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Audiopilot

Fly an airplane with your eyes closed.

A small self contained device for small aircraft or hang gliders makes sounds indicating altitude and heading changes.

Altitude:
Audiopilot is a small box attached near the pilot. When turned on it becomes an audio altimeter. Every time the aircraft altitude changes by 10 feet it makes a sound. Call it "cheep" for increasing altitude, and "chirp" for decreasing altitude. Instead of constantly checking the altimeter the pilot occasionally hears a "cheep" or a "chirp" then ascends or descends until the opposite sound is heard. A control knob selects sensitivity. The sounds would be especially helpful when distractions cause an accidental change in altitude.

Heading:
The same device helps maintain heading by emitting sounds for every 2 degrees of heading change. Suppose the sounds are "dong" for increasing heading and "ding" for decreasing heading. Heading sensitivity is also set with a control knob. Occasionally the pilot hears a bell. When this happens a slight correction right or left produces the opposite bell and restores the original heading. Turns are made by counting bells to the correct heading.

Both together:
The combination of both outputs gives the pilot a window of heading and altitude within which the device remains silent. When heading or altitude go beyond the window of silence a sound indicates corrective action. The reset button centers the window around the current heading and altitude.

Construction:
An audiopilot might look like the figure below. Since it is battery powered and self contained no wiring is necessary. Just clamp it securely and conveniently anywhere near the pilot in an upright position. Low cost altimeters and compasses are acceptable since only changes are sensed. The altimeter and compass can be read using optical encoding disks.

audio pilot image
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