Flight Companion FC-1
The Flight Companion (FC-1) is a multi functional electronic instrument that incorporates a sophisticated audio interface system with a high level input to accept external MP3, GPS and Cell phone products, a highly accurate digital Altitude Alert System, a digital Tank Timer for fuel Management, and a power management system designed to get the most out of its on board battery.
The audio interface system that resides within the FC-1 comprises of two 300mw power amplifiers designed specifically for aviation headphones. Aviation headphones in general do not generally offer the bandwidth that one would typically find in a high quality stereo headphone system. The FC-1 uses an equalization system specifically designed to compensate for loses found in aviation headphones. Overall gain is about 9db with input buffers to balance ship radios gain to the Aux I/O. The net results of this is a far better sound quality from any music that is played through the system, a much improved signal to noise ratio and a crisper, cleaner voice reproduction from the planes radio system.
By plugging the unit directly into the existing headphone jacks ( phones and mic) the unit performs a seamless interface connection that allows the pilots headphones to continue to use the ships audio while at the same time provides the Aux I/O to be used with an MP3, Iphone, or Blackberry. Cell Phone audio is of course conditioned and routed through the system providing noise reduction and safety. The FC-1 has a self contained VOX (Voice Operated Xchange). This feature mutes any audio coming from the Aux input any time there is audio activity on the intercom or radio. That means that even intercom chat from one passenger to another will mute the systems Aux Audio which includes the MP3, GPS audio, and cell phone. This feature guarantees the intercom and ATC always take presidents.
The FC-1ís internal Altitude Alert System is built around the highly accurate Bosch Digital I2C Pressure Sensor. The accuracy of this device allows the FC-1ís Altitude Alert System to keep the pilot within 100 feet of a set cruise. Drifting to high activates a Blue LED with a corresponding high frequency tone that gets transmitted through to the headphones. Drift to low, a Red LED comes on with a corresponding low frequency tone through the headphones. Once back within the pilots cruise altitude limits, both tone and LEDís shut down.
To change altitudes, simply hold the disable button for 2 seconds and move to the new altitude, and then re-enable the system. The pilot really gets spoiled here. The pilot wonít be staring at the VSI anywhere near as much
Over 90% of airplane accidents happen due to fuel related issues. The Tank Timer System that is supplied with the FC-1 is designed to keep the pilot aware of how much fuel is being burned, a method to keep both wing tanks balanced, and a constant reminder to how much flight time he has left. There are both left and right tank systems. Each tank gets 30 minutes of run time. At the 30 minute mark the left tank alert tone is generated and a Red LED blinks alerting the pilot to change tanks. The pilot either hits the opposite tank button or restarts the same tank over. The Right tank has a different tone with a Green LED.
The FC-1 system uses a common 9 volt alkaline battery. Estimated life of the battery is approximately 25 active hours under typical operation. This can vary depending on usage. If for some reason the system is not shut down after a flight the unit will automatically go into sleep mode 2 minutes after either the left or right tank alarm is activated. So in the worse scenario the FC-1 will stay on for 30 minutes. When in sleep mode the FC-1s internal low quiescent regulators draw almost no current.