Autopilot Upgrade Question

Autopilot Upgrade Question

Hello all,
    I own a 1975 Cessna 177 Cardinal. It is currently outfitted with all new 'steam' gauges, a Garmin 430 GPS and KX155. It has a DG with heading bug too. All avionics were chosen to be compatable with S-Tec autopilots. The plane currently has a Cessna ARC 200A navomatic "autopilot" which is usually used as a wing leveler but on a good day will track a VOR or the GPS. How much would it cost to upgrade to a single axis S-Tec autopilot or even add altitude to have 2 axis capabilities?

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Re: Autopilot Upgrade Question

Hi aharrin1,
An STEC System 20 will run about $ 8000 Equipment and 40 hours or about $ 11,400 (@ $85 per hour)
A System 30 with altitude hold will run about $ 12,500 equipment and 50 hours or about $ 16,750.
This is based on STEC/Cobham 2013 pricing.  You can add GPSS Roll Steering to either autopilot for about $2800
installed.  STEC/Cobham makes a good autopilot but they have been "price aggressive" through the last fours years when most avionics manufacturers have held the line on prices during these tough four years.  That's my only complaint
about STEC/Cobham.  Frankly, it's hard to justify an autopilot installation these days unless you plan to keep the plane for sometime or are into it "real good".  In most cases, you won't recover your investment with airplane values dropping, especially among the "legacy" Cessna and Pipers.  The alternative is to find a good autopilot mechanic who can keep that ARC 200A working.  Bob Hart  APG Eastern Avionics

Bob H
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