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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.

Innovative ECO Autopilot for Homebuilt Aircraft 

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.

Innovative ECO Autopilot for Homebuilt Aircraft 

2 1/4-inch display for ECO

Although not released for general sale yet, the company did start taking information from interested customers. One major difference between your typical electric trim and this device is its much faster response. It will interface with your GPS, as well as hold a heading, a track, and altitude. Since it is attached externally, it is minimally invasive to an existing aircraft. You can find out more by looking at the trutrakflightsystems.com
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