continuously cross check the data and system integrity, assuring the pilot of an accurate measurement of the height above ground.

This technology also provides for a simpler installation, with easy calibration, and eliminates the requirement for long lengths of antenna cables that are traditionally required in the installation of radar altimeters. An industry-standard ARINC 429 interface allows the GRA 5500 to integrate with a breadth of Garmin integrated flight decks and flight displays, as well as third-party products.


Compatible Garmin displays include the G1000®, G1000H, G2000, G3000, G5000, G5000H, G600, G500 and G500H. It can also integrate with existing systems to enhance NVIS operations and fulfill the radar altimeter requirements for Class A TAWS, CAT II ILS operations and TCAS II/ACAS II. The GRA 5500 is also compatible with Garmin’s new TCAS II/ACAS II solution.

A number of aircraft manufacturers have already selected the GRA 5500 as standard equipment on new aircraft including the Cessna Citation X, Citation Sovereign, Citation Latitude, Citation Longitude and the Bell Helicopter 525 Relentless. The GRA 5500 has received the FAA’s Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorization and is available immediately for $13,995 (antennae sold separately).

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