As a new Saab 340A user I have to admit I struggled with the Autopilot until I figured out a few things. Most importantly, engaging the Autopilot on the console requires more than just a click, it requires a click and hold for a second or two before it truly engages. The AP indicator in EFIS should be green! (More on that experience below). Until I figured that out, my flights in the Saab were very sketchy, admittedly my own fault. I even watched a few well known twitch streamers making the same mistake. I was unable to successfully make use a mapped button to "Toggle Servos". The results were just strange. EFIS AP indicator would turn White (not green as expected) but the aircraft sorta acted like it was engaged but not really either. Once I learned to hold the AP Engage for a few seconds, EFIS AP turns green, then the Autopilot reacts as expected. All subsequent flights have been excellent since.
With the Autopilot located on the center console, I found I would have to move my view down to the console taking my eyes off the horizon, to manipulate the AP. after a few terrible flights, I made the following changes to my setup. It really helped to ease my interaction with the Autopilot. Making it easier and minimizes looking down too much.
Map a button on my yoke to adjust HEADING select. Super easy to get vectors now.
Map a V/S Button, to adjust vertical speed commands without having to look down (to me honest I don't like the V/S Manipulator in this airplane)
Use the Radio popups to help change frequencies.
Story of my awful flight....(stop reading here). Keep in mind this was before the above mentioned changes and lessons learned. I filed a Vatsim flight plan from CYVR to CYYJ, a short 40NM flight. The flight plan is simple. Depart runway 26L on runway heading, then climbing left turn to an ADF (Active Pass), climb to 4000 feet, and then follow a few simple GPS way points programmed into the Garmin 430 flight plan. Set up for ILS 27 into CYYJ. The weather is poor, ceiling of 800 feet, rain and overcast. Vatsim CYVR_CNTR was online, and gave me clearance to take off. As soon I lift off I realized the aircraft was out of trim, it took me a while to tame it. ATC requested me to contact departure. I changed the view to look at the center console to change frequency and engage Autopilot, I clicked to engage AP, it springs back to the off position....the thought wtf...I tried it a few more times without success. At this moment it has been 6-8 seconds without looking out the front window. I looked up again and the Saab is banking 60-70 degrees, the V/S is pinned. I fight to get it back under control. I again change view to back down to the console to engage Autopilot. I'm now in full IFR-IMC conditions and starting to stress. For whatever reason I just focused in on the Autopilot troubles instead of just flying the aircraft by hand. In any case the Autopilot still did not engage....looking back up, gauges are spinning and the aircraft is pitching wildly. ATC contacts me again, instructing me contact departure and asks if I'm OK. Clearly I was not... after a few frantic minutes of fighting it and embarrassing myself online (I briefly considered logging off to end the humiliation), Ido manage to get the autopilot engaged and under control, or so I thought. I apologies to ATC, he was super cool about it all too. Having a moment of clarity I sip some coffee, and take note of the Autopilot switch still in the off position, and the "white" AP symbol on the EFIS. Deep down this feels wrong but I chose to ignore it, I thought to myself that this must be a bug because the Autopilot seemed to be working. I cross the ADF fix (AP) in my flight plan and continued on to the next way point. ATC asks me to descend to 3000 and clears me to continue the STAR. I crossed the next way point expecting a left turn to enter the downwind, but the aircraft turns right. This catches me off guard (still not sure way that happened), ATC was in my ear pretty quickly and asking why I turned the wrong way. I'm human and simply explain to ATC that the aircraft is to blame and it’s not my fault. ATC laughs it off and offers me vectors, I accept. At this point I am at 3000, in full IMC, not trusting the Autopilot, and frankly not feeling very good about the whole situation. ATC gives me the final vector to join the ILS, I suspect that the Autopilot would not capture the localizer, it didn't. I was forced to fly the ILS approach by hand. Yikes I haven't done that in a good long while. Breaking though the overcast clouds to see the lights of runway 27 in front of me was a great relief. I continued the approach, apologized to ATC and vatsim in general. Thanked the Creator and landed. Best and worst flight ever. Some lessons learned.