Fred Scott, Jr.
(434) 295-4188

(Here's a complete list of all our AoA pages)

This formal FAA guidance got a lot clearer when the FAA Small Aircraft Directorate sent a Dec 15, 2011 letter of clarification to Alpha Systems. Please read this document; hugely important, it represents the very best of the FAA: great engineers and coherent logical thinking.

Then, on Feb 4, 2014, came a News Release from the FAA Admistrator and the Secretary of Transportation!

FAA Clears Path for Installation of Angle of Attack Indicators in Small Aircraft

Measure Could Improve Safety in Thousands of Aircraft

Date: February 5, 2014 Is
Contacts: Les Dorr
Phone: (202) 267-3883
Elizabeth Isham Cory
Phone: (847) 294-7849

WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today took an important step to help improve safety in small aircraft by simplifying design approval requirements for a cockpit instrument called an angle of attack (AoA) indicator. AoA devices, common on military and large civil aircraft, can be added to small planes to supplement airspeed indicators and stall warning systems, alerting pilots of a low airspeed condition before a dangerous aerodynamic stall occurs, especially during takeoff and landing.

“Safety is our top priority, and with today’s announcement we are improving safety by streamlining regulations and cutting red tape – a win-win situation,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

An “angle of attack” is the angle between a plane’s wing and the oncoming air. If the angle of attack becomes too great, the wing can stall and lose lift. If a pilot fails to recognize and correct the situation, a stall could lead to loss of control of the aircraft and an abrupt loss of altitude. Stalls can happen during any phase of flight, but they are critical when planes are near the ground and have less room to recover, such as during landing and takeoff.

AoA indicators may help prevent loss of control in small aircraft because they provide a more reliable indication of airflow over the wing. Although they have been available for some time, the effort and cost associated with gaining installation approval has limited their use in general aviation. The streamlined requirements are expected to lead to greater use of the devices and increased safety in general aviation.

“We have eliminated major barriers so pilots can add another valuable cockpit aid for safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “These indicators provide precise information to the pilot, and could help many avoid needless accidents.”

Under the new policy, manufacturers must build the AoA indicator system according to standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) and apply for FAA approval for the design via a letter certifying that the equipment meets ATSM standards and was produced under required quality systems. The FAA’s Chicago Aircraft Certification Office will process all applications to ensure consistent interpretation of the policy.

The FAA believes this streamlined policy may serve as a prototype for production approval and installation of other add-on aircraft systems in the future. The new AoA policy is available at the FAA link here

A year or so later--June 2015--in the "Fly Safe" Campaign, the FAA is making a big push to get AoA indicators installed in General Aviation aircraft.

Please click here for locations to mount the Alpha probes, the sensors....
... and here are some good locations to mount the AoA displays

Read comments from pilots with recent fight experience using this particular AoA device, with AoA flight time in military aircraft, and in using AoA devices in general aviation aircraft. Read what a few Flight Instructors and Pilot Examiners think about it. As you read along, please notice that all are pilots with great experience...the most highly skilled among us...and ... EVERY ONE of them is savvy enough and humble enough to know that there are VERY GOOD REASONS for having an Angle of Attack indicator on the glareshield.

Here is a list of all the AoA manufacturers that I'm aware of.

I have NO financial interest in this company or its products. NONE, now or ever.

NEVER FORGET that a AoA Display will NOT improve any aircraft's performance, not even a little bit! But an AoA will provide sufficient additional information to give the pilot confidence to operate safely closer to the airplane’s limits…and the AoA will enable a pilot to extract all--or, at least: far more of--the airplane's available performance. An AoA can definitely make a good pilot better and enable him to fly more precisely.

Any questions? Ask the pilot