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Old 08-21-2020, 08:58 AM
cheeselion cheeselion is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 26
Default Never had an autopilot before. Is Trutrak a bad idea?

I've recently started doing longer cross-countries in the RV-4 and the thought of using a simple VFR autopilot is appealing to me (neither I nor the airplane are IFR-capable).

I like the look (and price!) of the Trutrak xCruze 100 2", and I have an open hole in the panel it could slot right in. But I've done a bunch of reading and the prevailing wisdom seems to be that Trutrak has gone off the rails since their acquisition.

Am I putting 2+2 together and getting 8? Or should I stay away from them for a new installation? Given my use-case I'd rather avoid paying double for a Garmin or Trio if I can avoid it, but if the group wisdom is to stay away from Trutrak nowadays, I'll bite the bullet.
Tim E.
RV-4 2080
BC, Canada
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Old 08-21-2020, 09:17 AM
rocketbob's Avatar
rocketbob rocketbob is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: 8I3
Posts: 3,643

In my opinion getting a GRT Mini X and adding servos to it is a very good value.

Please don't PM me! Email only!

Bob Japundza CFI A&PIA
N9187P PA-24-260B Comanche, flying
N678X F1 Rocket, under const.
N244BJ RV-6 "victim of SNF tornado" 1200+ hrs, rebuilding
N8155F C150 flying
N7925P PA-24-250 Comanche, restoring
Not a thing I own is stock.
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Old 08-21-2020, 09:27 AM
DennisRhodes DennisRhodes is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Taylorsville, Ga
Posts: 835

I have a Trio (single axis ) built initially into my 9 due to having had one also in a LongEZ before that. The LEZ almost required a wing leveler if you wanted to look at a sectional( back in that day) . The 9 is a pleasure to set the W leveler/ tract on course and the trim takes care of the altitude. The Trio will track a GPS input NMEA signal just fine and has several other fx as well.

If the glass panel is not in the 4s future a Trio would work well.

I saw a Trio and Gold servo on e bay removed from a 4 that would be an excellent choice for your 4 I almost bought it for spare parts all he was asking was $ 500. about the cost of a servo. Except never had any reason to need a spare part, It has worked flawless for 10 years now.
2020 VAF Supporter
RV9 N908DR

Last edited by DennisRhodes : 08-21-2020 at 09:30 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 08-21-2020, 09:59 AM
Birkelbach Birkelbach is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Waller, Texas
Posts: 150

I've had two TruTrak Autopilots. They work really well and haven't given me any trouble. I upgraded my DigiTrak to the XCruze 100 after the Bendix King acquisition. TruTrak had a great upgrade policy and I was worried that BK would make it go away. So I bit the bullet and upgraded. It took forever to get all the parts but I'm not sure if that was BK or Mid Continent. BK has basically out sourced the upgrades to Mid Continent.

Once I got it installed the Xcruze (actually the Vizion) manual didn't match the actual unit. It turns out that the firmware was changed at some point and the manuals haven't been updated. I had to use a combination of the Piper install manual and the old Vizion manual. The Piper manual for the button pushing and setup and the old manual for the settings for my RV-7.

Everything took forever and the whole deal was not without it's hiccups for sure, but everyone (BK and Mid Continent) was responsive and the AP works great. I suspect that once they get the wrinkles worked out it'll be fine.
Phil Birkelbach
RV-7 727WB - Flying
Pitts S1C - Restoration
Christavia Mk1 - Fuselage
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Old 08-21-2020, 01:30 PM
RONSIM's Avatar
RONSIM RONSIM is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Largo, FL
Posts: 1,049
Default Have had every model of the Trutrak, and

they have been effective and reliable -- currently have the vizion --- however, the small Garmin, Dynon, or GRT mini-PDFs driving their autopilots would probably be a safer bet, at this point, in time.

If you ever decide to do the complete EFIS panel, the mini's become great backups.

RV-10 Co-built, maintained, flown (sold)
RV-8A Maintained and flown (Sold)
RV-6A Bought and Flying (N177RV), upgrades $$$
IO360, 180HP/CS, AFS 5600T, D10A, G650, G430, G327, ADS-B, VIZ385 AP
Very Happy Contributor
Based at KCLW (Clearwater, FL)
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Old 08-21-2020, 04:29 PM
cheeselion cheeselion is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 26

Thanks all! My panel is a mishmash of some Garmin (G5, GTR200, Aera) and some MGL (all of the engine instruments) so I wanted something that could take a vendor-agnostic RS-232 input and fit in a 2" hole. Not sure if I'm going to do the G3X thing or the MGL EFIS thing yet.

Good advice though, I'll re-consider the mini+servo approach...
Tim E.
RV-4 2080
BC, Canada
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Old 08-21-2020, 05:03 PM
TruTrakAndrew's Avatar
TruTrakAndrew TruTrakAndrew is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Posts: 167
Default TruTrak

For what it's worth, while the TruTrak autopilot now has a new name, they are still built in northwest Arkansas by many of the same people that were building them before. I am still around to help as needed, although to be fair not on VAF as much as I would like. BendixKing / Honeywell have no plans to kill off this great product. In fact, we are working to expand integration into our xVue Touch and to continue expanding the experimental product line.

Yes, there have been some hiccups in the transition, but I have personally been working those and will continue to do so. I would say come see me and my cowboy hat at the next trade-show, but who knows when that will be.

I am sure that you will be happy with any autopilot that you choose, as they are all great, but I would love to see you stick with the TruTrak products!

Andrew Barker
BendixKing / Honeywell

RV-4 214NY "Carrie Ann"
RV-10 989TS - undergoing complete overhaul!!!
Always flying someone else's airplane too
EAA - 309420
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Old 08-21-2020, 05:54 PM
DRMA DRMA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 450
Default Use the G5 For your A/P?

Originally Posted by cheeselion View Post
Thanks all! My panel is a mishmash of some Garmin (G5, GTR200, Aera) ...
If you already have the Garmin G5, you might want to consider installing a single Garmin A/P servo along with the Garmin A/P control head. I think that would give you the autopilot you want with the G5 providing the intelligence. You might even find a used G3X control head at a lower cost from someone upgrading.

Best of Luck
Dave Macdonald

RV-10 First Flight April 1, 2020. Phase 1 Complete
2021 VAF Dues Paid (plus a little more)
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Old 08-21-2020, 06:27 PM
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akschu akschu is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Houston, Alaska
Posts: 301

I agree with the garmin comment. The garmin servos are much lighter, and if you ever upgrade to a g3x you gain free redundancy.
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Old 08-22-2020, 03:54 AM
Jetj01 Jetj01 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 343
Default TruTrak


Good to hear! I know you helped a lot on my new install last year and the TruTrak works great for me!
Eagles Nest, TX
Built and FLYING RV-4 Fastback!
SOLD RV-6/RV-8/Rocket
Retired USAF, Current Boeing Driver
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