Attitude Indicator in aircraft

The attitude indicator, sometimes known as the artificial horizon, is a flight instrument that denotes an aircraft's orientation relative to the earth's horizon and provides immediate indication of any orientation changes. It shows rotation about the longitudinal axis to indicate the degree of bank, and the lateral axis to display pitch.

There are three main parts of the instrument the pilot must monitor. The first is the miniature set of wings attached to the case remaining parallel to the wings of the aircraft. Another is the horizon bar, the bar that separates the top and bottom halves of the gyroscopic ball. The ball features a light-colored top half and dark bottom half separated by a line representing the horizon. The third main part is the marks on the upper part of the dial that represent the aircraft's degree of bank. The first three marks are ten degrees apart, followed by sixty and ninety degree marks. A standard turn has a bank of fifteen degrees.

When the attitude indicator is in use, the horizon bar is held parallel to the natural horizon by the gyroscopic rigidity. As pitch or bank of the aircraft changes, the miniature aircraft moves along with it. Attitude indicators are limited by the maximum rotation of the gyro. Older, vacuum-driven attitude indicators have bank limits of approximately 100-110 degrees and pitch limits around 60-70 degrees. Many newer models of attitude indicator have greatly increased their limits to keep up with the performance capabilities of newer, higher quality aircraft.

In the past, vacuum-powered gyros have generally been preferred over electric because of their simplicity and lower cost. Despite this, the importance of a functional attitude indicator has led to an increase in electric indicators in lighter aircraft. Electric attitude indicators have advantages such as easier readability, reduced limitations, and fewer errors. Another advantage is that electric gyros can be located remotely, and the assembly can be mounted at a more convenient location than behind the instrument panel.

The attitude indicator is one of a pilot's most important instruments, and guaranteeing its function is imperative. At NSN Fulfillment, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the flight instrument parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-714-705-4780.


July 14, 2023

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