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Category Archives: Flight Instruments

CFI Brief: Carb Heat

Let’s recap some of the important information we learned from Monday’s post on carburetor ice. As air flows through a carburetor, it expands rapidly. At the same time, fuel entering the airstream is vaporized. Expansion of the air and vaporization of the fuel causes a sudden cooling of the mixture which may cause ice to […]

CFI Brief: Magnetic Compass

However controversial, it is said that the magnetic compass first originated in China during the Qin Dynasty sometime between 212 and 206 B.C. as a Chinese fortune telling device. It wasn’t until the 13th Century that the magnetic compass began to be widely used as a directive aid during maritime and terrestrial navigation. But don’t […]

CFI Brief: Pitot-Static Systems and Flight Instruments, Part III

Today we will finally wrap up our three part post on the pitot-static system and related instruments with a quick discussion on errors. If an error is noted on one of the three pitot-static instruments it is almost always caused by either a blockage in the pitot-tube or one of the static ports. As we’ve […]

CFI Brief: Pitot-Static Systems and Flight Instruments, Part II

I am sure you have been waiting all week for Part II of the CFI Brief on the Pitot-Static system. So here it is: today we will get into some of the principals of operation of each of the three pitot-static instruments found in the cockpit: altimeter, vertical speed indicator, and airspeed indicator. The altimeter […]

CFI Brief: Pitot-Static Systems and Flight Instruments, Part I

Today’s posts is the first part in a two part series on the pitot-static system and associated pitot-static instruments. We will begin by covering a quick general overview of the pitot-static system as seen in the picture below. The pitot-static system is responsible for the operation of the airspeed indicator, altimeter, and vertical speed indicator—also […]

Flight Instruments: Airspeeds and the Airspeed Indicator (ASI)

Today, we’ll go over the airspeed indicator (ASI). This explanation comes from the FAA textbook Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. The ASI is a sensitive, differential pressure gauge which measures and promptly indicates the difference between pitot (impact/dynamic pressure) and static pressure. These two pressures are equal when the aircraft is parked on the ground […]

CFI Brief: Interpreting the ASI

The airspeed indicator (ASI) is an important component of the pitot-static instruments. As you can imagine, there are numerous speeds for each aircraft. It can be tough sometimes to remember all those V-speeds, particularly if you are transitioning between multiple aircraft with different performance characteristics. The ASA Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms by Dale Crane defines V-speeds […]

Flight Instruments: Blocked Pitot System

Safely flying in any aircraft depends upon not only a pilot’s ability to interpret and operate flight instruments, but also to recognize when an instrument is malfunctioning. This week, we’ll take a look at common issues associated with pitot-static flight instruments: the airspeed indicator (ASI), altimeter, and vertical speed indicator (VSI). This content comes from […]

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