Levil Aviation

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Levil Aviation

Postby BucF16 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:18 am

I'm sure that most of you have seen this. But I haven't heard mentioned here. BUT for those who haven't, you might want to check this out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgpP7gyJyTM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te9S2DETjA8

At the moment, I'm seriously considering these for my Highlander. There are Zero power, and pitot runs for the BOM. And the Beacon solves the ADS-B issue.

Any detractors?

Bruce
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby SheepdogRD » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Not a detractor. I ordered both at Sun-n-Fun. They expect to be in production by Oshkosh.

I was originally going to order the iLevil 3AW, but liked the BOM even more. There's one major shift, though. With the 3AW, I’d planned to mount the EIS behind the panel. But, since there are no wires to the BOM, the ability to display engine data is gone, at least temporarily. I didn’t want that to be a deal-breaker, so I’ve revised the panel, bringing the EIS onto the panel face. I’ve talked with Levil about the EIS link, and it’s on their list of upgrades. I’m hoping they’ll have it figured out by Oshkosh, since the capability is already in their product line.

My preference would be a unit that pulls information from the EIS, the ADS-B system, an autopilot, etc. and makes it available via WiFi. I’d like to see the app in both Apple iOS and Android. I have a spare 5-½” Android phone that I'd love to mount in front of the EIS to provide graphical display of the information. I’ll see how Levil’s app development plays out.

While the GRT EIS is practically the industry standard for engine information systems in homebuilts, it’s an old design with a screen that displays a bunch of unlabeled numbers. For normal flight, that may be okay. But, in an emergency, the pilot’s already-busy brain will have to translate those unlabeled numbers to usable information. The GRT unit desperately needs a graphical display, preferably one the pilot can set up. I’m hoping Levil can come to our rescue.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby BucF16 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:34 pm

Actually, meeting as many of you as I can, is may first reason to attend OSH this your. The 2nd Is to purchase the BOM / Beacon, (if you all can't find any show stoppers). I thinking an iPad Pro might be a good choice. With any future updates to their app, it may work well to fit in the added information. Its about the size to a Dynon Skyview HDX. (I think 8) :roll: )

Shameless hint.... If your are attending OSH, list yourself on the OSH 2017 thread.

Cheers,
Bruce
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby av8rps » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:00 pm

I like all their products. They most definitely have leading edge technology. I am seriously considering them for a panel upgrade in my Highlander.

But I agree I want engine info as well. AND, Synthetic Vision. I didn't see that in their info for either of their new products.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby danerazz » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:49 pm

av8rps wrote:
But I agree I want engine info as well. AND, Synthetic Vision. I didn't see that in their info for either of their new products.



What are you doing looking at the panel that much in a Highlander?

I'm going for "basic Cub" and even that seems excessive. The GPS is only for ADS-B interface with transponder, and, since it is there, ELT position. I don't even have a display for position. I'm hoping for printed VFR sectionals to be around for at least a few more years.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby BucF16 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:18 pm

Hey Dane, Really, that is the way I fly. I have a half owner in my J3-C85. I keep it at my farm strip till July 4th, and He has it till late October, at which time I bring it home to hibernate of the Winter. Last July he called me and said that the airspeed indicator was at least 30 mph slow. I had no clue. I never looked at it. So I guess your right. BUT,,, A Levil BOM and an iPad are about the same price as legacy instruments and Foreflight iPad combo. I hope to see you all at OSH.

Cheers,
Bruce
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby SheepdogRD » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:49 pm

av8rps wrote:... But I agree I want engine info as well. AND, Synthetic Vision. I didn't see that in their info for either of their new products.

Synthetic vision is in WingX Pro, which is compatible with iLevil products.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby SheepdogRD » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:04 pm

A couple of other things that make the BOM revolutionary:

Installation is easy
Mount the BOM on the wing (just mount it; there's nothing to connect), mount the iPad on the panel. Install apps (the iLevil app is free), choose your configuration settings, calibrate, and it's done. The only connection is the iPad power cord, and even that is optional. Compare that to installing a six-pack, or even the basics.

Electrical system failure is no problem
There are many hours of flight time in the iPad battery, and the BOM is self-powered.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby av8rps » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:48 pm

danerazz wrote:
av8rps wrote:
But I agree I want engine info as well. AND, Synthetic Vision. I didn't see that in their info for either of their new products.



What are you doing looking at the panel that much in a Highlander?

I'm going for "basic Cub" and even that seems excessive. The GPS is only for ADS-B interface with transponder, and, since it is there, ELT position. I don't even have a display for position. I'm hoping for printed VFR sectionals to be around for at least a few more years.


Yeah, I can see where people may think that. But as I get older (maybe even wiser?) I've learned it's always good to have some extra arrows in the old quiver, just in case you might need them. And hey, as far as I'm concerned good synthetic vision can be a lifesaver. Last time I flew to Florida from Wisconsin it would have been at least some good piece of mind as I ran into a lot of sketchy weather. Not that I am advocating you intentionally fly into hard IFR just because you have synthetic vision, but more as an emergency back up if you find yourself in a weather situation you don't want to be in.

As a student pilot on a cross country I got caught in lake effect convective ground fog that became widespread, so I did a 180 turn to fly out of it. But after 15 minutes of flying my course I came to realize flying out of it was not an option. It was very strange the way the fog happened as it was not predicted and came out of nowhere. And quickly. And it covered the top 1/3 of the state, which I was smack dab in tbe middle of. Of course I had very little hood time, so I was a seriously concerned about how long I could keep flying instruments before my luck would run out. But somehow I managed to keep my head together for the more than 45 minutes of hard IFR required to get back on the ground.. Of course I had some fantastic help from the nations best controllers, who ultimately vectored me to an airport, flying me right to the runway between two large tv towers to boot! I'll never forget that day and have vowed to do all I can to avoid another situation like that, and to always do all I can to give myself an out if I need it. That Piper Tomahawk trainer I was in that day was well equipped, but had no autopilot (ironically that was the 1st thing the controller asked me if I had that day).

Of course later after getting my ticket I wanted my own plane. But my finances limited my aircraft choices. So I ended up with a very early Avid Flyer with a 2 stroke engine in it. It didn't have any electrics, just a recoil starter handle under the dash. And instrumentation was only what was required to be legal. Over the next 6 years I put 1300 hours on a couple of those bare bones Avid Flyers (and had a complete blast by the way...). I pretty much could fly them without ever looking at the panel. And actually, I really didn't fly them...it was more like putting them on. But I never went far from home as I generally didn't feel confident about engine reliabilty. But now with my 912 powered Highlander I like to go places, as the airplane is as reliable as any other airplane. And it's comfortable to fly long distances, so the reality is I encounter more weather in my travels.

Originally I was thinking an autopilot would be best for an emergency situation, but after flying synthetic vision I'd rather have that before an autopilot (both would be best in reality, so who knows I may do that next? Now that probably sounds really crazy to some?) And let's face it, synthetic vision is not only less expensive than an autopilot, it is also much easier to install. And it weighs less too.

Anyhow, I hope that helps to explain my reasons for putting all that equipment in my fun little bush plane.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby Clark in AZ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:27 am

Great story, with a good ending. I agree, better to have it and not need it. It's only a matter of money so, how much is your life worth? We all think we're smart enough not to get into a situation where we would NEED it, but that's why they call them accidents.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby av8rps » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:07 pm

Well said.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby Swoopjack » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:00 pm

I am also planning on autopilot. I will do 3 to 4 hr x country flights fairly often. I would rather relax and look out the window and let the airplane fly a tighter course than I would anyway
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby SheepdogRD » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:06 am

Swoopjack wrote:I am also planning on autopilot. I will do 3 to 4 hr x country flights fairly often. I would rather relax and look out the window and let the airplane fly a tighter course than I would anyway

Autopilots have traditionally added several pounds and a thousands of dollars cost to an airplane. TruTrak and Levil worked together starting a few years ago to develop ECO, a lightweight autopilot system. Instead of operating on the primary flight controls, ECO uses lightweight servos and adds lightweight servo tabs on the control surfaces, much like additional trim tabs. It was originally envisioned for metal-winged aircraft like the RV line, but I can't think of a good reason it wouldn't apply equally well to a fabric-covered airplane. Here's the information page: http://www.trutrakap.com/product/eco/.

It started out priced at $1000, and has crept up in steps to the currently quoted $1299 + installation kit. The problem isn't price, but release date. For now, at least, it's vaporware. It was supposed to be ready a couple of Oshkoshes ago. Then TruTrak shifted its resources to certification of its existing products, and ECO has languished.

I still like the idea of a lightweight AP system in a lightweight plane, so I'm hoping we can see this get released. To prep for it, I installed mount points and wiring to the control surfaces before covering. The rest can wait until TruTrak completes the program. There's enough information on the ECO page that I think a savvy builder could install and calibrate a system if TruTrak would release its control head and servo specs, but I suspect that's unlikely. And so we wait...
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby BucF16 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:05 pm

Sheepdog, Thanks for posting. I had no idea that a lightweight AP existed. I need to get out and read more. :cry: One thought to consider is the mass balance of the aileron. I remember reading some threads on this site about flutter. In my past I was quite active in the aerobatic community (IAC), and of course with the speeds of those aircraft, it is a factor. Not sure at Highlander speeds.

I penned and article for Sport Aerobatics back in the 90s about an experience I had delivering a Decathlon. It had basic instruments, no gyros. I was using a old Garmin III hand held (course only) GPS, and a sectional to navigate. I was trying to beat a warm front thunderstorm cluster into Morgantown WV to wait it out before continuing on home (Columbus OH). This was of course long before we had in cockpit live NEXRAD. Well, my timing was off by about 15 minutes, as I approached KMGW, I found myself being pushed lower and lower by the ceilings. I got a Special VFR clearance and was 2.1 miles from the airport over the ridge to the south. I then noticed parts of the clouds down in the trees to the left and right of me (I was at about 100 ft above them). I couldn't believe I allowed myself to get into such a pickle. I banked her up on the wing and pivoted around the tree right below me. I scooted down the ridge to discover it had closed in behind me with the tops of the ridges obscured. Now down in the valley I had to navigate my way down stream to find clear air. I was used to flying very low altitude and 5 time faster so I was still pretty comfortable. Luckily the river bent East and after 10 long miles, I was able to climb and Land a Garrett County.

I think the BOM from Levil will enhance our safety. I wish I'd had it back then.
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Re: Levil Aviation

Postby SheepdogRD » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:11 pm

Here are some 2015 videos that show the ECO autopilot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4l0MrVaI0M, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQbwz12ykUo, and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvxlkl-uGgI.

Here's a 2016 Kitplanes Newsline with Paul Dye's comments about experiencing ECO in flight: https://newsline.kitplanes.com/2015/12/05/test-flying-the-trutrak-eco-autopilot/.

And here's a discussion on the VansAirForce group where Andrew Barker (of TruTrak) answers some questions: http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?t=132321.

It sounds absolutely terrific. So I called TruTrak today to nudge them a little and see where they are on it.

For now, ECO is dead in the water. They're working on certificating products, and don't have the manpower to continue developing installation kits or supporting ECO users. ECO is unlikely to be revived for at least a year or more.

And here's the most interesting thing I learned in the conversation: ECO isn't as light as we thought. It requires rebalancing the control surfaces, and, by the time compensating weights are added, there's very little difference in weight between ECO and the TruTrak Vizion full-on autopilot. There is a difference in cost, however. Where ECO would run about $1500 all in, the Vizion is $2100 for a two-axis system. On the plus side, the Vizion is a full-featured system, so the extra money brings extra capabilities.

For now, the Vizion is available, and ECO is not, so Vizion sounds like the answer.
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