Frequently asked questions

I own a Cessna 172 which has a 28V electrical system. Is it possible to use the  the PortaPilot?

Yes! The PortaPilot can be used with 28V aircraft, however initial models will require a 12 to 14 VDC supply. You may use our optional voltage reducing accessory, the optional backup battery, or install a aftermarket 14V power outlet, such as the Lone STAR 24V to 12V Down Converter. Future PortaPilot revisions will not require any additional accessories.

Can the PortaPilot be used on a aircraft with a built-in autopilot?

It is likely that you will be able to use the PortaPilot, but there could be an issue. Built-in autopilots impose additional control yoke resistance, even while turned off. The PortaPilot has limited torque which may not be cable of overpowering the built-in servos.

My aircraft is out of rig, causing a turn tendency, even with no wind. Will the PortaPilot be able to compensate and keep me flying straight?

Yes! As long as this is not a hard turning tendency, the PortaPilot will correct for it. This can consume several minutes to stabilize, however, the yoke clamp can be rotated as needed to compensate, while flying LVL, HDG or NAV. The center field of the display will indicate the amount and direction of the rotation. For specifics, read the Alignment Procedure section in the PortaPilot Pilot's Guide.

How do I connect a GPS to the PortaPilot?

Both portable, and panel mounted GPS navigators are compatible. Simply connect the included bare wire cable to an unused serial out port on your GPS navigator. For panel mounted GPS, we recommend bringing the serial port out to a panel mounted connector. You may need to configure that port to output navigation data with either Aviation or NMEA183 protocol and a baud rate of 4800 or 9600 and configure the PortaPilot settings to match. When communicating properly, you should see the GPS indicator on the PortaPilot Control Module flashing green.

Can the PortaPilot be used without any fasteners ar adhesives that may leave a mark on rental or shared aircraft?

Yes! You may be able to mount the User Interface to the yoke using elastic bands. The Control Module may be secured to the dash using some high quality adhesive tape that can be removed easily, such as 3M No Residue duct tape. You may also be able to use a small amount of low temperature hot glue, which could then be removed easily with some isopropyl alcohol. Some creativity and experimentaton may be necessary. It is very important that the Control Module not be moved or bumped during flight, so keep this in mind when mounting.

While flying through continuous, light turbulence with the PortaPilot in control, the aircraft exhibited roll oscillations.  Is it possible to make flying more comfortable under these conditions?

Note that the PortaPilot is specified for turbulence that is no greater than light intermittent in nature. However, it is possible to improve this condition by temporarily reducing the Roll Gain to a point where the flight is more stable, but the aircraft is adequately controlled. Don't forget to restore the Roll Gain setting for typical conditions.

Is the PortaPilot compatible with my aircraft?

Currently, the PortaPilot (Rev. C) is compatible with Cessna 172L and newer models with 14V Aircraft systems. It may only be used on aircraft with 28V systems by using the optional PortaPilot voltage reducer, PortaPilot Backup Battery (available soon), or installing an aftermarket 14V outlet. The PortaPilot may not be adapted to work on unsupported aircraft.

Can I upgrade from single to dual axis control?

Yes! While we don't have this available yet, in the future, you will be able to send in your single axis PortaPilot for a Two Axes upgrade. We will then uprade your NAV hardware and software into a fully functional VNAV set.