Chelton Digital Autopilot Broadens Market

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Chelton Flight System's new AP-3C digital autopilot was recently given STC approval for Cherokee Six and Cessna 210 aircraft, bringing the number of light aircraft certified for its installation to more than a dozen. The company says new STCs are coming at the rate of about one a month and more are pending for a wide range of aircraft, from Grumman Cheetahs to Rockwell Commanders. Chelton says digital means less maintenance and a smoother ride. The AP-3C requires only three components while conventional autopilots may need up to six, some of which require regular maintenance. The company also says the $12,650 system dampens the effects of turbulence because the altitude-hold function is based on an attitude gyro instead of rate-based deviation or an averaging formula. It's also the first autopilot designed for GA to feature vertical nav steering when coupled with an electronic flight information system, WAAS GPS or flight management system.