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Innovative ECO Autopilot for Homebuilt Aircraft
By Ian Brown, EAA 657159
September 2015 - TruTrak is known for its relatively inexpensive autopilots and servos for experimental aircraft…with over 10,000 systems sold. But it can still cost $2,000 or more to fit an amateur-built aircraft with an autopilot. Some might think that flying with an autopilot is the antithesis of why we fly homebuilt aircraft, but the sales figures don’t lie. How many times have you wished someone could take control while you write something down, open a map, or just relax and enjoy the scenery on a long cross-country?
Well here’s something new. An innovative idea was introduced by TruTrak at AirVenture last month in partnership with a company called Levil. It involves an externally mounted trim tab that attaches to the aileron and the elevator, providing both altitude and heading control. Since it’s a trim tab and not an internally mounted control system servo concept, it’s much simpler to install and lighter in weight. The whole system comes in at under one pound.
ECO Autopilot trim tab
The system includes something they are calling Automatic Envelope Protection (AEP), which allows pilots to set up a bank and pitch envelope beyond which they do not want to fly.
2 1/4-inch display for ECO