ASK SCOTT Digital Autopilots: Are they better than Analog?

ASK SCOTT Digital Autopilots: Are they better than Analog?

01/28/2019

You have questions about your avionics needs. Our VP of Avionics Sales, Scott Gregory has the answers.

Q: Digital Autopilots: Are they better than Analog?

Okay. Let me start my response by saying that we all have our own opinions on this one. So I’ll start by discussing the difference.

The major difference between these two technologies is how they function. Analog systems are what I would call a reactive approach. Rate based autopilots by their nature have delays. These systems wait for the aircraft to do something and then they respond.

Digital autopilots, on the other hand are what I would call proactive systems. They’re working in advance of potential movement and issues. Calculations are all performed ahead of time, making it instantaneous. That results in smoother approaches and enhanced predictability.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the price of digital autopilots continues to go down. At this point, it’s actually chaper to go digital than it is analog. And since digital systems are powered by software, that software can be regularly updated with ease.

So what’s my honest answer? Digital wins by a long shot. RIP analog.