With every change and technological advance, “you expect results but get consequences!” The promise of each new development is hard to predict as we move onward. But I am increasingly optimistic about the newly-approved “SkyDisplay” from MyGoFlight. This amazing device will be available for you to demo at our annual SAFE dinner on Thursday, July 29th. Readers of this blog are invited to attend; grab a ticket and stop by if you are at Airventure. But the big question – “Is this new step forward in aviation technology or the newest “tech toy? – is really in the hands of the CFI that teaches this new device. Charlie and his team from MyGoFlight will be at the dinner to answer your questions. If you are *not* attending in person, watch our SAFE Facebook Live from the show at 7PM.
When I met Charlie with the prototype of this device at OSH several years ago I was skeptical for two reasons. One was the huge challenge of bringing something this innovative to market (and achieving FAA certification) in a very competitive field. The second challenge I saw was that a GA HUD could just become another “geek gadget” or “tech toy” if not properly presented. This second question is a challenge for every CFI. We all know how pilots like the “newest shiny thing.” Is this a tool or a toy? Can a GA HUD be effectively integrated into flight training and create serious safety improvement?
After watching the promo video of this device in action, (and the AvWeb test flight) I am more optimistic about the safety potential of a usable HUD for GA pilots. And I appreciate the “safety first” presentation in their marketing. You do not have to teach too long to see how much time early students (and even veteran pilots) focus “inside,” grasping for numbers instead of looking up for the bigger picture outside the windows. This becomes an unfortunate habit for pilots at every level that has to be broken for safety (and smoothness). This problem grew much worse when we added glass panel displays and tablets into aviation (consequences not results). Maybe if a GA HUD was integrated early in training and taught correctly (the aviation educator is at the heart of this question) this device could become a safety game-changer.
The one huge negative “consequence” I think we all can anticipate is the “gamification” of aircraft control. “Just put the jelly in the donut and even a chimp can fly a plane” would be the wrong approach. A thorough understanding of energy management is critical to achieving truly safe aircraft control. (Like many of you I suffered through the pitch/power war and the answer is “both”) I would like to see a prominent AOA depiction in view (like we have in jets and in more GA A/C) to integrate the energy state into every pitch attitude. Again, the way this is taught and integrated into the market will be critical to its effectiveness as a “tool not toy!” Kudos to the team at MyGoFlight for bringing this device to market. Fly safely out there (and often!)
If you are a subscriber to this blog (friend of SAFE) and want to attend our SAFE dinner at Oshkosh, you are invited to join us at the Oshkosh Terminal on Thursday, July 29th from 6-8PM for our SAFE dinner. This is a networking opportunity (after a year of quarantine) and we would love to Meet/Greet/and Eat with you. Tickets are $25 and include; food, drinks, and dessert (also FUN!) The presentation segment will be on SAFE Facebook Live at 7PM.