Pitot Static System and Flight Instruments

Part of a pilot’s qualification is that they are able to fly purely off of the information provided by their instruments. Just as important as this, if not more important, is the ability to recognize errors and malfunctions of those same instruments. Only once a pilot has complete knowledge of their aircraft’s instruments can they safely take flight. Many aircraft flight instruments operate through a pitot-static system. Instruments of this type are usually used to determine factors such as airspeed, mach number, and altitude.

The pitot-static system measures the total combined pressures, both static and dynamic pressure, in an aircraft while it is moving through the air. Static pressure is also known as ambient pressure and is present in an aircraft at all times - in flight and on the ground. Dynamic pressure is only a factor during flight. An example of dynamic pressure is wind. If an aircraft is maneuvering through still air at 70 knots or if the aircraft is facing the wind with a speed of 70 knots, the same amount of pressure is being exerted on the craft.

There are four main pitot static instruments. They are the airspeed indicator, altimeter, machmeter, and vertical speed indicator. The airspeed indicator is controlled by both the pitot and static pressure sources. The difference in these pressures is another example of dynamic pressure. The higher the dynamic pressure, the greater the airspeed will be. The altimeter, also called the barometric altimeter, denotes adjustments in air pressure that occur as an aircraft’s altitude changes.

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Aircraft capable of operating at transonic or supersonic speeds will be equipped with a machmeter. This instrument is used to show the ratio of an aircraft’s speed relative to the speed of sound. The machmeter displays the Mach number as a decimal fraction. The final instrument is the vertical speed indicator. Also known as the variometer, the VSI is used to denote an aircraft’s rate of climb or descent. This figure is either measured in feet per minute or meters per second.

Each instrument on an aircraft plays an important role. The proper function of each one is vital to the performance. This makes it so important that you get all your aviation parts from a trusted source. At NSN Fulfillment, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique military 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 sales@nsnfulfillment.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


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