## Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Flight Instruments Pitot-Static Flight Instruments

 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Preface Acknowledgements Appendix Glossary Index Figure 7-10. Blocked pitot system with clear static system. For example, take an aircraft and slow it down to zero knots at given altitude. If the static port (providing static pressure) and the pitot tube (providing dynamic pressure) are both unobstructed, the following claims can be made: 1. The ASI would be zero. 2. There must be a relationship between both dynamic and static pressure. At zero speed, dynamic pressure and static pressure are the same: static air pressure. 3. Because both dynamic and static air pressure are equal at zero speed with increased speed, dynamic pressure must include two components: static pressure and dynamic pressure. It can be inferred that airspeed indication must be based upon a relationship between these two pressures, and indeed it is. An ASI uses the static pressure as a reference pressure and as a result, the ASI's case is kept at this pressure behind the diaphragm. On the other hand, the dynamic pressure through the pitot tube is connected to a highly sensitive diaphragm within the ASI case. Because an aircraft in zero motion (regardless of altitude) results in a zero airspeed, the pitot tube always provides static pressure in addition to dynamic pressure. Therefore, the airspeed indication is the result of two pressures: the pitot tube static and dynamic pressure within the diaphragm as measured against the static pressure in case. What does this mean if the pitot tube is obstructed? If the aircraft were to descend, the pressure in the pitot system including the diaphragm would remain constant. It is clogged and the diaphragm is at a single pressure. But as the descent is made, the static pressure would increase against the diaphragm causing it to compress thereby resulting in an indication of decreased airspeed. Conversely, if the aircraft were to climb, the static pressure would decrease allowing the diaphragm to expand, thereby showing an indication of greater airspeed. [Figure 7-10] The pitot tube may become blocked during flight due to visible moisture. Some aircraft may be equipped with pitot heat for flight in visible moisture. Consult the AFM/POH for specific procedures regarding the use of pitot heat. Blocked Static System If the static system becomes blocked but the pitot tube remains clear, the ASI continues to operate; however, it is inaccurate. The airspeed indicates lower than the actual airspeed when the aircraft is operated above the altitude where the static ports became blocked, because the trapped static pressure is higher than normal for that altitude. When operating at a lower altitude, a faster than actual airspeed is displayed due to the relatively low static pressure trapped in the system. Revisiting the ratios that were used to explain a blocked pitot tube, the same principle applies for a blocked static port. If the aircraft descends, the static pressure increases on the pitot side showing an increase on the ASI. This assumes that the aircraft does not actually increase its speed. The increase in static pressure on the pitot side is equivalent to an increase in dynamic pressure since the pressure can not change on the static side. If an aircraft begins to climb after a static port becomes blocked, the airspeed begins to show a decrease as the aircraft continues to climb. This is due to the decrease in static pressure on the pitot side, while the pressure on the static side is held constant. A blockage of the static system also affects the altimeter and VSI. Trapped static pressure causes the altimeter to freeze at the altitude where the blockage occurred. In the case of the VSI, a blocked static system produces a continuous zero indication. [Figure 7-11]

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