Avionics Report

October 2000 Issue

S-Tec’s Roll Steering

Autopilots finally catch up with GPS. But not all navigators can play.

[IMGCAP(1)] Since the invention of the wing leveler, most of the roll control done by general aviation autopilots was either wings level for heading hold or heading command. We didnít use the VOR or NAV modes very much.

The reason is simple. They didnít work very well. VOR signals arenít straight but scallop and snake slightly through the ether. Even the best VOR receivers werenít all that accurate, although the newer digital models may be. The result was that when needle tracking, the airplane would occasionally dip a wing if not roll into an impressive automatic Dutch roll. After we discovered with loran, if the avionics shop connected the CDI to the box, most pilots still didnít use na...

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