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Q - Is the autopilot available for certified aircraft?
A - TruTrak autopilots are strictly for experimental aircraft and LSA’s.
Q - Where do I purchase a TruTrak product?
A - Either direct from TruTrak or through any Trutrak dealer listed on the Dealers page.
Q - Does TruTrak plan to certify the autopilot?
A - At this point we want to concentrate all our efforts on serving the experimental market.
Q - How does the TruTrak differ from an S-TEC or Navaid?
A - The dynamic performance of the entire line of TruTrak autopilots is superior to that of any turn coordinator-based system. As a result of digital design a Trutrak autopilot can be easily configured in flight. This means that critical performance parameters such as servo torque and response can be easily optimized in flight. Trutrak autopilots can fly a wide range of aircraft from the Lancair IV Turbine to the Kitfox. Trutrak autopilots fly very well in turbulence. It is not necessary to turn off a Trutrak autopilot in any amount of turbulence. Also, TruTrak autopilots come with a built in slaved DG and associated direction selector.
Q - Does TruTrak accept credit cards?
A - Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
Q - Do aerobatic maneuvers hurt the autopilot?
A - The only thing that aerobatics can do is cause an offset in the internal gyros. This can be corrected by a manual gyro-set operation.
Q - How much current does the autopilot draw?
A - The current drain of the autopilot is approximately 1 amp per servo.
Q - What is Control Wheel Steering?
A - The control wheel switch is a momentary low contact switch mounted on the control wheel/stick. When the switch is held down for 1.5 seconds or more, the autopilot enters the control wheel steering mode. During the time that the switch is held down, the servo/servos will be disengaged and the pilot can manually fly to the new desired track. Upon release of the switch, the unit will synchronize to the track being flown at the time. All of the multi-axis with vertical speed capability will also synchronize to the vertical speed being flown at the time of control wheel switch release. A momentary push and release of the control wheel switch will disengage the autopilot.
Q - What is required for TruTrak Autopilots to operate?
A - The only thing that is required to get the full functionality of any TruTrak autopilot with a roll axis servo is a GPS RS-232 signal. The RS-232 must be either NMEA 0183 (GPRMC and GPRMB sentence in the data string) or Aviation format. The desired update rate is every second, but the system will function at an update rate as slow as every other second. For systems with pitch axis control nothing is needed in addition to the programmer and servos provided by Trutrak.
Q - What if I don't have a GPS?
A - We sell a GPS-35 for $175, which is an antenna/receiver in one unit that that is not programmable, but will allow the AP to function in its BASIC TRACK MODE. The GPS-35 is roughly the size of a computer mouse and is usually mounted on the glare shield.
Q - What is GPS Nav?
A - GPS Nav is similar to GPS Steering but not as sophisticated. GPS Nav signals are on the RS-232 output (GPRMC and GPRMB sentence in the data string) from most GPS's. This is the same RS-232 connection that is required for the autopilot to be functional so no additional wiring is necessary. Virtually all GPS's (handhelds included) have the output that is required for GPS Nav. GPS Nav flies a preprogrammed route with multiple waypoints. The course intercept feature of GPS Nav allows the autopilot to seamlessly intercept courses regardless of the aircraft's initial direction of flight. When the last waypoint is flown over the autopilot reverts to the track mode. All Trutrak autopilots have GPS Nav Mode.
Q - What is GPS Steering?
A - GPS Steering is a new way to fly a flight plan that is programmed into a GPS. Some GPS's have the required output for GPS Steering. With GPS Steering the GPS calculates a desired bank angle for the autopilot to fly. There is no overshoot of the desired course in any course change. GPS Steering allows the Trutrak family of autopilots to fly complex patterns such as holding patterns and DME arcs with stunning precision.
Q - What is the difference between GPS Steering and GPS Nav?
A - GPS Nav does not anticipate a course change. Thus when one leg is finished the autopilot has to intercept the next leg after over flying the waypoint. With GPS Steering the autopilot does not have to intercept the new leg because it starts intercepting procedure before reaching the waypoint so that when the intercept turn is complete the aircraft will be on the next leg. GPS Steering will also fly complex turns such as DME arcs and holding patterns. If you want the increased capability of GPS Steering you must be sure that your GPS supports GPS Steering.
Q - Which GPS systems provide the GPS Steering signal required for GPS steering?
A - Most panel GPS that are IFR certified Garmin 250/300XL, Garmin GNC 430/530, 480, Apollo GX50/55/60/65 and, King KLN 90/90B, Sierra Flight Systems, Chelton Flight System, and Grand Rapids EFIS. In most cases the signal used for GPS Steering is the ARINC 429 Roll Steering signal, however the Apollo GX50/55/60/65 units provide GPS Steering over the RS-232 line.
Q - Can I couple the autopilot to a hand-held GPS?
A - Coupling the autopilot to a hand-held GPS’s interface RS-232 must be either NMEA 0183 (GPRMC and GPRMB sentence in the data string) or Aviation format. The desired update rate is every second, but the system will function at an update rate as slow as every other second. Most new handheld units have fast update rates and reliable output, and will couple with a Trutrak autopilot very well.
Q - What is the difference in the Altrak and the Altrak VS?
A - The Altrak VS can change the desired altitude by simply rotating the VS control knob to the right to command a vertical speed climb, or to the left to command a vertical speed descent. The maximum possible vertical speed in either direction is approximately 800 feet per minute. The Altrak VS also has the ability to enunciate the need to trip the aircraft, with a rapid flashing for trim up, and a slow flashing for trim down. The Altrak is only Altitude hold.
Q - How hard is it to install the autopilot?
A - Our installations are very simple in most aircraft. We have installation manuals for the more popular aircraft. We are continuously working to add new aircraft to our list. All Trutrak autopilots are shipped with connectors. If a harness is desired, SteinAir is the factory authorized harness manufacturer. Please contact them toll free at: 877-282-8996, or visit their website at www.steinair.com.
Q - Which aircraft have installation manuals/ mounting brackets?
A - Currently we have installation manuals and brackets for all of the Van's aircraft, the Harmon Rocket/ F1 Rocket, all Glasair aircraft, the Glastar, all Lancair aircraft, the Seawind, the L-39, the Sport Star, the CT, the Thorpedo, the zodiac, and the Express. Look on the installation section on our web page for more listings. If you do not have one of these aircraft, we do provide a standard mounting bracket along with a push-rod or capstan. We are also continually designing new installations for aircraft not listed, if you do not see your aircraft, please contact us as we may have designed an installation for your aircraft.
Q - What if my aircraft is not listed?
A - We make a variety of hardware and will work with our customers to provide the necessary installation hardware.
Q - Will I notice the residual torque of the servo?
A - The residual torque is not high enough to be felt in flight, because we use the smallest possible motor in each application.
Q - What if a servo jams?
A - The chances of a servo jamming are very slim, however if a servo did happen to jam, there are shear screws on every servo that allow a breakaway of the servo arm.
Q - What are the high torque servos?
A - The HT size servo is for high torque applications. Most jets and turbine aircraft require these type motors. Trutrak has many engineered installations and will send you the correctly sized servo for your aircraft.
Q - Does the autopilot couple to the Sandel HSI?
A - Not at the present time.
Q - Which Horizontal Situation Indicators does Trutrak support?
A - Only the AP 100 and the Sorcerer autopilots support external HSI's. For $150 you can purchase the NSD adapter for the NSD-360 and NSD-1000. We also support the King HSI's.
Q - What is the difference between the ADI turn information and the conventional Attitude indicator?Q - What is the difference between the ADI pitch information and the conventional Attitude indicator?
A - The bank angle display is driven in a manner similar to that used in the pictorial turn and bank. The only difference is that in this instrument the display shows bank angle instead of turn rate. The advantage of this is that the presentation is instantaneous data only. It cannot drift to accumulate error as is possible with the more complex AHRS driven systems. It shows bank angles of up to +/- 45° while the requirement on conventional gyro horizons is +/- 100°. To compensate for this, flashing red arrows point in the direction the stick is to be moved to level the aircraft when the bank exceeds +/- 30°. Note that when flying on instruments the object is to stay level or at least in shallow banks. This instrument is therefore designed to keep the pilot out of trouble.
A - The pitch display is perhaps the most beneficial feature of the ADI when compared with conventional horizon indicators. For short term or immediate movement of the nose up or down, this instrument responds and is flown like any other gyroscopic pitch indicator. The difference is that after the display has moved in response to an attitude change the deflection is sustained by the resulting vertical speed. As compared to a pitch attitude display, the vertical speed display makes it easier to hold altitude and to maintain stable climbs and descents. Also, the movable airplane symbol does not have to be adjusted to compensate for the angle the fuselage flies when vertical speed is zero. It is recognized that an aircraft when at the limit of its altitude capability can fly at an ever increasing angle of attack when vertical speed indicates zero. For this reason an airspeed warning in the form of the letters “A-S” flashing in the DG display is provided. The answer to this situation is then to observe the airspeed indicator. For stall prevention airspeed is the best information short of an angle of attack indicator. (Better than attitude)