Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 56

PILOT’S GUIDE

Understanding

Autopilot
Upgrades

What Pilots Should Know From the Installation Experts
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utopilots date back to the earliest days of aviation.
Sperry’s first experimental model appeared less
than 10 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.
During the years, they have become both more sophisticated and less expensive. Advanced autopilot features,
such as flight director displays, GPS tracking and coupled
approaches, are now common in even the smallest general aviation airplanes. Indeed, some instructors consider
a working autopilot essential, if a glass panel airplane is
to be flown by a single pilot under instrument flight rules.
The increasing capability and decreasing cost of autopilots
presents an opportunity for both avionics shops and aircraft
owners. Many older airplanes were built without autopilots,
and those built with older autopilots may eventually be upgraded, either to add new features, such as altitude hold, or
to replace the existing autopilot with a more advanced model. However, autopilot installation and upgrade is among the
most complex and demanding work an avionics shop may
be asked to perform by owners. Autopilots, after all, interact
with many subsystems, including electrical power, flight control and the instrument panel. In advanced installations, there
also may be interactions with the powerplant.
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To provide guidance on best practices for autopilot upgrades, we interviewed three experts, including two from
avionics shops that regularly install autopilots and a third
who works for an avionics vendor. Bob Weber of Mayday
Avionics opened with a warning. “I worry that people with
a little bit of knowledge can get into a lot of trouble,” Weber
said. “You need to really understand the complete system
before you start making changes. Autopilots are highly integrated with the airplane.”
According to Weber, a successful autopilot upgrade begins with a thorough inspection of the airplane – ideally, before the quote is given to the aircraft owner.
“Pay particular attention to the rigging,” he said. “Also,
look at the electrical system. Check the aircraft’s damage
history. You’ll need a complete list of any modifications that
change the aerodynamic configuration: STOL kits, gap
seals, vortex generators, aftermarket props. These may interact with the limitations of a particular autopilot. You want
to know this before you get deep into the installation.”
Elliott Aviation’s Mark Wilken agreed that pre-quote
homework is essential.
“Before the quote, you need to understand what auto-



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014

From the Publisher
Interested in AEA Membership?
AEA Staff/Board of Directors
New Avionics Products for 2013
What's Up With Backup Instruments?
Going Glass
Before & After
Aircraft as Antenna Farm
Cockpit Innovations
Understanding Autopilot Upgrades
ADS-B Circa 2013
Portable Powerhouses, GPS and VHF
Minimal Panels
NextGen Status Report
Repair Stations
Manufacturers/Distributors
Affiliates/Index
AEA Member Company Index
Advertiser Index
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Intro
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Cover1
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Cover2
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 1
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 2
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 3
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Interested in AEA Membership?
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 5
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - AEA Staff/Board of Directors
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 7
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - New Avionics Products for 2013
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 9
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 10
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 11
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 12
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 13
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 14
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 15
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 16
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 17
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 18
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 19
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 20
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 21
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 22
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 23
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 24
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 25
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 26
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 27
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 28
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 29
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - What's Up With Backup Instruments?
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 31
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 32
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 33
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Going Glass
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 35
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 36
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 37
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 38
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 39
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 40
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 41
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Before & After
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 43
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Aircraft as Antenna Farm
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 45
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 46
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 47
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 48
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 49
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Cockpit Innovations
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 51
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 52
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 53
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 54
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 55
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Understanding Autopilot Upgrades
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 57
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 58
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 59
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - ADS-B Circa 2013
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 61
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 62
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 63
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 64
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 65
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Portable Powerhouses, GPS and VHF
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 67
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 68
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 69
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 70
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 71
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 72
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 73
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 74
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 75
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 76
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 77
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 78
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 79
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Minimal Panels
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 81
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 82
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 83
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - NextGen Status Report
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 85
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 86
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 87
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 88
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Repair Stations
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 90
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 91
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 92
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 93
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 94
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 95
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 96
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Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 119
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 120
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 121
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 122
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 123
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Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 125
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Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 130
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 131
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 132
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Manufacturers/Distributors
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 134
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 135
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 136
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 137
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 138
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Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 142
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 143
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 144
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Affiliates/Index
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 146
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 147
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 148
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 149
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 150
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - AEA Member Company Index
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 152
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 153
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 154
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 155
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 156
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 157
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 158
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - 159
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Advertiser Index
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Cover3
Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2013-2014 - Cover4
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