According to company officials, the Cessna LC-126C prototype airframe is in the company’s facility in Oxnard, California, with expectations that the project will be completed in the next month.
The STC Group team was assembled to certify the Trio Pro Pilot experimental autopilot after becoming frustrated with efforts to install a traditional aftermarket autopilot in the CEO’s 1975 Cessna 182P. The STC Group team found that typical analog autopilots were expensive to buy and install and not very sophisticated.
The STC Group LLC team is composed of engineers with experience at Cessna, Northrup Grumman, Piper Aircraft, and other aviation professionals with many years of professional experience.
The company’s STC covers all variants of the Cessna 172, 175, 177, 180, 182, Cessna 185, Grumman AA-5 models, and Piper PA28 models.
STCs are in the works for the Cessna 210, Navion, Piper Comanche, Beech Bonanza, and other types, company officials noted.
“The full-featured Trio Pro Pilot autopilot brings a robust set of features to the legacy aircraft fleet at an affordable price,” company officials said in a prepared release. “Trio’s Pro Pilot autopilot has a proven record of reliability in the Experimental and warbird fleets. As such, it is an excellent off-the-shelf choice to retrofit into the legacy GA fleet based on its record of safety and reliability.”
The two-axis Pro Pilot model utilizes roll and auto-trim pitch servos to provide precise horizontal and vertical navigation capabilities. Altitude control includes climb and descent functions with altitude pre-select. Vertical navigation can be flown at pilot-selected airspeeds or vertical speeds.
When connected to a WAAS-enabled GPS, Pro Pilot can fly the lateral and vertical portions of RNAV approaches and other procedures. The digital autopilot also provides flight envelope protection, nudging the flight controls away from an overspeed or stall situation. An “automatic 180° turn” feature can guide VFR pilots out of inadvertent weather encounters—a feature that has been credited with saving lives in experimental aircraft, company officials said.