Aerobatic Piloting Display

Aerobatic aircraft

Gyros in aerobatic aircraft experience one of the most mechanically demanding environments. A gyro used for this application must be capable of maintaining accuracy through high G maneuvers and sustained motions.

While an attitude indicator is occasionally useful in performing aerobatics, the most important aspect is that the reliability of the sensor package is in no way impaired by their use in aerobatics. This is a safety issue since more accidents occur while in transit to and from air shows than at the shows themselves.

Watson Industries has the ideal sensor package for this application. The AHRS-E304 outputs attitude, roll, pitch and yaw rate, and X, Y and Z acceleration data. This provides the attitude indicator with all the necessary information on aircraft attitude and dynamics.

Watson Experience

Watson Industries has been manufacturing sensor packages for attitude indicators since 1997.

Applicable Products

The last two products listed are customized versions of the AHRS-E304. Click the above link for the standard product spec sheet or Email Us to get a spec sheet for these custom products.

Technical Challenges

Sustained dynamic maneuvers, high G’s and high rates are common during an aerobatic performance. Any sensors that are part of an aerobatic attitude indicator system must have a range that is wide enough to track all the motions involved.

The heading output for the AHRS-E304 is referenced to the magnetic heading provided by a magnetic compass. This means that any extraneous magnetic fields in the vicinity will induce heading errors. Installation in an aerobatic aircraft can be difficult because of the magnetic environment. Aircraft can have steady state magnetic fields of over 400 milliGauss. Considering that the Earth’s field is only about 650 milliGauss, considerable heading errors can result. These vehicles also have motors, relays, batteries and high current carrying conductors that create highly variable magnetic fields that can induce heading errors. Finding a mounting location that is magnetically clean is key to solving this issue.

Watson Industries has rate gyros with enough range for aerobatic operation. We strongly encourage you to read our fluxgate magnetometer mounting location paper for more information on finding the best place to install your AHRS. We also provide free software for calibrating the fluxgate magnetometer after it has been installed to help to remove any remaining heading errors that may result from its mounting environment.


  • Roll Rate: ±500° /sec
  • Pitch and Yaw Rate: ±100° /sec
  • X,Y, and Z Acceleration: ±10G
  • Airspeed Input – The possibility of sustained dynamic maneuvers requires airspeed be read into the sensor to allow calculation of and correction for those dynamics. The standard input format is an analog voltage. A digital airspeed signal from GPS or another source is available as a custom option.
  • Magnetically Clean Installation Location
  • Installation magnetometer calibration

Typical Options

We are able to accommodate your custom needs. Go to our custom product modifications page for a listing of the most common custom options we support.

Custom options for this application:

  • Digital airspeed input from GPS or other source.