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DFC100 Features - Initial Release

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    Posted: 23 Nov 2010 at 5:01pm
The initial Cirrus Release of the DFC100 will have the following feature set above/beyond the DFC90:

  • VNAV
  • Integrated Vectors
  • Alt Defaults to Armed
  • Roll Servo support
  • Full time Envelope Alerting
  • Enhanced aural voice alerts
  • Flap input
  • Dual AHRS support
  • Servo Limit
  • Bank Limit
  • Coupled Missed Approach in VNAV
Taken one at a time, some brief definitions of each are:

VNAV - this has it's own thread on this forum.  For the sake of brevity, check out that thread for more info.

Integrated Vectors - Vectors mode has understandably become an extremely popular feature in R9.  That integration now extends to the autopilot.  When the HDG button on the autpilot is pressed, the autopilot will follow the dashed magenta Vectors line on the HSI or Moving Map. Depending on whether the line is drawn to intercept a downpath nav leg or approach procedure or not, an automatic intercept and autopilot mode transition can occur.

Altitude Defaults to Armed - A dual button press (IAS-ALT or VS-ALT or VNAV-ALT, etc) is no longer needed to perform an altitude capture.  The system will still work if you want to press both buttons but the DFC100 has a single button press feature.  Press just the IAS button and ALT will also automatically arm.  Press just the VS button and ALT will also automatically arm.  Press just the VNAV button and ALT will also automatically arm.  This may lead to several techniques - one may be ensure the altitude bug is set to the desired value prior to pressing the vertical mode button.  If an unterminated climb or descent is desired (no altitude capture desired if bug altitude is crossed), press the original vertical mode button a 2nd time.  For example, the first press of VS also arms ALT.  A second press of VS disarms ALT and leaves you strictly in VS mode.  (There is a similar story in the lateral channel modes)

Roll Servo support - the initial release of the DFC100 will support both roll trim equipped aircraft and the aftermarket modified roll servo equipped aircraft.  At DFC100 install time, the installer merely selects which configuration the airplane has and the rest is automatic.  With this roll servo support, Avidyne once again encourages customers to consider adding that aftermarket capability. Many owners find that the roll trim motors tend to degrade in performance over time and this has a noticeable effect on the autopilot tracking performance.   Some owners also find they can inadvertently hit the built-in mechanical limit switch in a roll trim motor thereby affecting the autopilot performance.  Both of these possibilities are dramatically reduced in roll servo equipped aircraft.

Full-time Envelope Alerting (EA) - speed-based and attitude-based alerting is provided whenever the autopilot is NOT engaged.  This means in Flight Director mode and even when the autopilot is in standby mode (AP READY), EA mode is available.   EA is triggered when the DFC100 recognizes an underspeed, overspeed, or excessive bank condition and alerts the pilot via aural and text alerts.  Principally designed to provide alerting even when the autopilot is not on, scenarios like traffic pattern stalls are alerted to the pilot.  Suppression of alerts is provided in full-flap and near idle conditions.  EA is worthy of it's own post and our VP Flight Controls, Mark Krebs is working on a post that will share some of the interesting design details shortly.

New aural alerting voice - a new and enhanced voice has been used for all aural alerting.   Her name is Charlotte and she is a real person from northern England.

Flap input - as part of the installation, the actual flap switch position is being used to improve the accuracy of the Envelope Protection and Full-time Envelope Alerting triggers.  The autopilot uses knowledge of the flap position to compute true stall speed and thereby better define underspeed protection/alerts.

Dual AHRS support - the DFC100 is designed to be able to use either AHRS as its attitude source.  The autopilot will fly right through an AHRS failure.

Servo Limit - a text message is displayed in the autopilot flight modes annuciation section on the PFD if/when the mechanical limit switch has been tripped within the roll axis motor.  When this message is displayed, the autopilot will experience degraded performance and is typically only experienced when a pilot is making a control input (rudder or aileron) while the autopilot is coupled.

Bank Limit - a new aural and text alert is added if the aircraft exceeds the POH bank limit (typically > 60 deg).  The aural alert, "Caution, Excessive Bank" and accompanying "BANK LIMIT" text alert will be issued in this condition.

Coupled Missed Approach in VNAV - one of the capabilities of VNAV is the ability to fly a missed approach in VNAV mode.   As described in more detail in the Pilot Guide, this provides a Envelope Protected hands-free autopilot and Primary Nav LSK transition during missed approach scenarios.



All of these features are described in more detail in the DFC100 Pilot Guide which can be accessed from this link

Speaking of DFC100 Pilot Guides, there is one pagination typo that is getting cleaned up (page 4-1 shows as 3-1) and hard copies will be sent to all DFC100 customers when we get them back from the printers.  



Edited by BigDaddyJake - 23 Nov 2010 at 5:01pm
Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Turrisi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2010 at 5:17pm
Very nice summary! So it seems that the only time "EA" will not be functioning is if the AP circuit breakers are pulled?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2010 at 5:19pm
Yes, you got it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Turrisi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2010 at 5:21pm
Last question for now. Do we get to meet Charlotte some day???
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2010 at 5:22pm
Trust me, that would be a treat.
Steve Jacobson
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