An angle-of-attack (AoA) indicator is now a standard feature in a Cessna 172 cockpit, offering general aviation pilots a critical tool for preventing loss of control accidents.

The Textron Aviation subsidiary launched the Cessna 172 Skyhawk equipped with the Safe Flight SCc AoA system at the Sun-n-Fun fly-in in Florida on 5 April. The same technology is also now available as a priced option for the Cessna 182 Skylane and 206 Turbo Staionair.

“We are thrilled to work with Safe Flight to bring this latest enhancement to the cockpit, providing an improved flying experience for our customers,” Textron vice-president of piston aircraft Scott May.

Loss of control is the leading cause of general aviation fatalities. It often occurs shortly after take-off before landing, as the pilot makes a low-speed turn in the pattern.

The Save Flight SCc system integrates a lift transducer in the leading edge of the wing, feeding AoA data to a dashboard-mounted display in the cockpit. A series of lights indicates when the pilot is approaching stall conditions, which can lead to an unrecoverable loss of control at low altitude.

AoA systems are becoming more popular after an industry group in 2014 developed a new standard for low-cost systems, reducing the price of the technology from more than $ 10,000 per unit to as low as about $ 2,000.