I’ve always been interested in how strong the bumps are. A great illustration of this is derived from a terrible mistake I once made as a pilot.
I was in my great big turbo Cessna 206 somewhere over the high plains of western Kansas and eastern Colorado. My passengers and I were eager to get to our fishing and camping destination in Idaho. Perhaps I was a little too eager…
Because I made a shortcut to my destination and I flew under a developing thunderhead. I remember seeing, with some sense of awe, the cloud vapor moving from clear air below, straight up into the thunderhead. In other words, I could see the thunderhead acting like a great big Hoover, sucking up moist (but clear) air from directly below and converting it into cloud vapor as it moved into the thunderhead at a rapid rate. And for some stupid reason, I flew directly under this monster.
And got sucked up into it.
The plane oscillated between overspeed (well over redline — I was staring at the airspeed indicator and I remember seeing the it *well over* redline) and something else. The forces on us occupants varied between negative force (less than 0 G) and something else… I’d love to have seen the G’s. But I couldn’t — we had no “G” indicator in the cockpit. (We only had the evidence of things flying all over the cabin during negatives, then returning to the floor during the positives.)
So, many years later, I have designed an instrument that would show all of the G forces — Belite’s G meter. It shows positive and negative G’s on separate scales, up to plus or minus 6 Gs. It keeps track of the peek values, by blinking the highest extremes observed on both the positive and negative scale. It uses very little power, runs off 12 volts (actually anything from 8 to 14 volts), and has a tiny little microprocessor in it that keeps track of everything. And I made it inexpensive, in 3 different configurations (1.75 inch square, 2.25 inch standard round, and portable box). Since the LEDs are so very bright, it is also dimmable for night usage.
|2.25″ Round G Meter, with positive and negative scale|
By the way, the thunderhead did spit me out the other side a minute or two later. I’d been ‘flight following’ with Denver center. The controller had observed the altitude and airspeed variations I’d been experiencing, and was kind enough to verify that I was still with him. I was, and I am still here now.
Please enjoy using our G Meter. You can see a lot more of it on YouTube here.
And you can purchase it on our webstore, or from Aircraft Spruce, or from Wicks.