Avidyne adds features to autopilot

Avidyne Corp. has unveiled additional features for its new DFC100 Digital Flight Control System, which is on schedule for certification by the end of 2010 for Entegra Release 9-equipped Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft.

In addition to the features found on Avidyne’s recently certified DFC90 autopilot, including Flight Envelope Protection and the ‘Straight & Level’ button, the new DFC100 provides Full-time Flight Envelope Alerting, Coupled VNAV during descents and missed approaches, fail-safe dual AHRS inputs, Flap position input, enhanced mode selection logic, support for the optional Cirrus Roll Servo, and integrated FMSVectors capability.

“We were first to certify Flight Envelope Protection on the DFC90 for our Entegra customers, and now R9 owners can have the DFC100 with Full-Time Envelope Alerting — even when the autopilot and flight director are not engaged,” said Patrick Herguth, Avidyne’s Chief Operating Officer. “In addition, the DFC100 takes advantage of the powerful capabilities of the R9 system’s FMS900w navigators to fly coupled VNAV descents and approaches, which dramatically reduces pilot workload,”

“We specifically designed the Entegra Release 9 system to significantly reduce pilot workload and enhance safety, and the DFC100 represents the final building block in this fully-integrated system,” said Dan Schwinn, Avidyne’s President and CEO. “Leveraging the power of R9 and the DFC100, Cirrus owners can now have a truly-integrated flight deck system that reduces heads-down time, enhances redundancy for minimal disruption during failure modes, protects against inadvertent departure from the flight envelope, and dramatically reduces workload through all phases of flight.”

Avidyne’s DFC100 is an attitude-based autopilot with integrated flight computer and control panel that is designed for Entegra Release 9-equipped Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft. It has all the standard vertical and lateral modes of operation of a turbine-class autopilot system, including Flight Director (FD), Altitude Hold (ALT), Airspeed Hold (IAS), Vertical Speed Hold (VS), Vertical Navigation (VNAV), Heading (HDG), and Navigation (NAV, LOC/GS, LPV, LNAV/VNAV, LNAV+V).

The initial Cirrus Release of the DFC100 will also have the following features:

  • Full-Time Envelope Alerting (EA) — DFC100 provides speed-based and attitude-based alerting even when the autopilot is NOT engaged. EA is triggered when the DFC100 recognizes an underspeed, overspeed, or excessive bank condition and alerts the pilot via aural and text alerts. Principally designed to provide alerting even when the autopilot is not on, scenarios like traffic pattern stalls are alerted to the pilot. Smart logic in the DFC100 automatically suppresses alerts in full-flap and near idle conditions.
  • Flap Position Input – Flap Switch position is used by the DFC100 to improve the accuracy of the Flight Envelope Protection and Full-time Envelope Alerting triggers. The autopilot uses knowledge of the flap position to compute true stall speed and thereby providing better-defined underspeed protection and alerting.
  • Dual AHRS support – The DFC100 is designed to be able to use either of the R9 system’s integrated Attitude/Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) as its attitude source. In the unlikely event of an AHRS failure, the DFC100 autopilot will not disconnect and will continue to operate normally, flying right through the AHRS failure.
  • VNAV (Vertical Navigation) – With VNAV mode engaged, the DFC100 captures and tracks the enroute, arrival, approach, and missed approach legs of the active flight plan of the R9 FMS. In enroute and descent operations, VNAV will hold current altitude until the system reaches the computed Top of Descent (TOD) point for the active leg, and then will start the descent when the TOD point has been reached. During missed approach operations, VNAV will climb to the target altitude and then level at that altitude until the next waypoint is crossed. This provides an Envelope-Protected, hands-free autopilot and one-button IFD transition during missed approach scenarios.
  • FMSVectors – A popular feature among current R9 users, FMSVectors now extends to the autopilot with DFC100. When the HDG button on the autopilot is pressed, the autopilot will follow the dashed magenta Vectors line on the HSI or Moving Map. Depending on whether the line is drawn to intercept a down path NAV leg or Approach procedure or not, an automatic intercept and autopilot mode transition can occur.
  • Enhanced Mode Selection Logic – The DFC100 provides one-button vertical and lateral mode engagement. With the DFC100, a dual button press (IAS+ALT or VS+ALT or VNAV+ALT, etc) is no longer needed to perform an altitude capture as was required with the STEC55X. As an example, when the pilot presses just the IAS button, IAS Hold mode will engage and the ALT (Altitude hold) mode will also automatically arm. This mode selection logic is more intuitive and reduces pilot workload.
  • Roll Servo support – The initial release of the DFC100 will support aircraft with the factory-installed roll trim system, and in addition will support the aftermarket-modified Roll Servo-equipped aircraft. At DFC100 install time, the installer merely selects which configuration the airplane has and the rest is automatic.

Certification of the DFC100 retrofit in the Cirrus is expected soon. List price of the DFC100 Digital Flight Computer for Release 9-equipped Cirrus aircraft is $14,990.

For more information: Avidyne.com

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