Page 6 - Dec19T
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Position Report
by Dianne White
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                                 On Oct. 30, 2019, Garmin stunned the aviation industry with the announcement of Autoland, an autonomous technology that lands an aircraft without any human
intervention. The revelation may result in a major reset in the expected standard for safety equipment in future general aviation aircraft.
In late August, prior to the public announcement, I sat down with Phil Straub, Garmin’s executive vice president and managing director of aviation, to discuss how the technology came about and why this may be the most important development the company has ever brought to market.
T&T: Why was this such an important project for Garmin to undertake?
Straub: It became a calling for us. When you hear about those accidents where the airplane is perfectly operational, but the pilot is possibly incapacitated, it is such a helpless feeling. There have been a couple in the last few years and those sealed the deal for me. We can make a difference here, and I view it as our obligation to make a difference.
T&T: What was the certification process like considering how many areas of flight operations that Autoland touches?
Straub: This isn’t just about certifying a single airplane. Autoland crosses over into the flight standards side through the human factors aspects and air traffic control side because we are broadcasting in the blind and squawking an emergency code. Thus, we were coordinating three branches of the FAA. It was a big certification undertaking and required monumental coordination. In addition, the Boeing 737 Max issue has taken up FAA resources, and that has a trickle-down effect to the rest of the industry.
T&T: It’s easy for companies that dominate a specific market to become complacent and cease to innovate. What is Garmin’s long-term strategy to push the technology envelope and stay out in front?
Straub: The story I like to tell is that Gary Burrell and Min Kao (Garmin’s founders) saw an opportunity, which led them to found the company back in 1989. Although they had a few
4 • TWIN & TURBINE / December 2019
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