The KAP140 Two Axis system provides both lateral (roll) and vertical modes (pitch / pitch trim) with altitude preselect. It is a capable AP, but certainly not the latest generation. The only possible upgrade path at this time is the GFC700, which requires upgrading the entire G1000 system. Until a more affordable and less time-consuming replacement of just the AP itself is available (which may or may never happen) we will need to live with it.
Please read below noteworthy aspects:
- Be sure to be familiar with the AFMS. Taking a thorough look at the Pilot’s Guide is also strongly recommended
- AFMS / Page 15: Following the preflight self test [PFT], the red P warning on the face of the autopilot may illuminate indicating that the pitch axis cannot be engaged. This condition should be temporary, lasting approximately 30 seconds. The P will extinguish and normal operation will be available
- Since the AP is not as tightly integrated as a GFC700, you will want to make it a habit in the Twin Stars to always
- Set the Barometer (altimeter setting) in three places – the G1000. the AP, and the backup Altimeter
- Set the Altitude bug in two places – the G1000 and the AP
- The AP is not connected to the G1000’s BARO MIN altimeter bug used for DA/MDA
If the AP does something you don’t understand, don’t start wondering what it does – press the red AP DISC button on the stick and hand-fly the plane.
Keeping INOP stickers away from the AP has high priority, as flying XC and IFR without an AP is not exactly fun, and any unnecessary squawk can take a long time to get resolved. A little patience and knowledge of the KAP140’s operation, limitations and idiosyncrasies are necessary.
There are a number of external factors and possible operational errors when it comes to APs in general, and this model in particular – please don’t squawk an AP issue before having a discussion with your MEI and/or MX leads.