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 Latest Autopilots
from Genesys Aerosystems
by Rich Pickett
  Genesys Aerosystems may be a recent name in the aviation industry, however, their roots go back a number of years. The company formed in 2014 after obtaining the autopilot and panel
display lines of business from Cobham. These two lines represented the very popular S-TEC autopilots and the former Chelton Flight Systems displays.
S-TEC Autopilots
Since the acquisition, Genesys Aerosystems has sig- nificantly advanced the autopilot line. They have released new digital autopilot products, including the S-TEC 3100 and S-TEC 5000 Digital Flight Control Systems (DFCS). The S-TEC 3100 autopilot is focused on Part 23 aircraft, while the S-TEC 5000 is designed for Part 25 aircraft. The previous S-TEC digital autopilots were the 1500 and 2100, which were standard equipment for the Piper Meridian turboprop and others.
I’ve flown the S-TEC digital autopilots and found them to work well, with higher accuracy than others in the product line. The S-TEC 3100 takes this to a new level, offering envelope protection in both Flight Director (FD) and Au- topilot (AP) modes. In the FD mode, aural annunciations are generated when the pilot enters a steep bank, exceeds the maximum certified speed or approaches a stall. While in AP mode, if the speeds exceed these limits, then the autopilot will adjust the pitch of the aircraft to place it in a safe attitude.
The S-TEC 3100 is almost a direct replacement for the S-TEC 1500 and 2100 autopilots. It utilizes the existing servos, however, requires a new rack and connectors. The
ability to utilize the majority of the components from the previous versions (as well as the inclusion of an adaptor harness), dramatically reduces the installation time, requir- ing less than 20 hours for most upgrades. An additional feature is the incorporation of an internal ADAHRS, which eliminates the dependency on an external attitude source that was required with the S-TEC 1500 and 2100 systems. With a hardware cost of $9,995 for the new S-TEC 3100, it offers a nice option for owners wanting to have the latest technology in an autopilot.
Customer Comments
I’ve talked with Piper PA46 owners (Malibu, Mirage, Meridian, M350, M500) who have installed the S-TEC 3100. Patrick de Noonevile, based in England, owns a 2000 Mirage and upgraded his S-TEC 55 to the new autopilot during an impressive panel installation. Patrick had some issues with the existing servos during the installation, which was resolved by replacing them. Since that issue was resolved, he mentioned it offers superior tracking (especially on precision approaches), and the new envelope protection is particularly useful. He has installed the software upgrade, offered at no cost to current owners. The upgrade provides improved envelope protection, bank limit adjustments for smoother turns and other features.
Brian Cameron, a Piper Meridian owner, also recently upgraded his S-TEC 1500 to the S-TEC 3100. Brian’s autopilot has the latest software version, which he mentioned flies the approaches perfectly. Avionics are becoming increas- ingly capable, and Brian told me in his experience, it is very important to read all of the new operating procedures and manuals to maximize performance and safety. Brian
also said that “the additional features, such as built-in ADARS, LVL button, and envelope protection made it worth his investment.”
Broad Applicability
Genesys Aerosystems has also broadened the applicability of the S-TEC 3100. While
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