I have dreamed of a BLACK BOX for General Aviation (GA) Aircraft as long as I have been flying ( my first flight I was only 6 days old ). This BLACK BOX I have dreamed of for so many years is a simple Central Computer to help relieve the pilot of some of the tedious, mundane duties not directly involved with actually flying the aircraft but must be remembered – a safety issue with me and most pilots. Better cars and other transportation vehicles have had such on-board computer controlled features for many years. It is simply amazing that GA aircraft are still basically based on 1930’s technology in most ways. The airliners and military aircraft are somewhat automated. Why isn’t GA? This paper is to plan out that dream, and then to make this dream a reality. If you have ANY inputs, please let me know!
First, the goal and how to achieve it. The purpose of this point paper is to document the design review of my desired BLACK BOX functions, assist in the design of the logic flow chart, and to assist in the actual design and manufacture of the BLACK BOX to build it. Important: This, or any other BLACK BOX, needs to have separate internal system cards so that any one or more system failures will not stop the proper function of the remaining aircraft systems. Another beauty of having independent cards, if the builder/pilot does not want to hook up and / or allow a system to be automatically controlled by the BLACK BOX, s/he can do so by just shutting the switch OFF. This BLACK BOX should also have a test mode to verify it’s proper operation before each flight, and have a setting for maintenance checks so it can be tested in conjunction with gear swings, airspeed checks, throttle position, etc. < BIG snip >
NEWS — I came across this company ( 08/14/2007 ) who has an *excellent* start on what I’ve always wanted in my JD’s Black Box for sooo long! They seem to be amenable to adding most any additional feature a pilot would want, as long as it benefits most all pilots — not one-offs. Contact Marc Ausman via e-mail outlining what you want for additions. Just go to Vertical Power’s web site to be WOW’d!
Steerable or castering ( builders choice ) Retractable Oleo Nose Strut for Canards with a 11.5″ diameter Lamb type / style and size tire with attached Mud Fender that will lift a 2200 lb. GW Canard aircraft from the grazing or kneeled position with 4 people, full gas and baggage — and the actuator internally mechanically locks DOWN ( actuator will remain mechanically locked DOWN even with loss of hydraulic pressure — a Safety Feature ). Our Retractable Oleo Nose Strut System costs less than the present fiberglass nose strut system with electric nose lift, and can be operated off dirt, grass and non-paved runways / fields. It is steerable up to +/- 25 degrees, then will break out into a 360 degree caster like a tail wheel does. The plan is for the Retractable Oleo Nose Strut to simply drop into NG-30 were the plans fiberglass retractable nose strut goes — little fiberglass work will be required. The same bi-rotational pump used for our Main Retract System is used for the Retractable Steerable Oleo Nose Strut. If you have our Main Retract System, a hydraulic valve with poppet valves and solenoids, and an airspeed switch spliced into the pitot static system ( like Piper Arrows have ), control whether the mains come UP, or not. The nose strut can always go UP and DN, with or separate from the mains, all controlled via our LGS. We will have Rudder Pedal drawings, too, or maybe make them and have them available. Just finishing the Retractable Steerable Oleo Nose Strut and Rudder Pedal drawings now. Pricing looks to be around $1200. As you probably ( hopefully ) know, money drives everything, but we hope to have the drawings and prototype done soon ( only $15k more to raise to finish the drawings and prototype ).
Oleo Nose Strut for Canards updated 08 / 03 / 2021 by JD
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( HOT = Hands-On-Throttle ) 1, 2 or 3 lever(s); 7 to 13 switches / 19 functions. Now, with our HOS ( our Stick Grip ), you have a true HOTAS and can clear off your panel of switches ( almost ) with Safety of Flight items finally at your finger tips ; left and / or right hand models, or center cockpit models, with individual lever friction adjustment for single seat, tandem or side-by-side aircraft ( co-pilot has same switch functions ); mounts in left, right or center console(s), or on the panel; 1 or 2 levers can be removed if not needed, such as for those not having a Constant Speed Prop, or those who have a Computer Controlled Fuel Injection System ( click here for CAD ISO views and for CAD dimensions of our HOT ). Features besides the switches in the handle ( now you don’t need an Audio Panel, saving you ~$1500 to $2500+ ) — when you advance the Throttle Handle, it drags the Mixture and Prop levers forward for you ( of course you can push them up yourself ), preventing fuel starvation ( and stall/spin ) if you forget the mixture, and preventing engine and / or prop over-speed ( saving you $10,000 to $20,000+ from an engine and / or prop overhaul ) if you forget the prop lever, because of a go-around — kinda like having a Poor Man’s FADEC ( saving you ~$7500 to $10,000+ ), but you can still pull the Mixture aft for leaning and engine UN-flooding, and pull the Prop Lever aft to exercise the prop and set cruise RPM at altitude; you can set the Mixture Lever with the Mixture Set Thumb Screw for higher altitude takeoff’s; Mixture Lever has a Cutoff Safety Feature to keep the pilot from inadvertently shutting the engine off; if you don’t have a constant speed Prop for some reason, you can remove the Prop Lever, or better yet, use it as a Manual Pitch Trim Lever or Carb Heat Lever or Cowl Flaps Lever or Alternate Air Lever; each lever has it’s own Friction Adjustment with a clicking / ratcheting effect like a vernier does ( set each levers friction, and you never need to mess with Lever Friction again ! ), but one lever does NOT move the other lever as in other certified quadrants; built-in adjustable Knee Board and chart LED Map Lights molded into the corners of the handle; “Throttle Near Idle Switch” that will warn you, or even lower, your landing gear if your landing gear is not DN ( this switch is in series with a pressure switch Tee’d into the Pitot Static System set at 1.3 times stall speed ); “Throttle Above ~2100 RPM Switch” that will warn you if the Canopy is not latched, turn your Transponder ON, turn ON your Airframe Flight Time Clock [ this feature is in series with a pressure switch Tee’d into the Pitot Static System set at Gross Weight ( GW ) stall speed], turn your Strobes ON ( this feature is in series with a pressure switch Tee’d into the Pitot Static System set at stall speed ), turn ON your Landing / Taxi Light [ day or night ] to help with runway incursion(s) [ the FAA is hot on this lately ], automatically retract your Speed Brakes &/or Flaps [ Flaps retract at GW stall speed ], allow the landing gear to come UP ( this switch is in series with a pressure switch Tee’d into the Pitot Static System set at 1.3 times stall speed ); and / or control whatever else you want. UPDATE: the prototypes ( click here for pics of the Left Prototype, and click here for cockpit pics of the front HOT being installed ) were a big hit at Sun ‘N Fun and Oshkosh ! Pricing looks to be between $1200 and $1400 all wired up — you will spend at least that much ( probably MORE ! ) doing everything separately yourself, and you will NOT have all the HOT features we offer ( you will save weight AND panel space, too, besides costs ); AND, our HOT could save you over $32,500 [ now you can afford to buy that EFIS you always wanted 🙂 ]. We will also have a version for Turbine Aircraft so the prop will go to Beta. And if there is enough interest, we will make a HOT for twin engine aircraft, too. We hope to have the single engine piston and rotary units ready SOON ( only $50K more to raise for the production tooling ) ! NOTE — we are now taking $100 deposit orders and will notify you when they are ready.
Throttle Handle and Quadrant ( HOT ) updated 03 / 05 / 2022 by JD
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