Avionics Report

January 2011 Issue

Autopilot Upgrades: Options are Improving

The Bendix/King KFC225 wins in performance but lacks approval for the masses. Cobham S-TEC fills that gap, but with lesser performance.

When planning major avionics upgrades, autopilots rank near the top. A panel full of integrated glass or even a single-screen Aspen will be lacking without autopilot integration. But adding a new autopilot could be a budget-blowing proposition. For most go-places aircraft the investment is worth it, especially with modern AHRS-driven interfaces upping the ante on automation and long-term reliability. Here’s an overview of market offerings for retrofit autopilots. One size won’t fit all, and that’s without covering systems for LSAs or Experimentals. We’ll look at those in a future article.

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