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Thread: AOA indicators

  1. #1
    FullThrottle's Avatar
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    AOA indicators

    Was wondering if anyone has installed an AOA indicator for a certified PA18, or has experience using an AOA system for landing/takeoff. Thought it might be useful for maximizing performance without the risk of stalling inadvertently. I see a lot of wing drops and hard landings at the STOL contests...

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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    use google search box at bottom of home page, many threads about them

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    I do not have a AOA indicator, and have been into some wine so take take my advice with caution. My understanding is the usual AOA indicators used for cubs are based on airspeed. Everything I read says they are "calibrated" for the aircraft. What does that mean??? If you base it on airspeed? I already have a helicopter airspeed indicator that works well in my cub. It will stall at the same airspeed/conditions every time. I would love a heads up display with my airspeed at center of windscreen. My advice is to get some spin training, have your cub properly rigged, get a helicopter airspeed indicator, and go to altitude for some very long slow flight/stalls. Most cubs will fly below 40 mph but if your airspeed indicator stops at that point it will do you little good.
    It does little good to have a accurate airspeed indicator or AOA device if you don't know what your plane and YOU will do once you enter a stall!!! The advantage of having stall training is you will know how both will react. That information is what you need to be good at STOL flying.
    STOL events are just that, events, not meant for everyday flying!!! Hard landings dissipate energy, early flap drop, stall and wing drop will result in a short landing and no damage if done right. STOL events are in a very controlled environment, very few can or want to try reproducing the performance in daily flying.
    DENNY
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Try flying slow with the air speed covered and wear no headset. Feel the plane's reaction in 3-D and listen for changes in sounds and gravity that causes accelerated movement.

    Evolve from an instrument monkey to a pilot.

    Gary
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Does gravity change?


    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Try flying slow with the air speed covered and wear no headset. Feel the plane's reaction in 3-D and listen for changes in sounds and gravity that causes accelerated movement.

    Evolve from an instrument monkey to a pilot.

    Gary
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    stewartb's Avatar
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    I’ve never flown a plane with an AOA, but I’d like to. I can’t criticize something I have no experience with. I considered adding AOA to my G3X and still may do so just to experiment with it for fun. When you get the standard negative reponses about AOA ask the commenter about their experience with the device in an airplane similar to yours. The pilots I’ve spoken to that have them love them. The ones who dis them never have. Not unlike VGs, slats, etc.
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    PerryB's Avatar
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    I have mixed emotions on the subject. In big, heavy (slow responding) aircraft with boosted controls (essentially no feedback) I can certainly see the value of an AOA indicator. In a Cub I think it's totally un-necessary, kinda like training wheels on a tricycle, BUT..... it might be a good training tool to help new pilots learn how to feel for the edge. My biggest con is that it's another colorful dial that keeps you inside the cockpit, and not "out" flying the plane.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !

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    Randy's Avatar
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    Supercubs come already equipped with an AOA indicator...just open up the door...

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Does gravity change?
    No but the effect of it on the airplane does especially as we approach and land. Rates of rise and sink can be felt and often heard as the airframe makes it sounds. That's all I intended...once in awhile unlock the pilot from the gauges to feel the changes.

    An AOA would be fun to have available, especially a HUD. Couple that with the senses in a light plane. But Cubs aren't airliners that need the panel to fly.

    Gary

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    I think you are confusing gravity with G forces. God's gravity is always one and points down!

    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    No but the effect of it on the airplane does especially as we approach and land. Rates of rise and sink can be felt and often heard as the airframe makes it sounds. That's all I intended...once in awhile unlock the pilot from the gauges to feel the changes.

    An AOA would be fun to have available, especially a HUD. Couple that with the senses in a light plane. But Cubs aren't airliners that need the panel to fly.

    Gary
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    I think you are confusing gravity with G forces. God's gravity is always one and points down!
    Yes G force is a better term. Thanks.

    Doing whatever to improve the body's feel of the airplane with the head out of the cockpit was my suggestion.

    Gary
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    But Cubs aren't airliners that need the panel to fly.

    Gary
    When it comes down to the landings even airliners don't need the panel to fly. A good seat of the pants flyer can make an airliner talk.
    N1PA
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Never met that animal. Me included!

    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    When it comes down to the landings even airliners don't need the panel to fly. A good seat of the pants flyer can make an airliner talk.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    AOA indicators

    I flew about 10 hours in a PA 18 with an AOA indicator. I will classify it as just about worthless. If you’re coming in slow and trying not to stall and focused on the AOA indicator you probably shouldn’t be flying. After about two hours we turned off the sound so it would stop buzzing all the time. You can still see the lights. I would say they work as advertised but not something that I think an experienced pilot would find very useful. Better ways to spend your money


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    My current ride, a Cessna 175 with tailwheel conversion, came with an “AOA device” installed. I tried to use the device on landings initially, but found it to be a distraction, frankly. It wasn’t till I started ignoring the device that my landings became more decent. While the indicator is on top of the glare shield, and therefore near my line of vision, having to change my visual accommodation from “out there” meaning down the runway, to a device mounted on the glareshield just doesn’t work well for me. Old dog new tricks? Perhaps.

    ill keep playing with it, but it’s pretty clear to me that I can land the airplane much shorter by using the “old fashioned” tool: my butt and peripheral vision.

    Your mileage may vary, but I think if you want to work short, look out the window.

    MTV
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    stewartb's Avatar
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    Which indicator? Did you take it out and do a recalibration?
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    kcabpilot's Avatar
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    Whether it works or not I think if I spent sixteen hundred bucks for something I'm gonna tell everyone it's great, otherwise I'd feel like a fool. If you're really, seriously into STOL competition what does that thing weigh?
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    I haven't flown one, but looking at the specs, the problem with using the current crop of AoA indicators is that they're designed for a different purpose: warning lights v. fine tuning the approach. They're designed to provide a warning approaching the critical angle attack, with the objective of nudging the pilot out of this undesired flight regime. But in Cubs flying ultrashort landings, this is the desired flight regime.

    In the warning mindset, being a nuisance is the point, i.e. an idiot light. For Cubs, what is needed is a very accurate instrument, that provides information without interfering with the pilot's view of the landing area and horizon. I suspect that such an instrument would be a lot more expensive to build, install, and calibrate than is what is currently available.
    Democracy dies in conformity
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    stewartb's Avatar
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    Landings would be the least valuable place for one, but a steep turn in a short approach to a short place? That could be helpful. Takeoffs over tall obstacles in swirling winds? That could be helpful. Max performance escape turns in fuzzy air with high stress? Definitely helpful. Let alone having an established target for slow ops when bouncing back and forth between different airplanes with different loads. I’m not an advocate but I am interested. Adding AOA to my G3X is easy and inexpensive. I may try it just for fun, and in my Cub, it may be beneficial since flying that slow isn’t natural for a long time Cessna driver. Or maybe not. There’s only one way to find out.

    It seems to me that calibration would be subjective. Personal calibration would be key. Maybe I’m wrong, but different stall horns respond at different speeds. Get used to one and you’re annoyed by another. I’d think that would apply to an AOA, too.
    Last edited by stewartb; 11-10-2018 at 10:01 AM.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Which indicator? Did you take it out and do a recalibration?
    Sorry, had to get to the airport to get the ID. It’s an Alpha Systems unit. And, yes, I verified that it’s “calibrated” correctly.

    My point is that it’s a distraction, even though it’s very near my line of sight, during a time when I don’t need distractions.

    I can feel where this airplane plane is at just as accurately as that thing can.

    And, I would point out that the “sensor” on this device looks suspiciously like a pitot mat from a Piper Warrior......

    Might be a great tool for someone, which is fine with me, but I’ll happily ignore the thing, thanks.

    MTV

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    I haven't flown one, but looking at the specs, the problem with using the current crop of AoA indicators is that they're designed for a different purpose: warning lights v. fine tuning the approach. They're designed to provide a warning approaching the critical angle attack, with the objective of nudging the pilot out of this undesired flight regime. But in Cubs flying ultrashort landings, this is the desired flight regime.

    In the warning mindset, being a nuisance is the point, i.e. an idiot light. For Cubs, what is needed is a very accurate instrument, that provides information without interfering with the pilot's view of the landing area and horizon. I suspect that such an instrument would be a lot more expensive to build, install, and calibrate than is what is currently available.
    I agree with this assessment. To me, these things are simply not TRUE AOA devices.

    FWIW.

    MTV

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I agree with Stewart, I find the turns on approach to be the landing spot especially in wind to be more challenging. I departed a sand bar in a turn last night and was setting up for the bar in the next turn and it felt weird, looked down and the ball was way out because I was stepping on the rudder. Seen too many base to final stalls or just sinks especially in weird winds, not many stalls over the landing area. On the approach it is power and pitch.
    Steve Pierce

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    My G3X already has an ADHRS computer. Reading about AOA systems it sounds like ADHRS is a big part of what makes the good AOA instruments good, and not all AOA instruments use one. The Garmin has an audible beep that begins when the initial yellow chevron lights up and the beep frequency increases as the plane approaches the stall, a threshold that the pilot defines. Any of you Cessna drivers use a stall horn? Does that feedback help you? Is your reed set to where you know what it means? My answer is yes, yes, and yes. The Garmin AOA sounds like a winner in my situation.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmfb8huyC_k
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    I’m of the belief that your brain can be honed and developed to surpass any AOA gadget in stol flight envelope.
    Just takes some basic understanding of what forces are at play to sustain flight, and practice. Lots of practice.
    Not just going thru the motions kind of practice but deliberate kind of practice, paying attention to what’s happening and why. Granted, it would be tough to replicate every condition or situation you may encounter but given enough data, your brain has the ability to fill in the voids and keep you out of trouble without conscious thought.

    This is called “instinct”, we all have instinct, just needs to be developed. There’s no shortcuts.
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  26. #26
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcabpilot View Post
    Whether it works or not I think if I spent sixteen hundred bucks for something I'm gonna tell everyone it's great, otherwise I'd feel like a fool. ...
    That's the problem.
    Very few people who spend money on a mod wanna admit that it isn't all it's cracked up to be.
    And the more expensive the mod, the less they wanna admit it.
    Makes it hard for someone considering those mods to know if he's getting the real story or BS.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  27. #27
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Yah, your comments about the G5 are probably crap. Your logic, not mine.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I agree with Stewart, I find the turns on approach to be the landing spot especially in wind to be more challenging. I departed a sand bar in a turn last night and was setting up for the bar in the next turn and it felt weird, looked down and the ball was way out because I was stepping on the rudder. Seen too many base to final stalls or just sinks especially in weird winds, not many stalls over the landing area. On the approach it is power and pitch.
    Steve,

    i question whether one one of these general aviation “AOA systems” would necessarily help in the scenario you describe. The problem is, the sensor is mounted well outboard on ONE wing. So if it happened that that was the wing with the higher alpha, one of these might help, but if the sensor was on the other wing......maybe not so much.

    From your description of the situation, having a simple ball/bank instrument mounted on TOP of your glareshield might be the best and very simple solution to that.

    Im not sure these things represent AOA across the span of the wings, but they sure don’t indicate yaw.

    MTV
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  29. #29
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    My G3X already has an ADHRS computer. Reading about AOA systems it sounds like ADHRS is a big part of what makes the good AOA instruments good, and not all AOA instruments use one. The Garmin has an audible beep that begins when the initial yellow chevron lights up and the beep frequency increases as the plane approaches the stall, a threshold that the pilot defines. Any of you Cessna drivers use a stall horn? Does that feedback help you? Is your reed set to where you know what it means? My answer is yes, yes, and yes. The Garmin AOA sounds like a winner in my situation.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmfb8huyC_k
    So if you’re so convinced these things are so great, instead of speculating, why don’t you install one in one of your airplanes and tell us all about it?

    I have limited but actual experience with at least one example, and so far, I’m not impressed. Your mileage may and probably will vary.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 11-10-2018 at 12:11 PM.

  30. #30
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I agree Mike, I don't see an AOA instrument doing the job. Was just pointing out the turn to final being the more critical threat than the actual landing. Fly, fly, fly and getting a feel for the airplane. My slip indicator is my most important instrument along with the seat of my pants.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers

  31. #31
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I stuck something like this on top of the glareshield of my work airplanes: https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/inpages/bank_indicat.php

    Id like to think I stayed coordinated enough without one, but having it up in my sight line really helps.

    MTV

  32. #32
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    So if you’re so convinced these things are so great, instead of speculating, why don’t you install one in one of your airplanes and tell us all about it?

    I have limited but actual experience with at least one example, and so far, I’m not impressed.

    MTV
    I already indicated my interest in that. All I need is a $199 pitot. I expect to do it once I move into my new hangar house. Whether I share my opinions here? Why get in your way. You have the agenda. All I have is curiosity. Negativity sucks. Nobody learns from that.
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  33. #33
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It is nice to glance at and check.

    Goes in every rebuild.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  34. #34
    stewartb's Avatar
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    An open minded article that points out the narrow mindedness of marketing. https://www.avweb.com/blogs/insider/...-225651-1.html

    And a video, since reading is so 1990s.
    https://www.avweb.com/videos/Video-F...-225658-1.html
    Last edited by stewartb; 11-10-2018 at 12:36 PM.

  35. #35
    kcabpilot's Avatar
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    The thing that gets most people in trouble is low level maneuvering flight in wind where you are focused on a ground reference, either a landing spot or an object you are observing. The ground reference captures your attention and in trying to fly this path across the ground you can lose focus on your coordination because, depending on the direction of the wind, your nose isn't going to be pointing in the direction you want to fly across the ground and if it is you're not coordinated. The lower you are the more pronounced it is. The ground reference maneuver practice done in initial training teaches you how to continuously cross check your ground path and control coordination but these "moose stalls" still happen to seasoned pilots.

    So even with an AOA indicator it's still just another reference to cross check and if you are distracted by a ground reference is it any better than the ball? For those who have them it would be interesting to hear how they behave when you are uncoordinated and the ball is slammed off to one side. What sort of indications do they give?

  36. #36
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Maybe we need to explore and develop some sort of electric slip indicator. To catch our attention it lights up red LED's at the ends of the lateral display when the ball goes too far left or right. Stays green or goes yellow in a normal to caution range. Colored LED's are easy to program for that.

    Use the conductive rolling ball to make an electrical circuit between the power strip contacts and LED contacts as it rolls left and right. Face the lateral display with lights.

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 11-10-2018 at 01:30 PM.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA-12 on Baumanns View Post
    I flew about 10 hours in a PA 18 with an AOA indicator. I will classify it as just about worthless. If you’re coming in slow and trying not to stall and focused on the AOA indicator you probably shouldn’t be flying. After about two hours we turned off the sound so it would stop buzzing all the time. You can still see the lights. I would say they work as advertised but not something that I think an experienced pilot would find very useful. Better ways to spend your money


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    First thing I do I a carbon cub is pull the stall warning breaker.


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  38. #38
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    It is nice to glance at and check.

    Goes in every rebuild.


    That’s about the only thing I look at when not on a cross country. You hardly have to look inside.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  39. #39
    stewartb's Avatar
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    AOA indicators

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    It is nice to glance at and check.

    Goes in every rebuild.
    The only non-glass instrument I have is a skid ball. It’s all I need if the screen goes black. Mine is down low and I have no problem seeing it.Click image for larger version. 

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  40. #40
    kcabpilot's Avatar
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    That's pretty much all I have nowadays and it works pretty good. When I learned to fly in a J3 you really didn't need much of anything because you were sitting in the back seat and could feel it all, I guess that's where the "seat of the pants" thing comes from but when you're up front at the center of lift not so much and it's easy to get jacked up if you're staring at something on the ground.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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