KITPLANES Looks At An Angle of Attack Indicator


KITPLANES editor at large Paul Dye takes you on a flight in his wife’s Van’s RV-6 to show what it’s like to fly primarily with reference to angle of attack information from the Garmin G3X Touch EFIS in the airplane.

Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


  1. Very nice. I’ve been flying radio controlled models since 1963 using angle of attack since they don’t have an airspeed indicator..

  2. Angle of attack indicators should not be considered primary references. They are complex and also rely on electronics, as opposed to a conventional ASI. An ASI is direct reading and involves no electronics. There are too many layers involved with AAIs, I.e multiple air pressure sensors with critical locations, translation of those inputs to a lift reserve output by electronic means. I’ve flown with them and found them worse than useless. That was because the indicated lift reserve was near 0 on short final. How do I use that? Am I suppose to speed up? No, I want a direct reading ASI, so I know what’s really going on. I want something I can reliably correlate with stall speeds in various flight configurations. That’s the IAS coming from a direct reading ASI, not some highly derivative widget, which is separated by multiple layers of complexity from what is really happening.

  3. Too much beeping for my taste. That would bug the crap out of me. I can see how this would be useful for bush planes, but for typical traveling GA, I think an ‘airspeed’ callout somewhere in the upper yellow range would get your attention better.