Micro AeroDynamics reached a couple of milestones this fall, completing 25 years in the business and shipping their 19,000th STC approved Micro Vortex Generator (VG) kits. This number does not include replacement parts for aircraft previously equipped with the modification. When spares and replacement kits are included in the count the company says it has handled more than two million vortex generators. Flight testing at their headquarters in Anacortes has produced 75 STCs allowing Micro VG retrofits on a total of 750 aircraft models. They are in use all over the world.
Vortex generators have been used on jet aircraft for decades and the technology later adapted to general aviation aircraft by Charles White. The tiny aluminum pieces with a vertical fin about a quarter inch high are arrayed across the upper leading edge of the wing and sometimes along both sides of the vertical tail and beneath the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizer. In flight, the generators cause the airflow to develop tiny tornados that keep the boundary layer attached to the wing, rudder or elevator at higher angles of attack, reducing stall speed in the process. This allows aileron control even when the wing is stalled.
The effect of vortex generators on cruise speed is negligible. They enhance controllability at slow speeds, lower Vmc on twin engine aircraft and do not affect certification for flight into known icing.
“We’ll be adding to the list of STCs in the future, as conditions warrant,” said Anni Brogan, president of MicroAerodynamics. “Meanwhile, we’ll continue to enhance the safety margins of the fleet one aircraft at a time.”