Before Pete Reynolds, a retired Bombardier vice president of flight test, died in 2014, he and former Learjet colleague Andrew Skow were working on a project aimed at preventing airplane loss of control accidents – and saving pilots’ lives.
Skow, CEO of Tiger Century Aircraft in California, has completed work on the project, which is now a product he hopes to begin offering commercially later this year.
On Tuesday, Skow – former chief aerosciences engineer of Northrop’s F-20 Tigershark fighter jet – will present a $5,000 donation to the Wichita State University Foundation for an endowed aeronautical engineering scholarship in Reynolds’ name.
The $5,000 is from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Founder’s Innovation Prize that Skow won last summer for the product he and Reynolds developed, the Q-alpha Flight Energy Awareness Display.
“Pete’s DNA is embedded in the Q-alpha display,” Skow said.
Q-alpha is a customizable software and hardware system that interfaces with an airplane’s systems. An inch-and-a-half display consisting of a ring of lights and mounted to the side of the airplane’s instrument panel alerts pilots to conditions that could lead to hazards such as a stall, giving them enough advance warning to take action before a situation turns critical, Skow said.
He said one of the key features of Q-alpha is its small display, which is designed and mounted in the aircraft in a way that it doesn’t require pilots to change their line of sight – meaning they don’t have to turn their attention away from the airplane’s instruments.
The product will primarily be marketed to airlines and corporate aviation, he said. A portion of profits from future sales will be donated to Reynolds’ endowed scholarship, Skow said.
“Pete was way more than a test pilot,” he said. “Pete was a better engineer than me. Very, very solid.
“The combination of my wild ideas and his experience-based pragmatism combined beautifully.”