A Bolt-On Yoke Mounted Autopilot For Your Skyhawk?

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PortaPilot has announced the availability of its user-bolt-on autopilot (and bolt right off again) that’s compatible with many Cessna 172s. The early-adopter price for the rig is right around $2,000.

The unit is available in both one (roll) and two-axis (roll and pitch) versions, and it can be hooked up to your autopilot, panel mount or portable, as well. So, for a couple of thousand dollars you can put an autopilot in your plane and pull it out again and use it a different plane. The video makes it look quick and easy.

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Which it needs to be, in case there’s a problem, right? The idea of giving control of the plane to a third-party gizmo is disturbing enough even with it being easy and quick to get back off.

What’s the legality of it? With most things like this, the FAA takes a hands-off approach, such as attaching portable devices to the panel or other tubes or structures. But is this going too far, attaching a device to the very control column of your plane?

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And regardless of the legality, how safe is such a device? Because it requires no STC, the FAA won’t be weighing in on this one, so you’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. Either that or figure it out on your own. Yikes.

Read more stories about Avionics here.

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

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