GPS Smart Coupler

Mate your handheld or other GPS receiver to your autopilot in your homebuilt
Fly straight to your destination!


Smart Coupler II

Smart Coupler II LE

(click on image for a closer look)

My customers tell me that by flying straight they get to their destination faster - it is as if they suddenly added five knots to their airspeed!

Now you can choose to fly a constant heading or choose to intercept, turn to, and follow a GPS course - all with your wing-leveler autopilot and all without the need to install a Directional Gyro (DG). The Couplers allow you to do this by translating the serial data stream that your GPS receiver generates into signals that can be used by an autopilot or HSI.

Here are the Smart Coupler choices:

  • If your autopilot uses a heading bug on your DG, choose the Original Smart Coupler (not shown above).
  • If your autopilot doesn't use a heading bug, choose the new Smart Coupler II.
  • If your autopilot doesn't use a heading bug and you require minimum panel space, choose the Smart Coupler II LE.

All models will follow any course that you put into your GPS receiver. You program a course by telling your receiver that you want to fly to a waypoint or to a series of waypoints.

The Smart Coupler II adds the ability to fly a constant heading as well as to intercept and turn to a GPS course. No DG is required to hold heading. Of course, the GPS receiver does not know the direction in which your aircraft is pointing, but it does calculate ground track. When flying a heading, the GPS receiver, the Coupler, and your autopilot cooperate to keep your ground track constant. If the winds change, your heading will change slightly, but the line your aircraft is making along the ground will remain constant.

When intercepting a GPS course, your aircraft will fly a constant heading (ground track) until it crosses the course, at which time it will turn and follow the course. The pilot must turn to an appropiate intercept heading before engaging intercept mode.

The Smart Coupler II LE will follow a course and hold a heading, but cannot intercept a course.

Panel-mounted receivers generally have an autopilot output that allows you to track a GPS course. You will still need one of the Smart Couplers if you want to use your GPS receiver as a heading reference. In this case, you will connect the Aviation Data (digital) output of the panel-mounted receiver to the Smart Coupler, then connect the Smart Coupler to your autopilot.

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Which is the best coupler for me?  |  How are the Couplers installed?  |
Compatibility with hand-held receivers and autopilots   |  Specifications   |
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