Avionics News June 2019 - 34

GENESYS AEROSYSTEMS S-TEC 3100
Continued from page 33

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Approach mode: intercepts and tracks a LOC front
course or GPS approach inbound.
Reverse mode: intercepts and tracks a LOC back
course inbound or tracks a LOC front course
outbound.
Control wheel steering mode: captures and
holds new roll attitude, pitch attitude, indicated
airspeed, vertical speed, or altitude.
GPS steering mode: laterally steers along a flight
plan course defined by GPS/FMS.
GPS lateral navigation mode: laterally steers
along an approach course defined by GPS/FMS
approach.
Level mode: returns A/C to wings level attitude
from any condition.
Half bank mode: reduces commands in HDG and
GPS/FMS steering by half.
Go-around mode: disengages AP and/or engages
FD in ROLL wings-level mode.

Among the principal modes of operation of the pitch
servo are:
* Autopilot mode: engages pitch servo.
* Flight director mode: vertically drives steering
command bars.
* Pitch attitude mode: holds pitch attitude.
* Indicated airspeed mode: holds indicated airspeed.
* Vertical speed mode: holds vertical speed.
* Altitude hold mode: holds altitude.
* Glideslope mode: intercepts and tracks glideslope.
* GPS vertical navigation mode: vertically steers
along a glidepath defined by a GPS/FMS
approach.
* Level mode: returns A/C to level flight with a
vertical speed of "0" from any condition.
* Go-around mode: disengages AP and/or engages
FD in pitch hold mode with a preset nose-up
command.
* Automatic trim mode: automatically drives pitch
trim servo.
Selecting and activating any of these modes takes no
more than a button push or two, and the display screen
immediately reflects your selection with the appropriate
display. The logic seems solid, functional and easy to
understand as Howard finished his brief overview of
the 3100's key features before we taxied into place on
Stearman Field's Runway 17.
34

avionics news

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june

2019

Smooth flying - even in lumpy air
The demonstration of the S-TEC 3100 digital flightcontrol system came on a day typical of Kansas in midApril: Strong winds out of the south, gusty, with bright
sunshine heating the ground and producing the rising air
bubbles beloved by pilots of hang gliders, paragliders and
sailplanes - but sometimes bordering on uncomfortable for
pilots of light general-aviation aircraft such as our 182.
The rough air provided conditions representative of
the region and let the 3100 show what it's capable of
handling on an otherwise lovely day to fly.
After departing from Runway 17, Howard
demonstrated the heading and climb modes of the 3100.
With a push of the button labeled "HDG," the 3100
captured the heading as set by the Aspen PFD's heading
bug, while the 3100 controlled our climb according to
the setting Howard entered into the box - by rate of
climb, or by the desired airspeed, both of which can be
set in the 3100 or the PFD.
As the Skylane neared the altitude selected, the 3100
reduced pitch attitude, smoothly lowering the nose of the
182 to capture the altitude selected by Howard - in this
case, 7,500 mean sea level.
As we later returned to Stearman Field, Howard
treated me to a demonstration of the 3100's ability to
control descent - again, by descent rate or by a pilotselected airspeed, which Howard entered into the 3100
via the knobs and the display screen.
The performance of the 3100 was at once smooth
and affirmative, as the system signaled its approaching
altitude capture.
In nav mode, the 3100 tracks a flight plan or route
programmed into a compatible navigation system - in
this case Avidyne's IFD540, with VHF comm, VHF
nav, an IFR WAAS GPS navigator blended with a
multifunction display.
Howard selected a VNAV approach to Runway 17,
activated the approach, and let the 3100 turn toward the
initial approach fix and start down the glideslope toward
the runway threshold. Despite the rough air below 4,500
MSL, the S-TEC 3100 handled the Skylane deftly, with
smooth corrections to Mother Nature's sometime abrupt
attempts to change our heading or altitude.
The 3100 also offers the same precision instrumentapproach control for various other forms of nonprecision approaches as well as for precision instrument
landing system approaches and the GPS-based successor
to the ILS - the LPV approach, or lateral precision with
vertical guidance.
The 3100 can sense it needs to fly a back-course



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