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Garmin Optimizes GTN Series For Helicopter Operations
By Shane Nolan

March 4, 2013 - Garmin today announced new features and capabilities of the GTN series touchscreen GPS/NAV/COM that address the specific needs of helicopter operations.

Enhancements include environmental qualification meeting stringent helicopter vibration and temperature testing standards, optional Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatibility, optional built-in Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) and more. 

Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing said “We recognize that helicopter operations have unique requirements, and the optimized features of the GTN are designed specifically to serve those needs.

“While offering all of the same capabilities and benefits that have earned extensive praise for the GTN by fixed-wing operators over the last two years. The speed and ease of data entry and the rapid access to information enhance situational awareness and reduce workload in the helicopter cockpit so the pilot can keep focused on the mission at hand.”

The GTN series combines touchscreen data entry and integrated radio tuning with vivid display features, including detailed mapping and the option to display and control TAS/TCAS traffic, datalink weather, weather radar and more. The GTN also supports remote transponder and audio processor control, saving valuable panel space. Garmin’s GTX 32/33/33D remote transponders (sold separately) interface with the GTN so that pilots can control transponder functions from the GTN display. Optional Extended Squitter (ES) versions of the GTX 33/33D Mode S transponders are also available, which can support ADS-B Out.  

Garmin’s GMA 35 remote mount audio processor (sold separately) interfaces with the GTN 750 series and makes it possible for the GTN to control the helicopter’s audio and intercom functions, and offers an optional control panel configuration to accommodate the right-seated pilot. The GMA 35 also allows for workload-reducing technologies in the cockpit like Telligence™, a speech recognition feature that lets the pilot activate certain audio panel functions using voice commands.



The GTN series for helicopters incorporates three helicopter-specific databases including an obstacle database that adds nearly 30,000 additional low-altitude obstacles. A new terrain database has been enhanced to show up to 2.5 arc second terrain resolution, among the highest resolution terrain available in the industry. This high-resolution data improves terrain alerting by reducing nuisance alerts when operating at low levels. Finally, the helicopter navigation database lets operators navigate to over 7,000 additional heliports without having to create user waypoints at these locations. 

Built-in HTAWS is optionally available to provide operators with visual and audible alerts of potential terrain and obstacle conflicts along the flight path. Garmin HTAWS incorporates a high-resolution, five-color terrain scale (red, orange, yellow, green and black) and also gives voice callouts when descending below 500 feet. Voice callouts operate in all HTAWS modes, and Garmin’s technology allows the pilot to select multiple callouts, in one hundred foot intervals, descending from 500 to 100 feet Above Ground Level (AGL). There is also an optional radar altimeter input to bring even greater accuracy to those alerts. In addition, Garmin’s HTAWS offers a Reduced Protection (RP) mode that allows low-level operations with minimal alerting while continuing to provide terrain and obstacle protection. 

Because many helicopter missions require the use of night vision goggles, the GTN series is optionally available with NVG compatibility straight from the factory, reducing the need for aftermarket NVG modifications. To further help reduce pilot workload, the GTN supports the installation of remote switches on the cyclic or the collective allowing the pilot to create fly-over Mark on Target waypoints or remotely tune frequencies, all without letting go of the controls. The GTNs can also integrate with Garmin’s G500H™ flight display system for optimal situational awareness. The helicopter-specific optimizations for the GTN series have received the FAA’s Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorization, and deliveries are expected later this month starting at $10,935. Garmin is currently pursuing Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the installation of the GTN series in several popular helicopter models.

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