MakerPlane and Vx Aviation Introduce Pre-Stall Warning Stick-Shaker

stick shakerMakerPlane and its development partner, Vx Aviation, have developed a low-cost, easy-to install stick shaker for Experimental/Amateur-Built Aircraft. The SWZL-1A controller system provides tactile feedback of an impending stall. The warning is based on a stall vane switch or angle-of-attack information received from an electronic flight information system (EFIS) serial data stream. The SWZL-1A controller directly drives a small vibration motor that is clamped to the control stick or control yoke of the aircraft. The device is compatible with EFIS systems from Dynon, Garmin, and Grand Rapids Technology (GRT).

In normal operation the stick shaker does not interfere with the aircraft controls. As a stall is approached, the aircraft angle of attack increases to the point where the stick begins vibrating and pulsing. As the angle of attack increases, the amplitude of the vibration and the frequency of the pulsing increase, providing a progressive indication of an impending stall. For aircraft without an angle-of-attack sensor, a simple stall vane switch may be connected to the SWZL-1A controller to provide a single-level, non-progressive pre-stall indication.stick shaker

According to John Nicol, president of MakerPlane, “This is the first commercially aftermarket stick shaker for experimental aircraft. Our development partner, Vx Aviation has developed a very small, simple, low-cost device that will substantially enhance aircraft safety. Unlike visual or audible warnings, a stick shaker provides immediate feedback to the pilot without alarming passengers. It provides direct haptic feedback that is hard to ignore even during stressful situations.”

MakerPlane will demonstrate the stick shaker at AirVenture 2014 at their booth inside the EAA Innovation Center. The product has been extensively flight tested in a Van’s RV-9A and a Harmon Rocket-II. The SWZL-1A is available for $149 fully assembled, or in kit form for $119. Deliveries will begin in August.

MakerPlane also offers a new automatic trim controller, an open-source EFIS system, and is working on a prototype of an open-source Light Sport Aircraft. For additional information, call 613-700-1294 or visit makerplane.org.

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