Every pilot stepping into the cockpit is aware of their emergency procedures. While the likelihood of the ICON A5’s Rotax 912iS powerplant losing power is rare, knowing what to do should an emergency occur is paramount. And with the latest release from Garmin, ICON A5 pilots with the G3X Touch avionics have an additional layer of security.
For those who may not be aware, the Garmin 9.13 software update on the G3X Touch allows ICON A5 pilots access to Smart Glide. Smart Glide is an innovative feature that automates tasks and reduces pilot workload in engine power loss emergencies. With this free upgrade, pilots can have additional peace of mind when encountering the very rare, but often feared scenario, of an engine out.
How Does Smart Glide Operate?
When paired with the G3X Touch autopilot, Smart Glide:
- Recommends a suitable airport estimated to be within glide range. This estimation is based on the capabilities of the A5, configured during aircraft production
- Physically navigates the aircraft to the runway numbers, utilizing the autopilot
- An audible alert indicates Smart Glide is activated, confirming when an airport is selected (there is no audible indication as to the name of the airport)
- 121.5 is selected as the emergency frequency in the standby radio channel
- ICON programs the Smart Glide for best glide speed during production—Garmin does not read the ICON’s AoA data.
- Given this and as a stall precaution, ICON programs the Smart Glide to have a minimum speed of 55 KIAS
- If the aircraft is not within glide distance to an airport Smart Glide will not display and can not be activated in the ICON A5
Please note, Smart Glide does not include autoland—Smart Glide will guide the aircraft to the runway, but it will not land the aircraft.
How To Initiate Smart Glide in the ICON A5?
In the event of engine power loss in flight, pilots can activate Smart Glide through their G3X Display (an optional dedicated Smart Glide button is not currently available in the ICON A5). By holding the Direct-to button for two seconds, the Smart Glide system is initiated. Once activated, Smart Glide recommends an airport estimated to be within glide range and automatically creates a direct-to route.
Smart Glide considers several factors when choosing the recommended airport within glide range including runway length and condition including proximity, terrain, and weather conditions (automatically avoiding IFR conditions requires a separate weather subscription).
How to Update to Smart Glide on the ICON A5
While ICON does not recommend Smart Glide as a replacement to practicing good aeronautical decision making or staying current on your procedures, we do advise pilots to update their avionics and become familiar with the system.
Please consult the installation manual of the Garmin G3X Touch for any questions regarding performing software updates.
If you have any further questions or are interested in upgrading to the G3X Touch on your ICON A5, please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org