What are those things on the wings?

AOPA 2017 Sweeps Cessna Ascend 172When we bring the AOPA Sweepstakes 172 to AirVenture 2016, I expect we will get a lot of questions.

When can I pick it up? will rank among the top five.

There’ll be lots of questions about the panel (which you’ll have to see for yourself; I can’t divulge details just yet. Or wait for the upcoming feature in the September issue of AOPA Pilot).

And there’ll be questions about the nifty addition from our friends at Micro Aerodynamics: micro vortex generators.

AOPA 2017 Sweeps Cessna Ascend 172If you haven’t seen these before, they’re attached to the wings and the vertical and horizontal stabilizer. Their job is to enhance safety by creating a lower stall speed. They control airflow over the wing by creating vortices that energize the boundary layer, which in turn creates improved performance and control authority at low airspeeds and high angles of attack. Stall speed for the Cessna 172 is said to be decreased by 8 percent.

Micro Aerodynamics has micro VG kits for many makes and models, and the company will be at AirVenture (Hangar C, booth 3040), so they’ll be able to give you all the details.

If you’re not coming to AirVenture, check out this video from AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman, who put the micro VGs through a head-to-head test with the help of AOPA staff pilot Mark Evans.


Learn more about how you could win a Cessna 172 in the AOPA 172 Sweepstakes.

  • ChrisP

    I first saw micro vortex generators on the Piaggio Avanti.
    I also talked with a pilot who had the opportunity to fly the Piaggio, and test its stall characteristics. It would not stall!
    That’s no guarantee a SkyHawk won’t stall with these installed, but it is very likely, I am guessing, that the new stall speed is pretty close to non-stall.
    I mean, with full flaps (assuming 30° max flaps), the stall speed is already only, what? 30kIAS before it actually stalls (as opposed to what the POH names as its Vso)? Between 30 & zero (forward air speed), there is not much wiggle room!
    Power, lots of power, may be needed to maintain altitude at this low of airspeeds, so watch out for the Engine oil & cylinder temperatures if flying at these airspeeds!