Sting LSA Picks Up Straight & Level Button

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Recently made famous in general aviation through the Cirrus' Perspective avionics package (AVweb video), a similar little blue button has been introduced on the Sting S3 LSA's instrument panel and it aims to provide pilots with similar results -- wings-level, fixed-heading and fixed-altitude flight -- at the touch of a button. The Sting S3 light sport aircraft already offers multiple safety features, like AmSafe inflatable safety harnesses, Zaon collision avoidance (Aviation Consumer video), and a full plane parachute. The Straight/Level system is intended to add to that score. Employed by a blue button on the avionics panel labeled S/L, the system commands the autopilot to level the wings, lock the heading and altitude, and allows the pilot time to reassess matters in the event he or she recognizes signs of spatial disorientation or experiences some other duress. Of course, should the pilot be somehow incapacitated, the S/L button also lowers the demands on a passenger who needs to become a quick study. Bill Canino, president of SportairUSA (which distributes the S3), says his company provides the system "at no additional cost on all of our TruTrak EFIS/autopilot equipped Stings." Those aircraft are priced close to $125,000, according to the company's Web site. According to Canino, his company's goal is to provide an aircraft that "is fun, safe, and responsive" and "with backup systems that are easy to deploy."

More than 500 Sting aircraft have been delivered worldwide and the "continuously improved" design offers a salvo of safety features that include a whole plane parachute, PCAS collision avoidance avionics, full-time carburetor body heat, and AmSafe air-bag type seat belt restraints, in addition to the new Straight/Level system.