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STEC 5000 - a new autopilot

Some news here

STEC have an advantage in that they already have the servos and their mountings, for many airframes.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Cool stuff! Would be a nice upgrade for my current STEC 55X ;-)

IAS is a really, really nice feature, which I am currently missing. Probably the most important one besides the stepdown feature. The question is, does it work with my G1000 installation in the PA32?

Since my 55X isn't a real bad AP, it would be interesting to know how much I would have to invest in upgrading (new price plus cost for installation and certification minus achievable price for the 55X).

Hmm...announcing a new autopilot (not an entire airplane!) and saying that it won't be available for another two or two and a half years??? They must be desparate...

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

By late 2015 a big part of the A/P retrofit market will be gone .. to Avidyne and the DFC90. S-TEC should have been much quicker with this ...

What do you think is the retrofit market made up of?

I mean you personally, not say Avidyne who, when I asked them at EDNY 2012 and again in 2013, were clearly not very interested in anything but the pre-G1000 SR20/22 fleet. I know they are now playing with other planes but from what I hear they are making a right hash of it.

I think the market is much more fragmented than most would believe. Just take one little example: Socata TBs. There are best part of 2000 of them, yet nobody is at all interested. The old ones have various ancient Century models, then there was some later stuff, the GT (maybe 200 of those) had the KFC225 which has significant issues, and the only retrofit option which makes any sense is the STEC 55X which flies a lot worse than the KFC225. Now, that is a lot of $$$. 2000 x $20k = $40M. Even if you chop that down (only a % would upgrade, etc) it is still a LOT of $$$, and that is just one of many planes which are less than really obvious.

Why STEC took so long, and say they have 2 years to go still (??) is amazing, given they owned the STC market so "only" had to develop a new control box. I think they got crippled by getting bought by Cobham, which is a very grand old slow company which makes money out of nice slow juicy military contracts. I bet anybody with a brain who could hold a soldering iron left after the takeover.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I would say mostly all planes that use a S-TEC55 today. Like the SR20/22, Malibu, Bonanza, C-182 ... shouldn't that be the biggest market? It is for the DFC90 .... and it helped that you can simply put it into the S-TEC tray ... almost no installation cost. In my SR22 is was about € 400, mostly for the "flap wire", but it works without that too.

Sure, STEC's "low hanging fruit" is everything for which they have servos, installed or even just certified.

But if you bring out a new controller, the fact that you have an approved servo and mounting doesn't get you certification. That "just" saves you spending years measuring up airframes and years on Autocad drawing up the metalwork. You still have to flight test the box in each type.

And I don't believe STEC ever did much of that flight testing, which is why there are so many stories of models losing pitch stability when loaded in a certain way. I think they got in under the wire, many years ago, maybe using a "based on similar" route.

If they have sense, they will also develop brushless servos. That is what Garmin claim to have, and it should make a dramatic difference to the long term hassle of having an autopilot.

On the KFC225, Honeywell did do the flight tests very well and as a result it is an excellent autopilot, totally stable in all conditions, and IMHO by far the best until the very latest types. But they didn't do many models, and the price was high. Then they cocked up the servos... and probably cocked up the software a bit.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have no ideas where the servos in the SR22 come from, but i have heard that if i order a replacement now i will get a brusless servo. FWIW ...

5 years on, does anyone know what happened to the STEC 5000?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

It is the 3100 that is relevant for 55x replacement and they have an upgrade deal on it.

But since you asked about the 5000, I googled it for you ;-)

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