Every once in a while, someone at the flying field will comment on how high a model is flying. At the field I use this is a pretty big deal as the contract with the county stipulates we’ll maintain a 400 foot ceiling due to a nearby general aviation airport.
Model size has a lot to do with height estimation so I thought the How High from Wing Shadow would be a handy tool to have in my flight box.
The concept behind the How High is simple enough. You plug it into an open receiver channel or add a splitter and plug it into the open end to power the device. You mount the small circuit board with protruding LED out the side of a model and go fly. When the flight is over you point the LED at the brightest part of the sky and wave your finger across the LED casting a shadow on the circuit and the LED starts to flash out the altitude with a series of flashes with a pause between the hundreds, tens and units digits of the altitude. Pretty cool.
Unfortunately, I was never able to trip the LED and get a reading. After several flights I had tried sunny days, cloudy days, in the shade, in the sunlight and never got a flash back from the altimeter. Enter the See How. Since I was stumped by the How High and a gift occasion was on the horizon I let my wife know the See How was on my gift list. The See How is a small reader that allows the LED from the How High to be read directly with the result displayed on a small screen.
Armed with both the How High altimeter and the See How reader, it was off to the field. I mounted the altimeter in my Easy Glider Pro Electric. The How High is easy to mount and move in a foam airplane. The instructions discuss the various options but with the relatively thick foam walls around the canopy of my Multiplex models, I need only place it between the canopy rail and the canopy with the little LED sticking out a little. After the flight, I placed the See How over the LED and pushed the button. Presto, out popped the altitude on the display screen. No muss, no fuss. The reading showed that I had overestimated what 400 feet looked like with that model.
Recently, Wing Shadow has updated the How High altimeter to include a watch-sized battery. With that, the need for a splitter or open receiver channel goes away as does the need to mount the device near the receiver. They also offer a small battery board and connector for the older How Highs. The new version of the How High is supposed to display its altitude report by cycling the power off and then back on. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one having difficulty with the finger wave method. Even then, after my frustration with the altimeter by itself, I would recommend getting both pieces together and saving you the aggravation. As a team they work great.
The See How adds some capability to the How High, as well. It is not only easy to get a clear reading of the output, but you can connect the How High to an empty channel on your receiver and take a “snapshot” of the altitude at that point by activating that channel. For example, if you have it plugged into the landing gear channel, activating the gear switch will trigger the reading. Without the See How, you’ll be limited to the max altitude reading. The See How also works with Winged Shadow’s How Fast airspeed system.
All in all, this is not one of those tools I used each time I fly. I do like to recalibrate my eyeballs to the clubs airspace ceiling from time to time, however. With the onboard power of the newest version, it is an easy tool to offer a friend who’s always pushing the altitude limit. Facts are hard to argue with.