Video tip: how to fly with the Garmin GFC 500 Autopilot


When learning to fly, the majority of the time in the airplane will be spent learning how to use the controls and mastering the flight maneuvers required for the checkride. Many training airplanes also include an autopilot in the panel, but it’s not something you’ll use much during primary training.

After the checkride, though, there’s a real benefit in learning how to incorporate the autopilot into your flying. It’ll reduce fatigue on longer trips, and you’ll find it’s an integral part of instrument training should you decide to expand your skills and add an instrument rating.

This week’s tip takes a look at the basic features of Garmin’s popular GFC 500 autopilot, including how to turn it on and use airspeed, vertical speed, altitude and heading modes.

The video clip below is from Sporty’s 2021 Instrument Rating Course

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Bret is vice president and senior flight instructor for Sporty's Academy. In addition to Bret's teaching responsibilities, Bret leads Sporty's video production and app development team and serves as editor of the popular iPad Pilot News online journal. As an airline transport pilot, Bret is a senior captain in Sporty's corporate flight department.