Cessna Features New Safe Flight AOA System in Skyhawks
Cessna Aircraft, owned by Textron Aviation, is making Safe Flight SCc angle-of-attack standard equipment in the 172 Skyhawk, making it the first Part 23-certified production piston airplane to come from the factory equipped with this technology.
The Safe Flight SCc angle-of-attack system was specifically chosen for the Skyhawk, and Cessna is making the product a $5,000 option in the 182 Skylane and 206 Turbo Stationair. The 2016 model deliveries are the first to feature this new Safe Flight system.
“Textron Aviation is constantly looking for innovative solutions for our piston customers, and making the SCc Angle of Attack system standard on all Skyhawk aircraft is a great example of bringing the latest technology to our products,” said Doug May, vice president of Piston Aircraft. “We are thrilled to work with Safe Flight to bring this latest enhancement to the cockpit, providing an improved flying experience for our customers.”
Safe Flight, a New York-based company, invented the light aircraft stall warning system in the 1940s. The company’s SCc AOA system is unique because it provides instantaneous AOA readouts in the cockpit with audio alerts.
The Safe Flight AOA Indexer is mounted on top of the cockpit glare shield on the left side of the compass, making it easily viewable for pilots as they look through the windshield. Its LED display is bright enough that even when sunlight is shining on it, its indicators are still easily readable. Pilots can even set a reference marker on the Indexer “for establishing AOA climb, cruise and approach AOA targets,” according to Safe Flight.
When properly calibrated during installation, the Indexer can be used to show various phases of flight: long-range cruise, with head- or tailwind or no wind, normal or short-field/obstacle clearance takeoff, maximum endurance and landing approach modes such as fast, on-speed or slow.
The Indexer features red, yellow and green LED lights to indicate AOA, along with audible clicking sounds that speed up as AOA nears the stall. While the AOA system is reliable and does help pilots fly more precisely, maintaining a safe margin above stall, the system is a supplement to the safety features already in place. The advisory-only system is not meant for any performance credit and should not replace the stall-warning system, Safe Flight advises.
The new contract with Textron Aviation sets a precedent for other aviation businesses establishing Safe Flight as a market leader when it comes to aviation safety instruments. It remains to be seen if this system will spread to other airplane models.
“This competitive win at Textron Aviation solidifies Safe Flight’s SCc as the Angle of Attack (AOA) system of choice in the General Aviation market,” according to Matt Greene, Executive Vice President of Safe Flight Instrument Corporation. “Safe Flight remains committed to improving flight safety and aircraft performance through AOA. We applaud Textron Aviation for recognizing the operational benefits of AOA for flight training and general aviation use and for their selection of Safe Flight’s SCc as standard equipment on the most successful aircraft ever produced.”