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AeroCruze might just be here…


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    For those of you who get the online Mooney magazine, The Mooney Flyer, there was an announcement posted of STC approval for the AeroCruze 100 for M20’s. Shocked and reeling in disbelief, I had to read it twice, nay, three times to verify what I was seeing. I called Chris at Duncan Aviation and sure enough those folks got it through. The autopilots will be ordered through Duncan. They are building a list now of M20 owners and which specific control head they want. That list goes to BK and then we wait for the parts to be produced and kits built for Duncan. Chris told me 90 days but I’m betting min of six months. Prices vary among the six available kits by less than $200. They all come in a hair under 6 grand unless BK decides to change it. Considering all the crazy stuff going on with this economy, a 1 AMU over the original TT price seems pretty reasonable. Chris at Duncan is a super nice guy and already deluged with emails and calls from us CB vintage Mooney drivers…

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Although it might be available, I think going the BK route is foolish. I am one of the folks that had issues with the GSA28 servos. Garmin sent out a servo for me pretty quickly. Whats to say BK will do the same and support their system and STC. I've read a lot of posts on here about what a nightmare it was dealing with BK and how expensive it was. When my pitch servo went tits up, I paid nothing and the servo was switched out, 100% under warranty by garmin. When that same servo got hit with an SB, and it had to be replaced again, a servo was sent out 3 days after the SB got sent out, and then was replaced 100% under warranty again.

Although the difference in price is probably 10k installed for the BK vs 18k installed for the 500 (that was my price with YD and trim), that 8 grand difference is pennys when you don't have company support in a couple months or years, when BK decides they're over GA again.

I installed a completely new panel in 2020, and I made sure that nothing in it was BK, because it's a coin toss whether they'll help me out and support me, or if nothings going to get done.

Just my 2 cents.

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For a person who wants to keep panel modifications to a minimum and total costs low this is still a great option. It's nearly stand alone, yet will interface with pretty much  any GPS. If you have a panel that will get you where you want to go and you want some assistance in flying this will do it.

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On 6/3/2022 at 6:56 PM, carusoam said:

Anyone want to go first….?

Certainly caution is warranted.  

I’m curious if BK has been delivering kits for those airframes previously certified over the last couple years.  I’m not connected enough to know.  Although, I’ve not heard anything to the contrary… anyone?  Is BK not delivering?

What are the alternatives?  If you’re not already Big G equipped, the GFC is going to run 15-20 amu.  Albeit, a great system if you want to make that investment.  Dynon isn’t certified yet, and will it connect to boxes outside their Skyview?  Am I missing something?

To the question -a- poses, someone did go first (in a manner of speaking)… to get the STC approved.  It would be great if they would provide their perspective.  Here’s their panel from the Duncan website… this is a highly capable Mooney.  I’d really like to hear their perspective.  

image.jpeg.09b46704c14e24dcd0c7b5141645b7da.jpeg

 

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51 minutes ago, 47U said:

Certainly caution is warranted.  

I’m curious if BK has been delivering kits for those airframes previously certified over the last couple years.  I’m not connected enough to know.  Although, I’ve not heard anything to the contrary… anyone?  Is BK not delivering?

What are the alternatives?  If you’re not already Big G equipped, the GFC is going to run 15-20 amu.  Albeit, a great system if you want to make that investment.  Dynon isn’t certified yet, and will it connect to boxes outside their Skyview?  Am I missing something?

To the question -a- poses, someone did go first (in a manner of speaking)… to get the STC approved.  It would be great if they would provide their perspective.  Here’s their panel from the Duncan website… this is a highly capable Mooney.  I’d really like to hear their perspective.  

image.jpeg.09b46704c14e24dcd0c7b5141645b7da.jpeg

 

That’s a long body (based on it being FIKI).  I wonder if they tested it and really did the homework for all the oldies… CEFG and especially Js.  Garmin had a few struggles with installation differences and they tested multiple airplanes for the stc.  I would think this AP would be more in demand for a vfr cruiser than a real traveling ifr machine shooting approaches to mins?

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26 minutes ago, Ragsf15e said:

That’s a long body (based on it being FIKI).  I wonder if they tested it and really did the homework for all the oldies… CEFG and especially Js.  Garmin had a few struggles with installation differences and they tested multiple airplanes for the stc.  I would think this AP would be more in demand for a vfr cruiser than a real traveling ifr machine shooting approaches to mins?

I agree it looks like a long body panel, but you can get FIKI in other 28V Mooney's such as the mid-body Encores.   

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2 minutes ago, Bolter said:

I agree it looks like a long body panel, but you can get FIKI in other 28V Mooney's such as the mid-body Encores.   

It would be a pre 99 bravo or ovation. It had the 3 stack high panel.

 

Edit: its an ovation. It has a red tic mark at 2500 rpm and not 2575.

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On 6/3/2022 at 2:13 PM, Jakes Simmons said:

    For those of you who get the online Mooney magazine, The Mooney Flyer, there was an announcement posted of STC approval for the AeroCruze 100 for M20’s. Shocked and reeling in disbelief, I had to read it twice, nay, three times to verify what I was seeing. I called Chris at Duncan Aviation and sure enough those folks got it through. The autopilots will be ordered through Duncan. They are building a list now of M20 owners and which specific control head they want. That list goes to BK and then we wait for the parts to be produced and kits built for Duncan. Chris told me 90 days but I’m betting min of six months. Prices vary among the six available kits by less than $200. They all come in a hair under 6 grand unless BK decides to change it. Considering all the crazy stuff going on with this economy, a 1 AMU over the original TT price seems pretty reasonable. Chris at Duncan is a super nice guy and already deluged with emails and calls from us CB vintage Mooney drivers…

I'm sorry to be negative about this but...  I've been working with an instrument student in a Turbo Arrow IV.  It's been upgraded with the G500 TXi and GTN 750Xi.  It has the Aerocruz 100.  In the Mooney Flyer it says the Aerocruz "will annunciate pitch trim", i.e., it doesn't have pitch trim, so won't hold altitude.  At least the Arrow version is not certified to fly approaches either.  With one knob and a push button, it's also not that easy to use.  It's a terrible autopilot.  If you were to put it in a long body, you'd never be able to sell the plane or certainly not without taking a huge discount.  In the future, if the Aerocruz 230 is ever certified, maybe all will be different, but for now, unless the new STC is set up for altitude hold and approaches, you're wasting your money.

The Instrument Rating would have been so much easier with a decent autopilot.  My student is set up with Pacific Coast Avionics in January to have the GFC 500 installed.  Super long wait times now.

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6 hours ago, donkaye said:

  In the future, if the Aerocruz 230 is ever certified, maybe all will be different, but for now, unless the new STC is set up for altitude hold and approaches, you're wasting your money.

The Aerocruze 230 was certified back in 2019 and there's a thread about installing one in a K model by LASAR. I'm not saying it's a great idea, but it is available to replace the KFC150 and KFC200.

 

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1 hour ago, bluehighwayflyer said:

The ability to reliably fly a heading or track a nav source is all a lot of pilots really need in an autopilot and is way better than nothing, which is what a lot of pilots currently have.  With a lot of the legacy autopilot systems quickly becoming unsupportable I’m delighted to see the Aerocruz 100 finally come to the Mooney market, personally.  

If you flew  it, you might change your mind.  For the instrument rating it was basically useless.  The altitude varied so quickly that the student's attention would need to be diverted to it to the extent that other tasks couldn't get done, and it was easy to load down the student.

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I think a lot has to do with the installation. I flew with a friend in his Tomahawk and he has a TruTrak 100 and it flew on rails and held altitude very well. One disadvantage is that any A&P/IA back in the TruTrak days could legally install it. Hopefully they are now dealing with shops that have some experience installing autopilots.

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I fly with a buddy a fair amount that has the TruTrac (Aerocruze) in his Cherokee.   It's a very good autopilot, and I've flown safety pilot with him on approaches many times, many using the autopilot to see how well it flies an approach.    It holds altitude as well as anything (you do have to adjust trim once in a while), flies holds, etc., etc.     I compare it to my Century II when it was working, which was also a really good autopilot and would fly an approach like it was on rails.

I plan to put an Aerocruze in my airplane as soon as I can get one.    As an engineer, I just don't like the way that Garmin did the servo installation in the Mooneys, especially compared to the Century or S-Tec installations.   Also, as an A&P and owner of the aircraft, I can install the Aerocruze myself, while I'd have to shell out many, many AMUs to have a Garmin autopilot installed.    For me it's a no-brainer.

That said, the Aerocruze is not the greatest autopilot on an approach.   We've kinda learned that it needs supervision in that area, which is still fine by me, as I don't think it's a great idea to trust any GA autopilot there very much.   

Mooney pireps aren't really available yet, but these things have been in experimentals and other aircraft for a long time with good success.   I'm looking forward to installing one.

  

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2 hours ago, bluehighwayflyer said:

The ability to reliably fly a heading or track a nav source is all a lot of pilots really need in an autopilot and is way better than nothing, which is what a lot of pilots currently have.  With a lot of the legacy autopilot systems quickly becoming unsupportable I’m delighted to see the Aerocruz 100 finally come to the Mooney market, personally.  

That's 99% what I need and want. I'd prefer to have all the functions my Skyview system is capable of, but the FAA isn't going to let that happen anytime soon.

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You guys are good!

47U’s pic is what O1s look like….

The tall three row panel and BK’s fancy analog looking instruments….

It has a few other identifying details….

1) It’s not a Bravo…  because there is a row of engine instruments missing… TIT being the obvious one… :)

2) It’s not an Eagle… because it has the small extra niceties… like electric rudder trim….

New APs for all!

Go Mooney!

Best regards,

-a-

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Gawd, must have been a miracle that I got my IA rating completely WITHOUT any type of autopilot.

All this talk of how long the rating takes with a less than Garmin A/P is a bit hard to swallow, IMHO.

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11 minutes ago, MikeOH said:

Gawd, must have been a miracle that I got my IA rating completely WITHOUT any type of autopilot.

All this talk of how long the rating takes with a less than Garmin A/P is a bit hard to swallow, IMHO.

I got mine in a autopilotless C-172 with dual nav/coms, and ADF, a transponder and a hand mic. CFII made me do intersection holds on one nav. And this was in the San Francisco Bay area with busy controllers and a lot of traffic. At least I didn't have to remember what button to push.;)

I flew a rented Arrow from San Jose, CA to Ada, OK in 2007 for the APS course. It had two nav/coms and a broken DME and no autopilot. Most of the other attendees were Cirrus drivers. They could not believe I could get there without GPS and XM weather and did I really hand fly it? 

It's nice to have all the bells and whistles, but I think it is unfortunate when we become dependent on them. But that's just me. I like my Mooney with the new Garmin panel, but I think I could still get where I'm going in that Arrow.

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5 minutes ago, PT20J said:

I got mine in a autopilotless C-172 with dual nav/coms, and ADF, a transponder and a hand mic. CFII made me do intersection holds on one nav. And this was in the San Francisco Bay area with busy controllers and a lot of traffic. At least I didn't have to remember what button to push.;)

I flew a rented Arrow from San Jose, CA to Ada, OK in 2007 for the APS course. It had two nav/coms and a broken DME and no autopilot. Most of the other attendees were Cirrus drivers. They could not believe I could get there without GPS and XM weather and did I really hand fly it? 

It's nice to have all the bells and whistles, but I think it is unfortunate when we become dependent on them. But that's just me. I like my Mooney with the new Garmin panel, but I think I could still get where I'm going in that Arrow.

Skip

You got me beat!  I had to demonstrate intersection holds, but I had TWO navs!  Honestly, I have more trouble with all the button pushing on my Garmin.

I've never completely bought the claim that GPS/glass is safer because of better 'situational awareness'...that's true while it's working!             Pre-GPS/glass you had to form an accurate mental image to maintain SA, ALL the time!  I worry that that skill, in general, has been highly degraded as it's only natural to tacitly become dependent on the pretty pictures!

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10 hours ago, PT20J said:

Richard Collins flew his P-210 mostly IFR in all kinds of weather with only a wing leveler.

I believe when he took delivery of N40RC it had a Cessna 300 NavOMatic Autopilot with Altitude Hold, etc. (11:38 in the video)

 

Later I think he replaced that autopilot with an S-Tec 50.

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Great news, I'm likely to make that next year's upgrade.

I want it for long vfr flights, night when I get the rating, and mainly just to let me do paperwork while flying 3 hours away.

I like my old panel, as people earlier mentioned about easier situational awareness, so all I want is to hold a track and height when I'm bored.

Hope to hear some good reports. Especially from other E models.

Time and price to install will be another factor.

Cheers 

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5 hours ago, LANCECASPER said:

I believe when he took delivery of N40RC it had a Cessna 300 NavOMatic Autopilot with Altitude Hold, etc. (11:38 in the video)

 

Later I think he replaced that autopilot with an S-Tec 50.

 Perhaps. He always did like to upgrade stuff. I was just referring to his article in Logbooks (A Long and Wonderful Flight) where he said that an AD didn’t apply because he had a “wing leveler autopilot that didn’t use the attitude indicator.” But he may have meant “rate based” autopilot. 

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19 minutes ago, PT20J said:

 Perhaps. He always did like to upgrade stuff. I was just referring to his article in Logbooks (A Long and Wonderful Flight) where he said that an AD didn’t apply because he had a “wing leveler autopilot that didn’t use the attitude indicator.” But he may have meant “rate based” autopilot. 

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Yeah that makes sense. In later years there's a picture of him standing next to N40RC with the pilots door open and if you look closely you can see an S-Tec 50 on the panel which uses the electric turn coordinator. He lost the vacuum pump in his airplane so many times it would seem reasonable that he wanted to get away from attitude based autopilots.

The accident in the P210 that had the most impact on him, around the time that he lost vacuum pump #5 and had been working with Cessna and Continental for a solution, was a doctor with 3 colleagues taking off into IMC out of Idaho, They lost the vacuum pump shortly into the flight and the pilot couldn't keep the airplane right-side up and he put it into a spin and they all lost their lives.

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