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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

BASIC
AIRCRAFT
INSTRUMENTS

The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

BASIC AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENTS


TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.

Pitot Static Instruments

Section 1

2.

Gyroscopic Instruments

Section 2

3.

Direct and Remote Reading Instruments

Section 3

4.

Compasses

Section 4

5.

ADI & HSI Instruments

Section 5

6.

The Air Data Computer and ATC transponder

Section 6

7.

CRT Displays and Computer Inputs

Section 7

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BASIC AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENTS

PITOT STATIC INSTRUMENTS


THE PITOT/STATIC SYSTEM
The terms pitot and static are commonly used throughout the industry to identify the
appropriate atmospheric pressures used in instruments that measure altitude and airspeed.
The definitions of these terms are as follows:
Pitot:
This is the dynamic pressure, generated by the aircraft's movement through the
atmosphere, and is a function of the aircraft's 'velocity squared.
i.e.,

Pitot pressure CV2

(V = Velocity)
(C = Constant)

Static:
This is the still or static air pressure that surrounds the aircraft, i.e., ambient
pressure. This reduces in value with an increase in height above sea level.
Pitot and static pressures are obtained from outside the aircraft and applied to the
measuring instruments via lightweight alloy tubing and flexible pipes.
Pitot pressure is derived from a pitot head that is mounted at a point directly forward of
and along the aircraft's normal line of flight, so that it measures the dynamic pressure
generated by the aircraft's movement through the air.
Static pressure is derived from a static vent that measures the ambient pressure
surrounding the aircraft. In some systems the static vents are incorporated into the pitot
head.
Fig. 1 on the next page shows a typical pitot/static probe designed for fuselage mounting.

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FIG. 1 PITOT HEAD

As prevention against ice formation, the pitot head will contain a heating element that is
powered from the aircrafts electrical power system. The controls and indicators for pitot
head heating are located in the aircraft's cockpit.
In some aircraft, static pressure is obtained from a static vent located flush against the
fuselage. Fig. 2 on the next page is a typical example of a static vent. In some
installations the vent contains a heating element for ice prevention, similar to those used
on a pitot head.

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FIG. 2 STATIC VENT

It is common practice to install two static vents, one located on each side of the aircraft.
These vents are normally cross connected. This cross connection is to reduce errors in the
measuring instruments due to a pressure unbalance whenever yawing of the aircraft takes
place.

PITOT/STATIC INSTALLATIONS
The pitot head is installed to measure the undisturbed dynamic air pressure forward of the
aircraft. This indicates that the pitot head is usually located on the forward fuselage or on
the leading edge of a wing.
The static vents are generally located on the forward or mid fuselage area, in a position to
measure the ambient pressure, that is, free from any turbulence caused by external fittings
or aerials immediately adjacent to the vent.
Pitot and static pressures are applied to the appropriate instruments via a system of light
alloy pipes and flexible hoses, which includes some method of collecting moisture at the

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low points in the system, and thus preventing blockages due to ice formation. These are
generally known as water drain valves and usually include a means to allow the moisture
to be drained away via a valve that is designed to be self-sealing.
Fig 3 shows two examples of water drain valves.

FIG. 3 WATER DRAIN VALVES

PITOT/STATIC INSTRUMENTS
There are a large number of different pitot/static instruments and control systems in use.
The three most common types found on any aircraft are the: Altimeter; which displays the aircraft height or altitude above a datum, i.e., sea
level.
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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

Airspeed Indicator (ASI); which displays the speed of the aircraft through the air,
usually calibrated in knots. (nautical miles per hour).
Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI); which displays the aircraft's rate of climb or
descent in thousands of feet per minute.
These instruments are supplied with pitot and static pressure from the appropriate source.
A simplified diagram of a pitot-static system is shown in Fig. 4.

FIG. 4 SIMPLIFIED PITOT-STATIC


SYSTEM
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PITOT HEAD

VSI

PORT STATIC VENT

ASI

MACH
METER

ALT

STARBOARD STATIC VENT

FIG. 5 PITOT-STATIC INSTRUMENT ARRANGEMENT

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FIG. 6 AIR DATA SYSTEM (DASH 8 AIRCRAFT)

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10

THE ALTIMETER
An altimeter is a sensitive pressure gauge that operates on the principle of the aneroid
barometer to indicate the change in atmospheric pressure that occurs with a change in
altitude.
In the altimeter, static pressure is applied to the sealed case surrounding an evacuated
capsule, which expands as the height increases, and atmospheric pressure decreases. The
movement of the capsule is magnified by a mechanical linkage to move a group of
pointers or counters over a scale. Quite often three capsules are used in series to increase
the range of measurement. The mechanism uses very delicate gearing that is designed in
such a way that a very small movement of the capsules cause a large motion of the
pointer or pointers. Under certain circumstances the altimeter has a tendency to stick and
some aircraft have a vibrator on the instrument panel or in the altimeter to prevent
sticking.
The scale is calibrated in accordance with an International Civil Aircraft Organisation
(ICAO) law, which assumes, amongst other factors, a standard sea level pressure of
1013.25 millibars (mb).
In order to compensate for deviations away from this standard pressure, the instrument
datum can be altered by rotating the mechanism via the knob on the front of the
instrument.
There are three common altimeter datum settings based upon the ICAO 'Q' code of
communication.

QFE: Setting the pressure prevailing at an airfield to make the altimeter


read zero on landing and take off.

QNE: Setting the standard sea level pressure of 1013.25 mbar. This is
normally set during cruise, to ensure all aircraft are reading height
from a uniform datum.

QNH: Setting the pressure datum to make the altimeter read airfield height
above sea level for landing and take off, i.e., the current sea level
pressure.

Fig. 7 on the next page shows a simplified altimeter schematic and some typical
instrument faces.

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FIG. 7 TYPICAL ALTIMETER PRESENTATIONS

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11

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height (ft)

pressure (millibars)
9

10,000 ft

705

Cruise Height

8
0977

1
2

4
5
indication 9,000 ft

8
1,000
ft

977

Airfield
7

0977

2
3

1000

indication 1,000 ft
0
1
9
2
8
7

1000
6
9

4
5
indication 10,000 ft

4
5
indication 0 ft

Mean Sea Level

1000

12

5
0

4
1

2
1000

4
5
indication 0 ft
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FIG. 8 QFE & QNH SETTINGS OF AN ALTIMETER

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FIG. 9a MECHANICAL ALTIMETER

FIG. 9b SENSITIVE ALTIMETER

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FIG. 9c ALTIMETER SETTINGS

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1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

Link
Calibration arm
Spring loaded balance weight
Rocking shaft
Hand staff
Mechanism adaptor plate
Cam-follower pin
Cam follower (drives output wheel)
Slotted cam
Millibar counter
Bar scale adjusting knot
Trace disc

13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.

Third pointer
Long pointer
Intermediate pointer
Dial
Top mechanism gear train
Output wheel
Cam gear
Spigot
Hairspring
Intermediate pinion and gear wheel
Temperature compensating U-bracket
Diaphragm unit

FIG. 10 EXPLODED VIEW OF A TYPICAL ALTIMETER MECHANISM

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(c)

FIG. 11 ALTIMETER DIAL PRESENTATIONS: (a) Triple-pointer


(10,000 ft pointer behind the 1,000 ft pointer in this view); (b) Modified
triple pointer; (c) Counter/Pointer; (d) Counter/Pointer

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17

ENCODING ALTIMETER

Principle of operation
An altimeter related device that is found on many aircraft is the encoding altimeter
system. The purpose of this system is to send information concerning the aircrafts
altitude to a radar system on the ground so that it can be displayed on a radar scope. The
data is transmitted to the ground using a special aircraft radio called a transponder. An
encoding altimeter system (also known as mode C) supplies the electrical signal to the
transponder that contains this altitude data.

FIG. 12 ENCODING ALTIMETER


Capsule movement is transmitted to the encoding disc via shafts, quadrants and gear
mechanisms. As the encoding disc turns, selective hole-arrangements allow light from the
lamp to focus on a bank of photocells causing an electrical signal to be developed that is
dependent on the intensity of the light. This signal is amplified and made available for the
operation of transponders and other equipment.

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SERVO ALTIMETER
Pressure difference decreases with increasing altitude. Due to this reduction in the
pressure difference with increasing capsule deflections become smaller and smaller. The
mechanical altimeter therefore has the tendency to become inaccurate at elevated
altitudes. In order to combat this problem another type of altimeter was designed.
A servo altimeter has the necessary mechanisms to sense slight capsule deflections
through electrical contacts that energise a motor to drive the pointer over a screen. At the
same time a digital display of the height above the datum is presented in steps of 50 feet
(Fig. 13).
OFF FLAG

ADJUSTABLE
LUBBER MARK

MILLIBAR
ADJUSTMENT
KNOB

FIG. 13 SERVO ALTIMETER

This is an electrical instrument. Power must therefore be selected on before it will


indicate. A tell tale flag will appear on the instrument face if power is switched off.

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SERVO ALTIMETER - OPERATION


In the mechanism of a typical servo altimeter it will be noted that the pressure-setting capsule
element is coupled to an electrical pick-off assembly instead of a mechanical linkage system as
in conventional altimeters. The inductive type of pick-off consists of a pivoted laminated I-bar
coupled to the capsules and positioned at a very small distance from the limbs of a laminated Ebar pivoted on a cam follower. A coil is wound around the centre limb on the E-bar and is
supplied with alternating current, while around the outer limbs coils are wound and connected in
series to supply an output signal to an external amplifier unit. Thus, the pick-off is a special form
of transformer; the centre-limb coil being the primary winding and the outer-limb coils the
secondary winding.
The motor is coupled by a gear train to the pointer and counter assembly, and also to a
differential gear that drives a cam. The cam bears against a cam follower so that as the can
position is changed the E-bar position relative to the I-bar is altered.
When the aircraft altitude changes the capsules respond to the changes in static pressure in the
conventional manner. The displacement of the capsules is transmitted to the I-bar, changing its
angular position with respect to the E-bar and therefore changing the air- gaps at the outer ends.
This results in an increase of magnetic flux in one outer limb of the E-bar and a decrease in the
other. Thus, the voltage induced in one of the secondary coils increases, while in the other it
decreases.
An output signal is therefore produced at the secondary coil terminals, which will be either in
phase or out of phase with the primary-coil voltage, depending on the direction of I-bar
displacement. The magnitude of the signal will be governed by the magnitude of the deflection.
The signal is fed to the amplifier, in which it is amplified and phase detected, and then supplied
to the servomotor control winding. The motor rotates and drives the pointer and height-counter
mechanism in the direction appropriate to the altitude change. At the same time, the servomotor
gear train rotates a worm-gear shaft and the differential gear that is meshed with it. The cam and
cam follower are therefore rotated to position the E-bar in a direction that will cause the
magnetic fluxes in the cores, and the secondary coil voltages, to start balancing each other.
When the E-bar reaches the null position, i.e. when the aircraft levels off at a required altitude,
no further signals are fed to the amplifier, the servomotor ceases to rotate, and the pointer and
counters indicate the new altitude
When the barometric-pressure setting knob is rotated, the pressure counters are turned and the
lever of the setting mechanism moves the worm-gear shaft laterally. This movement of the shaft
rotates the differential gear, cam and cam follower, causing relative displacement between the Ebar and I-bar. An error signal is therefore produced which, after amplification and phase
detection, drives the servomotor and gear mechanisms in a sequence similar to that resulting
from a normal altitude change. When the null position of the E-bar is reached, however, the
pointer and counters will indicate aircraft altitude with respect to the barometric pressure
adjustment.

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FIG. 14 TYPICAL SERVO ALTIMETER MECHANISM

CHECKING
Altimeter checking is carried out in two parts:
1.

The ambient pressure is set on the millibar scale, i.e. set QFE and the pointer
should indicate zero. Any deviation must be checked against the Maintenance
Manual.

2.

The system should be checked for leaks and sense (direction) of movement of
the pointer by carrying out a static test with a leak tester.

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FIG. 15 THREE-POINTER ALTIMETER

The newer style three-pointer sensitive altimeter uses a different pointer and a striped
symbol that is visible below about 15.000 ft. as aids to make reading the altimeter easier.

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FIG. 16 A SENSITIVE ALTIMETER WITH DRUM READOUT SHOWING


THE STATIC CONNECTION TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE CAPSULE

THE AIRSPEED INDICATOR


The speed of the aircraft through the air is indicated on an airspeed indicator. Airspeed
indicators are required on all certified aircraft except free balloons. This instrument gives
the pilot an indication of his speed through the air. It does not measure groundspeed.
The airspeed indicator, or ASI, is a pitot-static system instrument that is connected to
both the pitot pressure source and the static pressure source. This sensitive pressure gauge
measures the difference between the pitot and static pressures, and displays the resultant
in terms of indicated airspeed.
The unit of measurement for airspeed indicators is nautical miles per hour (knots) or
statute miles per hour (MPH). Some instruments have both sets of units.

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23

OPERATION
The instrument consists of a capsule connected to the aircrafts pitot system. The pitot
head is located at such a position on the aircraft that it is in the undisturbed airflow
around the aircrafts exterior. Pitot pressure is felt inside of the capsule. The airtight case
of the instrument is connected to the aircrafts static system. The capsule therefore senses
the difference between the ambient pressure, static energy of the air, and its dynamic
pressure, energy due to its motion (Fig. 17).

FIG 17 THE TWO PRESSURE CONNECTIONS TO THE CAPSULE IN AN


AIRSPEED INDICATOR

With the aircraft stationery the pitot and static pressures are equal, but once it starts
moving the dynamic pressure, which is a product of:
V2
(where is the density of the air and V2 is the square of the speed of the aircraft)
increases, the increase being felt in the capsule. This causes the capsule to expand and
through a system of levers the pointer moves over the scale thus indicating an increase in
the forward speed of the aircraft. Decreasing the forward speed will decrease the dynamic
pressure and the capsule will tend to collapse. The pointer will now show a decrease in
the forward speed of the aircraft.
To compensate for variations in ambient pressure with different altitudes the case is
connected to the static vent. Variations of ambient pressure felt by the pitot head will be
balanced by the static tapping.
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The velocity displayed on the instrument in flight is termed, Indicated Airspeed. This is
the basic aircraft speed before corrections are made.
TYPES OF AIRSPEED
There are three types of airspeed associated with the airspeed indicator. The three types
are:
1.

Indicated Airspeed This is the reading on the instrument.

2.

Calibrated Airspeed This is indicated airspeed that has been corrected for
position and instrument error. The error between indicated and calibrated
airspeed is so small that, for all practical purposes, it is often ignored.

3.

True Airspeed This is calibrated airspeed that has been corrected for altitude
and temperature errors. As altitude increases the difference between true and
calibrated/indicated airspeeds increases. At high altitudes calibrated/indicated
airspeed will be much less than true airspeed. At sea level on a standard day
with the aircraft in level cruise flight, calibrated/indicated and true airspeeds
are usually the same.

CORRECTIONS
The corrections required to give the aircrafts true airspeed are due to: 1.

Instrument Error Limitations due to manufacturing tolerances.

2.

Pressure/Position Error - Errors due to the location of pitot and static tappings
on the aircraft. These corrections are tabulated in the Flight Manual.

3.

Compressibility Error Air is a compressible fluid and therefore exerts a


pressure over and above the dynamic pressure. The correction consists of a
chart that indicates the amount to be subtracted from the A .S .I. readings at
various indicated airspeeds.

4.

Density Error The instrument is calibrated for I.C.A.O. Sea Level conditions.
As altitude increases the density of the air reduces. This will cause a reduction
in the pitot pressure and therefore the instrument will indicate a lower value
than the aircrafts true airspeed. To compensate for this a density error factor
would have to be added to the reading to compensate.

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FIG. 18 THE DIAL ON THIS TRUE AIRSPEED INDICATOR CAN


BE ROTATED SIMILAR TO THE SCALE ON A CIRCULAR
FLIGHT COMPUTER. WHEN THE AIR TEMPERATURE IS
LINED UP WITH THE PRESSURE ALTITUDE, THE TRUE
AIRSPEED CAN BE READ FROM THE OUTSIDE SCALE

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DIFFERENTIAL
CAPSULE

PITOT
ENTRY
SPLIT
POINTER
FIG. 19(a) SIMPLIFIED SCHEMATIC A.S.I.

FIG. 19(b) TYPICAL DIAL PRESENTATIONS A.S.I.

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TRUE AIRSPEED INDICATORS


A true airspeed indicator internally connects indicated airspeed to true airspeed using a
temperature sensor and altitude bellows. This relieves the pilot from computing true
airspeed.

FIG. 20 A TRUE AIRSPEED INDICATOR CONTAINS ALTITUDE


AND AIR TEMPERATURE CORRECTION DEVICES IN ORDER TO
INDICATE TRUE AIRSPEED

CHECKING OF AIRSPEED INDICATORS


An airspeed indicator should be checked for leaks and a correct sense of operation
(direction of movement of pointer). A leak tester or pitot-static test set must be used and
both the pitot and static systems are to be included in the test. Figures must be checked
against those listed in the Maintenance Manual.

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28

MACHMETER
Mach number indicates the ratio of the aircrafts true airspeed compared to the speed of
sound. A speed of Mach 0.75 means that the aircraft is travelling at 75% of the speed of
sound, Mach 1.0 at the speed of sound, and Mach 1.25 at 125% of the speed of sound.
The speed of sound decreases as temperature decreases. Temperature decreases as
altitude increases hence Mach number would steadily increase as altitude increases.
Because the indicated airspeed (IAS) that corresponds to a particular Mach number varies
with altitude, aircraft that operate at transonic and supersonic speeds need a Machmeter
to measure their speed relative to the speed of sound. The Machmeter has the necessary
mechanisms installed to compensate for the effects of altitude and temperature.
A Machmeter is somewhat similar to an airspeed Indicator. Both have a pointer that is
moved by an expanding bellows. Both compare pitot pressure with static pressure. But in
the Machmeter, the mechanical advantage of the gears from the airspeed measuring
system is varied by the action of an altimeter mechanism. This mechanism compensates
for altitude and temperature.

FIG. 21 A MACHMETER IS AN AIRSPEED INDICATOR THAT IS


ADJUSTED FOR ALTITUDE IN ORDER TO INDICATE AIRDPEED
IN RELATION TO THE SPEED OF SOUND
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29

FIG. 22 THE MACHMETER HAS AN EXTRA DIAPHRAGM TO


COMPENSATE FOR ALTITUDE EFFECTS

A Machmeter indicates an aircrafts speed relative to the local speed of sound. Due to
airflow problems associated with the speed of sound the pilot must be able to identify the
aircrafts speed relative to the speed of sound.
The speed at which sound waves or pressure waves move is directly related to air
temperature, a hot day giving a higher speed of sound than a cold day. An aircraft
therefore flying at the same speed on both days will have a different Mach number.
Mach number =

True Airspeed
Local Speed of Sound

The Machmeter compensates for temperature by introducing a further absolute capsule to


the airspeed indicator. This will bias the pointer on a mach scale according to the static
pressure, which varies with ambient temperature.
Increasing air temperature means increasing pressure, and a high speed of sound,
1therefore the pointer must be biased to read a lower mach number. The biasing is
effected by the absolute capsule, which alters the effective length of the lever linking the
airspeed capsule to the pointer.
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ALTITUDE
CAPSULE

LAYSHAFT
MAIN
ARM

MAIN
SHAFT

AIRSPEED
CAPSULE

STATIC

PITOT

FIG 23 MACHMETER

CHECKING
The Machmeter must be checked for integrity of the case. A Leak Tester or Pitot-Static
Test set can be used. Both pitot and static pressure must be used. Pitot pressure must be
applied to the pitot port and static pressure to the static port for a correct sense of
operation.

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31

THE VERTICAL SPEED INDICATOR


The instrument that indicates an aircrafts rate of climb and descent is a vertical speed
indicator. It is also called a rate of climb indicator (ROC) and in some types of aircraft a
vertical velocity indicator (VVI). Quite simply put it shows whether the aircraft is
climbing or descending.
The instrument measures the rate of change of ambient (static) pressure. Static pressure
decreases as altitude increases therefore the rate of climb or descent of an aircraft can be
measured. This value is indicated on a scale marked to give climb and descent rates in
feet per minute. The unit of measurement of vertical speed is feet per minute.

FIG. 24 THE VERTICAL SPEED INDICATOR HAS TWO


SCALES: ONE FOR CLIMBS AND ONE FOR DESCENTS

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OPERATION
Static pressure is connected directly to the inside of the diaphragm, but it is also
connected to the case pressure (outside of the diaphragm) by a small orifice or restrictor
as indicated in Fig. 25. This orifice is actually a calibrated metering unit that introduces a
leak into the instrument.

FIG.25 THE VSI HAS A RESTRICTOR IN THE CONNECTION TO THE


CASE WHICH CAUSES A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIAPHRAGM AND
CASE PRESSURE DURING CLIMBS AND DESCENTS
When the aircraft climbs, the pressure inside the capsule (which always equals the
outside static pressure) decreases more rapidly than the pressure in the instrument case.
This causes the capsule to compress and the levers and gears move the pointer so that it
indicates a climb Fig. 26 (c).
The pressure inside the case now begins to decrease by leaking through the metering unit.
This leak is calibrated to maintain a difference between the pressure inside the capsule
and that inside the case, which is proportional to the rate of change of the outside air
pressure. As the aircraft levels off, the pressures equalise and the pointer returns to zero.
Once the aircraft remains in level flight the pressure in the capsule and the case will
remain equal and the needle remains at zero Fig. 26 (a).

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When the aircraft descends,


increasing static pressure expands
the capsule and the needle indicates
a descent Fig 26 (b).
The dial is calibrated in thousands
of feet per minute climb or descent
with a maximum figure of 6,000 ft
for high performance aircraft, and
2,000 ft for light aircraft.
The indicator may be adjusted to
read zero with the aircraft on the
ground, by the adjustment screw
located on the face of the
instrument.

FIG. 26 VSI SIMPLIFIED


SCHEMATIC AND FACE

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A Measuring Diaphragm
B Calibrated Metering Unit
C Overpressure Diaphragm
D Zero Adjustment Screw

FIG. 27 VERTICAL SPEED OR RATE OF CLIMB


INDICATOR

Some instruments usually include an overpressure diaphragm within the


case. This helps to prevent any damage at rates of climb or descent in
excess of the maximum reading for that instrument.
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35

INSTANTANEOUS VERTICAL SPEED INDICATOR


A disadvantage of the vertical speed indicator is that the pointer tends to react slowly to
rapid changes in altitude. This problem is reduced in the instrument called the
Instantaneous Vertical Speed Indicator (IVSI). The IVSI has two little cylinders with
pistons and springs which can be seen in Fig. 28. They are called accelerometer-operated
dashpots. One dashpot compensates for climbs and the other for descents. For example,
when the aircraft noses over to begin a descent, the inertia of the accelerometer piston
causes it to move upward. This instantaneously increases the pressure inside the capsule
and lowers the pressure inside the case, which causes an immediate indication of descent.
After a brief interval, the normal VSI mechanism catches up with the descent rate, and
begins to indicate the descent without assistance from the pumps. In other words in a
steady rate of climb or descent, the accelerometers have no effect on the pointer. In a
stabilized descent or climb, there is no vertical acceleration; the accelerometers pistons
centre and cease assisting the normal VSI mechanism.

FIG. 28 AN IVSI INCORPORATES ACCELEROMETERS TO HELP THE


INSTRUMENT IMMEDIATELY INDICATE CHANGES IN VERTICAL SPEED

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36

CHECKING
With the aircraft stationary the instrument should read zero. However, due to continual
flexing, creep will result causing the instrument to indicate a climb or descent reading.
Adjustments to read zero can be made via an adjustment screw. These adjustments are
subjected to the readings being within allowable tolerances. All adjustments must be
recorded.

PITOT-STATIC SYSTEMS
All instruments so far considered have been operated by tappings from pitot pressure
ports, static pressure ports, or both. The integrity of the system therefore is essential for
the correct operation of the instruments and regular checks referred to as leak checks
are carried out as stipulated in the maintenance manual. The system also requires
calibration checks to be carried out. These are stipulated in the maintenance schedule. It
is mandatory for leak checks to be carried out on the system once any disturbance of the
system takes place such as component replacement or water drain servicing.
TESTING
The testing of the pitot static systems uses a leak tester, (the Bryans Type is illustrated in
Fig. 29). This unit can be selected to suction, pressure or release for static and pitot
checking. With the pitot adaptor placed over the pitot head and pressure selected on the
tester, air can be pumped in by the hand pump, which increases the pressure. The
capsules affected in the instruments will flex and the increasing pressure is registered as
an air speed indicator reading on the instrument. With a pressure established the leak rate
could be checked by watching the test instrument for any drop in value in a set time (e.g.
2 minutes). A correct sense check is made by watching the aircraft instrument. Reselecting on the test unit to release will release the pressure.
The static, suction side can now be checked for leak rates and correct sense of operation
of the aircrafts instruments, using the static vent adaptor. The effect on the aircrafts
instruments during pitot-static system checks can be summarised as follows:
TEST
INSTRUMENT
REDUCE STATIC
A.S.I.
Speed increase
Machmeter
Mach Number increase
Altimeter
V.S.I.

TEST
INCREASE PITOT
Speed increase
Mach Number
increase
Altitude increase
----------Indicates ascent initially zeroing as pressures
----------equalise

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In the above test the altimeter may indicate a decrease in altitude until the V.S.I.
pressures equalise.

FIG. 29(a) PRESSURE HEAD ADAPTOR

FIG. 29(b) STATIC VENT ADAPTOR

FIG. 29 (c) BRYANS LEAK TESTER

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MAINTENANCE OF PITOT/STATIC SYSTEMS


The following paragraphs are of a general nature and extracted from CAIP AL/10-1,
which you are advised to read in conjunction with these notes.
Pitot/Static Heads: These should be inspected for security of mounting and signs of distortion. The pitot
entry hole, drain hole and if applicable the static vents should be inspected to ensure that
they are unobstructed.
Caution: On no account must they be cleared with tools likely to cause enlargement
or burring. Use of a stiff, non-metallic brush is recommended.
Static Vents: These should be inspected to ensure that exposed surfaces are free from scratches,
indentations, paint, etc. The holes must be unobstructed and their edges free of burrs and
other damage.
Pipelines: These should be checked to ensure freedom from corrosion, kinking and other damage,
and that the pipes are securely clamped and their connections tight and locked.
At specified periods or when the aircraft has been subjected to severe weather conditions,
the pitot-static system should be drained at each of the water-drains provided. The pipes
should be disconnected from the instruments and blown through with a dry, low-pressure
air supply.
Electrical Heaters: Probe and vent heaters should be checked for operation by ensuring they warm up when
switched on, or if an ammeter is fitted, by carrying out a current consumption check.
Once this check has been carried out switch off the heaters; in still air the elements will
overheat and burn out
out.
Caution Exercise great care when checking for probe heat. The probes and vents
can reach very high temperatures with the aircraft on the ground.

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Instruments: Physical examination: Check for: Security of attachment and connections


Legibility of dial markings
Presence of moisture inside the glass; this indicates a case leak, instrument has to
be changed
Pitot and static lines are not cross connected, especially relevant to the ASI
Note: To prevent the inadvertent cross connection, pitot and static connectors are usually
of different sizes with the lines clearly marked, or the connectors will be colour
coded red for pitot and yellow for static.
In situ tests:
With no pressures applied to the pitot/static lines other than ambient pressure the
instruments should read: VSI zero, this can be adjusted within the limits specified in the Maintenance
Manual.
ASI zero, or off scale, this cannot be adjusted.
Altimeter set the QFE on the pressure datum. The instrument should read zero,
plus or minus limits laid down in the Maintenance Manual. Set the QNH to the
correct value and check that the pointers move smoothly round to indicate the
airfield's height above sea level, again within limits laid down in the Maintenance
Manual.
Some instruments will have an electrical connection to power internal dial lighting and an
electro-mechanical vibrator. The function of this vibrator is to prevent the mechanical
movement from sticking thus introducing an error into the instrument. These functions
are checked for correct operation by applying power from the appropriate supply line.
Protection Covers: These are moulded covers and plugs that are fitted to pitot/static vents to prevent the
entry of foreign matter whenever the aircraft is to be left standing for any length of time.

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They are of a prominent colour and have a red streamer attached to ensure they are
removed prior to flight.
Before fitting a protective cover, always ensure the appropriate heater is switched off,
and inhibited by opening the appropriate circuit breaker or switch.
ADDITIONAL INSTRUMENTATION
Some additional instrumentation can be fitted to any aircrafts pitot-static system. These
are indicated below.
MACHMETER
Machmeters are found on high-speed aircraft. As explained before these instruments
contain both airspeed and altimeter capsules and a mechanism to display the speed of the
aircraft as a percentage of the local speed of sound - (local speed of sound varies with
altitude).
AIR DATA COMPUTER
These are supplied with pitot and static pressure and total air temperature. Air data
computers contain individual airspeed and altimeter capsules, and transducer elements
that convert capsule movement to an electrical signal proportional to airspeed and altitude.
Additional quantities can be derived such as; vertical speed, mach airspeed, true air speed,
total air temperature and even angle of attack. These signals are supplied to additional
electronic equipment such as; autopilots, autothrottles, navigation systems, flight data
recorders and even instruments themselves.
PRESSURE SWITCHES AND TRANSDUCERS
These are supplied with pitot and static pressure, or static pressure, to provide aural,
visual or physical warning to a pilot of an approaching dangerous condition, such as too
great an airspeed, or altitude. They contain capsules similar to those found in the basic
instruments, but activate electrical switches instead of pointer mechanisms.
THE TOTAL AIR TEMPERATURE INDICATING SYSTEM
It is necessary to know the temperature of the outside air since it is used to calculate air
density, which is required for the correct adjustment of the aircrafts engines, and as an
input into the air data computer.

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TOTAL AIR TEMPERATURE (T.A.T.)


T.A.T. is the temperature of the air when it is brought to rest without the removal of
additional heat.
T.A.T. = Static Air Temperature + Ram Air Temperature

FIG. 30 TOTAL AIR


TEMPERATURE PROBE

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THE T.A.T. PROBE


The Probe contains resistive sensing elements and an anti-icing heater. Temperature
variations of the slipstream airflow through the probe and sensor cause the elements
resistance to vary, thus providing the air temperature data.
THE T.A.T. INDICATION CIRCUIT
The T.A.T. sensor resistance is electrically included in one leg of a D.C. bridge circuit
across which the indicator is connected. A change of sensor resistance will unbalance the
bridge causing a corresponding current flow through the indicator thereby moving the
pointer over the scale calibrated from -70C to +50C.
115V A.C.

TEMP
SENSOR

FIG. 31 TOTAL AIR TEMPERATURE SYSTEM

TOTAL AIR TEMPERATURE SENSING


Total air temperature is the static air temperature plus the rise in temperature due to the
pitot effect. As Mr. Boyle pointed out quite a few years ago, increasing the pressure of air
also increases its temperature. Pitot pressure is static pressure increased by a pressure
factor that results from forward motion of the airplane through the air. Similarly, total air
temperature is static air temperature increased by an amount accounted for by the forward
motion of the airplane through the air.
Total air temperature is of great importance in setting up the operating conditions of a jet
engine since the temperature of the air into the jet engine is static air temperature
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increased by the pitot factor. It is also possible to derive static air temperature from total
air temperature and pitot pressure information.
The total air temperature probe is constructed similar to a pitot pressure probe.
Constructing a total air temperature probe is considerably complicated by the need for
providing de-icing heat. The air whose temperature is being measured must be carefully
shielded from de-icing heat. That part of the construction has been eliminated from the
illustration below (fig. 32), but the principle of total air temperature is demonstrated.
A pitot pressure sensing tube can be dead-ended because there is no need for airflow
through the pitot pressure system. A total air temperature probe, however, needs some
airflow through it to avoid heating of the measured air by the heating element, and so as
always to be measuring ambient, not static air. The amount of airflow through the
metered orifices is quite small and, therefore, has only a minor influence on the pitot
effect. The total air temperature sensing element is shielded as much as possible from the
de-icing heat, and therefore senses the temperature of air which has been affected very
little by it. Altogether, the results are remarkably satisfactory.

AIR FLOW

TAT PROBE

METERED ORFICE
(very small)

SENSING ELEMENT

Total Air Temperature Probe

FIG. 32 TOTAL AIR TEMPERATURE


SENSING

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Brass & Invar cold

Brass & Invar - heated

EXPANSION THERMOMETER (BI-METAL)

THREADS

SHEATH

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AIRCRAFTS PITOT-STATIC SYSTEM


Figure 33 is a chart of a typical pitot static system. Each of the pitot static probes has one
pitot pressure line, indicated by a solid line, and two static lines, indicated by dashed lines.
For example, the No.2 alternate pitot in the upper left of the drawing has A, B and C lines.
The legend in the center calls out A as pitot, B as first officer static, and C as second
auxiliary static.
In order to help compensate for port position errors, as well as to compensate for static
errors introduced by airplane yawing, each static system has a port on the left side of the
airplane and a port on the right side of the airplane, joined in a common line.
If you follow the B line from the No.2 alternate pitot, you find it connected to a static
source in the captains pitot on the left side of the airplane. The other three forward static
systems are similarly cross-connected.
On the far right side of the drawing are represented two flush static ports at the skin of the
airplane. They are connected to each other and are designated alternate static.
The instruments at the front of the airplane in the figure are all direct reading mechanical
instruments. They all give information derived mechanically at the instrument from static
and/or pitot information. Each of the boxes marked static are static manifolds, which
consist of large tubing from which the various instruments take their static pressure.
The alternate static pressure source is used for comparison checking of the normally
connected static pressures. Moving one of the static source selector valves, so that it
connects its static manifold to the alternate static source, should cause a very minimum
amount of change in indication of any of the instruments.
Pitot and static lines must be carefully protected from leaks and from water accumulation.
Drain ports are provided where they are periodically drained.
The cabin pressure computer maintains the desired pressurization of the aircraft with
respect to outside air pressure. A cabin altitude and differential pressure indicator is used
for monitoring aircraft pressurization.
The Mach/airspeed warning switch provides a warning if the airplanes speed becomes
excessive. Central air data computers are capable of computing any desired air data
function.

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FIG. 33 AIRCRAFT PITOT-STATIC SYSTEM

AIR DATA COMPUTER


The term central air data computer is used to describe an analog computer, typically
giving analog outputs, synchro, or DC voltages.
The term digital air data computer refers to one that makes its computations digitally
and provides digital output information. In addition, they supply analog information
where needed.

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DIGITAL AIR DATA COMPUTER


Figure 34 shows some typical inputs and outputs for a digital air data computer. A
digital air data computer uses digital computing and electronic circuits rather than
servomotors. Analog inputs are converted to digital for computation. Outputs desired in
analog form must be converted from digital. The hold and engage functions are for flight
directors and autopilots. The altitude, altitude rate, altitude hold, Mach hold, and airspeed
hold are all typically duplicated.

FIG. 34 DIGITAL AIR DATA COMPUTER

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FIG. 35 PITOT TUBE MOUNTED


ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE
AIRCRAFT WHERE IT CAN PICK
UP AIR FLOWING PAST THE
AIRCRAFT. AS THE SPEED OF
THE AIR INCREASES, THE
PRESSURE INSIDE THE CLOSED
PITOT
SYSTEM
ALSO
INCREASES

48

FIG. 36 STATIC PORTS ARE


TYPICALLY FLUSH ON THE
EXTERIOR OF THE AIRCRAFT

FIG.37 A HEATING ELEMENT IS USED TO PREVENT THE FORMATION


OF ICE IN A PITOT TUBE

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MACHMETER
TAT
PROBE

PITOT
TUBE

AIRSPEED
INDICATOR

AIR DATA
COMPUTER

ALTIMETER

VSI
STATIC
PORTS

TAS &
TAT/SAT
INDICATOR

FIG. 39 A PITOT TUBE WHICH ALSO CONTAINS STATIC PORTS AND


ELECTRIC HEATING ELEMENTS
FIG. 38 AN AIR DATA COMPUTER PROVIDES MORE ACCURATE READINGS ON
THE PITOT-STATIC INSTRUMENTS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE AIRCRAFT.
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FIG. 40 LARGE JET TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT NORMALLY CONTAIN


MULTIPLE PITOT-STATIC SYSTEMS

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GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS

GYRO INSTRUMENTS
Gyroscopes or gyros have made it possible to fly an aircraft without outside visual
reference. They are required for IFR flight and can also be an aid to accurate flying in
VFR conditions. Gyroscopic instruments utilize the principle of a spinning gyroscope to
give the pilot information about the aircrafts pitch and roll attitude, heading and rate of
turn.
PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION
In 1851, the French physicist Leon Focault devised a small wheel with a heavy outside
rim. When spun at a high speed, the wheel demonstrated the strange characteristic of
remaining rigid in the plane in which it was spinning. He named the device the gyroscope.
A spinning gyroscope possesses two main properties. They are:
1.

2.

Rigidity

this means the gyro rotor will try to maintain its position in
space even when its mounting base is tilted and rotated (see
fig. 1). This is an application of Newtons First Law of
Motion a body remains in its state of rest or uniform motion
unless compelled by some external force to change that state.
If the gyro is rotating it will continue to rotate about that axis
unless a force is applied to alter the axis. The rigidity
increases when any of the following are increased:
a)

speed of rotation

b)

mass of the rotor

c)

radius of gyration (centre of mass)

Precession when an outside force tries to tilt a spinning gyro, the gyro
responds as if the force had been applied at a point 90 degrees
further around in the direction of rotation. This effect is called
precession because the cause precedes the effect by 90
degrees.

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FIG. 1 REGARDLESS OF THE POSITION OF THE BASE A GYROSCOPE


WILL REMAIN RIGID IN SPACE, WITH ITS AXIS OF ROTATION
POINTED IN A CONSTANT DIRECTION. THIS MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR
A GYRO TO DETERMINE THE ATTITUDE AND DIRECTION OF AN
AIRCRAFT.
THE GYROSCOPE
Purpose

To display information regarding the pitch, roll, yaw and rate of yaw of an
aircraft.

Definition The gyroscope (fig. 2) is a rotating wheel whose axis is free to turn, but
maintains a fixed direction unless disturbed.
The freedom of spin is achieved by mounting the spinning wheel (rotor) in a
supporting ring called a gimbal ring.
direction of spin
axis of spin

gimbal ring
FIG. 2 GYROSCOPE
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Gyroscope Construction
In order to obtain an indication of the aircrafts attitude, it is necessary to add another
gimbal ring (fig. 3). The gyro now has three degrees of movement 1) spin, 2) tilt, 3) veer.
However the spin axis is discounted and it is termed a two-axis displacement gyro.
VEER
Outer gimbal ring

Inner gimbal ring


SPIN
TILT

FIG. 3 GYROSCOPE CONSTRUCTION

FIG. 4 ELEMENTS OF A GYROSCOPE


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FIG. 5 A SIMPLE GYROSCOPE


WITH BOTH INNER AND OUTER
GIMBALS
WHEN
FREELY
SUSPENDED AND SPINNING IT
WILL REMAIN RIGID IN SPACE

FIG. 6 ROTATING A GYRO


GYROS
MOUNT HAS NO EFFECT ON
THE GYRO

AIRCRAFT AXES
All manoeuvring flight takes place around one or more of three axes of rotation. They are
the longitudinal, lateral, and vertical axes of flight. The common reference point for the
three axes is the aircrafts centre of gravity (CG), which is the theoretical point where
the entire weight of the aircraft is considered to be concentrated. Figure 7 gives an
indication of the three axes of an aircraft and figure 8 details the control surfaces
responsible for movements about these axes.

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VERTICAL
LATERAL
ROLL

LONGITUDINAL

PITCH
YAW
FIG. 7 THE THREE AXES OF AN AIRCRAFT

FIG. 8 AILERONS CONTROL ROLL MOVEMENT ABOUT THE


LONGITUDINAL AXIS; THE ELEVATOR CONTROLS PITCH
MOVEMENT ABOUT THE LATERAL AXIS, AND THE RUDDER
CONTROLS YAW MOVEMENT ABOUT THE VERTICAL AXIS

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VERTICAL
AXIS
GYROSCOPE

HORIZONTAL AXIS
GYROSCOPE

FIG. 9 REFERENCES ESTABLISHED BY GYROSCOPES

Aircraft movement about the 3 axes

Instrument for Detection

Pitch

Lateral

Artificial Horizon

Roll

Longitudinal

Artificial Horizon

Yaw

Vertical

Directional Gyro
Rate of Turn Indicator

TYPES OF GYROS
Space Gyro
(Free Gyro)

A gyro having complete freedom in 3 planes at right angles to each


other

Tied Gyro

A gyro having freedom in 3 planes at right angles to each other, but


controlled by some external force

Earth Gyro

A tied gyro controlled by gravity to maintain its position relative to the


earth.

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Rate Gyro

A gyro having one plane of freedom at right angles to the plane of


rotation, constructed to measure the rate of movement about the plane
at right angles to both the plane of rotation and the plane of freedom.

THE ARTIFICIAL HORIZON (AH)


Purpose

To indicate the position of the aircraft in pitch and roll, relative


to the vertical. This is the pilots most important instrument for
IFR flying. When flying through clouds the pilot must rely on
the artificial horizon to determine the aircrafts attitude and
prevent loss of control.

Operation

The gyros property of rigidity provides a fixed platform for the


aircraft to move around. This is a free gyro with a vertical spin
axis; this allows it to measure the angular displacement of the
aircraft in both pitch and roll.

Pitch Information

A horizon bar that is pivoted on the outer gimbal and operated


by a pin on the inner gimbal provides pitch information. The
pitch information is displayed by referring to position of a
miniature aircraft (which is attached to the instrument glass) to
the horizon bar.

Roll Information

A pointer attached to the outer gimbal that moves over a roll


scale attached to the instrument scale provides roll information.

FIG. 10 ARTIFICIAL
HORIZON

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FIG. 11 THE ARTIFICIAL HORIZON USES A GYRO ROTOR WITH A


VERTICAL SPIN AXIS AND TWO DEGREES OF FREEDOM

FIG. 12 THE NEWER TYPE OF ARTIFICIAL HORIZON USES


A PRESENTATION THAT IS EASIER TO INTERPRET

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X
3

4
5

Z1 FWD

Y1 9
8
7
6

X1

FIG. 13 ARTFICIAL HORIZON


1.

Rotor

6)

Roll Scale

2.

Rotor Housing (Inner Gimbal)

7)

Roll Index

3.

Outer Gimbal

8)

Horizon Bar Actuating Pin

4.

Horizon Bar

9)

Horizon Bar Balance

5.

Miniature A/C symbol

The artificial horizon has a gyroscope rotating on a vertical axis, which is maintained in a
position perpendicular to the earths surface by some form of gravity seeking device
attached to its gimbal.
The gyro remains steady and the gimbals are displaced around the rotor by the
manoeuvres of the aircraft. These displacements are sensed through mechanical linkages
that control a white bar representing the horizon. This horizon bar remains level with
respect to the earth, whilst a marker, representing the aircraft and fixed to the instrument
face appears to move relative to the horizon bar to show the changing attitude of the
aircraft.

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X
Vertical Axis

Lateral Axis

Longitudinal Axis
Z

Y
FIG. 14 THE ARTIFICIAL HORIZON GYRO ORENTATION AND AXIS

FIG. 15 ARTIFICIAL HORIZON SCHEMATIC

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FIG. 16 ARTIFICIAL HORIZON


1. Fixed Aircraft Symbol

6)

Horizon Bar Attachment

2. Rotor

7)

Horizon Bar Actuating Pin

3. Outer Gimbal

8)

Horizon Bar

4. Rotor Housing (Inner Gimbal)

9)

Roll Index/Roll Scale

5. Horizon Bar Balance

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ARTIFICIAL HORIZON PRESENTATIONS

HORIZON BAR

BANK SCALE
MINATURE AIRCRAFT

DIVE
BANK INDEX

STRAIGHT AND LEVEL FLIGHT

BANK TO PORT

CLIMBING AND ROLL TO


STARBOARD

FIG. 17 ARTIFICIAL HORIZON PRESENTATIONS


Note: On this type with the bank scale at the bottom, the miniature aircraft, and the
bank scale move with the aircraft. If the bank scale is at the top, then the
miniature aircraft and the bank index move with the aircraft.

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FIG. 18 STANDBY ATTITUDE INDICATOR DASH 8 AIRCRAFT

THE DIRECTIONAL GYRO (DG)


The gyroscopic direction or heading indicator is intended to provide a stable heading
reference in bumpy flight or during turns, climbs and dives when the conventional
magnetic compass is generally unusable. This instrument is the primary heading
reference for IFR flight. The magnetic compass oscillates and is generally less stable than
the DG. The DG will drift due to precession errors and must therefore be reset every 15
to 20 minutes using the magnetic compass as a reference. This instrument has a full
compass card with the indicated magnetic heading under the index mark at the top of the
instrument as shown in fig. 18. This instrument is also called a gyro compass.
The direction indicator utilises a gyro with a horizontal spin axis mounted between two
frames. The outer frame includes a 360o graduated scale. Due to the principle of
gyroscopic rigidity, the rotor maintains its position in space, while the aircraft and
instrument pointer rotate around the scale.
This horizontal axis gyro indicates movement around the aircrafts vertical axis (yaw).
The outer gimbal is pivoted on the gyros Z-axis, in line with the aircrafts vertical axis.
When the airplane banks, for example, the rotor will maintain its horizontal spin axis.

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The instrument includes a knob that when pressed and rotated allows the direction
indicator to be set to the aircraft's magnetic heading, prior to making a manoeuvre. Figs.
20 and 21 are simplified diagrams of a direction indicator.

FIG. 19 THE MODERN DG OR HEADING INDICATOR HAS A DISPLAY THAT


SHOWS A COMPLETE COMPASS CARD. THIS TYPE IS EASY TO USE

FIG. 20 DIRECTIONAL INDICATOR SCHEMATIC

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Z
FRAME

Y
X

X
FRAME

Z
FIG. 21 THE DIRECTIONAL GYRO

FIG. 22 THE RIGIDITY IN SPACE CHARACTERISTIC CAUSES THE GYRO


ROTOR TO TRY TO MAINTAIN ITS ORIENTATION IN SPACE

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PRECESSION

Precession is the angular change in the direction of the plane of rotation, under the action
of an external force. It is the reaction to a force applied to the axis of a rotating assembly.
Consider Fig. 23.

FIG. 23
If the gyro rotor is spinning and the supporting frames are positioned as shown, then
regardless of the position of frame C rotating about axis BB or rotating about axis AA,
the rotor and its axis of spin AA will remain fixed in the same position, pointing into
space. This is gyro rigidity.
However, if frame C is rotated about axis CC, then due to the nature of gyro precession
the gyro frame A will rotate the axis of spin until it is vertical, as shown in Fig. 24.

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FIG. 24 GYRO PRECESSES SO THAT PLANE OF ROTATION


OF ROTOR AND BASE COINCIDES
To determine the direction a gyro will precess; follow the simple steps outlined below,
with reference to Fig. 25. Imagine that this is a free gyro:

1.

Apply the force at F.

2.

Transfer this force to the


rim of the rotor.

3.

Move this force around


the rim of the rotor so that
it moves through 90 and
in the same direction that
the rotor spins.

4.

This is where the applied


force will act.

5.

The gyro will precess


around the axis 0-0.
FIG. 25 GYROSCOPIC PRECESSION
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One important point about precession to remember is the relationship between the rate of
precession or angular change and the applied force and gyro rotor speed. Remember also
that the gyro will precess until the plane of spin is in line with the applied torque.
The relationships are as follows: For a given gyro rotor speed, the rate of precession is proportional to the amount
of force applied.
For a given applied force, the rate of precession is inversely proportional to rotor
speed.
One final point to remember is that the frames, which hold the spin axis in a certain
position, are known as gimbals.

Force
applied
Force felt
here

Rotation
FIG. 26 A FORCE APPLIED TO A GYRO WHEEL IS FELT 90O FROM THE
POINT OF APPLICATION, IN THE DIRECTION OF ROTATION

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PRECESSION OF A GYROSCOPE
A1TORQUE
TORQUE
C
B
Gimbal
movement

A2
A1
B

Torque applied by
turning frame

A2
Fully precessed (no further
movement; plane of spin in
line with applied torque)

FIG. 27 TORQUE APPLIED TO ONE DEGREE OF FREEDOM GYRO

FIG. 28 TORQUE APPLIED TO TWO DEGREES OF FREEDOM GYRO

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THE RATE GYROSCOPE


TURN AND BANK INDICATOR
The last of the three basic gyro instruments is the oldest and simplest. It is called the turn
and bank indicator or turn and slip indicator and it is really two instruments in one. The
gyro part of the instrument measures the rate of turn for the aircraft. The inclinometer or
slip-skid indicator is a simple mechanical instrument that consists of a ball in a liquid
filled glass tube (Fig. 29).

Standard Rate Turn Indexes

Turn Needle

Off Flag

Inclinometer
FIG. 29 TURN AND SLIP INDICATOR

This tube is curved and the ball reacts to gravity and centrifugal force. A pilot uses the
inclinometer to coordinate the use of aileron and rudder control. If the pilot keeps the ball
centered, the aircraft is being flown in a coordinated manner. This instrument is
especially helpful when the aircraft is turning. When the ball is not centered, it means the
aircraft is flying a little sideways, that is, it is either slipping or skidding. The gyro rotor
of the turn and bank is designed to measure the rate of turn of the aircraft. It is the only
one of the three basic gyro instruments that is a rate gyro.
The other two basic gyro instruments measure angular displacement about the aircraft's
axes. The turn and bank has a gyro with a horizontal spin axis and one degree of freedom.
The basic rate gyroscope is a two-frame gyro similar to that shown in Fig. 23, with one
notable difference, in that the frame is restrained by springs attached to the base, as
shown in Fig. 30. These springs oppose the precession force that is caused by the aircraft
turning.

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With the rotor spinning and the base


rotated in an anti-clockwise direction (1),
the turning motion precesses the gyro
rotor frame, so that the pointer moves over
to the left, extending spring A and
compressing spring B. The extension of
spring A applies a resultant force (2),
which in turn will precess the gyro rotor,
which is in the same direction as the
original turning motion.
Thus the precession of the rotor in the
same plane balances the rate of angular
motion of the base. This balance is
achieved by precession against the spring
to produce the requisite force, and the rate
of turn will be indicated by the pointer
moving over the scale, provided the rotor
speed remains constant.
FIG. 30 RATE GYRO

When the aircraft turns, the gimbal holding the gyro rotor tilts over against the tension of
the spring and moves the pointer to indicate the direction and rate of turn.
The turn and bank gives readings based on the concept of a standard rate turn. A standard
rate turn is a turning rate of 3 per second. This is also called a 2-minute turn because it
would take 2 minutes to turn 360 at this rate. A standard rate turn is not suitable for a
high-speed aircraft because it would require a steep angle of bank. These higher speed
aircraft would use a standard rate turn, which is 1 per second, or a 4-minute turn.
Turn and banks are manufactured in both types; 2-minute turn and 4-minute turn both of
which are shown in Fig. 31.

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FIG. 31 BOTH 2-MINUTE & 4-MINUTE TURN & BANK INDICATORS

FIG. 32 RATE GYROSCOPE


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23

THE TURN AND SLIP INDICATOR POWER WARNING FLAG


Purpose

To indicate that the rotor has reached a satisfactory operating speed.

The flag is operated by eddy currents induced in the rotor rim as it passes a permanent
magnet. When the speed is satisfactory the eddy currents react with the magnet pulling it,
allowing the warning flag to clear. When the power is switched off the warning flag
will not come into view until the rotor speed reduces.
SPEED CONTROL
The gyros precession is used to obtain the rate of turn indication. It is therefore essential
that the rotor speed is kept constant. This is achieved by using centrifugal governor
contacts which open at a preset speed (normally 4,200 rpm) to insert a current limiting
resistor into the field circuit, reducing the field current and therefore the rotor speed (Fig.
33).

Rotating Armature
Windings
Governor
Contacts

+ 28V

Commutator
28V

Brushes

FIG. 33 SPEED CONTROL TURN & BANK INDICATOR

THE TURN COORDINATOR


The turn and slip indicator can only begin to indicate after the aircraft has started to turn,
and therefore the indication lags the aircrafts movement. The turn coordinator
overcomes this by inclining the gimbal axis by 300 from the horizontal as shown in Fig.
34. This causes the gyro rotor to react to rotation around the longitudinal axis as well as
the vertical axis. The turn and bank indicator only measures rotation rate about the
vertical axis so that it cannot be used accurately to level the wings.

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24

FIG. 34 BY MOUNTING THE GIMBAL AT AN ANGLE TO THE


HORIZONTAL, THE TURN COORDINATOR SENSES ROTATION ABOUT
BOTH THE ROLL AND YAW AXES OF THE AIRCRAFT

DIRECTION OF FLIGHT
LONGITUDINAL AXIS
Y
VERTICAL
AXIS

300

Y
FIG. 35 GIMBAL AXIS TILTED TO SENSE ROLL AND YAW
SIMULTANEOUSLY
For an aircraft to turn it must bank first; this movement is detected by the vertical
component of the gimbal axis and the pointer starts to move. Once the bank has been set
and the aircraft turns the horizontal component of the gimbal operates the pointer to the
rate position. The scale is usually graduated at the rate 1 position only.
Because the display resembles an artificial horizon it is common practice for the turn
coordinator to be labelled NO PITCH INFORMATION. The turn coordinator as
illustrated in Fig. 36 uses a rear view of a small airplane as the indicator. When the wing
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25

tip of the airplane symbol is lined up with an index mark, it indicates a standard rate turn
for the 2-minute type. The turn coordinator also includes an inclinometer, like the turn
and bank.

FIG.36 THE PRESENTATION ON THE FACE OF THE TURN COORDINATOR


IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF A TURN AND BANK SO THAT THE TWO
INSTRUMENTS WILL NOT BE CONFUSED WITH EACH OTHER

POWER SUPPLIES FOR GYRO INSTRUMENTS


In all gyro instruments, a prime requirement is to provide some form of power to spin the
rotor at a very high speed, and in the case of rate gyros at a constant speed.
This power is derived from two different sources, dependent upon the type of aircraft
involved; these are: Vacuum
Electrical

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VACUUM SUPPLIES
This form of supply is used in instruments that are air driven, and is generally found on
light aircraft, or older types of aircraft. The air lines are connected to the appropriate
instruments, and the vacuum produced will draw air from inside the cockpit, through the
instrument and to the source. In passing through the instrument, the air is turned into a
number of jets, which impinge on buckets cut into the periphery of the rotor.
In this system, a vacuum is produced, either from a venturi tube mounted outside the
aircraft or from an engine driven suction pump. Air driven gyros can also use positive
pressure from sources such as ram air or air from a pressure pump. Those that use suction
pressure are called vacuum driven gyros. The venturi for gyros is mounted on the
fuselage of the aircraft and the airflow caused by the forward motion of the aircraft
creates a low pressure or suction in the throat of the venturi. A major problem with using
a venturi for IFR flight is that the venturi tends to become blocked with ice under some
flight conditions. Another disadvantage of the venturi tube is that the aircraft must
maintain a certain minimum airspeed to generate enough vacuum pressure for the gyros.
The gyros will not be spun-up and stable during takeoff for example. Examples of 2" and
4" venturis are found in Fig. 37. The 2" and 4" are not physical dimensions. They refer to
the amount of suction in inches of mercury that each is designed to provide.
The most common type of air pump used on modern airplanes for the gyro instruments is
called a dry air pump. It does not use any oil for sealing or lubrication. It is a vane type
pump and the vanes are made of a carbon-based material, which gradually wears away in
service from rubbing against the cylinder walls. Fig. 38 shows a dry air pump connected
to operate as a vacuum pump. Notice that the gyro instruments and gauge are installed in
parallel. Fig. 39 shows the same kind of dry air pump that has been connected to operate
as a positive pressure pump. In the vacuum pump system the output of the pump is
dumped overboard and the cockpit air is filtered before it flows into the instruments. A
filter is required on the regulator of the vacuum system because air is drawn in at that
point to regulate the vacuum pressure.
An advantage of the positive pressure system is that it is better for aircraft that operate at
higher altitudes of 15,000 to 18,000 ft. The positive pressure system requires a filter on
the inlet side of the pump and a filter on the outlet side ahead of the instruments. A filter
is not required on the regulator in the positive pressure system. There is also a wet pump
for air driven gyros that uses engine oil for cooling and lubrication. It can only be used as
a vacuum pump and requires an air/oil separator to return oil to the airplane's engine.
Vacuum driven gyros rotate at a speed of approximately 15000 revs per minute.

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FIG. 37 A 2 AND 4 VENTURI ARE AVAILABLE TO POWER AIR DRIVEN


GYRO INSTRUMENTS

FIG. 38 A GYRO INSTRUMENT VACUUM SYSTEM


THAT USES A DRY AIR PUMP
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FIG. 39 A GYRO INSTRUMENT SYSTEM THAT USES A DRY AIR PUMP TO


SUPPLY POSITIVE RATHER THAN NEGATIVE PRESSURE

Fig. 40 shows the air/oil separator in a wet pump system as well as a suction reducer that
is used to drop the pressure for the turn and slip indicator. The turn and slip indicator
requires less pressure than the other two basic types of gyros. Fig. 41 depicts a typical for
aircraft gyro instrument systems and Fig. 42 shows a vacuum regulator with filter
installed.

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FIG. 40 A WET PUMP VACUUM SYSTEM TO OPERATE THREE GYRO


INSTRUMENTS. A SUCTION REDUCER IS NEEDED IN THE LINE TO THE
TURN AND SLIP SINCE IT REQUIRES LESS VACUUM PRESSURE

FIG. 41 A TYPICAL REPLACEABLE FILTER USED


WITH AIR-DRIVEN GYRO INSTRUMENTS
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FIG. 42 A VACUUM REGULATOR FOR GYRO


INSTRUMENTS INCLUDES AN AIR FILTER

ELECTRICAL SUPPLIES
In electrically operated instruments, the gyro rotors are specially constructed motors
designed on conventional alternating current and direct current motor principles.
Electrically driven gyros rotate at approximately 24000 rev per minute.
They can be designed to operate from either 28 Volt Direct Current of 115 Volt, 400
Hertz Alternating Current (or less), which is supplied from the aircraft's electrical
generator system or instrument inverter system.
The advantages of using electrical gyros over air driven gyros are numerous, but the main
ones can be summarised as follows: Instruments can be completely sealed, no chance of dirt or moisture ingress.
Greater gyro rotor speed, leading to more accurate indications.
Efficient operation at all altitudes and aircraft speeds.
With no supply pipelines, the total aircraft weight can be reduced.

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CABIN
AIR
FILTER

31

VACUUM
GAUGE
ARTIFICIAL
HORIZON

DIRECTIONAL
GYRO
CABIN
AIR

REGULATOR
VALVE

ENGINE
DRIVEN
SUCTION
PUMP

MAIN
AIR
FILTER
PRESSURE
OUTLET

ENGINE
DRIVE

FIG.
43
TYPICAL
GYROSCOPIC
INSTALLATION
PRESSURE
REGULATOR SET FOR A SYSTEM PRESSURE OF 4.0 TO 4.5 INCHES OF
MERCURY (TYPICAL FIGURE). IF THE SUCTION PRESSURE EXCEEDS
THE PRESET VALUE THE REGULATOR VALVE OPENS TO CONTROL
THE PRESSURE TO THE INSTRUMENTS.

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Directional Gyro

32

Gauge

Gyro Horizon
Filter

Relief
Valve

Check
Valve

Check
Valve

Relief
Valve

Pump

Pump

FIG. 44 (a)TWIN ENGINE VACUUM SYSTEM


Inner Gimbal
Air Tight Case (Rotor Housing)
Rotor
Outer Gimbal Support
To Suction
Gauge
Filter

To Suction
Pump

Outer Gimbal

FIG. 44 (b) AIR DRIVEN ARTIFICIAL HORIZON AFTER SPINNING


ROTOR AIR PASSES THROUGH THE ERECTION PORTS
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FIG. 45 SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF A LIGHT


AIRCRAFT VACUUM SYSTEM

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34

IN-SITU INSPECTION OF GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS


Visually inspect for clean glass, flaking paint, damage, moisture and security. Apply
power to the instruments, and allow time for the rotors to attain normal running speed.
Artificial Horizon If the engines are running check that the gyro indicates the attitude of
the aircraft + maintenance manual tolerances. Check that the
artificial horizon bar indicates the attitude of the parked aircraft;
remember the parking area may not be level.
Directional Gyro Check that the caging knob operates the heading card, and that the
knob does not stick in. Set the direction indicator to the
corresponding magnetic heading, and check for drift from this
heading. Generally 3o in 15 minutes is acceptable.
Turn and Slip

Apply power, check that the warning flag clears from view, and the
pointer is central. The rate of turn indicator should indicate zero. Its
movement can be checked by displacing the shock-mounted
instrument panel at one corner; this will simulate a slight turn and
cause the turn pointer to deflect slightly.

NOTE: On some instrument panels it is possible to push on the edge of the panel,
which may cause a change in gyro indication.
MAINTENANCE ACTIVITIES
CAUTION
The gyro rotor and gimbal bearings are manufactured to very fine tolerances, and can be
easily damaged by rough handling. Therefore keep the instruments in their original
packing until required, and handle all instruments carefully and the correct way up.
The following information is extracted from CAIPs Leaflet AL/10-2, which is
recommended for further reading. The information listed here is of a general nature only.
The instruments should be checked for: Security of attachment to panels, and vacuum and electrical supplies
Cracks in the instrument glass
Legibility of dial markings
.
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DIRECT AND REMOTE READING INSTRUMENTS


DIRECT READING INSTRUMENTS
Direct reading instruments are mechanically operated, and are used to supply the
following information:
Pressure
Position
PRESSURE
The most common form of indicator utilises a Bourdon Tube. This is a 'C' shaped tube
of oval cross section, closed at one end and open to the pressure source at the other. With
pressure applied to the open end, usually by a fluid such as oil or fuel, the tube will tend
to straighten out, and it is this movement that will drive a pointer via some mechanical
linkage, such as shown in Figure 1 below.

SPUR
GEAR
MECHANICAL
CONNECTION

PRESSURE
ENTRANCE

BOURDON TUBE

SECTOR GEAR
PRESSURE IN

FIG. 1 BOURDON TUBE MECHANISM

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FIG. 2 A BOURDON TUBE INSTRUMENT MECHANISM FOR


MEASURING GAUGE PRESSURE

The Bourdon tube mechanism is generally used for the measurement of high pressure,
such as oil or fuel pump pressure. However for low pressure sensing, such as found in
piston engine manifold pressure indication, a capsule (diaphragm) or bellows mechanism
is used for the sensing element.

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CAPSULE
A capsule is a thin, lens shaped hollow metal container. It is used to measure relatively
low pressures, as in an altimeter or air speed indicator. Typically, it is made of a very thin,
springy metal (beryllium copper is often used). One side is anchored and the other side is
connected through gears and linkages to the pointer (Figs. 3 & 4).

PRESSURE
CAPSULE

PRESSURE
INLET

FIG. 3 THE DIAPHRAGM (CAPSULE)


A PRESSURE MEASURING DEVICE

FIG. 4 A PRESSURE
CAPSULE INSTRUMENT

BELLOWS
A bellows (Fig. 5) is somewhat similar to a diaphragm but it is longer and has accordion
folds to typically allow a greater range of motion. It measures relatively low pressures
and a common use is to measure differential pressure. In that case the bellows would be
divided into two separate chambers with a different pressure source connected to each
one as seen in Fig. 6.

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MECHANICAL
CONNECTION

PRESSURE
BELLOWS

PRESSURE IN

FIG.5 A PRESSURE BELLOWS


INSTRUMENT

FIG. 6 AN EXAMPLE OF A
BELLOWS BEING USED TO
MEASURE A DIFFERENTIAL
PRESSURE

In the differential bellows type instrument (Fig. 6), the pressure differential creates a
linear movement of the bellows assembly. The indications are the result of pressure
differential, but the mechanical linkage allows the presentation of the pressure to be
displayed on a round dial.
POSITION
Direct reading, position indicators consist of a series of rods, levers and quadrants driven
by some mechanical input, together with some form of flag or pointer positioned by a
Bowden cable and spring mechanism.
Fig. 7 is a typical example, used to provide an undercarriage down and locked indication,
to backup the normal electrical system. The indicator is viewed from a cabin window.

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ARROWS SHOW
UNLOCK
UNLOCK CONDITION

HOOK

FIG.
7
CABLE OPERATING LEVER

DIRECT READING UNDERCARRIAGE INDICATOR

MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE


Manifold pressure gauges are found on certain types of reciprocating engines where they
are required to accurately set engine power. The absolute pressure inside the induction
system of an engine is an important indicator of the power the engine is developing.
Manifold pressure gauges measure the absolute pressure in inches of mercury at a
specific point in the induction system of the engine. Figure 8 shows the location of the
manifold pressure (MAP) measurement for a radial supercharged engine. Figure 9 shows
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the location of the MAP connection in the induction system of a turbocharged


horizontally opposed reciprocating engine. The pressure is measured downstream of the
carburettor or fuel control unit and downstream of the supercharger if so equipped. The
pressure measuring port in the induction system is connected by tubing and hose to a
bellows or diaphragm in the instrument. Since the pressure in the induction system is
below ambient pressure at idle or low power settings the use of absolute pressure
eliminates the confusion of having both positive and negative numbers on the gauge.
When the engine is stopped, the manifold pressure gauge will indicate the local
barometric pressure. To accomplish this, the MAP gauge is provided with two
diaphragms. One diaphragm is a sealed aneroid cell that responds to ambient atmospheric
pressure. The other diaphragm is connected to the intake manifold of the engine and
responds to the manifold pressure. The effect is that the gauge provides an indication of
the absolute pressure (pressure above zero pressure) existing in the intake manifold of the
engine.
At idle, the reading on the MAP gauge will be about 10 in. Hg. At full throttle with an
unsupercharged engine at sea level, the reading will be about 28 in. Hg. With an
unsupercharged engine the full throttle reading will always be below ambient pressure
because of friction and pressure loss in the induction system. A supercharged engine will
have a redline on the MAP gauge to indicate the maximum permissible manifold pressure.
The redline might range from 35-75 in. Hg depending on the type of engine.

FIG. 8 THE MEASUREMENT POINT FOR MANIFOLD PRESSURE IS


DOWNSTREAM OF THE CARBURETTOR AND DOWNSTREAM OF
THE SUPERCHARGER IN THIS RADIAL ENGINE
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In a normally aspirated (non-supercharged) engine, the maximum differential between


manifold pressure and atmospheric pressure will occur when the engine is at idle. As the
throttle is opened, manifold pressure rises and approaches atmospheric pressure. When
the throttle is wide open, the engine is producing maximum manifold pressure and
horsepower.

FIG.9 MANIFOLD PRESSURE IS MEASURED DOWNSTREAM OF THE


SUPERCHARGERAND DOWNSTREAM OF THE THROTTLE PLATE IN THE
FUEL AIR CONTROL UNIT FOR A TURBOCHARGED, FUEL INJECTED
RECIPROCATING ENGINE.

The power developed in an internal combustion engine is dependent on the density of the
fuel/air mixture entering the cylinders on the induction stroke of the engine. As the piston
moves down on the induction stroke, the inlet valve opens and the fuel/air mixture enters
the cylinder due to the pressure difference between cylinder and induction chamber.
At sea level with a standard pressure of 29.92 in Hg the cylinder pressure could be 6 in
Hg. The pressure difference is therefore 23.92 in Hg and it is this pressure that forces the
fuel/air mixture into the cylinder. This type of engine is said to be normally aspirated.
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This characteristic causes problems however when the aircraft is flown at increasing
heights above sea level. Air pressure decreases with increase of height and thus at 30.000
feet the air pressure is approximately 8.85 in Hg. The pressure difference between
induction chamber and cylinder is thus reduced to 2.85 in Hg. The charge of fuel/air
mixture is thus reduced by a large amount and therefore there is a corresponding power
loss.
To overcome the problem a centrifugal air pump is connected between the carburettor
and cylinders, which is driven from the engine crankshaft. The air pressure is thus
increased to equate to the air pressure at sea level and the pressure difference between the
induction chamber and the cylinder is maintained.

FIG. 10 MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE

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FIG. 11 MECHANISM FOR A DIFFERENTIAL-BELLOWS-TYPE MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE

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FIG. 12(a) THE MANIFOLD


PRESSURE GAUGE GIVES THE
PILOT AN APPROXIMATION
OF THE POWER THE ENGINE
IS PRODUCING. THE GAUGE
HAS TWO POINTERS AND
THE UNITS ARE INCHES OF
MERCURY ABSOLUTE.

10

FIG.
12(b)
OLDER
TYPE
MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE
UNITS ARE IN POUNDS PER
SQUARE INCH (lb/in2).

PRESSURE SWITCHES
A pressure switch is simply a microswitch activated by the movement of a bellows under
the pressure applied by a fluid. The pressure is applied to one side of the bellows and a
spring force is applied to the opposite side. If the fluid pressure is strong enough to
collapse the spring, the microswitch is actuated. In some cases the bellows may have the
spring force replaced by a second pressure monitored by the pressure switch unit as
shown in the diagram below.
Differential pressure between fuel and atmospheric air holds the microswitch open. When
the pressure drops the switch closes and the warning light comes on.

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FIG. 13 ELECTRICAL PRESSURE SWITCH


FOR SENSING DIFFERENTIAL PRESSURE.
PRESSURE SWITCHES ARE SET TO REACT
TO A GIVEN PRESSURE. THE SWITCHES ARE
USED TO ACTIVATE WARNING LIGHTS OR
TO SEQUENCE SYSTEM ACTIVITIES.

Pressure switches are often used to illuminate warning lights if the pressure being
monitored exceeds limits. A normally open microswitch is used for this purpose. A
normally closed microswitch is used to turn on a warning light when pressure falls below
a certain limit.

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REMOTE READING INSTRUMENTS


The more common form of instrumentation is of the remote reading type. This system
consists of two units: a transmitter that measures the parameter and supplies the information via a link
to: an indicator or the display unit.
The link between the two units will consist of a liquid filled capillary tube, or an
electrical circuit. One main reason for the changeover was that with an increase in aircraft
size and complexity it was considered unwise to have, for example, actual engine oil or
fuel supplied to instruments in the flight deck.
An examination of some typical units that employ a liquid medium for the transmission
of pressure information will reveal the following.
There are two types of units: the capillary type
the pressure transmitter type
THE CAPILLARY TYPE
This consists of a transmitter containing a capsule that is connected directly to a Bourdon
tube indicator by a length of capillary tubing. The capsule, the tubing and the Bourdon
tube are completely filled with a special fluid such as heptane and together they form a
single unit.
When a pressure, such as that from an engine oil system is applied to the capsule, the
force displaces the fluid, which in turn tends to straighten the Bourdon tube in the manner
of the direct-reading gauge. Fig. 14 is a schematic of the system.

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13

BOURDON TUBE

CAPILLARY TUBE
HOLLOW BOLT

CAPSULE WITH
TRANSMITTING FLUID

SYSTEM FLUID
PRESSURE INLET

FIG. 14 CAPILLARY SYSTEM SCHEMATIC

THE PRESSURE TRANSMITTER TYPE


This is similar to the capillary type, but has the advantage that the transmitter and
indicator can be replaced independently of one another. Hence it is possible to fill the
system, from the transmitter unit and regain normal operation as for the capillary type.
TEMPERATURE INDICATION
In some light aircraft, liquid temperature measurement such as engine oil is achieved by
using a capillary system. In this case, the fluid will be mercury or ethyl ether, which is
contained in a bulb that forms the transmitter unit. It operates in the same way as a
thermometer. With an increase in temperature the mercury expands or in the case of ethyl
ether; the vapour pressure increases causing the displacement of a Bourdon tube indicator.
Note that in both cases, the instrument contains a Bourdon tube mechanism.
EXPANSION OF A GAS
Most or the oil temperature gages in our light aircraft are actually pressure gauges. A
bulb, a capillary tube, and a bourdon tube are all sealed together and filled with methyl
chloride - a gas at ordinary room temperature, but a liquid if held under pressure. The
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vapour pressure, that pressure required to keep the vapours in the liquid, is fairly high and
is proportional to the temperature. The bulb is placed where the temperature is to be
measured, and, as the temperature changes, the vapour pressure of the methyl chloride
changes. This is read by the bourdon tube pressure gauge that is calibrated in units of
temperature rather than pressure, Fig. 15.

FIG. 15 THE PRESSURE TYPE TEMPERATURE INDICATOR USES A


BOURDON TUBE TO MEASURE THE VAPOUR PRESSURE OF THE
LIQUID IN THE BULB AND CAPILLARY
SYNCHRONOUS SYSTEMS
The second group of remote reading instruments uses electrical circuit to connect the
transmitter and indicator.
Most aircraft flying today employ remote indication systems that can be either D.C. or
A.C. power operated. Whichever system is used each data transmission system employs
a transmitter located at the source to be measured and a receiver that acts on the
information received. Typical use of these systems is to display oil and fuel pressure
measurements, flap, rudder and elevator position indications, and to transmit the output
from remote gyros to the relevant instrument.
THE BASIC DESYNN (D.C. POWERED) SYSTEM
This is known as a D.C. synchronous or 'Desynn' system. The transmitter consists of a
wire-wound circular resistance with three separate contacts spaced at 120 to form the
output connections. A rotating contact arm is driven around the resistance, and a D.C.
voltage supplied to the arm, produces three varying signals on the output lines.

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15

These three signals are combined together in the indicator to produce an electro-magnetic
field that will rotate as the contact arm rotates, and a permanent magnet attached .to a
pointer will rotate with the field to provide an indication of the input. Fig. 16 is a
schematic of a Desynn system.

FIG. 16 SIMPLIFIED SCHEMATIC AND CIRCUIT OF A DESYNN


TRANSMITTER AND RECEIVER

There are three types of Desynn in use, they are the: Basic Desynn
Micro Desynn
Slab Desynn
Each one is an improvement on the other. In all Desynn systems the rotating arm is
positioned by the appropriate parameter. For example, oil pressure uses a bellows unit or
bourdon tube, whilst position indication will use some form of gear mechanism.
TYPICAL PRESSURE MEASURING SYSTEM

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16

The input pipeline of the transmitter is connected to the oil pressure line of the
mechanical torque meter arrangement. The oil pressure causes the free end of the
Bourdon Tube to move and connected to this end are the brushes of the slab Desynn
transmitter. The transmitter windings are fed with 28V D.C. and rotation of the brushes
across the windings alters the resistance legs and thus the current flow through the three
transmitter tappings is varied.
The magnitude and direction of current flow is transmitted to the stator windings of the
indicator and resultant magnetic fields are produced. The indicator rotor aligns itself with
the stator magnetic field and thus the pointer registers the torque pressure of that engine.

28V DC

S1

S2
S3

PRESSURE IN

SLAB DESYNN
TRANSMITTER

INDICATOR

FIG. 17 A TYPICAL PRESSURE MEASURING SYSTEM

THE MICRO DESYNN SYSTEM

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FIG. 18 MICRO DESYNN SYSTEMS THE ABOVE TYPES WERE DEVELOPED


FOR TRANSDUCERS THAT HAVE LINEAR OUTPUTS SUCH AS PISTONS
OR DIAPHRAGM TYPES OF PRESSURE TRANSDUCERS.

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TRANSMISSION SYSTEM

FIG. 19 PRINCIPLE OF SYNCHRONOUS OPERATION


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ALTERNATING CURRENT VOLTAGE


The D.C. operated systems suffers from an inherent inaccuracy due to the design of a
wiper moving over a resistor that will cause problems due to friction, and carbon deposits
on the resistance wire. This result in an overall reduction in the system accuracy and
cannot be used in systems which require extreme accuracy.
The A.C. synchronous system, generally known as 'synchros' or 'Selsyn', 'Autosyn' and
'Asynn', operates in a similar manner to the Desynn system. In this system, the rotating
arm consists of a wound core which when supplied with an A.C. voltage produces an
electro magnetic field; this in turn produces a varying signal in three output windings,
which replace the wound resistance in the former system.
The three output signals are combined in the indicator; again similar to the Desynn, only
in this case, the permanent magnet is replaced with a wound coil rotor that produces an
electro-magnetic field when supplied with an A.C. voltage.
The major advantages of an A.C. synchro system over a Desynn system are: components are lighter and smaller
with no direct contact in the transmitter, there will be no wear in the unit
indications are more accurate with no errors
faster response is possible
Units that use the A.C. synchro system include: pressure measurement (i.e., oil, fuel or air)
position (flaps, cowls, etc.)
Once again the force that drives the rotor in the transmitter is derived from the parameter
being measured. For pressure measurement it will be derived from a bellows, capsule or
Bourdon tube mechanism, whilst for position measurement it will be some gear or lever
mechanism.
A.C. powered synchros include the following:
a. Torque synchros for light loads only

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b. Control synchros for heavier motorised loads or to provide an electrical


output
c. Autosyn rotary motion transducers
d. Magnesyn rotary motion transducers
THE TORQUE SYNCHRO
Synchro systems operate with a.c. power and use the transformer principle to achieve the
transmission of positional information from the rotor of a transmitter to a receiver
indicator. Fig. 20 shows the condition of the synchro when the receiver has obeyed the
transmitter positional signal. This is termed the system null, and occurs when the two
rotors are aligned with each other.

FIG. 20 TORQUE SYNCHRO


If the transmitter were moved any number of degrees in either direction there would be
an exact copy of the movement by the receiver rotor to re-establish the null condition.
When the system is in the null condition there will not be any current flowing in the
stator windings of either the transmitter or the receiver. This is an obvious advantage of
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the system since the only power being consumed is the excitation power as applied to
both of the rotors. The movement of the receiver rotor is due to the product of magnetic
fields on the receiver rotor and stator during misalignment and therefore this synchro
cannot drive a heavy load.
THE CONTROL SYNCHRO

FIG. 21 CONTROL SYNCHRO


Fig. 21 shows the system at the null position where there is no output. This occurs
when the rotors are at 90o to each other. In this system the rotor of the receiver is not
electrically excited, because, the purpose of this system is to induce a signal into the
receiver rotor that can be used to drive the motor a distance that is determined by the
amount of transmitter input.
A further study of Fig. 21 shows that the motor has two outputs, one for the load, and the
other, which is coupled to the rotor to drive the receiver rotor to the null position.

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FIG. 22 CONTROL SYNCHRO OPERATION

Fig. 22 shows that the transmitter rotor has been rotated 60o clockwise, this will result in
the induced current flow as shown between the transmitter and the receiver, and the
receiver stator flux will move away from the null position to an angle of 60o to the rotor
coil. A phase sensitive signal is now induced in the rotor coil. This signal is amplified and
used to drive the motor, moving the load and repositioning the rotor to the null position.
Unlike the torque synchro, the control synchro will always have a stator current flow,
AUTOSYN (ELECTROMAGNETIC TYPE)
Fig. 23 shows an Autosyn remote indicating system. The rotor is excited by 26V 400Hz
either through slip rings and brushes or through hairsprings. The rotors in the indicator
and transmitter are identical and connected in parallel. Surrounding the rotors are three
single-phase delta wound stators electrically identical and connected in parallel.
The 400Hz A.C. in the rotors induces voltages in the stators but when the rotors are
aligned no current flows in the stators. As the transmitter rotor is moved the magnetic
phasing in its stator changes causing current to flow through the stator coils. The receiver
rotor will move to re-align with its resultant stator magnetic field and the pointer will
move a distance corresponding to the transmitter rotor movement. At this point the stator
currents will fall to zero.

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FIG.23 AUTOSYN REMOTE INDICATING SYSTEM THE ROTOR OF THE TRANSMITTER IS


CONNECTED TO THE OBJECT BEING MONITORED AND THE ROTOR OF THE INDICATOR TO THE
RIGHT-WEIGHT POINTER. BOTH ROTORS ARE EXCITED WITH A.C. AND SERVE AS PRIMARIES OF
A TRANSFORMERWITH THE STATOR COILS AS THE SECONDARIES

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MAGNESYN (PERMANENT MAGNET TYPE)


By using a permanent magnet as a rotor it eliminates the need for carrying high currents
into the moving element, which can then be made lighter (Fig. 24).
The transmitter and receiver are two identical devices that consist of soft iron surrounded
by coils, tapped 1200 apart, and connected in parallel and excited by 26V 400Hz. The
rotors are permanent magnets, the transmitter rotor being mechanically positioned whilst
the indicator rotor is free to turn.

26V
400Hz
TRANSMITTER

RECEIVER

FIG. 24 MAGNESYN REMOTE INDICATING SYSTEM


Operation When the A.C. drives the core into saturation its permeability is very low
and it cannot accept any flux from the TX rotor. About 1/800 of a second later (one
alternation of 400Hz) the core is demagnetised and will accept flux from the rotor. The
rotor flux cuts through the coil and a voltage is induced in the 3 sections of the windings,
a current will flow which produces a magnetic field in the indicator causing the indicator
permanent magnet and pointer to align with it. The process is repeated driving the core in
and out of saturation allowing the rotor flux to obtain a relative movement to induce a
voltage in the coil.
ENGINE PRESSURE RATIO INDICATOR
This type of instrument is used on some kinds of turbojet and turbofan airplane engines.
As its name implies the engine pressure ratio gauge indicates the ratio of two different
pressures measured on the engine. The E.P.R. gauge is a differential pressure gauge that
measures the absolute pressure in terms of engine thrust. The two pressures are most
often called Pt2 and Pt7. The total inlet pressure at the front of the engine is Pt2. The total
outlet pressure at the aft end of the engine is Pt7. These pressures are called total
pressures because the probes measure both static and dynamic pressure.
The gauge is usually calibrated from 1 to 4 and has no units of measurement, it simply
indicates the pressure ratio between the input and output stages of a gas turbine engine.

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The probes operate like pitot tubes since they measure ram pressure or total pressure in
the air-stream. The two probes are connected by tubing to a transducer mounted on the
engine. The transducer produces an electrical output related to the ratio of Pt7/Pt2. The
transducer uses a synchro transmitter that is connected to the synchro receiver in the
cockpit instrument. Fig. 25 shows an E.P.R. transmitter and indicator.

FIG. 25 THE E.P.R. GAUGE MEASURES ENGINE PRESSURE RATIO OF


P7/P2. IT PROVIDES INDICATIONS OF THE THRUST BEING PRODUCED
BY A TURBOJET OR TURBOFAN ENGINE.

WHY USE E.P.R. INDICATORS?


The thrust of a centrifugal compressor jet engine, approximately proportional to the
R.P.M., therefore the tachometer and gas temperature indications can be used to
determine the engine thrust.
The thrust of an axial compressor jet engine does not vary in direct proportion to the
engine speed. For a given R.P.M. the temperature on a hot day will give a lower thrust
than on a cold day.
1)

An increase in temperature leads to

2)

a decrease in density which means

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3)

less air per cubic foot and therefore

4)

a decrease in thrust

26

The thrust developed can therefore be more accurately determined by measuring the ratio
between the intake and discharge gas pressures (Fig. 26).

FIG. 26 E.P.R. TRANSMITTER AND INDICATOR


A typical example of an oil pressure indication system employing the use of synchros is
shown in Fig. 27. A flight control position indicating system is shown in Fig. 28.

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ROTOR
CAPSULE

OIL
PRESSURE
INLET
VENT

OIL PRESSURE INDICATOR

OIL PRESSURE TRANSMITTER

FIG.27 OIL PRESSURE TRANSMITTER AND INDICATOR

SURFACE POSITION
INDICATOR

FIG. 28 FLIGHT CONTROL POSITION INDICATING SYSTEM FOR JET


AIRCRAFT
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RESISTOR CHANGE
The electrical properties of metals as well as their physical dimensions alter with
temperature change. This characteristic is used when measuring the temperature of
outside air, carburettor air, oil, and even the cylinder heads in modern aircraft. A fine
nickel wire wound on a mica core is placed where the measurement is to be taken
(Fig.29). Some bulbs are stem-sensitive (Fig. 30 A), some are tip sensitive (Fig. 31B),
and some fit flush with the airplane skin to measure outside air temperature (Fig. 31C).

FIG. 29 STEM-SENSITIVE NICKEL WIRE RESISTANCE-TYPE


TEMPERATURE BULB

C
FIG. 30 A) STEM-SENSITIVE TEMPERATURE BULB
B) TIP-SENSITIVE TEMPERATURE BULB
C) FLUSH-MOUNTED SURFACE-TYPE TEMPERATURE BULB

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WHEATSTONE BRIDGE CIRCUITS


The Wheatstone Bridge circuit is a very common method employed to provide the
measurement and indication of temperature. The element that measures the temperature is
a bulb that contains a coil of nickel or platinum wire, which forms a variable resistance
arm of a bridge circuit. The bridge circuit is supplied with a D.C. voltage.
As the temperature changes, the resistance of the bulb will alter, and vary the amount of
current flowing across the bridge, i.e., in the moving coil of the indicator. The interaction
of the varying coils magnetic field with a permanent magnetic field will position the
pointer to indicate the required temperature (Fig. 32).

FIG. 31 WATER ANALOGY FOR A WHEATSTONE BRIDGE


R2
R1

R3
R4

FIG. 32 TYPICAL WHEATSTONE BRIDGE


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Fig. 33 shows a simplified Wheatstone Bridge circuit for a temperature indicator.

FIG. 33 A WHEATSTONE BRIDGE CIRCUIT

RATIOMETER CIRCUITS
These instruments, as the name implies, use the ratio of two induced electro-magnetic
fields to position a pointer over the dial of the appropriate instrument. The two fields are
produced from two currents, one is the reference current from the power supply, whilst
the other is produced from the measuring element and will vary with the parameter. This
indicator is commonly used for temperature measurement, whilst the sensing device is
similar to that used previously in the Wheatstone Bridge circuit.
OPERATION
A change in temperature will alter the resistance of the bulb, which will alter the current
flowing in that coil, so altering the balance of the meter movement. Fig. 34 is a simplified
schematic of a ratiometer instrument. The ratiometer principle is also used in oil pressure
measurement, and is known as the 'Smiths Inductor Pressure Gauge'.

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INDICATOR

31

TEMPERATURE
SENSING ELEMENT

FIG. 34 RATIOMETER CIRCUIT AND METER

The basic circuit of Fig 34 employs an instrument that utilizes two windings, winding B
is in the variable-resistance arm, and winding A is in the fixed-resistance arm. The
resistances of the arms are so chosen that at the zero position of the instrument the forces
produced by the currents flowing in each winding are in balance. Although the currents
are unequal at this point, and indeed at all other points except mid-scale, the balancing of
the torques is always produced by the strength of the field in which the windings are
positioned.
When the temperature at the sensing element Rx increases, then in accordance with the
temperature/resistance relationship of the material used for the element, its resistance will
increase and so cause a decrease in the current flowing in winding B and a corresponding
decrease in the force created by it. The current ratio is therefore altered and the force in
winding A will rotate the measuring element so that both windings are carried round the
air gap; winding B is advanced further into the stronger part of the magnetic field while
winding A is being advanced to a weaker part. When the temperature at the sensing
element stabilizes at its new value the forces produced by both windings will once again
balance, at a new current ratio, and the angular deflection of the measuring element will
be proportional to the temperature change.
When the measuring element is at the mid-position of its rotation, the currents in both
windings are equal since this is the only position where the two windings can be in the
same field strength simultaneously.
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In a conventional moving-coil indicator, the controlling system is made up of hairsprings,


which exert a controlling torque proportional to the current flowing through the coil.
Therefore, if the current decreases due to a change in the power supply applied to the
indicator, the deflecting torque will be less than the controlling torque of the springs and
so the coil will move back to a position at which equilibrium between torques is again
established. The pointer will thus indicate a lower reading.
A ratiometer system, however, does not require hairsprings for exerting a controlling
torque, this being provided solely by the appropriate coil winding and non-uniform field
arrangements. Should variations in the power supply occur they would affect both coils
equally so that the ratio of currents flowing in the coils remains the same and tendencies
for them to move to positions of differing field strength are counterbalanced.
In practical applications of the ratiometer system, a spring is, in fact, used so that the
moving-coil former and pointer can take up an off-scale position when the power supply
is disconnected. This is the sole function of the spring. Since it exerts a very little torque,
its effects on the ratiometer indication accuracy, are very slight.

FIG. 35(a) D.C. RATIOMETER

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SUPPLY
COIL A

COIL B

FIG. 35(b) D.C. RATIOMETER


VARIABLE
RESISTOR

FIG. 36(a) MOVING COIL RATIOMETER AS USED IN AN OIL TEMPERATURE SYSTEM

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FIG. 36 (b) MOVING COIL RATIOMETER SCHEMATIC

FIG. 37 RESISTANCE TYPE TEMPERATURE SENSING ELEMENT

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INDUCTOR GAUGE (TRANSMITTER TYPE)

FIG. 38 SCHEMATIC LAYOUT OF INDUCTOR SYSTEM

To reduce the dangers due to high pressure and inflammable fluids in the cockpit area,
the transmitting systems that are used to monitor pressure are mainly based on the
electrical inductor system.
This system uses an alternating current supply and consists of two units, a transmitter
located at the source of pressure; and an indicator located in the cockpit. The transmitter
is connected electrically to the indicator.
Pressure is felt on a bellows in the transmitter. This bellows will expand against a spring.
Attached to the bellows is an armature of soft iron that will move with the bellows. Two
stator coils are arranged around the armature so that movement of the armature, caused
by the bellows, will insert more of the armature in one coil but less of the armature in the
other. The movement of the armature will affect the resistance of the coil windings.
Inserting the armature increases the resistance of the coil windings.
The stator coils in the transmitter are connected to two coils in the indicator and these
coils are arranged around two cam-shaped discs. The magnetic effect caused when a
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supply is passed through the coils will tend to give a torque reaction to the discs, which
are mounted on a common shaft together with a pointer. The magnetic reactions of the
coils are arranged to oppose each other.
If the bellows in the transmitter expands the resistance of coil A will be increased while
coils Bs resistance will decrease. The varying resistances will affect the torque reactions
on the discs in the indicator and the pointer will rotate clockwise.
The rotation of the cam shaped discs will insert more of the disc in the upper coil and less
in the lower reducing the torque reaction, giving a balance to the original movement, the
pointer indicating the new condition in the system.

THERMOCOUPLES
This system is primarily used for the measurement of engine temperatures such as piston
engine cylinder head temperature or turbine engine exhaust gas temperature. A
thermocouple assembly is made up of two dissimilar metal conductors joined together to
form a hot junction, while the other ends of the conductors are connected to the indicator,
which forms a cold junction. When the hot junction is subjected to an increase in
temperature a small voltage will be produced, which causes a current to flow in the
closed circuit of the indicator.
The indicator is usually a moving coil meter. The flow of current produces an electromagnetic field that reacts with a permanent magnetic field to position the pointer to the
appropriate value.
The conductors will be a combination of two specific metals, specially chosen for the
temperature range being measured.
For example: Copper and Constantan 1eads for cylinder head temperature measurement, (up to
400 C)
Chromel and Alumel leads for exhaust gas temperature measurement. (Up to
1000oC).
Fig. 39 is a simplified thermocouple circuit.

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FIG. 39 A SIMPLIFIED THERMOCOUPLE CIRCUIT

FIG. 40 THERMOCOUPLE LEAD ASSEMBLY

FIG. 41 SPARK PLUG GASKET-TYPE THERMOCOUPLE

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FIG. 42 BAYONET-TYPE THERMOCOUPLE

JET ENGINE GAS TEMPERATURE SYSTEMS


Due to the high temperatures experienced in a gas turbine exhaust system a different
temperature measuring system is used, based on the Thermo Electric Principle.
The temperature is sensed by two different materials joined together and referred to as the
hot junction. The hot junction is electrically connected to a. millivoltmeter instrument
marked off in oC and commonly referred to as the cold junction. If the hot junction is
heated then a potential difference will be generated and will register as a temperature on
the gauge (Fig. 43).

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oC

BALLAST
RESISTOR

RED

EGT

CHROMEL
ALUMEL
BLUE

TRIMMER
RESISTOR

GAS
STREAM

COLD
JUNCTION
(AMBIENT
TEMPERATURE
COMPENSATED)

HOT
JUNCTION

FIG.43 JET ENGINE EXHAUST GAS TEMPERATURE SYSTEM

The hot junction where the two different materials, usually alumel (aluminium/nickel
alloy) and chromel (chromium/aluminium alloy) are joined is referred to as the probe. In
an engine exhaust system a number of probes are arranged in parallel. This arrangement
enables the system to indicate an average reading of the temperatures on the indicator.
TRIMMING RESISTOR
This is used to maintain the resistance value of the external part of the system, i.e. the
part outside of the indicator and also outside of the engine. This is maintained at a
predetermined value for which the indicator is calibrated. The material in the trimmer
+) lead the material
depends upon which lead it is fitted in. If it is fitted in the positive (+
MANGANIN
negative
used is
(copper-manganese alloy). If the
(--) lead is used the
material is EUREKA (copper-nickel alloy).
If the circuit resistance is too high, then the trimmer resistor must be unwound in small
steps until the correct value is fitted. The wire is covered with an insulating varnish,
which will have to be carefully removed at each step before the clamp is tightened. After
the correct value has been set, the surplus wire can be removed. If the circuit resistance is
low a new trimmer resistance will have to be fitted. Typical external resistances are 8
and 25 (Fig. 45).
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INSULATING
SLEEVE

NICKEL
CHRONIUM
WIRE

NICKEL
ALUMINIUM
WIRE

FIG. 44 TURBINE TEMPERATURE INSTALLATION

FIG. 45 TRIMMER
RESISTOR

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41

THERMOCOUPLE COMBINATIONS

GROUP

BASE
METALS

POSITIVE
COPPER
(CU)
IRON
(Fe)
CHROMEL
(Ni 90%, Cr 10%)

RARE
METALS

PLATINUM
(Pt)

BASE
METALS

NEGATIVE
CONSTANTAN
(Ni 40%, Cu 60%)
CONSTANTAN
ALUMEL
(Ni 90%, Al 2% + Si
+ Mn)
RHODIUMPLATINUM
(Rh 13%. Pt 87%)

RANGE oC

USEAGE

850

CYLINDER
HEAD
TEMPERATURE

1100

EXHAUST GAS
TEMPERATURES

400

1400

For the instrument to read correctly the different materials must be kept separate. To
avoid the chance of cross connection, the thermocouple leads are co1our coded as follows:
Red - chromel - positive

Blue - alumel - negative

If the hot junction was simply inserted into the gas flow damage due to impingement of
the gases would result. A shroud shields the junction. Holes in the shroud allow the gas to
enter the probe. The positioning of the holes in the shroud will determine whether the
probe is a Rapid Response type - used in low gas velocity turbo propeller engines, or
the Stagnation type - used in high gas velocity turbo jet engines (Fig. 46).
To avoid errors caused by variation in temperature of the cold junction (the instrument) a
compensating system is fitted to the indicator. One such method is the insertion of a
negative temperature co-efficient resistance within the system. This is a resistor whose
resistance decreases as the temperature increases.

This now completes a look at some remote reading instrument systems. There is quite a
lot in the subject and it is recommended that further reading be done. CAIP Leaflet
AL/10-3 gives further information on the subject.

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INSULATOR

COUPLE

RAPID RESPONSE TYPE

STAGNATION TYPE

FIG. 46 THERMOCOUPLES

To summarise then, remote reading instruments fall into two categories: Liquid transmission
Electrical transmission
Liquid transmission systems utilise a capillary tube or pressure transmitter, and can be
employed in pressure or temperature measurement.
Electrical transmission utilise circuits known as: Desynn (pressure, position indication)
Synchro (pressure, position indication)
Wheatstone Bridge (position, temperature indication)

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Ratiometer Principle (temperature, pressure indication)


Thermocouple Principle (temperature indication only)

STALL SENSING
To enable an impending stall condition to be detected the effect of the airflow
approaching the aircraft has to be monitored. When the angle detected is above a safe
limit for the aircraft the warning system is activated. Monitoring .is carried out usually by
two methods as follows: An Angle Of Attack (AOA) or airflow sensor
A lift transducer also called a vane.
Both monitoring methods give the same information to the electrical summing units, but
they go about their detection methods in different ways.
ANGLE OF ATTACK SENSOR
The AOA sensors are normally fitted to the nose area of the aircraft; they are mounted so
that an undisturbed airflow can pass over them. The sensor that is in the air-stream is
shaped like an aerofoil surface and its fixing link is attached to the fuselage skin by a
pivoted joint as show in Fig.47.
This sensor will always 'fly' in line with the angle of attack of the airflow as the aerofoil
is fixed at a set angle of the chord line to the longitudinal datum (called the rigging angle
of incidence). When the sensor's angle of attack with the longitudinal datum is greater
than a pre-determined limit a signal will be generated in the summing unit to operate the
stall warning system. This limit is usually 12 - 14 AOA depending on the aircraft
design.

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FIG. 47 ANGLE OF ATTACK (AOA) STALL SENSOR

LIFT TRANSDUCER OR STALL WARNING VANE


Lift transducers or stall warning vanes are fitted to the leading edges of the aerofoil
sections. Their job is to monitor the airflow over the wing and to respond to any airflow
patterns that could represent a stall condition. A typical lift transducer is shown in Fig. 48.

HEATER BEHIND FACEPLATE

MOVING VANE

FIG. 48 LIFT TRANSDUCER

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During normal flight conditions the airflow over the wing holds the stall warning vane aft
as no stall is present. However when the angle of attack is at a level likely to produce a
stall, the airflow at the separation point will push the vane forwards and a signal is passed
via the summing unit to operate the stall warning system (see Fig. 49).

(a) NORMAL ATTITUDE

(b) WING STALLED

FIG. 49 LIFT TRANSDUCER NORMAL AND STALLED CONDITION

FIG. 50 STALL WARNING LIFT TRANSDUCER

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For most aerofoils any increase in the


turbulence, and thus loss of lift, is
progressive as the stalling angle is
approached. During this partly stalled
condition lift is just sufficient to support
the aircraft's weight. Stall warning systems
are designed to operate during this
transition stage BEFORE a complete stall
condition occurs.
Lift during this stage can only be regained
by increasing the airspeed, as any increase
in the angle of attack would simply
complete the stall. Therefore, we can say
that the stalling speed, unlike the stalling
angle, can vary, in fact it will be higher for
the same aircraft when the aircraft is
heavily loaded.

FIG. 51 VIBRATING REED


TYPE STALL WARNING
INDICATOR

The stalling speed also depends on the density of the air. As height increases the air
density decreases and the thinner air produces less lift. This therefore means that the
higher an aircraft flies the faster it must travel to prevent a stall condition from occurring.
If an aerofoil is equipped with high lift devices such as flaps and slats the stalling angle
can be delayed to much higher angles of attack due to improved airflow and thus lift on a
wing, at high angles of attack. The position of the flaps and slats must therefore be taken
into consideration when determining a possible stall. Fig. 52 shows the effect of a leading
edge slat on the stall.

FIG. 52 EFFECT OF LEADING EDGE SLATS ON STALLING ANGLE

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47

STALL WARNING SYSTEMS


The signals from the sensors are sent to a summing unit that is a 'black box; a signal is
also received from the flap and slat position indication system.
The electrical signals are processed by the summing unit and when a stall condition is
imminent a warning will be sent to the crew. This warning is delayed progressively with
flap out movement. Normally the methods used to inform the crew are: A stall warning horn
A stick shaker
STALL WARNING HORN
The stall warning horn is normally installed in light aircraft and gives the pilot an aural
warning of an approaching stall condition.
STICK SHAKER
The stick shaker is the most common method of stall warning; it consists of an electric
motor having an output shaft. An eccentric weight is attached to the output shaft. The
stick shaker is attached to the control column and when the motor rotates it will severely
vibrate the column. The position of the stick shaker in the control system is shown in Fig.
53.
In most cases, stall warning systems on large transport aircraft have duplicated major
components such as: Two AOA sensors or two vanes
Two summing units
Two stick shakers.
If either system detects a stall condition it will, through its own summing unit, vibrate the
column. As both columns are joined together (Fig. 53), sometimes through anti-jam
breakouts, both columns will shake. It is usual of course for both stick shakers to operate
simultaneously.

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ELEVATOR COLUMNS

COLUMN
BREAK
OUT

ECCENTRIC WEIGHT
STICK SHAKER
MOTOR

FIG. 53 TYPICAL CONTROL INPUT SYSTEM

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STALL WARNING SYSTEM (PORT SIDE)

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49

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50

THE ACCELEROMETER
An accelerometer is an instrument that measures the G forces or acceleration forces on
an aircraft in flight in order to prevent overstress of the structure. The mechanism of the
accelerometer consists of a weight that is connected by a cord and pulleys to the shaft that
operates the pointer. The internal arrangement of an accelerometer is shown in figs. 54 &
55. The weight is supported by a guide shaft that only allows it to move up and down
relative to the guide shaft. A positive G acceleration will cause the weight to move
downward and rotate the pointer to show a higher positive G loading. There is a balance
spring on the pointer shaft pulley to balance the forces. The instrument is installed in the
airplane so that it measures acceleration along the vertical axis of the airplane. The
normal at rest indication on the ground or in level flight is + 1 Gs.
The instrument face of an accelerometer is shown in fig. 56. The instrument has three
pointers connected to the operating mechanism. One pointer gives readout of the current
acceleration force along the vertical axis. The other two pointers have a ratchet device so
that they will remain at the highest reading recorded for positive and negative forces. A
knob is included on the instrument to reset the two recording parameters.

FIG. 54 THE INTERNAL MECHANISM OF A THREE-POINTER


ACCELEROMETER
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FIG. 56 AN ACCELEROMETER INDICATES THE LOAD PLACED ON AN


AIRPLANE STRUCTURE AND IS CALIBRATED IN G-UNITS

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51

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52

FIG. 56 ACCELEROMETER INSTRUMENT FACE WITH THREE


POINTERS

THE DEAD WEIGHT TESTER


Gauge or
system
under test

Screw/piston
assembly

Piston/platform
assembly
Reservoir

Isolation
valves

Area 1/8 sq. in.


Anti-freeze oil

Typical test
weight

20psi
True weight value is 2.5 lbs.
Marked value

FIG. 57 DEAD WEIGHT TESTER

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53

Pressure instruments and systems are checked and calibrated with a Dead Weight Tester
(Fig. 57). The tester consists of a cylinder containing oil with three outlets; the
connection for the instrument or transmitter, the piston and weight platform, and a sliding
piston controlled by a screw jack.
The weight platform piston has a cross sectional area of 1/8 sq. inch, with a total weight
of piston and platform of 1/8 lb.
The effect of this will be:
F=PA

where F = Force
P = Pressure, psi
A = Area, sq. in.

1/8 = P 1/8
P = 1 psi
To use the tester the gauge or transmitter is fitted and the cylinder filled with oil. Weights
as stipulated are loaded onto the platform and then the oil is slowly compressed by the
screw jack until the weights float. The weight on the platform will result in a pressure
registering on the gauge, any discrepancy being checked against the maintenance manual.

EXAMPLE
Weight on platform

3lbs

Weight of platform

1/8lb

Area of platform

1/8 sq. in.

PA

F/A

1
3 lb
8
=
1 2
in
8

25 8
= 25psi pressure gauge reading
8 1

The weights used with the dead weight tester are marked with a number this number
indicating the pressure produced by that weight.

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54

ENGINE SPEED INDICATION


MECHANICAL TACHOMETERS
Most small general aviation aircraft use simple mechanical tachometers that utll1ze a
flexible drive cable similar to the speedometer drive cable in a car as in diagram on next
page. This flexible drive cable is connected to a drive gear in the engine accessory section
and the other end is connected to the tachometer in the cockpit. Older style tachometers
used rotating flyweights to move the pointer in the tachometer instrument as illustrated in
fig. 58. Later mechanical tachometers use a rotating permanent magnet and a drag cup to
move the pointer. A tachometer drag cup is shown in fig. 59.
The small permanent magnet is fastened to the end of the drive mechanism so that it
produces a rotating magnetic field. Surrounding the magnet is a drag cup made of
aluminium. As the magnet rotates it sets up eddy currents in the aluminium drag cup and
the magnetic fields of the eddy currents interact with the rotating field of the permanent
magnet. The interaction of the two fields causes a torque force or drag force to be applied
to the drag cup, which rotates it against spring tension to move the pointer. The main
advantage of the drag cup tachometer is that there is no direct mechanical connection
between the drive cable and the pointer mechanism. This makes it smoother in operation
and less likely to break if some minor binding occurs.

FIG. 58 OLDER TYPE OF MECHANICAL TACHOMETERTHAT USED THE


CENTRIFUGAL FORCE OF SPINNING FLYWEIGHTS
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CABLE FOR CONNECTING A MAGNETIC DRAG TACHOMETER TO AN


AIRCRAFT ENGINE

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55

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56

FIG. 59 THE PERMANENT MAGNET AND DRAG CUP OF A MODERN


MECHANICAL TACHOMETER

ELECTRICAL TACHOMETERS
The engine speed indicator consists of the indicator and a transmitter located on the
engine.
The transmitter is a generator driven by the engine, which supplies a small three-phase
alternating current to a motor in the indicator. The speed of the motor is controlled by the
frequency of the alternating current supply, and the frequency of the supply will vary
with engine speed.
The indicator consists of stator windings arranged around a rotor. The three-phase A.C.
supply from the generator fed to the stator windings will produce a moving magnetic

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57

field that will rotate the rotor until the rotor revolves at the same speed as the field. This
arrangement is known as a synchronous motor (Fig. 60).

FIG. 60 TACHOMETER-GENERATOR SYSTEM

The motor drives a four pole magnet rotating inside a copper drag cup. The revolving
magnet sets up an eddy current in the copper drag cup, which causes a magnetic field that
tends to react with the revolving magnet and move in the same direction.
The drag cup in moving will tend to wind up a hair-spring turning the indicator pointer,
until the magnetic force is balanced by the spring force. The faster the generator revolves
the higher its frequency and the faster the synchronous motor moves. The faster the
motor moves the greater the magnetic force induced in the drag cup. Thus the drag cup
will rotate with the four-pole magnet against the hairspring until the forces are balanced.

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THE THREE-PHASE GENERATOR IS DRIVEN BY THE ENGINE TO PRODUCE AC WHOSE FREQUENCY


RELATES TO ENGINE RPM. THE INDICATOR HOLDS A SYNCHRONOUS MOTOR WHICH DRIVES A
MAGNETIC DRAG TACHOMETER MAGNET.

FIG.61 AN A.C. TACH GENERATOR SYSTEM

THE TACHO-PROBE SYSTEM (VARIABLE RELUCTANCE PROBE)


Purpose
To indicate the engine speed and to provide electrical inputs to systems requiring engine
speed information, i.e. flight data and engine control.
Advantages
No additional moving parts have to be fitted to the engine, and multiple outputs can be
obtained from one probe.

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Principles of Operation
The system operates on that of a magnetic proximity detector, where a coil situated in a
magnetic field will have a current induced in it if the magnetic flux density changes. Each
time the protruding part of the gear teeth passes a pole piece on the tacho-probe a
voltage/current is induced in the probe. The magnitude of the induced current will depend
on the rate at which the flux is changed. The faster the gear wheel moves (faster PRM)
the greater will be the induced current in the probe. In tachometers the magnetic sensor
produces an output in direct proportion to the engine speed (Fig. 62). This output is
summed, balanced and amplified and gives an indication in terms of engine speed.
The frequency

No. of Gear Teeth R.P.M.


60

The output frequency can be converted directly to R.P.M. by means of a frequency


counter or digital tachometer. The frequency can also be changed into a proportional D.C.
current.
POLE PIECE
COILS CORE

MAGNET

SPOT WELDED
CONNECTION

ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR

AXIS OF POLARIZATION

TACHO PROBE

GEAR
WHEE
L

PERMANENT
POLE
MAGNET EXCITING COILS PIECES

FIG. 62 TACHO PROBE

AIRCRAFT FUEL SYSTEMS


Modern aircraft require reliable and accurate systems for the safe and efficient operation
of the aircraft. Included in the fuel systems are components that are used to indicate the
fuel quantity, flow rate, pressure and temperature. Float switches are also used to control
the refuelling and defuelling of the fuel tanks.

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There are many variations in the components that are used in the systems with the
exception of the fuel quantity indicating system, which is almost universally of the
capacitance measuring type. This is because it is the most accurate way of indicating the
fuel quantity regardless of the aircrafts attitude and fuel temperature.
SIMPLE FUEL QUANTITY INDICATING SYSTEM
FLOAT TYPE

FLOAT

INDICATOR
FUEL TANK

FIG. 63 FUEL QUANTITY INDICATING SYSTEM

The float, which is made of cork, sits upon the fuel and as the fuel level changes the float
moves to reposition a wiper on a resistor that alters the ratio of currents in the indicator
coils, changing their magnetic fields to move the pointer. The disadvantage of this system
is that when the aircraft banks it causes indication errors.
FLOAT ARM FITMENT DETAILS
1.

Ensure correct part number

2.

Carry out insulation and resistance tests

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3.

Examine for damage, e.g. bent arms, cleanliness and corrosion

4.

Check arm for freedom of movement

5.

Ensure mating surfaces are clean, fit a new gasket and fuel resistant sealant

6.

Insert float arm taking care not to bend the arm

7.

Secure evenly to correct torque

8.

Connect wiring and bonding strip

9.

Drain fuel tank, leaving unusable fuel quantity in the tank

10.

Apply power and check gauge indicates empty

11.

Refuel in stages checking gauge calibration

It is most important that the gauge is accurate at the empty position.

N
COIL A

TANK
UNIT

COIL B

DC

FIG. 64 SIMPLIFIED D.C.REMOTE INDICATING SYSTEM

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61

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62

CAPACITANCE TYPE FUEL GAUGE SYSTEM


Introduction
In its basic form a capacitance fuel gauge system consists of a variable capacitor located
in the fuel tank, an amplifier and an indicator. The capacitance system is used because the
indications will remain constant irrespective of the tanks attitude.
Principle of Operation
As the fuel level changes the capacitance and current in the circuit changes. This change
of current is used to operate the indicating element. This element indicates the change in
fuel quantity.
SCHEMATIC OF A TYPICAL FUEL SYSTEM

CO-AXIAL CABLES

AMP

CONTENTS

REFUEL VALVES ETC.


WARNING
CIRCUITS

HIGH
LEVEL
FLOAT
SWITCH

TANK
UNIT

FUEL TRANSMITTER
METER ELE. XMTR

REFERENCE
UNIT

P
U
M
P

FLOW
RATE

LOW
LEVEL
FLOAT
SWITCH
PRESSURE
XMTR

TO ENGINE

TEMP
BULB

FIG.65 SCHEMATIC OF A TYPICAL FUEL SYSTEM


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FUEL
PRESSURE

FUEL
TEMP

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63

FIG. 66 TANK UNIT THE TANK UNIT IS MADE OF CONCENTRIC METAL


TUBES SEPARATED BY A VERY ACCURATELY CONTROLLED DISTANCE

CAPACITANC FUEL GAUGING CONTENTS


1)

Co-Axial Cables

Co-Axial Cables are used in capacitance fuel systems to connect the tank units
(capacitors) in parallel. Co-Axial cables are used because they have a fixed capacitance
value per unit length, but since the cables form part of the total circuit capacitance, it is
essential that their values be kept to a specific value.
When fitting co-axial cables ensure that they do not become kinked, and that the cable
bend radius is not less than one inch.

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2)

64

Tank Units

The capacitor in the fuel system is called a tank unit. A tank unit consists of two
concentric aluminium alloy tubes that are held apart by pairs of insulating pins. The
electrical connections to a tank unit are usually made through co-axial connectors
mounted on a bracket that is electrically insulated from the tank unit.
The tank unit is fitted into supporting fixtures within the tank which are designed to
accommodate nylon sleeves attached to the tank unit.

FIG. 67 TANK UNIT

Standard unit: -

1 - rubber ring
2 - nylon sleeve
4 - inner tube
5 - rubber ring
7 - insulating cross-pin
9 miniature co-axial connector

3 - outer tube
6 -nylon sleeve
8 - bracket

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FIG. 68 SIMPLE FUEL QUANTITY SYSTEM

When the product of the inductance A-B and capacitance C1 equals inductance B-C and
capacitance C2, the bridge is balanced and no current flows through the indicator.

FUEL FLOWMETERS
Fuel flow metering systems are designed to provide the aircrew with continuous
indications of the quantity of fuel consumed and the instantaneous rate of fuel flow to
each engine.
A fuel flow meter should be able to meet the following criteria: 1.

It must be able to indicate the fuel flow rate accurately

2.

It must not cause any restriction to the fuel flow

3.

If the flowmeter fails mechanically, it must be able to provide the maximum


flow rate required by the engine
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4.

66

The flowmeter should be able to compensate for changes in the fuel


temperature, which would vary the fuels viscosity

VOLUME FLOW MEASUREMENT


One type of fuel flow measurement system incorporates a movable vane unit in series
with the fuel line to the engine. The spring-loaded vane is displaced in proportion to the
amount of fuel flow. Since the vane's movement must be linear to get an accurate flow
measurement, the size of the restriction created by the vane in its housing must increase
as the vane is displaced.
This increase is calibrated into the design of the flow-meter sender unit. The movement
of the vane is sent to the flow indicator via an Autosyn transmitter and receiver unit. A
fuel flow system utilising a fuel flow meter that employs the use of a synchro is shown in
Fig. 69 on the next page.
Fuel entering the metering chamber is straightened before it impinges on the vane, which
rotates against the tension of the calibrated spring. The position of the vane determines
the value of the electrical output.
There is normally a damping section contained within the flowmeter to remove
oscillations of the moving vane. This may comprise of a fuel filled compartment which
itself contains a vane, called a damping vane. The damping vane acts as a counter balance
to the moving vane. This section also houses the calibration spring.

FIG. 69(a) AUTOSYN


REMOTE INDICATING
TYPE VOLUME
FLOWMETER

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67

FIG. 69(b) AUTOSYN REMOTE INDICATING TYPE VOLUME FLOWMETER

MASS FLOW MEASUREMENT


A mass flow measurement device works on the principle that the viscosity of the fuel
changes with the mass flow of the fuel. A turbine is placed in line with a motor that
swirls the fuel. The viscosity of the fuel will determine the force placed on the turbine,
which is resisted by a calibrated spring force. The turbine is connected to an AC system,
which transmits fuel flow information to the indicator on the instrument panel. While this
system is by far the most accurate means of monitoring fuel flow it, also is also the most
complicated.
IMPELLER/TURBINE FUEL FLOW INDICATING SVSTEM
This type of fuel flow transmitter has four (4) sections: 1.

A static frequency controller that will maintain its output to close tolerances i.e. + 3% frequency.

2.

An impeller that is driven through reduction gearing by a motor using the


frequency controller output this keeps the impeller turning at a constant
speed.

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3.

A turbine that contains fuel-straightening vanes. The turbine is mechanically


independent of the impeller but is restrained by a spring.

4.

An electrical transmitter whose output is controlled by the position of the


turbine.

FIG. 70 IMPELLER/TURBINE FUEL FLOW TRANSMITTER

Principle of Operation
As the fuel passes through the impeller it is given a swirling motion, which is
proportional to the rate of fuel flow.
The swirling motion of the fuel is applied to straightening vanes in the turbine causing it
to rotate against the tension of the restraining spring. As the turbine shaft rotates it
positions the transmitting section of the indicating system, which may be of any type
depending upon design, i.e. Torque Synchro, Magnesyn, Desynn, or a Potentiometer.
TESTING FUEL FLOW SYSTEMS
A functional test of most modern fuel flow indicating systems can be made in-situ
without the necessity of an engine run. This can be done by means of a portable test set
connected in place of the transmitter.

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RESTRAINING
SPRINGS

FUEL
IMPELLER
(63RPM)

IMPELLER
MOTOR (143
RPM)

69

TRANSMITTER

TURBIN
E
115V AC 400
Hz

ENG. 2

FLOWMETER TRANSMITTER

FUEL FLOW
INDICATOR

TO
ENGINES
28V DC

RADIO
NOISE
FILTER
SLIP
RING

TIMING
CONTACTS

SLIP
RING

SLIP
RING

COMMUTATOR

CONSTANT
DC VOLTS

POWER SUPPLY

FIG. 71 IMPELLER/TURBINE FUEL FLOW SYSTEM

Typical Test
a.

Connect the test set in place of the transmitter

b.

Apply power and allow the system to stabilize

c.

Check the indicator readings with the test set selected at each flow rate,
moving up and down the scale

d.

The indications should be within + 30 kilograms per hour of the selected flow
rates

e.

If the indicator is of the integrated type, press the test button and check the
counters reset within 30 seconds
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FIG. 72 MEASUREMENT OF FUEL FLOW BASED ON MASS IS


ACCOMPLISHED BY SPINNING THE FUEL TOWARD A TURBINE
WITH AN IMPELLER. THE AMOUNT THE TURBINE IS DISPLACED
DEPENDS ON THE QUANTITY AND VISCOSITY OF THE FUEL THAT
IS SPUN TOWARD IT.

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COMPASSES
INTRIDUCTION
It is necessary to provide an indication of the aircrafts heading relative to magnetic
North to enable the pilot to accurately fly and navigate an aircraft over the surface of the
Earth.
There are two types of compass in use: Direct reading type
Remote reading type
These notes deal with both types of compass, and some typical in situ checks to prove
their serviceability.
DIRECT READING COMPASS
The direct reading compass is a simple, self-contained instrument that operates on the
principle of magnetic attraction. For example, if a bar magnet is mounted on a pivot and
is free to rotate, the magnet will assume a position with one of its ends pointing towards
the Earth's magnetic North pole. This is called the north seeking end of the magnet.
It follows therefore, that the opposite end of the bar magnet is south seeking, and it is
usual to identify the ends (or poles.) of a magnet as North (north seeking) and South
(south seeking).
EARTHS.MAGNETIC FIELD
The surface of the Earth is surrounded by a weak magnetic field, which culminates in two
magnetic poles, situated near the North and South geographic or true poles.
The position of these poles is continually changing, for at any point on the Earth's surface
the field is not symmetrical, and is subject to periodic and irregular changes.
These changes give rise to magnetic variation, which is defined as the angle between the
true and magnetic direction, usually with reference to North. Information regarding
magnetic variation is given on special charts, which cover most regions of the world, and
are issued every few years.

MAGNETIC
NORTH

TRUE NORTH

180O Variation

(No Variation)

Heading
North

(No Variation)

Heading
North

Heading
North
V
EQUATOR

WEST

VARIATION IS THE ANGLE EXISTING


BETWEEN TRUE AND MAGNETIC NORTH

WESTERLY
=
VARIATION ve

EASTERLY = +
VARIATION ve

TRUE SOUTH
FIG. 1 COMPASS VARIATION

As latitude changes variation changes for the same longitude.


Lines of longitude 0 180o
Lines of latitude 0 90o

EAST

MAGNETIC NORTH POLE

GEOGRAPHIC (TRUE)
POLES

MAGNETIC VARIATION
AT POINT X (ANGLE
BETWEEN TRUE NORTH
AND MAGNETIC NORTH)

EQUATOR

MAGNETIC SOUTH POLE

FIG. 2 EARTH
EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD

THE MAGNETIC COMPASS


The magnetic compass or direct reading compass consists of a liquid filled bowl,
containing a pivoted float element to which a magnet is attached. A graduated card is
attached to the floating element, which is free to rotate to allow the magnet to align itself
with the Earth's magnetic North and South poles. A typical aircraft compass is shown in
Fig. 3.
The card is referenced against a lubber line fixed to the interior of the bowl, and lying on
or parallel to the fore and aft axis of the aircraft. The compass may be mounted in an
instrument panel, on a coaming panel or suspended from a roof panel. In aircraft where
the magnetic compass is a standby instrument, it is usually installed adjacent to the
central frame of the windscreen, mounted in a foldaway assembly, as shown in Fig. 5.

FIG. 3 TYPICAL AIRCRAFT COMPASS

COMPASS COMPENSATION
The magnetic compass, when installed in an aircraft, is affected by the magnetic
influences of the aircraft structure, and the electrical system. These influences distort the
Earth's magnetic field in the vicinity of the compass, and deflect the compass card away
from the magnetic heading.
This deflection is known as deviation, and can be compensated for by placing small
magnets in certain directions near the compass. Adjustments to this compensation will
have to be made from time to time during the lifetime of an aircraft. The procedure is
called a compass swing.
There are a number of different occasions when a compass swing must be carried out. In
general it will be whenever the compass or compensator device is installed or replaced.
There are other reasons for compass swings and these are dealt with in Module 30
Compass Compensation and Adjustment (see also CAIPs Leaflet AL/10-5).

FIG. 4 E TYPE COMPASS EXPLODED VIEW

FIG. 5 FOLD AWAY ASSEMBLY

FUNCTIONAL CHECK
The compass is a delicate instrument and should always be handled with care. The
following check items are usually included: the mountings must be secure
the scale should be readable
the liquid should be clear and free from discolouration, sediment and air bubbles
when deflected by a magnetic item (such as a screwdriver), the card should return
smoothly to the original reading with little or no overshoot, when the magnetic
influence is removed
the valid steer-by deviation card should be clearly visible and secure in its holder
.the compass illumination should be operable

AIRCRAFT COMPASS
DATE ..
FOR
STEER
O
N
000
000O
O
030
033O
060O
060O
E
090O
095O
120O
120O
150O
149O
S
180O
175O
210O
205O
O
240
234O
W
270O
265O
300O
294O
330O
326O
CALIBRATED BY:

FIG. 6 COMPASS DEVIATION CARD


The magnetic compass, being a simple instrument, is subject to errors, especially' during
aircraft manoeuvres, and is only reliable during straight, level and unaccelerated flight.
The gyroscopic direction or heading indicator is used during aircraft manoeuvres, but this
instrument is in turn subject to errors during straight and level flight. With the advent of
modern high performance aircraft, it has become necessary to combine both types of
instrument to form the remote reading compass.

REMOTE READING COMPASS


In an aircraft that has a direct reading magnetic compass, and a gyroscopic direction
indicator, the pilot links the two together, by adjusting the direction indicator to read the
same heading as the magnetic compass.
However, in a remote reading compass, the link between the two units is made
electronically, and the gyro remains slaved to the magnetic heading to provide the pilot
with an indication of the magnetic heading.

This is the gyro-magnetic compass, and a simplified system is shown in Fig. 7.

DEVIATION
COMPENSATOR

LEVELLING
SYSTEM
D/G
COMPASS/SLAVE

SLAVING
SYSTEM

AMPLIFIER

PRECESSION
DEVICE

GYRO

INDICATING
ELEMENT

FLUX DETECTOR
ELEMENT

SERVO
SYSTEM
POSITIONAL FEEDBACK

FIG. 7 REMOTE READING COMPASS SYSTEM

GYRO-MAGNETIC COMPASS
The components of the gyro-magnetic compass include: A magnetic reference that is derived from a unit commonly known as a flux valve,
or detector unit. It is located in an area which is relatively free from any disturbing
magnetic fields due to the aircraft itself, this is usually in a wing tip or on the
vertical stabiliser.
The flux valve, which supplies an electrical signal that is proportional to the
direction of the Earth's magnetic field. This is in turn amplified and used to
precess a directional gyroscope, to ensure it remains aligned with the Earth's
magnetic field.
A synchronising indicator is used to provide an indication to the pilot that the
gyroscope is aligned with the magnetic reference from the flux valve.

A synchronising knob is provided on the master indicator to enable the pilot


rapidly to synchronise the gyroscope, whenever power is first applied to the
system.
A feedback loop provides the slaving system with the necessary information
regarding the positioning of the gyro. This will also gradually reduce the error
developed by the slaving system as the gyro moves closer and closer to the correct
position.
Fig. 7 illustrates the signal flow in a basic Remote Compass System where the compass
indicator can display either heading information directly from a remote gyro, or heading
information from the gyro, monitored by a magnetic flux valve.
A Compass/D/G selector switch determines the mode of operation. D/G may be selected
if either the flux valve or amplifier fails or, if the aircraft is at latitudes in excess of 600.
This is due to the decrease in the horizontal component of the Earths magnetic field. The
flux detector monitors the output of the gyro only in the compass or slave mode.
In the D/G position the indication is solely dependent upon the output from the
Directional Gyro since the amplifier would have no input power and hence no output.
The flux detector does not make the gyro turn when the aircraft turns. It just serves to get
rid of errors that come from the gyro e.g. gimbal errors and precessional errors.
Figs. 8 and 9 are simplified schematics of systems currently in use on a modern jet
transport aircraft.
The directional gyro and amplifier unit is mounted in the electronics bay of the aircraft,
and provides an electrical signal to drive the graduated compass card of the instrument,
which is mounted on the panel. From this instrument, output lines provide additional
heading reference signals for use by the flight recorder and radio navigation systems,
should they be fitted. These output lines are of the three-phase synchro type.
COMPASS SWING
The procedure is basically the same as that described for the magnetic compass.
Compensation is generally achieved electrically, by adjustment of variable resistances
mounted in a compensator unit, although some flux valves do have a magnetic type of
compensation, similar to that fitted to the magnetic compass.

10

FIG. 8 GYRO MAGNETIC COMPASS SIMPLIFIED SYSTEM

FUNCTIONAL CHECK
As in all instrument systems, the components, especially the gyroscope and flux valve,
are delicate, and must always be handled carefully. To check the operation of the system:
Apply electrical power and allow time for the gyroscope to run up to speed.
Ensure that any system failure flags are withdrawn from view, and the indicated
heading settles down.
Examine the synchronising indicator. If it is zero or at the reference datum, check
that the indicated heading matches the actual magnetic heading of the aircraft
(compare with the magnetic compass).

11

Operate the synchronising knob, and ensure the indicated heading moves
smoothly away from the initial value.
Check the synchronising indicator is offset.
Release the knob and check that the indicated heading slowly changes towards
that of the magnetic heading. (In this mode, the system will operate at up to 2 per
minute to return to the magnetic heading).
Rotate the synchronising knob in the opposite direction and ensure the indication
changes smoothly.

Finally, rotate the synchronising knob, until the synchronising indicator reads
zero, and ensure the indicated heading is the same as the magnetic heading.

FIG. 9 GYRO MAGNETIC COMPASS SIMPLIFIED SCHEMATIC

12

MODERN COMPASS TECHNOLOGY


The system that has just been described has evolved over a number of years to produce an
accurate compass for use in modern high performance jet transport aircraft. It
incorporates gyroscopes, servomotors and associated electronic circuitry. However,
modern technology has drastically altered the compass system especially in aircraft, such
as the Boeing 757/767.
In these systems, the flux valve has been removed, and in its place is a computer that has
in its memory a map of the Earth-'s magnetic field. The aircraft's position and direction is
derived from an inertial reference unit, utilising laser gyro technology. Between the two
units a signal is derived which is the aircraft's magnetic heading. This information is used
by a display computer and the aircraft's heading is displayed on a cathode ray tube (CRT)
indicator, as shown in Fig. 10. In addition, the aircraft's heading can be displayed on
servo driven instruments.
One advantage of this system is that a compass swing is not necessary, as the indication
is no longer dependent upon measuring a magnetic field. One point to remember however
is that even on these modern aircraft, they do have to have a backup system, and the
standby compass is of the direct reading magnetic type. This does require a compass
swing and compensation at specified times. The compasses shown in Figs. 3 & 4 are of
the type that is typically fitted to these high technology aircraft.

FIG. 10 CATHODE RAY TUBE INDICATOR

ADI AND HSI INSTRUMENTS


THE ATTITUDE DIRECTION INDICATOR
A typical ADI or Attitude Direction Indicator is shown in Fig. 1 below. It supplies the
pilot with information concerning the aircraft's attitude relative to the ground, and a
direction in which to fly the aircraft to maintain a specific flight path.

FIG. 1 ATTITUDE DIRECTION INDICATOR

The ADI combines a number of different indicators in the one common unit. The
function of each indicator on this ADI is outlined below.
The Artificial Horizon
This is shown in Fig. 2 on the next page. The aircraft is represented by the fixed aircraft
symbol, whilst the horizon line fixed to the attitude tape represents the horizon position
relative to the aircraft symbol. It is current practice to colour the sky areas blue, whilst the
ground areas are brown or yellow. Pitch attitude is indicated in degrees marked on the
tape, whilst roll attitude is indicated by the moving pointer travelling over the fixed scale.

The horizon display is in the form of a roller blind mechanism, driven by electrical servo
motors which receive pitch and roll attitude information from the aircraft's attitude
reference system, a remotely located vertical gyro or inertial reference unit.

ROLL

FIG. 2 ARTIFICIAL HORIZON

Turn and Slip


This is shown in Fig. 3 below. The slip indicator is a mechanical indicator; a ball rolling
in a liquid filled curved glass tube that acts under the influence of gravity to indicate an
uncoordinated turn when the aircraft is subject to skidding or slipping.

FIG. 3 TURN AND SLIP/GLIDESCOPE

The rate of turn indicator provides an indication of the aircraft's rate of turning motion.
The mark represents a rate one turn of l80O/minute.
The indicator is a moving coil meter movement, responding to a change in
electromagnetic flux, which is produced by the turn signal, and derived from a rate gyro
assembly; in some systems part of the aircraft's yaw damper system is used.
Glideslope
The glideslope pointer and scale, also shown in Fig. 3, are functions of the VHF (Very
High Frequency) Navigation System or Instrument Landing System (ILS). The pointer
represents the position of the glideslope radio beam relative to the aircraft. Each dot
represents approximately one third of a degree deviation away from the glideslope.
The indicator is a moving coil meter movement responding to a change in
electromagnetic flux produced by the deviation signal derived from the aircraft's VHF
navigation receiver.

Speed Indicator
This is shown in Fig. 4 below. The pointer indicates against the scale, the speed of the
aircraft relative to a reference speed computed in an auto-throttle or speed command
system, the required speed is the central position.
The indicator is a moving coil meter movement, responding to a changing signal supplied
by the auto-throttle or speed command system.

FIG. 4 SPEED INDICATION/FLIGHT DIRECTOR/LOCALISER/DH

Flight Director Indicator Bars


Flight Director Indicator Bars are shown in Fig. 4. The V-Bars are driven by the Flight
Director System to indicate to the pilot the direction in which the aircraft must be flown
to maintain a computed flight path. This flight path could be a preset heading, a radio
navigation course, localiser and glideslope beams, or a selected altitude.
The V-Bars are positioned by servo motors, one responding to pitch commands, the other
to roll commands originating in the flight director computer system.

Localiser and Radio Altitude


Again this is shown in Fig. 4. The localiser pointer and scale is a function of the VHF
navigation (ILS) system. The runway symbol is positioned by the ILS localiser deviation
signal, to provide a pictorial representation of the location of the runway relative to the
aircraft. The dots represent approximately one degree deviation (left or right) from the
localiser, the centre position.
In addition, the runway symbol is positioned by the radio altimeter system, to provide an
indication of absolute (radio) altitude above the ground. It starts indicating at 200 feet,
and will rise UP to the aircraft symbol, giving an indication to the pilot that the aircraft is
descending DOWN to the runway, which is hopefully immediately below the aircraft,
and not to the left or right!
The localiser indicator is an electrical servo motor, which drives to position the runway
symbol to the left or right from a signal derived in the aircraft's VHF navigation receiver.
Radio altitude is also a servo motor driven indicator, the error signal being derived from
the radio altimeter system.
Decision Height
Once again this is shown in Fig. 4. The Decision Height (DH) indicator light illuminates
when the aircraft's radio altitude is less than a preset value on the radio altimeter indicator.
The bulb filament can be tested by pushing on the light assembly (press to test).

THE HORIZONTAL SITUATION INDICATOR


As its name implies, the Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) provides the pilot with a
pictorial representation of the horizontal situation of the aircraft, primarily its heading
with reference to north.
A typical HSI that may be fitted in conjunction with the ADI already covered is shown in
Fig. 5.
The HSI combines a number of different indicators in the one common unit. The function
of each indicator on the HSI is outlined below.

FIG. 5 HORIZONTAL SITUATION INDICATOR


Heading Indicator
This is illustrated in Fig. 6 below. The aircraft is represented by the symbol fixed in the
centre of the instrument, and the aircraft's heading is indicated under the fixed index line
(lubber line) by the rotation of the compass card.
The compass card is driven by an electric servo motor from an error signal that is derived
in the aircrafts main compass system. The heading indication is generally with reference
to magnetic north, although in some systems it is possible to switch the signal to be with
reference to true north, as in the case of aircraft flying Polar routes.

FIG. 6 HEADING INDICATION

Course Deviation Indicator


The aircraft's required course, used in conjunction with the aircraft's navigation systems,
is selected by the pilot at a remote control panel, and is known as the set course. The
course arrow pointer and tail are driven by a servo motor to indicate the course and its
reciprocal on the compass card. In the example shown in Fig. 7 on the next page, the set
course is 075O with an aircraft heading of 045 O.
As the course pointer rotates, an additional indicator, the deviation indicator, rotates
along with it. The deviation indicator consists of a moving bar to indicate to the pilot the
amount of deviation away from a selected track. This deviation could be radio deviation,
or deviation from a computed track, between route markers, known as waypoints.
The most common type of input is radio deviation, which can be a VOR or a localiser
deviation, part of the VHF navigation system. VOR is an en-route navigation aid, and
each dot represents 5 deviation away from a selected beam, whereas localiser is a
landing aid and each dot represents 1o deviation away from a selected beam, which in this
case is the extended centre line of the landing runway.

The deviation indicator is a moving coil meter movement; zero deviation is indicated by
the bar being in the centre.
TO and FROM Indicator
Illustrated in Fig. 7, this moving coil meter movement is combined with the aircraft's set
course input and VOR beacon bearing to provide an immediate indication to the pilot of
the direction of a radio beacon from the aircraft.
For example, assume the aircraft is flying directly towards the beacon; the indicator is in
front of the aircraft symbol representing a direction TO the beacon. As the aircraft flies
over the beacon, the indication rapidly changes to a FROM indication, and the triangular
flag appears behind the aircraft symbol.

FIG. 7 DEVIATION/TO FROM INDICATION

Glideslope Indicator
This is shown in Fig. 8 below, and operates in exactly the same way as that on the ADI.
Refer back to that item for a review of the glideslope indicator.

FIG. 8 DIGITAL DISPLAYS OF DISTANCE AND GROUNDSPEED

Preset Heading Indicator


This triangular shaped marker, shown in Fig. 8, is positioned over the scale of the
compass card by an electric servo motor system that receives a command signal from a
remote selector knob. It enables the pilot to select a required heading and to turn the
aircraft accurately until the heading marker, and selected heading are aligned with the
lubber line on the HSI.
An additional function of this facility is to supply an electrical signal known as heading
error, i.e. the angular difference between the preset heading marker and lubber line, to the
autopilot and flight director systems.
In the autopilot system, the heading error signal will automatically turn the aircraft onto
the correct heading, whilst the flight director system will position the V-Bars for the pilot
to follow, and hence fly the selected heading.
Distance and Ground Speed

10

These two displays are also shown in Fig. 8. They provide additional navigation
information, in the form of numerical data representing distance in miles to a navigation
beacon and the aircraft's actual speed over the ground.
Then by using a simple mathematical calculation it is possible to calculate the time taken
to arrive at a selected beacon, which may be the destination airfield.
INSTRUMENT PANEL
Fig. 9 below illustrates how these two instruments will be located in the instrument panel,
in front of each pilot in the case of a large jet transport aircraft.

FIG. 9 TYPICAL AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENT PANEL

11

However, it is now common practice to install these types of instrument in the more
expensive light, single engine aircraft, i.e. those that are fully equipped for Instrument
Flight Rules (IFR) flight conditions, i.e. night and low visibility conditions.

SERVICEABILITY CHECKS
Due to the complex nature and multiple systems associated with these two flight
instruments, detailed serviceability tests must be carried out by an aircraft Engineer
whose licence qualifies him for those tests.
However, it is important for the A and C Licensed Engineer to detect when a component
is faulty in order to obtain the necessary assistance in maintaining his aircraft's
serviceability.
To assist in checking the serviceability of these instruments, the manufacturers use a set
of failure flags, which when in view clearly indicate to the pilot (and Engineer) a fault in
the system (see Fig. 10).

FIG. 10 TYPICAL ADI FAILURE FLAGS

12

For example, flags that can appear on an ADI to indicate system failure are as follows: Gyro
This indicates failure of the attitude reference/indication system.
Runaway
This indicates failure of the localiser or radio altimeter system.
CMPTR
This indicates failure of the flight director (V-Bars) system.
Speed
This indicates failure of the speed monitor system.
GS
This indicates failure of the glideslope system.
In some cases the ADI contains a self-test switch that when operated drives the horizon
tape to a fixed position, i.e. 10O down (indicating a climb) and 20O left (indicating a roll
to the right). This enables a check to be made of the ADI attitude tape drive system.
Fig. 11 shows the flags related to the HSI.

FIG. 11 TYPICAL HSI FAILURE FLAGS

13

Flags that are incorporated into the HSI can be: Heading
This indicates fai1ure of the heading reference system.

This indicates failure of the navigation system supplying information to the HSI.
GS
This indicates failure of the glideslope system, and should appear along with the
G S flag in the ADI.
All these flags are coloured bright red/orange to draw the pilot's attention to the failed
system, and thus ignore what might be an incorrect indication.
The ground speed and distance display will blank to indicate failure of the system
supplying the information.
Thus, a pre-requisite to carrying out a serviceability check is to ensure that all the flags
remain out of view, with the appropriate systems operating normally and fully powered.
Operation Prior to Flight
As mentioned earlier, a detailed test is normally carried out by the 'X' Licensed Engineer
using the correct test equipment; however it is possible to carry out a brief serviceability
check to confirm operation prior to flight.
The exact checks that are carried out depend very much on the type of equipment fitted to
the aircraft, however some typical checks are as follows: Apply power to all the systems and check that: The horizon tape rotates smoothly without sticking and eventually settles

down to indicate the aircraft's attitude (compare this indication with other
ADIs fitted to the instrument panel).
The compass card rotates smoothly without sticking, and eventually settles

down to indicate the aircraft's heading (compare this indication with other
compass indicators fitted to the instrument panel).
Both the 'Gyro' and 'Heading' flags clear from view.

14

Set the flight director system to heading mode then:

Check that the flight director V-Bars appear on the ADI; rotate the
pre-select heading knob to align the HSI preset heading marker with
the index line, check that the V-Bars rotate smoothly from at fixed
bank angle to a wings-level indication.

Select the flight director system OFF, and check that the V-Bars
drive smoothly up and out of view at the top of the ADI

In order to carry out a check on the navigation deviation indicators, it is necessary to


carry out a self-test of the radio navigation systems. This is usually achieved by operating
a test switch or a number of test switches to simulate a fixed deviation indication.
Atypical VHF navigation control panel is shown in Fig. 12 below. It contains four test
switches: 1.

VOR test. This simulates a radio bearing of 180.

2.

UP/LT test. This simulates a glideslope and localiser deviation of 1 dot UP and
LEFT.

3.

DN/RT test. This simulates a glideslope and localiser deviation of 1 dot


DOWN and RIGHT.

4.

DME test. This simulates DME distance of 000 miles.

FIG. 12 VHF NAV CONTROL PANEL

15

The procedure for carrying out these tests on the flight instruments is as follows: .
Ensure that power is applied to the VHF navigation system.
Select a localiser frequency, in the range 108.10 to 111.95 MHz and odd decimal
placing, i.e. 109.50 MHz etc.
Press the UP/LT test switch and check that both glideslope indicators and localiser
indicators move 1 dot UP and LEFT. During this test the GS and NAV flags will
appear.
Release the test switch and operate the DN/RT test switch, and ensure that the
deviations are in the correct direction.
Release the test switch.
Select a VOR frequency in the range 108.00 to 117.95 MHz, except for the
localiser frequency range.
Press the VOR test switch, and rotate the set course knob to 180o. Ensure that the
course pointer rotates smoothly to indicate 180; deviation is zero and the TO flag
shows.
With the VOR test switch held depressed, rotate set course around to 000o. As the
course pointer changes by 5o and 10, check that the correct deviation is indicated
(1 dot, 2 dots respectively).
As the Course pointer rotates through 90, check the TO flag changes to a FROM
flag.
At 000o course pointer position, check that the deviation is zero.
During this check the NAV flag will appear.
Release the VOR test switch.
Operate the DME test switch and check that the DME indicator reads 000 miles.
Release the DME test switch.

To check the ground speed display it will be necessary to carry out a self-test of the
appropriate navigation system that is being used to supply this information.

16

It is not possible to list the steps taken in this booklet, due to variations in system
operation, however the aircrafts Maintenance Manual will contain the necessary
information to enable you to carry out this test.
Finally, check the instrument illumination for correct and satisfactory operation, examine
the markings of the indicators for legibility, and examine the instrument for signs of
mechanical damage.
In some cases the instrument glass may have a bloomed finish to reduce surface
reflection. These glasses are identified as having a bluish tint under normal daylight
conditions, and care must be taken not to touch or scratch the surface. Any marks or
stains may be removed by using a clean lint-free cloth and an approved isopropyl alcohol
cleaning solvent.

THE AIR DATA COMPUTER AND ATC TRANSPONDER


THE AIR DATA COMPUTER
As well as the basic instruments of altimeter, airspeed indicator and vertical speed
indicator, most modern aircraft have a number of different systems that require a measure
of air data for their correct operation. These include: autopilot, autothrottle, and flight director systems,
pressurisation systems,
flight data recorder systems,
engine performance computers,
Mach trim systems,
ATC Transponders.
All these systems receive from the air data computer an electrical signal that represents
altitude, airspeed, Mach number, and vertical speed of the aircraft measured at the, single
source, the Central Air Data Computer (CADC).
The CADC is a 'black box' or line replaceable unit that contains two pneumatic
transducers and the appropriate electronics to convert the measured pitot and static
pressures to an electrical signal that is supplied to the ancillary systems and, in some
aircraft, the pilot's instruments.
An aircraft's ADC system is shown in block form in Fig. 1. It identifies typical inputs,
and outputs for use by the ancillary systems.

ALTITUDE DATA
PITOT
ALTITUDE RATE

CENTRAL
AIR
DATA
COMPUTER

STATIC

AIRSPEEDE DATA
MACH DATA
TRUE AIRSPEED (TAS)

TEMPERATURE
PROBE INPUT

STATIC AIR TEMP

FIG. 1 BLOCK DIAGRAM AIR DATA COMPUTER

ADC OPERATION
Within the ADC there are two pneumatic transducers. These are devices that convert a
measured force to an electrical signal that is directly proportional to that force. In this
case that force can be due to either static pressure (altitude), or the difference between
pitot and static pressures (airspeed).
Additional electrical/electronic circuits are used to provide additional information such as:
Mach number (airspeed and altitude),
true airspeed (airspeed, altitude and temperature),
static air temperature.
Fig. 2 is a block schematic of an ADC.

ALTITUDE RATE
STATIC
ALTITUDE

ALTITUDE
TRANSDUCER

MACH NUMBER
COMPUTER

MACH NUMBER

STATIC
AIRSPEED
PITOT
AIRSPEED
TRANSDUCER

TOTAL AIR
TEMPERATURE

TRUE AIRSPEED

TEMPERATURE
CIRCUIT

FIG. 2 SCHEMATIC OF AN AIR DATA


COMPUTER

STATIC AIR
TEMPERATURE

THE ADC TRANSDUCER


There are a number of different types of transducers in common use dependent upon the
manufacturer; however, they can fall into one of two groups:
The analogue servo mechanical transducer
The digital force balance transducer
ANALOGUE SERVO MECHANICAL TRANSDUCER
This type (Fig. 3) is used in an analogue air data computer. It utilises a capsule that
applies a force to an electromagnetic signal detector. The resultant signal is amplified and
used to drive a servo motor, which, through the use of a gearbox, repositions the signal
detector to reduce the error signal to zero. Thus motor rotation is proportional to the
change in applied pressure, i.e.: static for altitude information
pitot-static for airspeed information

FIG. 3 ANALOGUE SERVO MECHANICAL TRANSDUCER

DIGITAL FORCE BALANCE TRANSDUCER


This type (Fig. 4) is used in a digital air data computer or DADC. It utilises a diaphragm
that consists of a quartz crystal type of material whose electrical resistance varies with
applied force (in this case pressure). The change in resistance is detected by an electronic
bridge circuit and converted to a digital signal by the use of microelectronics, under the
control of a digital computer.

STATIC
PRESSURE
TRANSDUCER

DIGITAL
PROCESSOR
TOTAL
PRESSURE
TRANSDUCER

FIG. 4 DIGITAL FORCE BALANCE TRANSDUCER

OUTPUT SIGNALS
In order to supply the ancillary and instrument systems with an electrical signal that
represents the altitude and airspeed of the aircraft, some form of electrical transmitter is
provided.
There are a number of different types in use but they fall into three distinct categories: synchro transmitters,
potentiometers,
digital data bus.
Fig. 5 on the next page represents a typical arrangement of output signals.

FIG. 5 OUTPUT SIGNAL ARRANGEMENT

The first two utilise the gearbox driven by the transducer servo motor to mechanically
position the rotor winding of the synchro transmitter or the wiper arm of the
potentiometer.

Thus, the output signal is either a rotating electromagnetic field, the resultant of the threephase currents induced in the transmitter lines, or a varying D.C. potential derived from
motor rotation a function of altitude or airspeed.
The third type is utilised in the digital air data computer. The information is in effect
packaged into groups of digital binary data a pattern of 0s and 1s that represents
computed altitude and airspeed.
The binary data is placed in a pair of conductors, one bit at a time. The value 0 is
represented by a negative voltage value, e.g. -10V, whilst the value 1 is represented by a
positive voltage, e.g. +10V. This data is read by a receiver circuit that can identify the
information received under the control of a digital computer.
The data is supplied at a speed of approximately ten thousand bits per second. It is known
as the ARINC 429 Digital Data Bus and is now in common use on aircraft such as the
Boeing 757/767, Airbus A310, and Canadair Challenger aircraft, which employ digital
systems for their operation.
The DADC also employs circuits that can simulate a synchro transmitter or potentiometer
as mentioned earlier. Thus it is now common practice for aircraft owners to update their
ADC system by replacing the analogue air data computer with a digital air data computer,
without necessarily replacing the ancillary and instrument systems. A block diagram of a
typical ADC is given in Fig. 6 on the next page.
AIR DATA COMPUTER MAINTENANCE
For the continued operation of all user systems of air data information from the ADC, it
must be reliable in operation. However, faults can, and do occur and to protect against
unreliable and inaccurate operation of the user systems, an ADC valid signal is provided
to control the operation of these systems.
If a fault occurs in the ADC the valid signal, which is a voltage present on the line, is
removed, i.e. it drops to zero volts. All the user systems are signalled to go to a fail-safe
condition, and failure flags drop into view on the appropriate instruments to warn the
flight crew of an unreliable condition.
Thus if a number of systems and instruments are reported to be inoperative on an aircraft,
a likely cause could be the failure of the ADC, which is common to all those systems and
instruments.
To confirm a faulty ADC most systems employ some form of fault indication on the front
panel of the module. This may take the form of electro-mechanical dolls eyes, lights, or
display codes. Fig. 7 identifies three typical systems.

TAT PROBE

CAPTAIN
CAPTAINS
PITOT
CAPTAIN
CAPTAINS
SELECTED
STATIC

PITOT
STATIC

TEMP
PROBE
IN

TAS VALID
SAT

CAPT
CAPTS
ALTIMETER

ALT FINE
ALT COARSE
ALT VALID
GROUND
PROXIMITY
COMPUTER

FLIGHT
RECORDER

PERFORMANCE
DATA
COMPUTER

MACH

ALT COARSE
AIRSPEED

IAS VALID
AIRSPEED
ALT COARSE
ALT FINE

ALT ERROR
ALT VALID
ALT HOLD CLUTCH

ALTITUDE
ALERT SYSTEM

FLIGHT
DIRECTOR
SYSTEM

A/S VALID

ALT

ALT COARSE
AIRSPEED
ALT VALID

ALT HOLD CLUTCH


ALT ERROR
Q POTS
ALT RATE

TAT
PROBE

SAT IND

ALT COARSE
TAS
TAS VALID

MACH/AIRSPEED
INDICATOR

AUTOFLIGHT

IRS NO. 1

TOTAL AIR
TEMP
INDICATOR
DIGITIZED ALTITUDE
BARO
CORRECT

PRESSURE
CONTROLLER

AMBIENT
AIR
PRESSURE

ALTITUDE CODE ENABLE

FIG. 6 AIR DATA COMPUTER SYSTEM BLOCK DIAGRAM

AIR TRAFFIC
CONTROLLER
SYSTEM

FIG. 7 FAULT INDICATION SYSTEMS


ADC REPLACEMENT
Replacement of the ADC is straightforward. The points to remember are: isolate all power supplies to the ADC,
disconnect the pitot and static lines,
release the ADC from its mounting tray and remove, without distorting the backplate electrical connector,
be aware of electro static sensitive devices (ESDS) and do not touch any exposed
pins,
refit the ADC after ensuring the connectors are clean and in a serviceable
condition,
lock the ADC into the mounting tray,
reconnect the pitot and static lines.
ENSURE YOU DO NOT CROSS CONNECT THESE LINES

(Note: Some aircraft have different sized connectors to prevent this happening)
reapply power

ADC SELF TEST


After replacing the ADC, some form of functional test must be carried out. This may take
the form of a self-test activated by one or more switches (Fig. 7).
The appropriate steps will be listed in the aircraft Maintenance Manual but typically a
self-test operation, when activated, drives the instruments up to a simulated airspeed,
altitude figure, with the appearance of failure flags. A valid ADC will be indicated by the
correct meter indication light or code (Table 1 below).

TEST SELECT
SWITCH POSITION

PUSH
TO
TEST
SWITCH
POSITION
FUNCTION
PRESSED
TRANSMITS FIXED FOR 15 SECS
VALUES ON ALL
SIGNAL
OUTPUT
LINES
STIMULATE
PRESSED
REQUIRES USE OF
TEST SET
SLEW
PRESSED
SETS
ALTITUDE
RATE
HOLD
PRESSED
FAIL

PRESSED

TEST LIGHT
STATUS
WHEN VALID

TEST OUTPUTS

AFTER 2 SECS ALT 10,000 FT + 40 FT


ILLUMINATED MACH 0.785 + 0.01
IAS 440 KTS + 6 KTS
TAS 477.8 KTS + 6 KTS
SAT 29.4OC + 2OC
AFTER 2 SECS Q POT OUTPUTS
ILLUMINATED
AFTER 2 SECS ALTITUDE RATE 600
ILLUMINATED FT/MIN
AFTER 2 SECS
ILLUMINATED
AFTER 2 SECS
ILLUMINATED

ACTIVATES
ALL
HOLD CIRCUITS
ACTIVATES
ALL
FAILURE
WARNING
FLAGS

TABLE 1 SELF TEST ADC


In addition, because the aircrafts pitot and static lines have been disturbed, some form of
pressure leak test must be carried out.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM
One important user system of altitude information is the Air Traffic Control system or
ATC. In this section the link of ATC with ADC will be explained.

10

The ATC system has its origins in the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system evolved
during the Second World War, to ensure positive identification of friendly aircraft on the
radar warning system. Today, the system is used to enable the ground radar air traffic
controller to positively identify a specific aircraft from the mass of return signals on his
radar display unit.
The identification takes the form of one of three different types:
A four-digit code, 0000 to 7777.
An extra bright display of twenty seconds duration.
The aircraft altitude to the nearest 100 ft increment.
The appropriate display is selected by the pilot on the ATC control unit. Fig. 8 is a
schematic of ATC operation.
TRANSPONDER

FIG. 8 AIR TRAFFIC


CONTROL OPERATION
SCHEMATIC

INTERROGATION
ROTATING
DIRECTIONAL
INTERROGATOR
ANTENNA

REPLY

PRIMARY
RADAR
ANTENNA

CONTROLLER
CONTROLLERS RADAR
ATC RADAR SITE

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER

FIG. 8 AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL OPERATION SCHEMATIC

11

The aircraft system consists of a transmitter/receiver unit commonly known as a


transponder. The ground radar station transmits a radar pulse that is received by the
aircraft, which replies to this interrogation by transmitting a reply signal consisting of a
special code that will be displayed on the ground radar unit.
AIRCRAFT SYSTEM COMPONENTS ATC
A block diagram of a typical system is shown in Fig. 9 below. It consists of a pilot
operated control unit, the transponder and an aerial.
The control unit consists of a mode selector switch, the code selector knobs and display
unit, an identification position control switch, and some form of self-test switch and
confirmation light.

ATTITUDE DATA SOURCE


MODE A DIGITAL DISPLAY
SELECT SWITCH

MODE C CONTROL SWITCH

MODE C

L OFF R

OFF

ON

7 0 7 1

FAILURE
LIGHT

ANTENNA

FAULT

IDENT
MODE A CODE
SELECT KNOBS

IDENTITY
POSITION
SWITCH

ADC (L)

ATC TPR
TPR
ADS
DATA
ANT
TEST

ADC (R)

FIG. 9 AIRCRAFT SYSTEM COMPONENTS - ATC

12

The modes are selected by the pilot under the direction of the air traffic controller who
will use this instruction:
Squawk 4321
This will instruct the pilot to select Mode A and code 4321. Alternatively the pilot may
operate the I/P switch (Identify Position). This causes an extra bright display on the
ground radar display, which lasts for approximately 20 seconds.
The final mode is Mode C and when selected enables the aircraft's altitude to be
transmitted automatically to the ground radar unit, where it displays the aircrafts altitude
to the nearest 100 feet.
MODE C ALTITUDE REPORTING
The ATC Transponder receives altitude information from the ADC, (or in some aircraft it
may be from the pilots servo driven pneumatic altimeter). The information is in binary
form, and is in a special code, known as the Gray Code. This code is unique in that it has
no direct numerical value, but it is used because originally it enabled the angular position
of a rotating shaft to be derived in digital form for use in computer switching circuits. Its
advantage is that between each position of the shaft, only one bit changes at a time. This
reduces any error to a minimum, (Fig. 10).

ROTATING DISC

LIGHT
SOURCE

SWITCH

DATA
GRAY CODE
ENGRAVING

FIG. 10 GRAY CODE GENERATOR

13

The code is derived by a rotating disc especially engraved with the code pattern, rotating
between a source of light and a row of light sensitive transistors, which switch on and off
in turn, to supply the binary code.
Naturally within the ADC the disc will be driven by the altitude servo motor, whereas
within the DADC (Digital Air Data Computer) the code is derived within the computer
circuits.
On some types of analogue Air Data Computers, a set of lights is mounted on the front
panel to enable monitoring of the altitude encoder circuits during an ADC self-test
operation (refer to Fig.7).

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CRT DISPLAYS AND COMPUTER INPUTS


CATHODE RAY TUBE CONSTRUCTION
To begin with we will take a brief look at the construction and operation of a typical,
single colour (monochrome) Cathode Ray Tube (CRT).
Any CRT consists of a shaped glass tube, sealed and evacuated to produce a vacuum
inside. Within the tube are a number of different electrodes with their connections
brought out at one end of the tube. This is the electron gun. The other end of the tube is
shaped to produce the screen, the inside of which is coated with a phosphor material that,
when it is bombarded with electrons produced by the electron gun, emits a glow caused
by the transfer of energy when the electrons strike the screen.
The electron gun consists of a number of different electrodes: the cathode this produces the electrons,
the control grids these focus the electrons into a beam,
the anode this accelerates the electron beam up to sufficient speed to produce a
visible glow at the screen.
The electrodes operate by being supplied with an extra high voltage (EHT) somewhere in
the order of 15 to 20 thousand volts (15-20 KV), produced from an internal power supply
unit.
A typical CRT is shown in Fig. 1 on the next page.

CAUTION
The EHT is lethal and the CRT must never be operated with any of the casing removed.
CRT DISPLAY
To enable the electron beam to produce a useful display it is moved around the phosphor
screen by the action of two pairs of plates as shown in Fig. 1.
X plates, in the vertical plane, deflect the electron beam in a horizontal direction,
producing a horizontal line on the display.
Y plates, in the horizontal plane, deflect the electron beam in a vertical direction,
producing a vertical line on the display.
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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

FIG. 1 CATHODE RAY TUBE ARRANGEMENT

The plates move the electron beam around by producing either an electrostatic or
electromagnetic field that deflects the electrons in the beam. The field is produced by
applying control signals to the plates.
This basic monochrome CRT is found in systems that are generally used for some form
of complex calculation of navigation and performance parameters such as the Flight
Management Control System (FMCS) and the Inertia Navigation System (INS).
The CRT is part of the control and display unit (CDU). Typical CDUs are shown in Fig.
2 on the next page.
These displays are the reason for the term glass cockpit
cockpit and are used for those systems
whose function is to supply data in the form of words and figures for the flight crew's
information. However in some navigation and performance computer systems, the
computer can be utilised to control the automatic pilot and auto-throttle systems,
maintaining the aircraft on a predetermined and calculated flight path.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

The latest advances use multi-colour CRTs, enabling more complex and informative
displays to be produced.

(b) INS

(a) FMS

FIG. 2 TYPICAL CONTROL AND DISPLAY UNITS (CDUs)

COLOUR CATHODE RAY TUBE


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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

Any colour CRT consists of three individual electron guns in one tube. Each electron gun
produces a specific colour, red, blue, and green, that when directed towards the screen
can be combined to produce seven different colours:

o Red

Cyan (pale blue)

o Blue

Magenta (purple)

o Green

White

o Yellow (amber)
If the electron guns are switched off completely then black, the screens background
colour, will be apparent.
Fig. 3 below is a schematic of a colour CRT.

FIG. 3 COLOUR CRT SCHEMATIC

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

The use of colour enhances any CRT display and makes the system more versatile
allowing the complex diagrammatic displays seen on the glass cockpit aircraft.
Typical examples are seen in Fig. 4 below and Fig. 5 on the next page.

FIG. 4 ECAM DISPLAY ELECTRONIC CENTRALISED AIRCRAFT


MONITOR

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

EICAS ENGINE INDICATING


CREW ALERTING SYSTEM

AND

EFIS ELECTRONIC
INSTRUMENT SYSTEM

FLIGHT

FIG. 5 VARIOUS SYSTEM DISPLAYS


In all these systems some standardisation of the use of colours has been utilised. For
example: Green:

generally denotes a normal condition,

Yellow (amber):

denotes a caution condition,

Red:

denotes a warning condition,

White:

information messages.
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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

Fig. 6 is a typical engine N1 display, highlighting the use of the different colours.

MAXIMUM SPEED RED LINE

96.5
COMPUTED LIMIT SPEED
YELLOW (AMBER)

12

8
COMPUTED TARGET SPEED
MAGENTA OR GREEN

TARGET SPEED
(REQUIRED) MAGENTA OR
GREEN

96.5

ACTUAL SPEED WHITE


TURNING TO RED
(OVERSPEED)

SCALE FIGURES AND


POINTER - WHITE

N1
FIG. 6 TYPICAL ENGINE N1 DISPLAY

TYPICAL SYSTEMS
To control the CRT display the system has its own individual supporting computer or
symbol generator. The units are complex and expensive, utilising powerful digital
computers with their own memory to control the display. The connection from the CRT
to the computer is made via an ARINC 429 digital data bus line, and a changeover relay
system for built in redundancy. Fig. 7 on the next page is a typical example of an
Electronic Flight Instrument System.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

FIRST
OFFICER

CAPTAIN

CHANGEOVER
SWITCHES

SG 1

SG 3

SG 2

INPUTS

INPUTS

INPUTS

FIG. 7 EFI SYSTEM TYPICAL EXAMPLE

Note the important feature of this typical system. Three symbol generators are provided,
No. 1 and No. 2 are normally connected to the pilots and co-pilots displays respectively
and No.3 is in reserve. It can be selected by either pilot to back up a failure of either the
No. 1 or No. 2 symbol generators.
The operation of these complex display systems requires a large amount of information
from external systems.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

COMPUTER AND SYMBOL GENERATOR INPUTS


We will first look at the EICAS system, followed by a typical EFIS system.
EICAS SYSTEM
A typical display is shown in Fig. 8 below.
The supply of information for this
system is derived from numerous
signal sources and sensors. They
include: Three-phase
tachometergenerator engine rpm,
Thermocouples EGT,
Synchro transmitter oil
pressure
Temperature bulb (thermoresistive) oil temperature,
Float
actuated
proximity
switches oil quantity,
Relays and switch contacts
system status ON/OFF/FAIL.

FIG. 8 TYPICAL EICAS DISPLAY

All these different signals are known


as analogue signals, and for operation
in the CRT display system, they must
be converted to equivalent digital
signals, representing the analogue
values. Thus complex electronic
circuits are used. These are known as
analogue-to-digital converters and
they form what is known as the input
port to the computer system.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

10

MULTIPLEXING
A common practice used in these computer systems is to group together identical
analogue inputs and apply them to a single analogue-to-digital (A/D) converter via
additional circuits known as multiplexers, Fig. 9.

INPUTS

A
D

MULTIPLEXER

FIG. 9 MULTIPLEXER FUNCTION

Multiplexing applies one input at a time to the A/D converter. The multiplexer circuit is
switched rapidly by the computer in order to allow each input sensor to feed the converter
in turn. The switching is extremely rapid and can be considered instantaneous giving rise
to an apparent instantaneous change of display as, for example, in the case of engine rpm
when the throttles are moved to a new position.
EFI SYSTEM
A typical EFIS display is shown in Fig. 10. It consists of two displays, the display in Fig.
10(a) known as the Electronic Attitude Direction Indicator (EADI) and the display in Fig.
10(b), known as the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI).

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

11

FIG. 10 TYPICAL EFIS DISPLAY

The information displayed consists of a multitude of data items, depending on the flight
mode of the aircraft. The principle factors are: Aircrafts attitude in roll and pitch, i.e. the moving horizon,
Aircraft heading, the compass card,
Localiser and glideslope deviation during the approach mode to land,
Navigation information, waypoints, radio beacons, airfields,
Autopilot and flight director modes, as selected by the flight crew.
Once again this information is derived from many different systems and generally the
information is supplied by an ARINC 429 data bus, where the information is already in
digital format, allowing one computer to talk to another in its own language.

CONTROLS
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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

12

Control units are used to switch to different displays and are an integral part of a display
system. Some are positioned for use by the flight crew whilst others are for use by the
maintenance engineer whenever the aircraft is on the ground.
Three typical control units are shown in Fig.11.

DISPLAY
ENGINE STATUS

COMPUTER
EVENT
AUTO
RECORD L
R

BRT

THRUST REF SET

BRT
BAL

BOTH
L

MAX IND
RESET

PULL

FIG. 11(a) EICAS CONTROL UNIT

Fig. 11(a) is an EICAS control unit, enabling the flight crew to select status
or engine parameters, or to set the appropriate engine thrust limit. The
computer select switch enables the connection of either computer (designated
left or right) to the display.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

DISPLAY ELECT
ECS
MSG

ELEC
HYD

EICAS MAINT
MAN

PERF
APU
TEST

CONF
MCDP

EVENT
READ

AUTO

REC

ERASE

ENG
EXCD

FIG. 11(b) EICAS MAINTENANCE SELECT PANEL

Fig. 11(b) is an EICAS maintenance select panel. The appropriate


information is displayed as selected.

FIG. 11(c) EFIS CONTROL PANEL


Fig. 11(c) is an EFIS control panel, allowing the required mode to be selected.
The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

13

The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

14

SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
Even though the detailed operation of these display systems is extremely complex,
system maintenance is based upon automatic built-in-test equipment (BITE). When in
operation, the systems are self-monitoring, whilst for ground operation an automatic selftest can be activated.
A typical self-test switch is shown in Fig. 11(c). Once activated the test pattern is as
shown in Fig. 12 on the next page. Any faults will be displayed in the appropriate block
as shown. The test display utilises all generated colours to demonstrate the correct
operation of the three electron guns.
Replacement of the major components requires no special techniques although care in
handling is required.
The computers are mounted in trays with multiple pin connectors in the back plate. Care
is required not to damage the pins during replacement.
Both the computer and the CRT display unit will be cooled with forced air, and again
care must be taken not to damage or block the air exit holes.
The CRT display face, which in normal use can become greasy and dirty, must be
cleaned with care, using the recommended cleaning agent and a soft lint free cloth. A
gentle polishing action is required so as to prevent fine scratches reducing the visible
display.

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The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

FIG. 12 TYPICAL TEST PATTERN

The Art Williams/Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School

15