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What is the Featherweight?

The Featherweight is a revolutionary new type of air data boom that can be temporarily attached to nearly any aircraft in 30 minutes. It includes an integrated, battery-powered air data computer, so there is no need to run wires or install a standalone DAS in the test aircraft. It's the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to acquire the following parameters from a test aircraft:

  • Pitot Pressure
  • Static Pressure
  • Angle-of-Attack
  • Angle-of-Sideslip

Brilliantly Simple Installation

We created the Conformal Mounting System to enable the Featherweight boom to be quickly mounted on nearly any aircraft type. The mounts are rapid-prototyped from robust ABS plastic and incorporate flexible mounting surfaces that conform to the airfoil shape of most aircraft. Using a proven, flight-tested application of aluminum tape and double-sided adhesive, the Featherweight boom can be attached in less than half an hour. It can be removed just as quickly without leaving a trace, bringing a whole new level of flexibility to flight test data acquisition.

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Step 1: Prep Surface

Once a mounting location has been selected, the surface is cleaned and a layer of aluminum tape is put down to provide a consistent mounting surface.

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Step 2: Attach Boom

The mounts are attached using 30 psi double-sided adhesive, and additional anti-peel aluminum tape is placed over the mounting tabs. The best mounting holes are selected and the probe is attached.

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Step 3: Load Test

To make sure that each attachment is robust, the boom is load tested using a simple fish scale prior to each flight.

 

Recommended load test:

  • +/- 8 lb. vertical = +/- 12Gs
  • +/- 7.5 lb. lateral = 267 KIAS @ 20 deg. AoS

Recommended flight envelope:

  • +/- 4Gs
  • 155 KIAS
  • 20 degrees AoA/AoS
 
 

Orange Wire Not Required

The Featherweight boom includes an integrated, battery-powered air data computer with a low-power 2.4GHz wireless transmitter that transmits data from the boom to a nearby laptop (with the included dongle) or to a BoxDAQ, meaning there's no need to run wires down the wing to the boom. There's also no need to install an expensive and heavy DAS chassis in the test vehicle. This dramatically reduces the installation time and effort required to get air data up and running on an existing airframe.

 
 

Option 1: Receive data with a laptop in the test aircraft 

Ideal for:

  • Low-budget operations
  • Testing that includes an FTE in the test aircraft
  • Testing that requires viewing data in real-time

Every Featherweight boom includes an AirDAQ USB - a tiny USB dongle that can be plugged into any laptop to create a flexible, interactive datalogging solution. The dongle enumerates as a virtual com port, so data can be read using a simple Python, C, or MATLAB script. The provided examples get you up and running in a hurry.

Option 2: Receive data with a BoxDAQ in the test aircraft

Ideal for:

  • Single-pilot operations
  • Testing that requires time-synchronized INS data

The BoxDAQ, our GPS/INS datalogger, includes an AirDAQ receiver and will seamless record data from a Featherweight air data boom with no additional configuration required. In addition to air data parameters, the acro-tested BoxDAQ will also provide lat/lon/alt and roll/pitch/heading information at 50 Hz.

Option 3: Receive data with a laptop in a chase aircraft

Ideal for:

  • Operations that require chase
  • Single-pilot test aircraft that require viewing data in real-time
  • Operations that need an alternative to expensive telemetry systems

The AirDAQ system has a range of approximately 500 ft., so testing can be performed with a laptop and FTE in a chase aircraft. This revolutionary feature allows viewing data from single-pilot aircraft real-time without the need for an expensive telemetry system, and can add a whole new dimension of intel to single-pilot testing.

 

Technical Specifications

Length: 48"

Weight: 250g

Accuracy:

  • Static Pressure: +/- 0.06 PSI
  • Pitot Pressure: +/- 0.004 PSI
  • AoA/AoS: +/- 0.1 deg

Battery Life (non-rechargeable, CR2): 8 hours (nominal)

Recommended Operating Limitations:

  • Temperature: -0C/+50C
  • Airspeed: 20-155 KIAS
  • G: +/-4
  • AoA/AoS: +/- 20 deg
 

Easy to use, easy to purchase

The Featherweight boom is available for purchase in our online store. If you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to get in touch at inquiries@spingarage.com.