March 19, 2021 at 10:11 pm #2217
SteinAir, located in Faribault, MN (KFBL), has obtained a field approval for installation of a Garmin GFC 500 autopilot in a Meyers 200D.
I am very pleased with the performance of the autopilot. Everyone who has experienced it is impressed, including mechanics. The technicians at SteinAir did superb work.March 19, 2021 at 10:46 pm #2218
A little background. I am a pilot, not any sort of technician. I have many hours of experience in autopilot operation. This does not make me an expert, just experienced. I do not know how autopilots are supposed to be perfectly set up. I do know what a poor/weak autopilot does, and how a good one performs.
In level flight, with a turn selected in heading mode, the roll in is smooth as is the roll out on desired heading.
I climb in Indicated Airspeed (IAS) mode and descend with Vertical Speed (VS). Again, the altitude capture is firm, smooth, and accurate. I do say, my plane has a two axis autopilot, so trim in manual. When altitude capture is established, a notification is given to trim the plane manually.
Cruise flight is a pilot dream. At cruise altitude, I turn the autopilot off, trim, and re-engage.
Approaches with the GFC-500 are exactly what we want. No wandering, no abrupt changes, solid flight exactly as published.
I flew the plane on March 7th to get a second pilot opinion. It was a windy, gusty day. Mt friend, who has more time operating Garmin Autopilots than I have total time, was impressed.
In the wind, the constant light chop, two pilots trying to make the device crack under pressure, it was rock solid.
No autopilot will hold on through a hurricane. The Garmin GFC-500 in the Meyers 200 is an excellent combination.
Thank you SteinAir!March 20, 2021 at 2:12 am #2220
Peter, that is very encouraging and thank you for sharing. A few questions for you:
1. Did you replace an existing A/P or was this a brand new installation?
2. If the former, what did you replace?
3. And if the former, did you reuse existing servos or go all new?
4. Did you have to get an engineer involved on paperwork for submission to the FSDO? Or was the Garmin
install instructions adequate for your submission?
5. Assume your avionics shop provided you a 337? Are you willing to share it with other 200 owners?
6. Last but not least, ballpark price for parts, labor and paperwork?
Much obliged and congratulations!
N196MMarch 21, 2021 at 5:22 pm #2222
My aircraft had a Brittain AccuFlight II autopilot.That system was completely removed.
The technicians at SteinAir did all the engineering, fabrication, and paperwork.
Yes, there is a 337. I am hesitant to share this for a variety of reasons. Many parts were fabricated in house. To provide a parts list, and have other shops fabricate brackets and such is going to result in variations with installations. There is value in having standardization within a fleet. SteinAir has produced a fine product, it is hard for me to just give it away. One fear is another attempt may result in an unsafe outcome.
This is not say what SteinAir accomplished is perfect, or unlikely to be improved upon. There is always room for improvement. Build a better mousetrap so to speak.
It is very difficult for me to say a GFC-500 install in a Meyers 200 will be exactly, or even about, X dollars. There were unique circumstances to the work I had done. The vacuum system on my plane was removed prior to delivery to the shop. I assisted in the interior removal to allow access to the airframe. Additional Garmin equipment was purchased and installed, package discounts applied and made integration easier. Looking at my invoice, subtracting the GPS, Audio Panel, and GI-275 costs, the rough (wide ballpark) figure is approximately forty-thousand dollars ($40,000). That is a big number. Subsequent installs maybe less (or more?) since the first one is the most time consuming.
SteinAir was a joy to do business with. They may not be the least expensive, but they definitely are among the best of the best.
Hope this helps. Happy to answer any other questions.
PeterMarch 23, 2021 at 5:59 pm #2223
Peter-thank you for the detailed feedback. So I am assuming SteinAir would do another install and run it through the FSDO again?
EdMarch 23, 2021 at 10:23 pm #2224Mark YoungParticipant
A quick follow-up to this post.
This installation is a first example, and it took stein a fair amount of work with his FSDO to get it approved.
The best approach to discussing this option is to call stein directly and talk about the upgrade and the excellent engineering relationship he has with his FSDO. This is a great opportunity to put a modern autopilot into a classic airplane, and it would be a shame to lose it.
I’ve had a number of conversations with Stein…he’s a great guy.
Stein, SteinAir, firstname.lastname@example.org, (651) 460 6955March 24, 2021 at 5:25 pm #2225
Thank you Mark. Great feedback.
EdMarch 26, 2021 at 3:08 pm #2226Ashley WadeParticipant
A quick follow up to Mark’s quick follow up post…
Peter, welcome to Meyers. You’ve been active on the forum for only a month and have already bagged a unicorn. Holy $#!+ !!! Your new Meyers family has been agonizing over how to achieve what you have done for years. If you do a search you will see the many different posts of false starts on how to get this done. My deposit to Stein (for tax reasons (let Biden pay for some) and to take advantage of the GI275 promotion) goes out today. Stein did not ask me for a deposit.
My plane lives at UXL on the Louisiana coast and Stein is at FBL 850.8 NM away in Michigan. I have a great avionics shop close by. Not considering them. I am emulating Peter and going to Stein to have this done for many reasons, but here are the top few. Foremost, Mr. Stein has a great working relationship with his local FSDO. No magic there, all by the book; but to get a complex approval such as this takes several months and a lot of cooperation on the part of the A&P and the FSDO going back and forth. Having a previous 337 in hand does help, but the days of “cookie cutter” FSDO approvals of previous 337s are gone. Ask me how I know? Without our beloved Nelson Harding’s help I’d be grounded on a much more simple 337 that is used on at least 40 of our fleet. Nelson saved me. Thanks Nels. I will save precious time and $ by following in Pete’s footsteps. I also feel a debt of gratitude towards Stein for breaking the code for our planes and want to show some Meyers loyalty to him.
As Mark said, Stein is a great guy. Very personable and accessible. His shop is busy and that is a testament to their work. Call and ask for Stein (651) 460-6955. If he’s buried in a panel he’ll still call you back quickly. http://www.steinair.com
Another deciding factor for me was Peter’s PIREP about how solid the installation is. I discussed this with Stein and he was totally thrilled with the performance of his install. Flying with Pete to dial things in has made Stein a big fan of the Myers 200. I loved hearing him talk about the speed of our old girls and how well the airframe and wing design of our airplanes puts them ahead of Bonanzas and Cirrus ( Cirruses, or is it Cirrie? Ah who cares, our planes and our pilots are better). I’ll go with a tried and true experienced installer instead of someone hacking around my plane and them making me a test pilot. I’m getting the install for safety to save me from having to hand fly IFR. Want that engage button two work properly after pressing it in the clag.
Let’s show Stein some love for having done this for Peter. When we passed a sign up sheet around a few years ago trying to convince TruTrack to certify an autopilot there were 18 people that said they were willing to put money down right away. Many more were on the fence. I am already behind two of our other Meyers brothers that are scheduled to have Stein copy Peter’s install on their planes. That will make me install number four. Get on the list. All of the kinks will be worked out.
Is the travel worth it to Michigan? That’s why I bought a fast airplane. As mentioned it’s 850.8 NM. Heading 359 for 5.6 hoursish depending on winds. I’ll top all four tanks, put my Little Johnnie red trucker jug on the passenger seat, file, climb to 10,000′ and do a non stop hoping that ATC doesn’t call in the middle of using Little Johnnie. I’ll go LOP and therefore have a full tank of fuel when I land. On the way back I’ll be all refreshed for Karen because my new George will have flown most of the way.
We’re actually getting a modern autopilot. Damn. Finally something going right in the world.April 4, 2021 at 9:29 am #2232Thomas KubeParticipant
Happy Eastertime from Germany!
I wonder of we can group up to have SteinAir go for an STC.
If there is an STC, we would have less trouble getting this great AP into our planes. For me in Germany, as an EASA reg, 337s do not work.
And going back to N-Reg would terminate the world spanning Meyers distribution.
Let me know your thoughts.
Thomas.April 5, 2021 at 1:27 am #2233
Thomas-you stated what I was thinking. The question is how much he would charge each of us for the STC. I will tell you that a $40K A/P install does not work for me. I would love the upgrade but at that number I will just keep my Century III in as good a condition as I can. And I get it that Stein is learning as he goes and that hopefully that translates to a lesser overall cost.
Ashley-any feedback/thoughts here?
Hope everyone is getting some spring flying in. It’s bump but nice to up there.
EdApril 7, 2021 at 9:47 pm #2234Ashley WadeParticipant
Hello Thomas and Ed. I will check with Stein and get his thoughts. He still needs to get me an official quote so that I can send him some $ and save on some taxes leaving poor Joe Biden out in the cold. I’ll be happy to share the quote with anyone who needs it. Wish this site supported uploads of photos and .PDFs so that we could all share. We need another platform like BeechTalk! So Ed, the $40k does include a couple of G5s or GI 275s. You may have other instruments that would drive the autopilot and your cost would be specifically lower? I know that the GI 275s would drive your legacy Century, but don’t know what legacy devices drive the GFC500. That’s be a call to Stein himself to advise. You might have what it takes to get out cheaper than you think?
I am surprised that more have not come forward to want the autopilot. HUGE amount of interest when it was brought up at the FlyIn.April 9, 2021 at 12:10 am #2238
Ashley-you make good points. G5 and/or 275 upgrades would be a good thing. I redid my panel several years back but kept mostly legacy round gauges with a JPI 830 and GNS 430W as main nav/com with a Aera 660 as a panel mount MFD and KI155 as back up No 2. It’s amazing how much the legacy engine et al gauges take up on the right side of the panel.
Not sure why more folks have not commented other than the $40K may have scared off a few. I recall the original TruTrak conversation was centered on an installed price of $10K? We were all probably dreaming…May 5, 2021 at 12:14 am #2248Tom ThibodeauParticipant
This is certainly amazing news!!! The G500 is a very capable unit and should provide years of reliable service for you and other M200 drivers. Sure would fit well into my Garmin stack …
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