View Full Version : autopilot tutorial needed...

07-25-2007, 08:32 PM
I've got the physics and the engineering down, but I have no knowledge (practically speaking) of what's out there as far as avionics. I'm a couple years from even thinking about building a panel, but I'm trying to get my basic components planned out so that I can take advantage of that SMOKIN' deal that I'm bound to run across one day at a fly-in.

It seems to me that there are several good AP's that will let you hold two-axis settings (heading and altitude), or even capture and hold an altitude. Which ones will interface with a GPS or ILS and follow guidance, and which GPS's will they play nice with? What about vertical guidance fed to the altitude hold of the AP, like a glideslope? I need to do a lot of research on particular brands and features, but right now I don't even know where to start. As far as GPS goes, I've got experience with a 196 handheld, and that's it (besides old-school LORAN). I do know that I want NexRad radar either up- or down-linked to it in a reliable fashion, which I suppose means XM? If someone could just point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it greatly.

Thanks in advance....

07-25-2007, 08:48 PM
But don't nail down anything if you are a couple of years out. Things are happening at a FAST clip with autopilots. The market will be VERY different by then.

07-25-2007, 08:56 PM

If you are a couple of years from building your panel, most of the research on this topic you do now will be obsolete by the time you need it. I am just about at the panel building stage and it seems most everything I have learned from the past as to who has what is useless. Not only have the who's changed but the what they have has changed dramatically in the past six months. It is fun to dream about however. So, if you have the time go for it. :)

The best source for this info that I know of is an article Stein wrote in Kitplanes a month or two ago. However, with publication delays being what they are and the technology moving as fast as it is, I understand some of the info in the article is outdated. It helped me better understand what to look for/ask about however.

Good luck.

07-26-2007, 10:02 AM

I was hoping to shave some lead time off the research process - but as you pointed out, I've got plenty of time between now and purchase, and if the market is changing that rapidly (and I agree, it seems there are new toys every week being announced) then I really can't screw up by starting to learn slowly now and stay on top of the newest stuff.

07-26-2007, 01:27 PM
I'd start by looking at Grand RapidsTechnologies (grtavionics.com) for EFIS, and TruTrack (trutrakflightsystems.com), and Trio for autopilots, to give you an idea of what is available now, and in the near future. A quick search for 'autopilots' on this site will give you a whole bunch more to research as well.
I agree wholeheartedly to wait as long as possible before deciding, due to the rapidly changing marketplace.