Kings Avionics Installs S-TEC Autopilots in R/STOL-equipped Aircraft

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Kings Avionics, a 40-year-old avionics facility based at Salt Lake City International Airport, has developed the procedures and engineering to make it possible to install S-TEC autopilots into an R/STOL-equipped aircraft, now marketed through Sierra Industries Ltd.

Previously an S-TEC autopilot installation in an aircraft with an R/STOL or other speed modification was sometimes impossible since the installation would void the autopilot STC. Working with the Salt Lake City Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and the factory engineers at Cobham (S-TEC), Kings Avionics has devised a means to legally install this autopilot. Installation is most common on Cessna's 300- and 400-series aircraft.

"Over the years, we have installed hundreds of autopilots in all types of aircraft, but we were forced to turn down many prospective autopilot customers who wanted a new S-TEC autopilot installation," says Kings Avionics President Steve Hayden. " Turning down business is something no avionics shop wants to do, so we devised a means to perform this installation legally."

The scope of the installation includes building special brackets, cables, and the necessary attachments.

"In some cases the servos cannot mount in the location called out in the S-TEC STC for the aircraft because of conflicts with the Robertson modification," says Hayden. "In that case, we relocate servos to an approved location, manufacture servo brackets, and extend or manufacture bridle cables as necessary for proper operation of the completed autopilot system. Other installations may require modifications to the attach points of the bellcrank assembly."

Following installation, the next step is to gain FAA engineering approval and to complete flight testing.

"Of course, we continue to work closely with our FSDO throughout each installation," says Hayden. "Aircraft owners can be assured that the installation will not only be done by our experienced, specialized technicians, but that the installation will conform to the exact letter of all FAA regulations."