The marketplace for new technology aimed at experimental aircraft has evolved into a breeding ground for low-cost instrument options promoting the new FAA strategy of allowing the installation of non-TSO’d equipment in certified airplanes. For now, Wichita-based ultralight builder Belite Aircraft’s new electric turn coordinator can only be installed on experimental aircraft. But industry insiders believe options like Belite’s will be headed for certified aircraft sooner rather than later, especially when instruments like this clearly deliver safety benefits to the pilot.
Belite president James Wiebe told Flying, “a turn coordinator makes flying way better,” while the cost of a Belite instrument “is way cheaper than others.” The original turn coordinator normally included a slip/skid indicator as well as a visual display showing the rate of turn, information most pilots found very useful. Traditional turn coordinators have all but disappeared over the past decade, being replaced by turn slip indicators built into the primary flight displays (PFD) now standard in glass cockpits.
Wiebe said the “new turn coordinator is driven by a solid state gyro” stuffed inside a tiny box weighing less than 2 ounces total. The unit, as thin as a quarter, fits into a standard 2.25-inch panel cutout and offers a high-contrast LCD screen, giving pilots a constantly updated digital readout of the aircraft’s rate of turn. The Belite turn coordinator runs on a wide variety of voltages between 10 and 36 volts and retails for $299.95.