Autopilot options are expanding for owners of many popular general aviation airplanes, with two companies announcing new strides in the acquisition of supplemental type certificates (STCs) for their products, and delivery of previously announced systems.
In July, the STC Group received FAA approval of its Trio Avionics Pro Pilot autopilot kit for Cessna 172, 175, and 182 aircraft. On Oct. 20, it added Piper PA-28 aircraft to the list of those approved for the installations.
“The certificated version of the Pro Pilot has all of the features at a moderate price that have made it a favorite of the experimental and amateur built aircraft market since it was introduced more than 12 years ago,” it said.
Features include airspeed-envelope protection, a level button, and a 180-degree turn feature. The unit can fly a course or heading, perform constant-rate climbs or descents, level off at a selected altitude, and fly the lateral and vertical portions of RNAV approaches when connected to a WAAS GPS.
More than 3,000 of the autopilots have been installed in experimental and amateur-built aircraft, the company said.
STC Group installed a Trio autopilot in AOPA’s 2017 Sweepstakes Cessna 172, and has sold dozens of autopilots to Cessna 172 and 182 owners. AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association have been working with the FAA to allow non-technical standard order (non-TSO) products to be installed in certified aircraft more quickly and economically.
Work continues to gain approval to install the units in “a long list of other legacy aircraft including Cessna Cardinals, 206s and 210s, the Grumman American fleet, Piper Comanches and Mooneys,” the company said.
In another autopilot advance, TruTrak Flight Systems of Springdale, Arkansas, announced that it is delivering Cessna 172 and Cessna 177 Vizion autopilot systems for which STCs were announced in July, with pricing at the $5,000 price point projected at that time.
“Add in the super affordably priced STC from EAA for $100 and you have a fantastic two-axis autopilot that will not only make those cross-country trips easier, but safer too,” the announcement said.
TruTrak reported delivering approximately 75 certified Vizion autopilot systems since shipping began in early August. The company is now working full time to complete installation designs for Piper PA-28 and some PA-32 airplanes, Cessna 182s, Cessna 172 models A through E, and R172K airplanes.
The company’s goal is to be able to ship the systems “before the end of 2017.”
“It will be a push to get everything finished up and approved with the holidays coming up, but we are excited and working hard to make it happen,” TruTrak Flight Systems President Andrew Barker said in a news release.