Sky’s the Limit with iDash

We’ve covered folks using the iDash DataMonster, and Sensor Modules used in just about everything on four wheels. But these vehicles have always been securely planted on the ground. Ben Harrison’s vehicle is completely different. It flies! Ben’s ultra-lightweight powered parachute aircraft was built back in 2013 and had only 20 hours on the clock when he bought it. “The first thing that I noticed when I bought the Dragon Fly was that there was no instrumentation—at all. It was made to be low-cost aviation that fit in the bed of a truck, and instrumentation was a luxury that wasn’t really thought of. That wasn’t going to fly with me.”

There are some instrumentation kits out there, but they come as a panel or pod, and he didn’t want something like that. The Louisana native was looking for something that would easily fit onto one of the support bars without obstructing his view. In theory, that is great, but when you want to see multiple readings, that makes it hard when you go to a traditional 5/8” size gauge that usually shows only one data point. There’s only so much room on those tubular supports, and he’d quickly run out of space without totally seeing what he wanted. Enter the Banks iDash DataMonster.

“The iDash came up in one of my searches, and I immediately liked it because of its small footprint and its ability to see multiple readings,” recalls the pilot. “I made my own gauge holders that mounted on the tubular frame. I went with two gauges so that I could see 8 parameters on each of them, and I started with a 4-Channel Sensor Module with Frequency and a 4-Channel Thermocouple Sensor Module. I also have an AirMouse to see all of my ambient readings. I have it set up to see everything I want, including RPM. I recently bought another 4-Sensor Module for even more information, and all of it is within the eye’s view and totally legible. I’m rigging it to read my fuel level too.

All this instrumentation is on a two-cylinder engine, by the way. I wanted all that I could see, and I certainly got what I wanted.”