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TruTrak makes some innovated aircraft
instruments, including autopilots, artificial horizons, etc. The
product that is popular with glider pilots is the TruTrak Pictorial Turn &
Bank. In the event you get caught in cloud unexpectedly, it can be
used to fly safely out of the cloud. However, the TruTrak Pictorial
Turn & Bank is strictly for Light Sport Aircraft (LSAs) and
TruTrak Pictorial Turn & Bank
The Pictorial Turn & Bank uses
solid-state technology to indicate the aircraft's rate of turn. A
stepper motor is used to rotate the horizon in the face of the unit to match
the horizon you see out the window. It can be used to fly straight
without reference to the ground or the horizon, or to turn at a constant
turn rate. With a little practice, any good pilot can use this device
and the aircraft's airspeed indicator to fly at a constant airspeed and bank
The version available here is calibrated so
that the first hash mark will be under the red pointer at the top of the
display when executing a 1 minute turn. Why would a glider want to
execute a 1 minute turn? - That is a good question. I don't think
glider pilots use it for that purpose. Glider pilots use it to make
sure they don't enter a deadly spiral when they suddenly find themselves in
cloud. Of course, it would be illegal in the USA to intentionally
enter a cloud without an instrument rating and the proper instrumentation.
This product does not constitute the right (legal) equipment. But it
could certainly come in handy if needed in an emergency. In fact, it
could save your life.
Special Glider Version
Note that the versions listed below are specially made for use in gliders.
The standard "general aviation" versions are calibrated for a 2 minute turn.
These "glider" versions are calibrated for a 1 minute turn. Units
listed on general aviation web sites are the 2 minute versions.
In contrast to the turn coordinator, the
Pictorial Turn & Bank provides a display that agrees with the artificial
horizon, and likewise the real horizon. The dynamic performance of this
display is equal to that of an artificial horizon.
Another key benefit of this device is that it
powers-up in about 3 seconds. There are no gyros to spin up. You
can leave it off until you need it. You can even power it up while in
It is extremely simple to use - so simple
that there is no manual provided. To install it you just connect 12 to
28 V power. To use it you simply turn it on and observe it.
The units is extremely small and
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||TruTrak Pictorial Turn &
Bank, 2 1/4" (57 mm), Calibrated for 1 Minute Turn
2-1/4" Dimensions - 2.5”H x 2.5”W x 3.5”D
Power Input: 12-28 volts, ~150 mA
Weight: ~ 6 oz
The power connector is required and is included in the base price at right.
Many of my competitors (and the manufacturer) do not include the
connector - in an effort to make the price more attractive. But
the power connector is required so I include it in the price. The
only reason you would want the unit without the connector would be if you
were replacing a damaged unit, or you already happened to have the required
3-conductor Amphenol MS3106A10SL-3S connector.
Ferrite Tube for Noise Suppression
A few customers have stated that the unit can be electrically noisy - interfering with their aircraft radio. However, running the power leads through a ferrite tube at least 2 times solves the problem. I therefore include a ferrite tube with every unit.
No manual is provided because none is required. The only connections
are the positive and negative power connections. There is a diagram on
the back of the unit describing the power connections.
Mounting screws (6-32, 1/2") are not provided
by the manufacturer, but they are included by Cumulus Soaring, Inc.
Important Note for U.S. Contest
Current U.S. soaring contest rules prohibit the use of any device which
allows flight without reference to the ground. So you would need
to remove the TruTrak Pictorial Turn & Bank while flying in a U.S.
soaring contest. I don't agree with this rule, but I do recommend
abiding by the rules. Their official policy is posted here:
http://www.ssa.org/files/member/Restricted Equipment Policy.pdf