Effectively immediately, an angle-of-attack (AoA) indicator is now a standard feature across the board for the Cessna 172 cockpit. This standard offers general aviation pilots a most critical tool in preventing loss of control accidents. Cessna, who is a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, launched the Cessna 172 Skyhawk equipped with the Safe Flight SCc AoA system on April 5th at the Sun-n-Fun fly-in in Florida. The exact same technology can now also be found as a priced option for the 206 Turbo Stationair and the Cessna 182 Skylane.
Scott May, Textron vice-president of Piston Aircrafts has expressed his excitement with the changes citing,
“We are thrilled to work with Safe Flight to bring this latest enhancement to the cockpit, providing an improved flying experience for our customers.”As many within the aviation field can attest, loss of control is the leading cause of general aviation injuries and fatalities. It often occurs shortly after the aircraft takes off or right before it lands as the pilot is often making low-speed turns in the pattern. With the Safe Flight SCc system, the integration of a lift transducer in the leading edge of the wing allows the system to feeding AoA data to a dashboard-mounted display in the cockpit that will alert a pilot through a series of lights when he/she is approaching stall conditions. Stalling conditions almost always invariably leads to an unrecoverable loss of control at low altitudes.
With AoA systems now becoming more popular after a new standard for low-cost systems was developed in 2014 by an industry group. They were able to reduce the price of the technology from more than $10, 000 per unit to now as low as $2,000. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes an industry standard across all manufacturers.
AoA indicators might seem like the way of the future but pilots with even basic knowledge of aviation history can verify that this has been a topic that has emerged and resurfaced countless times over the past years. Experienced pilots will also tell you that airspeed is a great proxy for AoA and while AoA is a great tool in addition to your standard equipment, it’s not much more informative than the airspeed indicator. Most pilots that have been in the industry for an extended amount of time will preach that the most important thing is to teach pilots how to maintain proper airspeed and practice their stick an rudder skills in addition to all the new technology offered.
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