Avidyne DFC90 Advanced Autopilot Available Soon for Pipers
Avidyne’s new DFC90 installed in a Piper Mirage
July 6, 2011 –Avidyne’s DFC90 advanced digital electronic autopilot will soon be available for Piper PA-46 Matrix and Mirage airplanes that have Avidyne Integra flat glass avionics systems. The DFC90 is a direct replacement for the S-Tec autopilot installed in those airplanes.
The DFC90 autopilot computer and control unit fits directly into the mounting tray of the existing S-Tec system. The servos that actually move the flight control surfaces remain unchanged so there is comparatively little installation expense or downtime.
The DFC90’s major advancement is its use of attitude information coming from the electronic gyros that are already part of the Integra avionics system. The S-Tec system does not use attitude data but instead relies on information from a turn coordinator gyro and air data inputs plus heading and course guidance information to control the airplane. Flying a desired specific attitude makes the DFC90 more precise, smoother, and more capable. The DFC90 also has an indicated airspeed hold mode, which is a standard way autopilots fly climbs and descents in higher performance airplanes. The previous autopilot holds vertical speed instead of airspeed.
The DFC90 also has envelope protection logic that will not allow the autopilot to fly the airplane into a stall, or to accelerate beyond the airspeed limits. For example, if you select an altitude hold mode, or an airspeed hold mode, but do not add enough power to keep the airplane at a safe airspeed, the autopilot will very gradually trade altitude for airspeed to prevent a stall. The DFC90 shows you in big plain-language words on the flat glass displays that you are flying too slowly, and announces the same into your headset so that you can and should take action. If you don’t add power, or make other changes to maintain a safe airspeed, the autopilot keeps reminding you but still keeps you flying.
An additional safety feature of the DFC90 is the “straight and level” single button mode selection. If, for any reason, you become confused about your attitude or situation, pressing the straight and level button cancels all other autopilot modes, levels the wings, and holds an airspeed above stall with minimum loss of altitude.
Installation requires adding a few wires between the Integra system and the autopilot controller to transmit the attitude data, but other autopilot wiring remains unchanged. Avidyne has priced the DFC90 at $14,995 with additional savings if you make a deposited order now. To learn more, click here.