Sweden’s Heart Aerospace has selected Garmin to supply the G3000 avionics suite for its in-development ES-19 electric regional aircraft.
Avionics components to outfit the initial ES-19 ground-test rig have already begun arriving at the start-up’s Save airport base near Gothenburg, says chief technical officer Nigel Pippard.
The two companies are now working together to support the joint definition phase of the programme, which is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2022, ahead of the preliminary design review milestone later in the year.
Pippard says the G3000 flightdeck was selected due to its maturity and compact size. “The capability you get for the weight, volume and power is an almost unbeatable solution in the market,” he says, pointing to his familiarity with the system through his work on the G3000-equipped Honda Aircraft HA-420 HondaJet.
“There are a lot of very exciting avionics systems out there, it’s just that Garmin is very impressive in the way they run their business; they are also very selective about the start-ups they work with,” adds Anders Forslund, Heart’s founder and chief executive.
Heart intends to offer customers a comprehensive baseline avionics configuration, with options for all weather operation capability including Cat II ILS and LPV approaches, and RNP functionality.
“It has all the capabilities you would find on a system that is 10 times the price,” says Pippard.
Additional upgrade options will be available, including synthetic vision and in the future, an enhanced vision system through a head-up display will be evaluated.
The aircraft is designed and will be certificated to be flown by a single pilot, however air transport regulations require it to be operated by two pilots. Should those rules change in the future, the ES-19 could easily be adapted. “We are not closing the door on single-pilot operations,” says Forslund.
That could include the future evaluation of Garmin’s Autoland system, which passengers can activate in case of pilot incapacitation.
Displays will be the standard G3000 layout of three large and two smaller screens, says Pippard. Most of the information shown will also be familiar to pilots, with the chief difference the “simplified” data presented for the electric motors, “because you do not need all the pressures and temperatures that go along with a gas turbine”.
Additionally, flightcrew will need to be shown the amount of energy remaining in the batteries rather than fuel in the tanks, he says.
Initial development and integration work will be carried out using the G3000’s standard software; customisation for the ES-19 will only take place at the end of the joint definition phase, says Pippard.
Despite its strong presence in business aviation, Garmin has yet to challenge Honeywell or Collins Aerospace on larger commercial aircraft. Its first foray into air transport is with the G5000 flightdeck on Deutsche Aircraft’s developmental D328eco.
Heart’s selection of Garmin is the Swedish firm’s latest partnership agreement, having recently picked Aernnova to design the ES-19’s fuselage, wings and empennage.
Forslund says additional development partners will be unveiled in the coming months, including for the 19-seater’s fly-by-wire controls.
This system will feature passive rather than active sidesticks, says Pippard, based on weight and complexity considerations.
First flight of the ES-19 is pegged for 2024, with service entry to follow two years later.