The envelope-protection features built in to the DFC90 prevent stalls by acting in the background to nudge the nose forward if airspeed decays when not in the landing configuration. The technology will also prevent autopilot-induced overspeeds. The dedicated straight & level button, meanwhile, recovers the aircraft from unusual attitudes by overriding all autopilot modes and leveling the aircraft in both pitch and roll. The unit is designed as a plug-and-play replacement for the S-Tec 55X autopilot, with as little as three hours needed for the basic installation. Wiring the unit for flap position (used for certain envelope protection modes) requires an additional three to four hours of downtime, according to Avidyne.
The price noted earlier is for the Cirrus SR20/22, Cessna 182, Beechcraft Bonanza and Piper PA-32. It does not include installation or the cost of the required PFD upgrade and assumes a trade-in value for an existing autopilot.
>>> FreeFlight Systems Rangr ADS-B Transceiver
LIST PRICE: $4,995
By now, we’ve all heard that we’ll need to upgrade to automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast capability by 2020. You’ve probably also heard that ADS-B can provide you with free traffic and weather data if you buy and install the right equipment. ADS-B weather is continuously broadcast, and you can pick it up with a 978 MHz ADS-B receiver. To get a valid traffic report you need to be a “client” of the ADS-B system, which means you have to have an approved ADS-B Out system on board. The traffic report can be received on the same receiver as the weather datalink, or you can receive it at the transponder frequency of 1090 MHz if you have an ADS-B-approved transponder with an appropriate receiver built in.
FreeFlight Systems’ Rangr 978 MHz transceiver can give you the full complement of ADS-B capabilities, including the ability to display the free weather data on an iPad. The FAA’s final ADS-B rule dictates an ADS-B compliant system must have a high-integrity position source and a radio that sends specific information from that position source to ATC. The easiest way to achieve this requirement is to pair a TSO-C145/C146 WAAS GPS (like a Garmin GNS 430W) with an ADS-B-approved transmitter like the FreeFlight Rangr. In addition, 978 MHz compliance requires a small control head for entering squawk codes.
Another benefit of the FreeFlight unit is that it allows aircraft fleet owners or flight schools to track their airplanes in real time and record and store track information. The ADS-B unit itself is lightweight and installs easily. As the FAA adds ADS-B ground stations throughout the nation, the value of having this technology aboard your aircraft in advance of the mandate will only rise. And the great news is that, once you’ve installed the technology, there will be nothing more you need to do to comply with the mandate. That could be a big plus as we approach the compliance deadline and tens of thousands of GA airplane owners wake up to the fact that they need to get their airplane in the shop in a hurry.