How to Upgrade Your Cessna Autopilot

cessna 525 landing gear

Your Cessna autopilot is one of the primary tools on your aircraft. The autopilot guides the aircraft without direct assistance or hands-on input from the pilot and the autopilot software, which is integrated with the navigation systems, provides control of the aircraft throughout each phase of the flight. If an autothrottle or autothrust system is installed, the appropriate thrust may be automatically set during take-off and is then adjusted automatically as the climb progresses, while the aircraft climbs at the appropriate speed. The aircraft will then level out at the right altitude and the power is adjusted to maintain speed. At the same time, the aircraft follows the flight plan route. If the autothrottle isn’t installed, however, the pilot must make all power adjustments on their end.

At any stage of a flight, a pilot can intervene and take over for the autopilot. In an emergency even, the pilot can disengage the autopilot and take over manual controls.

Safe and efficient operation of an aircraft’s autopilot is vital to the safety of the pilot, crew passengers, and overall flight experience. Of course, not all autopilots are created equal. Some aircraft are installed with the most basic two-axis autopilot system that controls the pitch and roll of the aircraft. Others are installed with digital, attitude based systems that integrate with modern avionics displays and flight management systems.

The S-TEC 5000 Autopilot System

The S-TEC 5000 is a digital, attitude-based autopilot system that integrates with modern avionics displays and flight management systems to offer features that include straight-and-level recovery, envelope protection and alerting, precision approaches, coupled missed approaches, and additional autopilot modes and functions. This robust system offers advanced digital control for every phase of flight in both high-performance jets and turboprops.

The S-TEC 5000 offers full capabilities of a top-tier digital flight control system, including:

  • Heading preselect and hold PFD integration
  • Altitude preselect and hold with autotrim
  • Digital vertical speed command
  • Yaw damper
  • Course intercept capability
  • Dual mode – HDG/NAV and HDG/APR
  • VOR/LOC/GS/REV/GPS course
  • NAV flag warnings
  • Flight director
  • Pitch steering
  • Control wheel steering
  • GPS steering
  • Envelope protection and alerting
  • Heading control
  • Vertical speed control
  • Indicated airspeed control
  • Autopilot mode annunciations
  • Voice annunciations
  • All axis trim control

Dimensions:

Width: 6.25”

Height: 1.45”

Depth: 9”

Weight:

  • 2.6 lbs

TSOs:

  • TSO-C198 Automatic Flight Guidance and Control System Equipment (AFGCS)
  • ETSO-C9c Automatic Pilots
  • ETSO-C52b Flight Director Equipment

Hardware:

  • RTCA DO-160G to meet TSO-C198

Software:

  • RTCA DO-178B Level A

Upgrade Your Cessna with S-TEC

A new supplemental type certificate (STC) will be released soon for Cessna Citations. The first STC will cover Citation S550, Encore, Ultra, and V. 

A similar STC was approved and released in 2018 for the S-TEC 3100 on Cessna 210, Cessna 182, Cessna 177, and Beechcraft Bonanza A35/36 models.

This new STC will bring enhanced autopilot features to Cessna aircraft, and will support 3rd party EFIS displays to allow for flexibility in a mixed cockpit. While the STC hasn’t been fully released yet, now is the time to talk with your maintenance technician about your avionics upgrade options for your autopilot systems.

Winner Aviation is excited and proud to announce that we are now an official S-TEC autopilot dealer. We will be able to assist you with purchasing, installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your S-TEC autopilot system.

Contact us today to discuss the benefits of choosing an S-TEC digital flight system for your aircraft.

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