March 27, 2008

Announcing the Dynon Avionics Autopilot

Announcing the Dynon Avionics Autopilot

March 27, 2008
You've probably heard the rumors over the last few months. More recently, you may have seen the ad in the latest issues of Kitplanes, Sport Aviation, and Sport Pilot magazines. Well, we're ready to start talking: The Dynon Avionics Autopilot is almost here. You can see it in action at Sun 'n Fun.
Think of it as the only autopilot that comes with a COMPLETE set of primary flight instruments for free. Alternatively, an EFIS can become an autopilot for the incremental cost of servos ($750 each). Adding servos to any Dynon EFIS or FlightDEK turns it into a full-featured dual-axis autopilot at a total cost that is comparable to other autopilot-only solutions.
Every Dynon autopilot can fly magnetic heading, GPS ground track, and horizontal NAV from any connected radio or GPS. In addition to being able to hold altitude, even the least expensive Dynon autopilot can fly to a new altitude and level off once it arrives. Additional standard features include emergency 180-degree turn capability and control wheel steering. And because Dynon’s autopilot is built on its best-selling EFIS systems, it can respect bank angle, airspeed, and G limitations too.
The optional AP74 Dedicated Autopilot Interface Module ($450) adds separate autopilot controls and status for a superior user interface. It also adds the ability to pre-arm which mode will be flown upon autopilot engagement. Stepping up to the AP76 Advanced Autopilot Module ($1500 - coming late 2008) adds the modes you’ll want when flying IFR. This means fully coupled approaches – both horizontally and vertically – when connected to a capable NAV radio or GPS. Other modes exclusive to the AP76 include vertical speed, altitude/heading/track/vertical speed pre-select, and other features formerly only found on much more expensive autopilots.
If you are seeking a redundant solution, consider this: our products are priced so well that two EFISs, one of which is a two-axis autopilot, start at just $5900 with servos. Compare that to the cost of outfitting your aircraft with just a single set of flight instruments and an autopilot from anyone else.
Installation kits for popular aircraft will be attractively priced. Initially we will have kits for the Vans RV series, with more to follow.
Dynon Avionics anticipates shipping its autopilot products beginning Summer 2008. As we are still working through a robust test program, exact release dates are still to be determined. Also note that we expect to satisfy initial demand for the autopilot.

Servos - $750 Each

Dynon Avionics servos are dimensionally identical to other leading servos for drop-in upgradability. Behind the scenes, though, the SV line of servos are all-new. A lightweight aluminum case houses a stainless steel gear train to optimize weight while not sacrificing strength. The servo control arm is captured by a castellated nut and secured by a cotter pin, just like other critical interfaces in your aircraft. Each servo is managed by its own microprocessor, making the servo an active, smart extension of the autopilot. This simplifies the control-surface-to-servo calibration, and prevents the servo from driving itself endlessly like other servos can. As an ultimate mechanical failsafe, a simple and effective shear pin is employed to let you break the servo free of the aircraft control surface in an emergency.
Multiple servos will be available to suit different aircraft control forces. The SV32 is rated at 30 in lb of torque, the SV42 at 40 in lb, and the SV52 at 50 in lb. Servos with capstan drives will also be available. Not all will be available at initial release.

AP74 Dedicated Autopilot Interface Module - $450

The AP74 Dedicated Autopilot Interface Module adds panel-mounted controls and LED status lights to your autopilot. While it does not add additional modes to the EFIS's built-in autopilot, it allows you to choose (pre-arm) which of magnetic heading hold, track hold, NAV mode, and altitude hold will be engaged when you turn on the autopilot.
The AP74 is mechanically identical to the HS34 HSI expansion module, and the installation instructions already provided in all EFIS installation guides available here can be used as a general guide.

AP76 Advanced Autopilot Module - $1500 - Available late 2008 (Project on hold)

The AP76 Advanced Autopilot Module adds panel-mounted controls, LED status lights, and a number of advanced modes to your autopilot. Vertical speed hold can be used on its own or in combination with an altitude target. Vertical NAV mode, based on either GPS or NAV radio data, adds the ability to fly fully coupled approaches. Additionally, all modes that have selectable targets – including altitude, heading, track, and vertical speed – let you to pre-select target values before you engage the autopilot. This allows pilots to fully pre-configure the autopilot in advance of engaging it in IFR and other complex scenarios.
The AP76 is mechanically identical to the HS34 HSI expansion module, and the installation instructions already provided in all EFIS installation guides available here can be used as a general guide.

Additional Information and Features

The Dynon Avionics Panel Planner now has actual size cutouts of the AP47, AP76, and the previously released HS34. Pick one up in person at Sun 'n Fun.
View the answers to frequently asked questions about the autopilot.