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I just learned about the EZ Pilot, a new single-axis autopilot from Trio Avionics. It is a wing-leveler system that connects to a panel-mount GPS. It can intercept and track a GPS flight plan or fly on a selected course. The control head is compatible with the servo from Navaid Devices, so Navaid users wanting to upgrade can save some money by not purchasing the Trio Avionics servo.

Sam Buchanan posted the following info on the RV-List:

From the very early planning stages of the panel in my then VFR RV-6, Iconsidered the wing-leveler to be not only a convenience, but, as Dougstated, the way out of an unexpected bad situation. The Navaid hasfaithfully served my needs for over 500 hrs, and I have learned most ofits little quirks.

But.....there is a new kid on the block. Even though the DigiTrak guyshave gotten a lot of deserved attention with their new systems, and I ama very satisfied AlTrak user, Trio Avionics has introduced an auto pilotfor us Navaid pilots who want to join the 21st century. I have nowcompleted a handful of hours flying the new EZ-Pilot:

http://www.trioavionics.com

My trusty Navaid has been permanently benched! The EZ-Pilot uses theNavaid servo, and for Navaid users is shipped with an adapter cable thatmakes it plug-n-play. You can purchase just the control head if afunctional Navaid servo is already installed.

The feature set of the EZ-Pilot is far beyond what the Navaid can offer.I am amazed at how I can fly 180 degrees away from a waypoint, hit theservo switch on the EZ-Pilot, and watch the thing fly my RV-6 into aperfect teardrop intersection with the direct course to the waypoint.Having nav info displayed on the control head also brings real utilityto flying heading vectors as well. The roll control is via a solid stategyro so there are no little motors spinning in the control head. The yawresponse is quicker and more precise than the Navaid which results in abetter ride in turbulence.

I realize some of these features are available with the DigiTrak, butthe cool thing about the EZ-Pilot is the way it can serve as animpressive upgrade for us Navaid customers. The only problem I havefound with the EZ-Pilot is the VFD display. The unit was designed byguys who fly those planes with the wings on the wrong end of the fuse,and their panels are somewhat shrouded from direct sunlight. The VFDdisplay is cool for those guys but gets blown out in the direct sunlightthat we can get on our exposed RV panels. As long as the sun is notshining directly on the display, it really looks nice. But I have toshade the unit with my hand to read it when the sun is at my back.

Having said that, I have NO intention of putting the Navaid back in theplane! The preciseness and features of the EZ-Pilot are just that muchmore advanced than what I had been flying. Jerry Hansen, one of the trioat Trio Avionics has been very receptive to my input during beta testingand is aware of the display issue. I think you will find him a good guyto work with if you decide to pursue his system.

These are exciting times for experimental aviation! The new toys justkeep coming. Flying around with the Dyon doing its thing, the AlTrakholding altitude within 10-20 feet, and the EZ-Pilot holding coursewithin 0.01 mile, and me just sitting there watching over everything andfor traffic.......its hard for me to believe this affordable yetsophisticated capability is in a plane that was hatched in my backyard.

Sam Buchanan

I'll stick with my Navaid wing-leveler for now, but the AlTrak altitude hold pitch-axis autopilot may be part of the mid-life update.

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