Avionics Report

November 2000 Issue

When Otto Won’t

At some point, fixing an old autopilot just isn’t worth the bother. Here’s how to sort through the repair and replacement options.

[IMGCAP(1)] Among all the things that can break in an airplane, autopilots are the most perplexing and potentially expensive, short of the engine. For years, they labor without complaint, dutifully holding heading and minding altitude. Then all of a sudden, the pitch control goes a little crazy or the needle tracking gets sloppy. Maybe it’s just a corroded connection or a tired servo. Then again, maybe not. Autopilots have a deserved reputation for being difficult and expensive to repair. At some point, you have to ask yourself if the box is worth fussing with one more time or replacing.

The truth is that late model autopilots—the Bendix/King KAPs and KFC or the Century 41s—are almost alw...

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