Problems wit AeroCruze 100 install (lack thereof)

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by AeroLudite, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Apologies ahead of time for the rant...

    In November I purchased a NICE ‘68 Piper Cherokee 140 to replace my ‘66 Cessna 150F as a personal plane and trainer (I’m a CFI, II, MEI, doing free lance instruction). Plane has Garmin 430W, dual g/s, indicators. ADS-b in/out, mid time engine, nice paint. Everything but an autopilot!

    I contacted my avionics shop (Rendrag Avionics @KOPN). He told me to expect to be in on Monday out on Friday based on experience installing non TSO units in RV’s.

    Fast foward to April ‘20. Took 6weeks to get “head”, in but no install kit (STC), or servo’s. (Had my money since March, however!). Took plane in as scheduled on second Monday in May as “kit” had come in. Shop gets plane opened up and torn apart, opens the box.....WTF!!! One servo, one bracket, NO WIRING HARNESS or second SERVO, OR BRACKETTS.

    A month later, still no plane! No autopilot, no anticipation of when parts come in.
    BendixKing TOTALLY unresponsive, AVIALL, who is middleman to BK for products can’t explain or give expected parts delivery....

    so, I would advise against ANYTHING BendixKing. Probably bought up TrueTrack to just kill the product line so they “might” (NOT!) sell the AeroCruze 200, which is the problematic KAP200 “rebranded”.....
    rant over....
    Buyer Beware...
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  2. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    I feel the pain. I have about 10 auto pilots on order since the last time TruTrak themselves took orders, one in late 2019, and I have yet to receive a full kit. Aviall has finally started shipping parts and charging me for them, but I have not received a single full kit. We're at 6 months now, and Bendix/King just can't seem to get a part shipped. They did finally send a 172 install kit to Aviall, but it was rejected due to some quality concerns or something like that. It is outrageous. TruTrak was always so good to work with. Not so now. On a good note, however, they use Mid Continent as their service center. MC has been excellent to work with.
     
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  3. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    What’s your recommendation?
    should I terminate the install, and proceed legally against BendixKing. (I Like my shop, he’s been good to me, don’t want to strand him).
    I can’t wait 6 months, or more for my plane. I’m losing money with it sitting in his shop. My plane is a “working girl”. Pays for the upkeep and upgrades...
     
  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Bummer. Hopefully, Aerovonics S30 will soon be able to drive my legacy ap
     
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  5. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    No, hold in there. They probably don't have anything installed since they don't have an install kit. Even if the head is mounted, they could either pull it out or mark it inop until they finish the install. Have them close things up and get the plane back in the air until they get the rest of the parts.
     
  6. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Likewise, for a different reason.

    The next time my BK autopilot has any sort of problem, it is getting ripped out. They want nearly $1,000 for the trim switch that goes on the yoke and wears out every so often, and they want $9,600 for an overhaul exchange trim servo. That's what I call "**** you pricing". They have repeatedly demonstrated that they have no desire to actually serve the GA market despite what they like to say, and they have a history of taking ridiculously long to ship anything they've promised.

    I can't wait to get all of their crap out of my panel. KI-256 is on the chopping block soon...
     
  7. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Thanks Jesse! I’ll swing by and check on it tomorrow.


    They have the install kit; at least the boxes and a few parts...
    Dave did tell me that they were installing the head on Monday. Just waiting on the rest from Aviall.

    re; AV-30, my source says S-tec first. Then legacy Century app’s. Then maybe Garmin, or Avidyne. No mention of BK. I’m not even holding my breath on getting an AV30. Sounds too good to be true. Once released and in stock at Air Spruce, Ill get one to replace my DG. Another, if they work out. As my screen name implies, I’m not a huge fan of the latest/greatest.
    My dog thinks I’m erudite; most aquaintances a Luddite or just loco...

    My only previous experience with King autopilots was with a KAP150 in two different Saratoga’s. One, we couldn’t get a replacement servos. A used o/h unit worked for about 2mos, and quit. IIRC, it was $5200, installed circa 2005. Next time it failed, it was replaced with an S-tec 55X. Other was just placarded inop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  8. Cherokee Lover

    Cherokee Lover Pre-Flight

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    My plane is waiting on the same parts over there in Thomaston. I know Dave is just as frustrated with BK and Avial.
     
  9. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I dealt with TruTrak about a half year before Bendix King acquired them and they were a class act. I purchased their Vizion AP (now AeroCruze) to replace a failing Digiflight II and they only charged the upgrade amount and included an adapter harness, and I had that in my hands in about a week after ordering. They even gave me 2 months to send back the old Digiflight and didn't require a deposit.

    With Bendix King now running things, I hope nothing goes wrong with my AP since it sounds like getting any kind of repair or parts is a nightmare.
     
  10. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

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    Unfortunately, your first mistake was deciding to go with a Bendix King product. Honestly, your shop steered you wrong here. They should know better, as Bendix being a total ****show is not a secret (and BK doesn't even appear to try to hide it). It's inexplicable to me why they're even still in the GA business, as it's painfully obvious they don't really want to be.

    The cut-to-the-bone advice: stop work, throw the BK crap away, recoup as much as your money as you can, and put in a GFC500.
     
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  11. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Well the difference in a TruTrack (now rebranded AeroCruze) and a Garmin is $15,000 with install. And, you have to add a HSI or at least a DG w/Hdg bug compatible with the Garmin, another expense.

    Dave said that after this thread on this forum and others, that He finally got a reply from a rep from BK. REP said that parts supply wasn’t a problem as everything was”on the shelf, in stock, in Arizona” (sure, uh huh!!!)
    Also claimed he was going to over-night the parts(Tuesday). As of the end of business Thursday, they hadn’t shown up.

    I picked up the plane Thursday as I had several clients that needed to fly. Also, it’s coming due a 100hr inspection, which I’ll accomplish next week while awaiting the “promised” parts....
     
  12. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

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    That $15k is buying you a lot, though, like a mfg that actually supplies and supports its product. Unfortunately, the AeroCruze is going to become an orphaned product in the near future, just as all "recent" BK products have. And at this point, you need to evaluate yourself for Stockholm syndrome if you think that any material progress will be made in the near to intermediate future. I'll say it again: cut your losses and move on. You're now in an abusive relationship, it's not going to get better. There's a reason the forums are full of people singing the praises of the GFC500 and virtually no posts, at all, about the AeroCruze.
     
  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    This thread is intriguing as I'm seriously considering an autopilot and liked what I seen from TruTrack. Mine is experimental so I'm looking at the xCruze 100 unit. But what I read here gives me a reason to pause ...
     
  14. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I'm not sure what BK's plans are for the the AeroCruze and xCruze units. Hopefully they'll be around for a while (a LOT of LSA used the TruTrak DigiFlight AP.) I will say that it works well and I'm pleased with mine. I only sent my DigiFlight in after 13 years in a plane because the display was the older LCD and had a partial display, and the AP would start to nose down slowly over a period of time. The new Vizion head I installed in its place is flawless for my needs. Hopefully I won't have to reach out to BK for any support or repairs for another 13 years.
     
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  15. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As a hopefully-soon-to-be-former BK customer, I hope it also gives you Stop and Eject! Eject! Eject!
     
  16. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just writing to also say that Bendix blows. When I bought my Arrow it had a KSN 770 already in it. Aside from being not a good product, their customer support department for that product was one guy who couldn’t come up with a reason that it would suddenly stop working for a few minutes at a time and had zero solutions for me. The day that piece of equipment came out was a good day.
     
  17. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    So if the Aerocruze is a dead duck, what are the options that are left. I have an Avidyne 440 which I am told that the Garmin AP will not work with. MY Century 21 will not hold up forever.
     
  18. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow! So, they did sell one! (KSN 770.)
     
  19. GLDP

    GLDP Pre-Flight

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    FWIW if you’re still waiting for servos. Aviall has two 12v pitch/roll servos in stock and thirteen 24v pitch/roll servos in stock.
     
  20. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Update: finally got the servos in last Tuesday. Delivered plane back to avionics shop yesterday for installation.
    I’ll update again when it’s actually working.

    The thrashing BendixKing got here obviously helped. Got someone’s attention.
     
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  21. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Well, here’s the final update!
    Finally got the plane back today after another week plus, in the shop.

    AeroCruze is installed. Works perfectly. Flew an approach with holding pattern intercept, glide slope coupled, everything lovely.
    Couldn’t be happier!!!

    Only took three months!
    Everything is branded TruTrack except faceplate on control head.
    Photo later...
     

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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  22. Bob Hart

    Bob Hart Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi Guys and Gals. My name is Bob Hart and I am the Avionics writer for Pipers and Cessna Owners Magazines and a consultant. At Oshkosh last year I was doing a Forum on Cessna Legacy Avionics. I told the crowd that if they had not heard, Bendix King has just purchased the TruTrak Autopilots. There was a noticeable "groan" from the crowd and frankly, I concurred. Andrew Barker, previous owner must be going crazy. I stated that it would be interesting what BK was going to do with the TruTrak Autopilot. Now we know! Anyway, take a serious look at the Trio Pro Pilot. It does everything the TruTrak does. It's $5595 vs. $5100 for the AeroCruze and unlike the TruTrak/Bendix King fiasco, Trio and the STC Group (they handle STC's Sales and Support, has not changed their business model. Direct customer support is still a priority!
     
  23. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Bob, recheck your prices on the Trio unit.
    The control head and servos is $3490. The STC and kit to install in a PA28 or 32 is an additional $5490! That brings price up to $8980! Add in $3500 for installation and you are close to $13,000 installed.
    (Prices from Trio website as I write this)

    My Vizion/AeroCruze was dealer priced at $4600, installed about $8500.
    BIG DIFFERENCE
    reason I went with the AeroCruze.

    I tried to post pics but server couldn’t handle file size! ?

    also figured how to load a suitable file size photo.


    Edit: you are correct on price. You have to go further to find complete system pricing.
    However, dealer can make you a better price on the AeroCruze.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  24. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Who told you that? The Garmin works great with a 440.
     
  25. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

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    I'm afraid that in the long run you're going to wish you'd spent the extra $$. Hopefully I'm wrong.
     
  26. Chris Ellington

    Chris Ellington Filing Flight Plan

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    If you go the the STC groups wepage and go to "Order Complete System" for the Trio system the cost of the complete package is listed as $5595 Shipped. Below that is the following list of included components.

    Whats included?
    Trio Pro Pilot Control Head, 2 Servos, complete wire harness, 2 Switches, Placard, STC Kit Hardware and STC paperwork


    I've considered selling my PA28-140 and getting something faster/larger, but adding the Trio or Aerocruz autopilot would make a plane I've already spent years upgrading a dependable and affordable to operate plane for local trips. I'd sure like to see pictures of the Aerocruz install. If the feedback on BK wasn't so bad, it would be my choice from the simplicity and fact it has option to fit in a 2" hole, which Trio doesn't.
     
  27. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    Thanks Chris. I’ve not seen that option you mentioned. I too was interested in the Trio unit as I’ve used their transponder. They need to be clearer on the website. TruTrack was still such when I ordered my system. Knowing what I know now, I’d likely go Trio...
     

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  28. Bob Hart

    Bob Hart Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Chris for straightening AeroLudite out. In my job as a writer and consultant, I can't make those mistakes! Actually, I spoke with the new owner of the STC Group yesterday and he admits that TruTrak was out marketing them. Bendix King seems to have discounted all that good will! Jeff Odum is also responsible for lowering the price from $6000 to $5490. With Trio and the STC Group, your still talking to a smaller company that is better focused on the end user and on a single focus: autopilots. I was a Bendix King dealer for 16 years and when they went to Aviall, it was a fiasco. It was hard enough for a Bendix King representative to know their product line. How about a remote company that handles sales for a lot of manufacturers! Spread the word? The Trio Pro Pilot makes the most sense for a light IFR pilot who is looking for a sophisticated GPS based Light IFR autopilot! If you fly in heavier WX, you should be looking at the Garmin or S-TEC.
     
  29. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd be happy to have an autopilot to even install.
     
  30. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    @Bob Hart ... Color me intrigued...

    I own an IFR (barely) capable PA28-140 with one nav/VOR/GS, and after surviving this year's fairly extensive annual and interior renovation, am trying to figure out how to spend at least ten thousand on it next year to continue to drive my wife nuts. Was planning on adding a Garmin GPS175, and hadn't really considered an autopilot yet because I couldn't justify the expense for the flying that, so far, I do. However, the price point and relative simplicity of the Trio system you recommended piqued my interested. I didn't see the GPS175 (or GNX375) listed in the compatibility list ... do you know if they are compatible, or if there's any plans to make them so? Thanks..
     
  31. Ryan Klems

    Ryan Klems Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Looks like their compatibility doc needs updating! It hasn't been updated since March of 2017, and that hardware didn't exist then. I'd be shocked if it wasn't compatible however. They also only list GNS software up to 5.3 and GTN software up to 6.3 as compatible and don't list the GTN Xi at all (again hasn't been updated in 3 years, so a lot has happened!).
     
  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Mooney pilots are really suffering through all this. The community pinned a lot of their hopes on Trutrak, and boy have they been quashed. I recall when they were looking for STC volunteers, 3 years ago! And they wanted 10 grand up front too. I at least got the Tshirt.
     
  33. Chris Ellington

    Chris Ellington Filing Flight Plan

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    If it is the Trio you are looking at, the Garmin 175, as well as the newer 355 and 375 are listed. Look at the compatibility list on the Literature section.
    https://www.trioavionics.com/literature.htm

    I installed a Garmin 175 in my Cherokee 140 last Fall. After starting IFR training last Summer the dual VOR's and a Glidescope just weren't cutting it at most of the airports we were were trying to fly into. I am really happy with the setup with a single Garmin CDI. Both the AeroCruze and Trio list it as compatible, but both take a little hunting to find information, but I'm glad they are both trying to market to a lower end group.



     
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  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Functionally, yes. Legally, as I understand it, it's a bit muddier as that config was not certification tested. So, it depends on how the shop feels about it.

    I believe that there's a bit of a quirk in the STCs where if you install the GFC first and then swap out the GNS for the 440 it's legal, but if you have the 440 installed first, technically the GFC cannot be installed as it violates the install manual.
     
  35. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    Just to update from my previous post, B/K has finally started shipping the install kits. I have received one and another has shipped. Apparently there was a problem with FAA approval on their “harness packaging”, which appears to have been fixed. I would still take a TruTrak over a Trio by a long shot.
     
  36. Cherokee Lover

    Cherokee Lover Pre-Flight

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    The shop finished up with my Aerocruze 100 a few weeks ago. Servos finally came in. Total price: $4750 kit + $3500 install = $8250.

    Had one little issue the newer .40 version. The control wheel would immediately make a left hand turn when powered on. Nothing in the .40 manual addressing this and no help from BK rep.

    I dug through the older .30 manuals (2013 non-certified version) and discovered you have to perform a gyro sync (takes 60 seconds).

    Unit now works as advertised. While performing a practice LPV approach the AP held the Lat & GS within 1/4 deviation or less, flew the procedure turn flawlessly, and would have set me right down on the runway if I let it. Best money I ever spent!!!
     
  37. Jesse Saint

    Jesse Saint Line Up and Wait

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    The Gyro Set does not always need to be done, but sometimes it helps if the internal gyro is off. It’s possible someone accidentally got into Gyro Set for a second or two during install and that threw it off. Either way, it’s a simple fix and is a great auto pilot.
     
  38. Cherokee Lover

    Cherokee Lover Pre-Flight

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    Are there any issues or problems with this AP that I need to be aware of...or on the lookout for?

    I do notice that when its powered up on the ground, and I engage the AP, one of the servos makes a minor clicking sound like its trying to move a surface...but the control wheel won't move. Is this normal?
     
  39. cappy48

    cappy48 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seems to be normal... The servos use "Stepper motors" and that is a normal sound with very little movement of the controls...

    Cap
     
  40. cappy48

    cappy48 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Chris..

    I have lots of pix of our TT install. Send me your e-mail addy to Dave@biztechind.biz We installed it ourselves (I got one of the first if not the first Vizion shipped the morning they got the STC letter from FAA)

    We documented the install, and test flights.. Will send it all if you wish.

    Cap