Digital Control Module

THIS IS THE PRODUCTION VERSION OF THE CONTROL MODULE.               The picture on the top is the front face.  The back face is on the bottom.   It mounts into a standard 3 1/8″ instrument hole.  It can also be mounted on the face of the panel and recessed as desired. It is only 2 inches deep.  A surface mounting bracket is available.   In the left photo you can see the five LED indicators.  The white buttons to the right of Vy, Vx and STALL are used to calibrate angle of attack.  It is the easiest AOA system to calibrate.  You trim for Vy and press the recessed button with a ball point pin.  Repeat for Vx and STALL.   The settings are stored in memory.  

BACK PANEL INPUTS AND OUTPUTS;

Starting with the top left … that is the AOA input.  After the AOA sensor is mounted on the wing, the side of fuselage, or in a wing inspection plate (included), you simply run the included cable down the inside of the wing and plug it into the back of the panel.  The system allows you to run two FeelFlight grips.  The output ports for the two grips are labeled GRIP #1 and GRIP #2.  The next jack to the right is “AUDIO.”   Yes, you also get an audible warning with the FeelFlight.  Default is a three pulse beep that is synchronized with the pulses of the grip thrust pins and the LED pulse.  It only beeps at Vx and STALL.  There is also the option to have the tone escalate in pitch as your AOA increases above Vx and approaches stall.  An audio cable is also included and simply plugs into your intercom.

The bottom left jack is your 12 volt input supply voltage.  The cable and “in line” 3 amp fuse are included.  You simply attach the 12V line to an underused circuit and attach the ground wire to ground.  Its that easy!

The USB connector is for loading the software.  The software is loaded at the factory.  Updates can easily be uploaded by the user with the included USB cable and your laptop.

The Digital Control Module receives the signal from the angle of attack sensor.  The software interprets the signal and then energizes the corresponding thrust pin within the FeelFlight grip.  For example, when the angle of attack sensor detects wing angle for “best rate of climb,” then the control module tells the thrust pin that corresponds to the ring finger to pulse.  The angle of attack for “best angle of climb” triggers the middle finger thrust pin and “imminent stall” triggers the index finger thrust pin.  The control module software is very powerful in allowing  endless variations on the pulsing pattern of the thrust pins, however, we have found that 3 pulses with a pause seems the most effective.  This pattern is commonly used on emergency vehicles, equipment, etc.  

The FeelFlight grip has two more thrust pins.  One on the left side  signals the thumb and one on the right side signals the lower part of the index finger.  These two thrust pins duplicate the slip/skid attitude.  When the ball of the inclinometer slides to the left, then the left thrust pin pulses simultaneously.  And the right pin corresponds to the ball when it is on the right side of the tube.  This tells the pilot to add right rudder.  The circuitry of the Digital Control Module has an accelerometer MEMS chip that controls the slip/skid function.

SETTING ANGLE OF ATTACK

It is very easy to define the angle of attack for each thrust pin.  The pilot picks a day that is close to standard temperature and pressure.     With the airplane at gross weight, simply fly the airspeed that gives the best rate of climb.  You then press the button that is labeled “best rate of climb.”  The process is repeated for best angle of climb and imminent stall.  From then on, the thrust pins will pulse to signal angle of attack for “best rate of climb,” “best angle of climb,” and “imminent stall,” regardless of aircraft weight, density altitude or speed.  Note: the AOA assignment button switches are slightly recessed so that they are not inadvertently pressed.  With the FeelFlight grip, the pilot has a connection with the wind over his wings that has not existed with the conventional technology.

WING BANK 

The left and right thrust pins that signal the slip/skid attitude  (ball) can double as an indicator for wing bank.   An added option will be to have a fourth switch on the face.  It also has an LED beside it.  It is labeled “IMC.”  When IMC is selected with the button, then the accelerometer function of the MEMS chip is switched to the gyro function.  The left and right thrust pins now tell you when you have your wings banked.  The LED stays lighted as long as you are in IMC mode.  This feature is significant if you find yourself in the clouds.  While you should be able to maintain level flight with the artificial gyro, pilots often become disoriented.  The Airforce and Army studies on tactile feedback have shown that it significantly reduces occurrences of vertigo.  Once out of the clouds the pilot switches back to the “ball” function.

Note: this feature will not be available until mid to late 2020.

To Feel Your Wings