Flight recorders, otherwise known as a “black box”, are flight instruments that record and store the state and performance of an aircraft during operation. Two components, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, are the standard parts that make up each flight recorder. Together, the flight recorder is able to record pertinent information from the aircraft flight instruments and cockpit such as altitude, speed, vertical acceleration, pitch, pilot cockpit communication, radio transmissions, and much more.


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While the average flyer might not be as familiar with aircraft powered by turboprop engines and propellers, they are found in many single, twin and commuter aircraft. Single and twin engine aircraft use the Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turboprop engine, a popular option with power spanning from 500 to 2,000 shaft horsepower.


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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.


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Like automobiles, aircraft mount batteries that are used in the ignition sequence for the engines and auxiliary power unit (APU). Unlike car batteries however, aircraft batteries are responsible for much more. If there is an electrical generation failure during a flight, the batteries will be required to provide power until the aircraft can land, and can also be used to restart the engines if a flame-out occurs.


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Control surface failures are thankfully rare, but easily some of the most stressful malfunctions a pilot can face. Occurring mostly during takeoff, a control surface failure compounds an already tense moment, adding to the issues and factors a pilot already faces in such a situation. Thankfully, by keeping a clear head and taking prompt action, the pilot can prevent an accident from occurring.


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As you prepare to go on a long car journey, you will likely need to check the fuel levels of your car. Luckily for you, there is a handy dial in the dashboard of your car which indicates your fuel supply. A pilot has a similar routine inside the cockpit, however, the miles covered are significantly more and the implications far more costly. Additionally, the fuel system of an aircraft is far more complex than in a car. Luckily for the pilot, a variety of fuel system indicators provide a comprehensive view of the system’s health.


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On an aircraft, there are multiple electrical systems that play their part in ensuring the proper functioning and sustaining flight. Just like your house needs an electricity source, an aircraft needs a reliable source of power that will not only start up the aircraft but keep it running with all the various aircraft lights and indicators.

There a few key components of an electrical system that are found in all aircraft. While they may be more advanced in some aircraft, the underlying principles and features of an electrical system are the same throughout the various makes and models. There are switches, backup batteries, alternators, and voltage regulators. Like a typical electric system, electrical energy needs to be diverted and stored to prevent system outages.


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Aircraft material failures are one of the leading causes of aircraft engine failure. One of the most prevalent failures involves aircraft metal fatigue. The term refers to the exposure of metal aircraft components to continuous load stress, which leads to the accumulation of microcracks, and thus the weakening of said components. Determining whether aircraft metal fatigue will occur is not a matter of if, but when. Let’s examine how metal fatigue is caused over the life cycle of an aircraft, and how manufacturers determine fatigue limits and inspection.


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Believe it or not, but traveling by plane is significantly safer than by car. The many protocols, regulations, and safety nets commonly used in aviation simply outclass those implemented in standard vehicles. So, when a plane crashes, it comes instantaneous news and investigators work tirelessly to find out what happened. And their first clue is the aircraft black box.


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