Garmin GPS helps save a life
We receive testimonials from customers daily. Some make us smile and others send a chill down our spine until we get to the end of the story. This is one of the latter. Michael from Tampa, Florida, sent us this story and we're very thankful that he was able to land his airplane safely. If you're wondering why would Garmin add street and highway information to an aviation handheld device — it's because we fly too. Our products are made by pilots, for pilots. Therefore, we do our best to know what pilots will need when they're in the cockpit, even in emergency situations. In this case, our extensive database made a world of difference.
My wife purchased your Garmin 696 for me about a year and a half ago. The initial purchase price was not a walk in the park, but if it could help keep me safe, it would be worth every penny to her. I have used the 696 many times over the period of ownership. This last week, I unknowingly would need it more than ever.
Upon having my initial sign of engine roughness in my airplane, I used the NRST (nearest) key, but to my dismay, the nearest airport was 20NM away. Flying at 4,000 feet however, 20NM is not something that is going to happen. I decided to change my flight plan to take me to KTLH (Tallahassee regional airport) to have the engine examined. Approximately 5-10 minutes after making that decision, the engine became very apparent to me that I was not going to make Tallahassee. In the area south of Tallahassee, it is VERY dark at night, no street lights, no houses, no nothing. I had in my mind that I was probably not going to make it home to see my wife again. I had discussed with KTLH Approach controllers that I would turn the airplane back to the south and try to make it to the Gulf of Mexico to ditch, if nothing else, I would keep the airplane clear of the suburbs of Tallahassee and possibly injuring or worse anyone on the ground. A controller mentioned to me that there was a Hwy 98 to the south, that it was dark, hard to see and lined with trees. I then remembered that my Garmin 696 could get me VERY close to the highway. I zoomed in and found the highway, that's when I saw a vehicle coming down the dark road. From there, I followed the vehicle all the way down to the highway. Once I was on the ground and the emergency team arrived, I spoke with the FAA and NTSB, I informed them that having the Garmin 696 saved my life. I tell ALL of my friends and customers about the unit and will continue to do so.
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