March 26, 2021 at 3:17 pm #2227Ashley WadeParticipant
Please read the post from new member Peter Jensen titled “News Update”. It has the details of his achieving the impossible and having a GFC500 autopilot installed in his plane under 337 by SteinAir.October 7, 2021 at 11:40 pm #2356
I posted this elsewhere on this site, will repeat…
Update. After autopilot installation, it was apparent to me that a yaw damper was necessary. SteinAir installed a yaw damper, with FAA field approval, and unfortunately the Garmin unit was not up to the task. The servo was not strong enough to adjust for the torque on the Meyers. The yaw damper has since been uninstalled.
The spring tension in the rudder system was increased, the rudder bias in the rigging was adjusted, and now N2902T flies ball center in level flight. Right rudder is required right after takeoff and in initial climb.
Keep the ball centered!October 7, 2021 at 11:50 pm #2357
After many hours of flight in my aircraft using the GFC500, I report satisfactory performance. The unit does exactly what it is expected to do. Approaches are rock solid. Everyone, experienced pilots especially, are impressed.
Lateral fuel balance is key. In fact, a limitation. The manual says that there can be mo more than a 15 gallon fuel imbalance between wings.
My standard fuel load is full aux tanks, mains half full. I start my flights on the right main tank, level at cruise switch to aux. An hour into the flight I switch to the left aux (if a long flight), and fuel manage from there. Being as old as I am, I do not fly more than three hours due to bladder limits.
hope this helps.October 16, 2021 at 7:18 pm #2358Thomas KubeParticipant
Any news on doing an STC for the GFC500?
My Brittain B4 would like to retire…
ThomasOctober 18, 2021 at 9:01 pm #2360Ashley WadeParticipant
Hello Thomas. There are so few of us that I doubt that anyone will do an STC, but the 337 process is moving along nicely after Peter. 2 more 200’s are currently being upgraded at Stein Air as I type. I am in line right behind them and hope to have her back with a shiny new GFC500 and twin GI275s for Christmas.October 19, 2021 at 12:40 am #2361Ed PulliamParticipant
Ashley-what’s the price??December 22, 2021 at 12:00 am #2377Chris BlaineParticipant
Hi Ashley, I’m with Ed, what is that gonna set you back? I would love to get a GFC500. Heard nothing but extreme happiness from users. Where is Stein and is Stein the only folks that could do 337 field approval? If someone did it, can another region get away with it without copying their installation process exactly? Definitely an exciting possibility!December 30, 2021 at 4:53 pm #2378Dean SiracusaKeymaster
The challenge of any other avionics shop doing this is their local FSDO approving it. Stein is a very large and professional avionics shop that goes above and beyond when doing avionics installations. This includes full wiring diagrams, so other places can do repairs or upgrades far easier. This is just one of the reasons why they’re able to get approval. The other issue is that many FSDOs just prefer to say no to everything.December 30, 2021 at 6:54 pm #2380Don GatesParticipant
I have a Mooney but maybe related. On another Mooney specific site there was conversation on installing the GFC500 in M20C aircraft. A bit different as the M20C is included on Garmin’s AML / STC. A specific shop was mentioned as having recently completed a GFC500 install, and it turned out to be a shop I had my GTN650 installed by, so they know my plane.
I inquired in passing “hey, how much?” and was rough quoted as $12k for the hardware and $6k labor, I.e. $18k out the door. This was quite a bit higher than what was discussed in the Mooney forum, which was roughly $9k hardware and $4k labor. Either way, it’s a hunk of change.
Curious, do Meyer 200’s have electric trim? Adding electric trim to a Mooney is a PITA and definitely would add to the cost. Is the GFC500 capable of working with manual trim or is electric trim a requirement?January 4, 2022 at 1:46 pm #2382
To the best of my knowledge, Meyers 200 do not have electric trim. The GFC500 can be installed without an electric trim. When the system senses trim is required, a message comes on the screen… “Trim up” or “Trim Down”, and the pilot has to manually adjust.
Regarding cost, or price, it is expensive. Each owner needs to determine if an autopilot can be justified through usage. I found it to be worth every penny and minute spent to have a GNC500 installed.January 4, 2022 at 5:21 pm #2383Dean SiracusaKeymaster
The Meyers 200 does have electric trim available as an option when installing the Century autopilots such as the 2000. And, it’s been installed in the latest Garmin installation just last month.
Peter, your plane originally had the Brittain autopilot correct? The Century A/P is a very different installation since its servos are electric instead of vacuum operated. Stein wasn’t aware of the Century installation when he installed your Garmin system.
My original Meyers 200 had the Century 2000 A/P but with no electric trim so it would just alert me when it was out of trim. It wasn’t that big of a deal either. My “new” Meyers 200 has electric trim, and so do most of the more recent Century 2000 installations.July 1, 2023 at 12:29 am #2636Chris BlaineParticipant
To Ashley, and others that have done “the Mod”. Not many comments after the installations, I am hopeful for some reports from the others that have done it. How long waited, how much $$, how satisfied, any regrets/wishing for another system, etc? Just finally getting to some avionics improvements on mine, the stuff Ashley mentioned is mostly where I am headed.
Been flying so long in manual mode that I’m afraid after autopilot installing I’ll likely fall asleep at the wheel.
ChrisAugust 8, 2023 at 4:07 pm #2651Mark YoungParticipant
I’ll post an update on my install. I had a set of other work done at the time, so I don’t recall the cost of the work done specifically for the autopilot.
I previous had a century 2000 with integrated electric trim, and century altitude pre-select.
While the system was functional, I considered it a bit mickey mouse. When tuned properly, it would hold an altitude without much in the way of porpoising.
The up and down adjustments were terrible. The switches were pressed and the time pressed was supposed to translate into increments of 100′. It was basically non-deterministic in my plane.
The electric trim worked well enough. it basically wraps a gear around the drive shaft in the tail. Given the fact that my manual trim system was not smooth, I think it did a fine job.
When they did the install of the GFC500, they reused the electric trim setup from the century install. AFAIK, this is the only way they (steinAir) would do the electric trim install, though that might change at some point.
Now onto the GFC500: I love it.
While I have had two excursions (uncommanded descending right turn) early in the install, I’ve never seen them since. Looking at this thread, I wonder if they might have been exacerbated by a significant fuel imbalance. I’ll have to go out and test that theory. I feel confident it wasn’t anything I did myself…but who knows.
The autopilot flies the plane really well. I typically push the TakeOff/GoAround button prior to take off as a reference, but don’t engage it until I’m well underway. I’ve flown approaches with the system, and while there is a learning curve for avionics integration (like realizing you need to set target altitudes lower to get it to fly down even though you have a vertical path programmed for an approach), once you understand it, it does an amazing job, even in turbulence.
Some of the features, like setting climb ias vs climb vertical speed are really nice.
I should point out that it is really useful to watch a bunch of the random videos people have uploaded that demonstrate the system functions. it made things are lot more clear when I finally got in the plane and started using it.
I had my system installed with the gi275, which was also a nice addition. When installed correctly, there is cross fill of altimeter settings, vs, and altitude preselect from the g500. it is annoying that the headings aren’t completely aligned at this point, but that’s an swing error.
Since I had a mini “nelson harding device” installed in my ear, I typically only use the autopilot periodically to avoid the automated “turn off that damn hinky dinky autopilot and fly the damn plane…sheesh” when I use it too much. 😉
That’s probably enough for now. Questions?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.