06.05.09

Flight Computer Hardware

We may have found the perfect screen display to use in the Perlan glider. The Craggy Aero “Ultimate” computer is an exciting new development in soaring instruments.

The main advantage of this computer is the large sunlight-readable screen. We tested it outdoors in full sunshine against a conventional PDA. The Ultimate is the clear winner for readability, even though the PDA had a new “transreflective” screen.

This is an important step forward for the Perlan project because one of the main difficulties found on the previous flights was that it was impossible to read or operate the PDA displays with inflated pressure suits. This meant that the pilots had no GPS navigation or soaring data whenever they were above 35,000ft. Even though the Perlan 2 is not expected to use pressure suits, the sunlight and contrast conditions in the cockpit will make it difficult to read conventional PDA screens. Additionally, the Ultimate allows you to plug in any USB mouse as an input device so a large trackball (as shown in the photo above) can be used, even with thick gloves.

For another review of the Ultimate, look at what I wrote on the Hunter Valley Gliding Club Blog.

The manufacturer’s website is: Craggy Aero.

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