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SENSOR SYSTEMS

Air Data Handbook


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE:CONCEPTS OF AIR DATA MEASUREMENT


What is Air Data? 1
Types of Air Data 1
Pressure 1
Temperature 2
Accuracy 2

CHAPTER TWO:AIR DATA SYSTEMS


System Components 3
Air Data System Architecture 3

CHAPTER THREE: APPLYING THE MEASURED AIR DATA


Altitude 5
Airspeed 5

CHAPTER FOUR: AIR DATA EQUATIONS AND CALCULATIONS


Altitude 6
Impact Pressure 7
Indicated Airspeed 7
Mach Number 8
Speed of Sound 9
Static Temperature 10
True Airspeed 10

GLOSSARY 12

INDEX 15
CHAPTER ONE
CONCEPTS OF AIR DATA MEASUREMENT

CONCEPTS OF AIR DATA MEASUREMENT means accurate static pressure measurement must consider
What is Air Data? a number of factors including:
Air data is a measurement of the physical characteristics of
the air mass that surrounds an aircraft. The two main • Airspeeds
physical characteristics measured are temperature and • Mach number (M)
pressure. Using these basic measurements individually and • Angle-of-attack (AOA)
in combination allows many other flight parameters to be • Angle-of-sideslip (AOS)
calculated. • Aircraft design (location of flaps, landing gear, rotor
blades, etc.)
Air data is measured using a variety of sensing devices. The
output of these devices provides air data information Another way to measure static pressure is to place a static
necessary for safe, effective operation of the aircraft. Basic port on the body of a pitot probe (see next section). This
air data measurements include: approach gives better measurements than flush-mounted
static ports because the static port is now located away from
• Speed (Mach, as well as indicated, true, calibrated, and the aircraft fuselage and away of the influences of the
equivalent airspeeds) variations in the aircraft skin. The port is not part of the
• Altitude fuselage; it can be manufactured with greater precision to
• Rates of climb or descent (altitude rate) provide a smoother airflow surface. Placing the static port
• Angle-of-attack, angle-of-sideslip on the pitot probe, therefore, greatly improves accuracy and
repeatability of static pressure measurements.

Types of Air Data


The two broad categories of air data — temperature and Impact Pressure
pressure — each contain several types of measurements. As aircraft operate they also encounter impact pressure.
Pressure measurements consist of static and total This pressure results from force of the moving airstream
pressures. By subtracting static pressure from total pressure against the aircraft as it flies. The force of the moving air
(Pt - Ps) a third measurement, impact pressure, qc, can be against the back of the closed tube (called a pitot tube)
calculated. facing into the airstream creates impact pressure. The
airflow disturbances caused by the aircraft movement must
be considered in the design and mounting of the pitot
Static Pressure tubes.
Static pressure is the atmosphere weight over a particular
area in a given location. The higher the altitude, the less
atmosphere above it, and therefore the lower the measured Pressure Measurement Technology
pressure. At sea level, the static air pressure is sufficient to Increasingly, pressure sensors are incorporating advanced
raise the mercury in a barometer 29.92 inches (or 1013 silicon technology that provides superior accuracy and
millibars). But at 18,000 feet above sea level the pressure is reliability compared to non-silicon based sensors. The
only half as great — raising the mercury only 15 inches. In superior consistency of the solid state pressure sensor
this way, static pressure measurements can give an combined with it’s unequaled long-term stability
indication of altitude. performance ensures highly accurate measurements year
after year. Solid state pressure sensors use batch fabrication
Measuring true static pressures from a fixed location on the and micromachining processes to provide consistent, high
ground is one thing. Measuring it on an aircraft in flight is accuracy performance at affordable prices.
quite another. That’s because the aircraft influences and
disturbs the atmosphere through which it flies. The altered The sensor’s mechanical design assures uniform thermal
atmosphere in turn affects the ability to provide an accurate expansion of all sensor structures to minimize stresses,
static pressure measurement. A common technique to which reduces the temperature sensitivity of the sensor
measure static pressure is to mount pressure inlet ports device. Silicon, a crystalline material, is used as a diaphragm
flush with the aircraft fuselage, but this solution requires structure because it is totally elastic to applied stresses. This
finding locations on the aircraft fuselage with clean airflow. elasticity enhances the stability and repeatability of the
In addition, the area around these flush ports must be sensor.
smooth and uniform to ensure accurate movement. This

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CHAPTER ONE
CONCEPTS OF AIR DATA MEASUREMENT

Temperature Static accuracy is defined as the uncorrectable error caused by


Air temperature information is generated by measurements of the combined effects of the following parameters:
static air temperature (SAT), total air temperature (TAT), or
outside air temperature (OAT). Static air temperature is the • Non-linearity
temperature of the undisturbed air through which the aircraft is • Hysteresis
about to fly. It is required for calculating true airspeed (the • Repeatability
actual aircraft speed moving through the air). • Calibration

The total temperature measurement, on the other hand, is a Operating accuracy is the static error combined with
component of the airstream so it reflects the effects of bringing uncorrectable error caused by exposure of the transducer to
airflow to rest. It is the only way to accurately measure OAT such operational factors as:
above 200 KIAS. Typically, total temperature measurements are
higher (warmer) than static temperature measurements. • Temperature variations
• Vibration variations
Outside air temperature data also helps regulate engine • Acceleration variations
performance at take-off or at cruising altitude to maximize fuel
efficiency. Long-term stability is a measure of how well the transducer
performs to its static and operating accuracy specifications for
Air temperature measurement devices are usually probes one year. After that time, factors such as the aging of the
incorporating an element which changes its electrical resistance electronics, outgassing of components on the vacuum side of
with any air temperature changes. Because moisture and icing the pressure sensor and degraded integrity of the pressure
can affect the measured temperature, heating elements are sensor can affect accuracy.
included, which must be isolated from the sensing element to
ensure an accurate temperature measurement. Short-term stability is affected by factors such as signal noise,
sensing element response time, conversion speed and filtering
The measured resistance from the temperature sensor is sent time constants and environmental changes.
to a signal conditioner for conversion into analog or digital
signals. Depending on the application, temperature data may Digital resolution is affected by the number of data bits used
be combined with pressure data in the same transducer. when the measured analog wave form is converted into a digital
word. A 32-bit digital word can provide more significant bits and
pass on more accurate data than a 16-bit card.
Accuracy
The air data information accuracy that reaches the cockpit or The air data accuracy needed for a given aircraft and its
other aircraft destinations is primarily a function of errors that associated flight envelope will vary greatly. A high-performance
can be encountered while making the air data measurement. supersonic military fighter will have very different operational
requirements than a turbo-prop cargo plane. These differences
Factors affecting measurement accuracy are encountered in affect the range of the measured data and are often reflected in
either the probe/port or the transducer. the required air data accuracy and are categorized as primary or
secondary accuracy.
Probe/Port Accuracy
In general, accuracy reflects the maximum potential difference
• Sensitivity between the actual input to a sensor or transducer and the
• Reliability output from that device. Accuracy is typically indicated by a
• Location value representing a percentage of the full-scale measurement
• Installation repeatability range of the device. Primary accuracy devices have a narrow
range of measurement variance or error to ensure the necessary
Transducer Accuracy performance for mission critical applications. Secondary
accuracy devices allow a greater measurement variance for
• Static accuracy missions where the desired performance requires less precise
• Operating accuracy air data inputs.
• Long-term stability
• Short-term stability
• Measured data range
• Digital resolution

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CHAPTER TWO
AIR DATA SYSTEMS

AIR DATA SYSTEMS The transducer air data output may include any or all of
Air data systems are usually well thought out, deliberate the following parameters, depending on the transducer’s
configurations of sensors, transducers, data transmission processing capabilities:
medium and cockpit displays. The systems provide • Static pressure (Ps)
information about in-flight atmospheric conditions and • Total pressure (Pt)
performance of the aircraft. This information may be • Impact pressure (q c )
“delivered” to the pilot in the cockpit, to the auto-pilot, fly- • Pressure altitude (h)

by-wire flight control systems, or other control mechanisms. • Altitude rate (h)
• Indicated airspeed (IAS)
Air data systems vary in design and architecture depending • Mach number (M)
on the type of aircraft, its flight envelope and mission • Angle of Attack (AOA)
requirements. Examples of the differences between air data • Angle of Sideslip (AOS)
system requirements include: • True airspeed (TAS)*
• Total air temperature (TAT)*
• Commercial jet — subsonic; 50,000 ft. altitude ceiling; • Static air temperature (SAT)*
moderate environments, low AOA * Optional with TAT inputs
• Military jet — supersonic; 80,000 ft. altitude ceiling;
harsh environment, high AOA Data Transmission Medium
• Rotor — low speed; low altitude operation; harsh The output of a transducer typically is an analog or
environment, high AOA digital electrical signal. Analog signals are hard-wired to
their destination. Digital signals, on the other hand, use
System Components communication buses with standardized speeds and
The basic components of an air data system are: protocols. All digital transmission mediums are well
• Probe/Port documented in Interface Control Documents (ICDs) and
• Transducer are available from the factory if needed. Typical digital
• Data transmission medium communication bus standards for air data applications
• Display and control devices include:

• MIL-STD-1553B. A bi-directional, high-speed data bus.


Probe/Port • ARINC 429. Point to multi-point communication
Pressure or temperature measurements of the air through protocol.
which an aircraft is flying requires a sensing element be • RS-422. An Electronics Industries Association (EIA)
exposed to the ambient air. For pressure measurements, standard specifying a two-wire, serial transmit
flush ports, pitot probes or pitot-static probes provide channel, operating in broadcast mode only.
access to the air for static or total pressures. Temperatures • RS-485. An Electronics Industries Association (EIA)
are measured using probes inserted into the airstream that standard specifying a two-wire, bi-directional serial
contain temperature sensitive elements that change channel.
resistance in response to changes in temperature. All
sensing probes/ports may be heated to prevent icing that
would compromise the unit’s accuracy. Air Data System Architectures
The term “air data system” architecture refers to the
overall functional organization and layout of the total air
Transducer data system. The two major architectures currently in
A transducer accepts pneumatic input (for pressure use are centralized and distributed (Figures 2-1 and 2-2).
measurements) or resistive input (for temperature
measurements) and converts the inputs into the
appropriate output signal for communication to a host
system such as cockpit instruments, flight control
equipment, and/or other aircraft devices. Pneumatic
plumbing connects pitot-static probes to their respective
transducers. Wiring carries the analog resistive signals from
temperature sensors.

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CHAPTER TWO
AIR DATA SYSTEMS

Distributed
Distributed air data systems consist of air data probes with
co-located integral pressure transducers at each location.
The Goodrich Sensor Systems SmartProbe™ combines Pitot,
Static, Angle of Attack, and Air Data Computer functions
into one LRU. It consists of an air data computer (ADC)
combined with a multi-function probe (MFP). The
SmartProbe may simply transmit the local conditions on a
digital data bus to a central flight control computer for
calculation of air data, or by communicating between
multiple SmartProbes and optional TAT sensor, full air data
can be calculated at each location.

SmartProbe distributed air data systems offer many


Figure 2-1: Centralized Architecture
advantages over centralized air data systems, including:

Centralized • Elimination of pneumatic tubing (no leak checks, no


A single (often with a redundant backup) air data computer drain traps, no tubing installation)
into which all pressure measurements are fed characterizes • Elimination of separate angle of attack transmitters
centralized architectures. This requires extensive use of • Higher reliability due to active control of probe heaters
pneumatic tubing running from pressure probes or ports to • Elimination of separate probe heater current monitors
the central air data computer(s). Centralized air data • Elimination of pneumatic lag (about 1 msec/ft)
computers sometimes also bring in electrical signals from • Less weight
other components such as angle of attack transmitters, and • Reduced power consumption
discrete switches from landing gear weight-on-wheels, flaps, • Elimination of “skin effects” on static measurements
slats, etc. The units digitize the data and transmit the
calculated air data as well as other information on a digital Distributed air data systems have been successfully used on
data bus, typically to aircraft avionics and flight control. many advanced aircraft, including the B-1B, B-2, F-22,
Embraer 170/190, and Dassault F7. Goodrich Sensor
Systems SmartProbe distributed air data system is the only
distributed air data system certified to FAA and JAA
standards.

Distributed systems may also utilize SmartPort™. Goodrich


Sensor Systems is the only company with a production
SmartPort. The SmartPort combines a flush static port with
one or more transducer channels. The output is typically
static pressure.

Figure 2-2: Distributed Architecture

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CHAPTER THREE
APPLYING THE MEASURED AIR DATA

APPLYING THE MEASURED AIR DATA Indicated airspeed (IAS) measures the aircraft motion
The measurements of pressure and temperature can be through the surrounding air mass. IAS is a simple indication
converted, combined and applied to provide many other of speed uncorrected for any installation or instrument
forms of information useful to the flight crew and aircraft errors. It is derived by subtracting static pressure from total
flight control systems. For example, static pressure can be pressure. IAS represents true airspeed at standard sea level
used to derive altitude information. Impact pressure can conditions only.
generate airspeed indications. Combining the altitude and
airspeed data can provide Mach number. The altitude and Equations 4.8 through 4.10 in Chapter 4 calculate IAS for
airspeed data combination also contributes to true airspeed subsonic flight. Equation 4.11 provides a similar calculation
calculations when combined with static air temperature. for supersonic flight. Equation 4.7 provides a definition for
Similar combinations are employed to provide the full impact pressure which is a key factor in IAS and Mach.
spectrum of air data information, but all of the information
has its basis in the temperature and pressure Calibrated airspeed (CAS) is simply the indicated airspeed
measurements made by the air data sensors. corrected for instrument calibration and position errors. It is
most frequently used to judge aircraft performance,
The rest of this chapter shows how measured air data is particularly in military applications. CAS is represented by
applied to generate key flight parameters for altitude, the symbol, Vc.
airspeed and angle-of-attack.
True airspeed (TAS) uses static pressure, total pressure and
air temperature measurements to derive the actual aircraft
Altitude speed as it flies through the air. True airspeed can help
Two types of altitude indication are generated from pressure determine actual flight times and distance traveled. True
measurements. These indications include pressure altitude airspeed is calculated using Equation 4.19 in Chapter 4.
and altitude rate. Calculation of the indications is based on a
“standard atmosphere,” which assumes a known Mach is a number representing the ratio of true airspeed to
relationship between pressure, temperature and atmospheric the speed of sound in the air surrounding an aircraft in
density. The altitude equations in this handbook are based flight (Equation 4.12). The speed of sound varies as the
on the 1962 U.S. Standard Atmosphere. square root of average temperature. Mach number is
determined using the ratio of impact to static pressure. The
Pressure altitude is the height above a specified reference Mach number indicates the maximum speed for subsonic
plane (usually sea level). It is determined by measuring the and some supersonic aircraft. It also provides a valuable
atmospheric pressure, and it is indicated by the symbol, h. measurement to maximize an aircraft’s operational
Equations 4.1 through 4.6 in Chapter 4 calculate h for three efficiency, particularly in jets. Mach is indicated by the
atmospheric altitude levels. symbol, M. Equations 4.13 and 4.14 in Chapter 4 calculate

Mach for subsonic flight. Equations 4.15 and 4.16 provide a
Altitude rate (h) is a dynamic parameter calculated using similar calculation for supersonic flight.
altitude, and time to generate a rate of gain or loss of
height. Altitude rate is usually measured in feet-per-minute. Angle-of-attack indicates the angle created between the
chord line of a wing and the plane of the oncoming air.
Equation 3.1
Using pneumatic measurement of flow angles eliminates
inertia effects and improves response times. In some
instances, angle-of-attack measurement can be added to
existing pitot probes by simply adding appropriate
Airspeed pneumatic ports.
The four key airspeed indications provide a variety of useful
information:

• Indicated airspeed (IAS)


• Calibrated airspeed (CAS)
• True airspeed (TAS)
• Mach (M)

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

ALTITUDE
The following altitude equations are based on 1962 U.S. Standard Atmosphere. They are grouped into low, medium, and
high altitude ranges.

Low Altitude defined as:


h < 36,089 ft.
Ps > 6.6832426 in. Hg

To calculate altitude or static pressure in this range, use the following equations:

Equation 4.1 Equation 4.2

Mid altitude defined as:


h = 36,089 to 65,617 ft.
6.6832426 > Ps > 1.6167295 in. Hg

To calculate altitude or static pressure in this range, use the following equations:

Equation 4.3 Equation 4.4

Ps = 6.683246e (1.7345726 - 0.00004806353h)

High Altitude defined as:


h > 65,617 ft.
Ps < 1.6167295 in. Hg

To calculate altitude or static pressure in this range, use the following equations:

Equation 4.5 Equation 4.6

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

IMPACT PRESSURE

Equation 4.6

qc = Pt - Ps

WHERE:
qc = impact pressure
Pt = total pressure
P or Ps = true static pressure

INDICATED AIRSPEED
The following equations can be used to calculate indicated airspeed for subsonic and supersonic flight:

For subsonic flight (M<1):

Equation 4.8 OR Equation 4.9

Equation 4.10

WHERE:
IAS = indicated airspeed in knots
Ps = static pressure in. Hg
Pt = total pressure in. Hg
qc = Pt - Ps = impact pressure in. Hg

For supersonic flight (M>1):

Equation 4.11

WHERE:
IAS = indicated airspeed in knots
qc = Pt - Ps = impact pressure in. Hg

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

MACH NUMBER
In its simplest form, Mach can be defined as follows:

Equation 4.12

M = Mach number = TAS/a

WHERE:
TAS = True airspeed in knots
a = speed of sound in knots

However, for air data applications more precise Mach values are required and can be calculated using pressure
measurements, as the following equations demonstrate:

For subsonic flight (M<1):

Equation 4.13 OR Equation 4.14

WHERE:
qc = Pt - Ps = impact pressure in. Hg
Ps = static pressure in. Hg
Pt = total pressure in. Hg

For supersonic flight (Mv1):

Equation 4.15 OR Equation 4.16

WHERE:
qc = Pt - Ps = impact pressure in. Hg
Ps = static pressure in. Hg
Pt = total pressure in. Hg

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

Figure 4-1: Mach No. vs Altitude and IAS

SPEED OF SOUND

Equation 4.17

WHERE:
a = speed of sound in knots
Ts = static temperature in °K

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

STATIC TEMPERATURE

Equation 4.18

WHERE:
Ts = static temperature in °K
Tt = total temperature in °K

TRUE AIRSPEED

Equation 4.19

WHERE:
TAS = true airspeed
M = Mach
a = speed of sound
Tt = total temperature in °K

To find the best-fit pressure range for your flight or instrument envelope, plot a data point on the Flight Envelope Chart
(Figure 4-2).

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CHAPTER FOUR
BASIC AIR DATA EQUATIONS/CALCULATIONS

Figure 4-2. Flight Envelope Chart

• Locate the application’s maximum Mach number on the


horizontal axis.
• On the vertical axis, locate the lowest altitude at which
the aircraft will achieve maximum Mach.
• Plot the data point where the lines from those two values
intersect.
• Identify the pressure range in which the data point is
located.
• Check off the total pressure (Pt ) range (1-38, 1-50 or 1-
80 "Hg) that corresponds to the location of your data
point.

If the location of your data point is on or near the edge of a


given Pt range, use the higher of the two ranges.

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AIR DATA GLOSSARY

Accuracy, Primary: Primary accuracy is a system descriptor ARINC 429: This communication standard specifies a two-
and is so-named because it is used to identify systems for wire, digital communications protocol. Often used for
mission-critical applications such as primary air data, safety- sending air data from a transducer to other components of
of-flight air data and/or cockpit display within the air data the air data system, especially for commercial transport
system. Primary accuracy is typically indicated by a value aircraft.
representing a percentage of the full-scale pressure
measurement range of the device. BIT: Acronym for Built-in Test (BIT). A system in which an
electronic instrument performs tests internally to determine if
Accuracy, Secondary: Secondary accuracy is a system the instrument is operating correctly. BIT typically has three
descriptor and is used to identify systems used for modes; periodic (automatic), initiated and startup.
applications that tolerate a greater measurement variance,
such as flight control gain scheduling, altitude or airspeed Calibrated Airspeed (CAS): Indicated airspeed corrected for
hold, or environmental control systems. Secondary accuracy instrument calibration and position errors. Indicated by the
is typically indicated by a value representing a percentage of symbol, Vc.
the full-scale measurement range of the device.
Calibration: The comparison of a transducer of unverified
Adiabatic: The thermodynamic change in a system without accuracy to a measurement standard or device of known or
heat transfer across the system boundary to the surrounding greater accuracy. The purpose of the comparison is to detect
medium (i.e. no gain or loss of heat). and correct any variation from the required performance
specifications of the transducer.
Air Data: The mathematical values corresponding to the
physical characteristics of the air mass surrounding a body in Data Latency: The time lag between an input measurement
flight. These physical characteristics most often include and the data message transmission.
temperature and pressure, measured using a variety of
sensing devices. The output of these devices (the air data) ETI: Acronym for Elapsed Time Indicator. ETI monitors the
can then be used to generate information such as speed, time of operation for a device.
altitude, rates of climb or descent and other flight
parameters. Hysteresis: The tendency of an instrument to give a different
output for a given input, depending on whether the input
Altitude Rate: The amount of altitude change per period of change resulted from an increase or decrease of the previous
time, usually measured in feet-per-minute. Indicated by the value.

symbol, h.
Impact Pressure: Sum of the total pressure minus the local
Angle-of-Attack (AOA): The acute angle of an aircraft atmospheric pressure. The pressure a moving stream of air
measured in the XZ plane (body axis coordinate system) produces against a surface which brings part of the moving
between the X-axis and the projection of the resultant flight stream to rest. Subsonically, it is commonly referred to as the
velocity in the XZ plane. Angle-of-attack is positive when the compressible dynamic pressure. It is the sum difference
flight velocity vector impinges from below the aircraft. AOA is between the total and static pressures, Pt - Ps = qc. Indicated
indicated by the symbol, α (Alpha). by the symbol, qc.

Angle-of-Sideslip (AOS): The acute angle of an aircraft Indicated Airspeed (IAS): The speed of an aircraft with respect
measured in the XY plane (body axis coordinate system) to the surrounding air mass. It is uncorrected for any
between the X-axis and the projection of the resultant flight installation or instrument errors. Indicated airspeed
velocity in the XY plane. It is positive when the flight velocity represents true airspeed at standard sea level conditions only,
vector impinges from the left of the aircraft. AOS is indicated and it is a function only of impact pressure, qc.
by the symbol, β (Beta).
Isentropic: Without change in entropy (the unavailability of
energy in a system) over time.

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AIR DATA GLOSSARY

Long-term Stability: The ability of the transducer to maintain Recovery Error: The per unit or fractional total temperature
operation within its static accuracy specifications over a long error.
time period (one year minimum). Factors affecting long-term
stability include aging and outgassing of electronic Recovery Factor: The proportion of kinetic energy converted
components. to heat. A recovery factor of one means all kinetic energy is
converted to heat. In such a case, the recovery temperature is
LRU: Acronym for Line Replaceable Unit. An assembly that equal to the total temperature.
can be replaced on the flight line or local maintenance facility.
Recovery Temperature: The equilibrium temperature of a
Mach Number: The ratio of true airspeed to the speed of surface with a given recovery factor or recovery error.
sound in the surrounding air. The speed of sound varies as Indicated by the symbol, Tr.
the square root of average temperature. Mach number is
determined using the ratio of impact to static pressure. Repeatability: The ability of an instrument to duplicate, with
Indicated by the symbol, M. exactness, the measurements of a given value.

MIL-STD-1553B: This military communication standard Resistance Range: In temperature sensors, the range of
which uses a bi-directional, high-speed digital data bus. Often resistances (in ohms) corresponding to the range of desired
used for sending communications within a military air data temperature measurements. Indicated by the variable, R0.
system.
Resolution: The exactness of the numbers used to portray the
Mmo: The maximum operating Mach number certified for a measurement. It is usually affected by the number of data
given aircraft. bits in a digital system.

Non-linearity: The departure from a desired linear RS-422/RS-485: Electronics Industries Association (EIA)
relationship between corresponding input and output signals. standards that use a two-wire, signal path for high-speed,
binary serial communication. RS-422 and RS-485 interface
NOVRAM: Acronym for Non-volatile Random Access hardware and protocols are identical. However, RS-422
Memory. A digital memory device that maintains data when specifies a transmit channel operating in broadcast mode
power is removed. only. RS-485 specifies a bi-directional transmit and receive
channel.
Operating Accuracy: The uncorrectable error caused by
exposure to external operational conditions (primarily the Set Point or Relative Accuracy: The error between actual
ambient temperature operating range). performance and expected or operational set point,
independent of absolute accuracy. Typically applied to flight
Pitot Tube (also Pitot Probe): An open-end tube facing control “hold” functions.
forward into the air flow to measure total pressure (Pt).
Short-term Stability: A system describer which is affected by
Pitot-Static Tube (also Pitot-Static Probe): An open-end tube factors such as signal noise, sensing element response time,
facing forward into the air flow for measuring total pressure conversion speed and external environment.
(Pt), and with ports to measure local static pressure (Ps).
Standard Atmosphere: A well-defined relationship between
Pneumatic Lag: The time elapsed between the sensing of a static air pressure, temperature and altitude. It is calculated
pressure and when that pressure is pneumatically from the hydro-static equation using a standard variation of
transmitted through piping and received by the transducer. temperature with height from a fixed pressure datum point
(usually taken above mean sea level for the earth).
Pressure Altitude: The height above a specified reference
plane (usually sea level), determined by measuring the
atmospheric pressure. Indicated by the symbol, h.

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AIR DATA GLOSSARY

Standard Sea Level Conditions: The term used for sea level True Airspeed (TAS): Indicated airspeed corrected for
values of the standard atmosphere, specifically 15°C (59.0° F) nonstandard temperatures that can be determined using
and 29.92126 inches of mercury (in. Hg). Mach number and total temperature information. It is the
actual aircraft speed through the air mass. Indicated by the
Static Ports: An opening in a plate carefully placed to be flush symbol, V.
with the aircraft skin used, in most flight conditions, to
measure true static pressure (Ps). Sometimes called static
vents.

Static Pressure: The absolute pressure (total pressure above


that of a vacuum) of still air surrounding a body. Put another
Asssume Freestream Static
way, it is the absolute air pressure that would have existed at Temperature = 15 degrees C
the aircraft’s location in the atmosphere, if the aircraft had
created no pressure disturbances. Indicated by the variable,
Ps. Measure Actual Total Air Temperature

Static Accuracy: The uncorrectable error caused by the


combined effects of non-linearity, hysteresis, repeatability and
calibration. This is the combination of all errors in the Update Rate: The transmit intervals for each item of
absence of transient conditions. information transferred from a transducer on a digital
communication bus.
Static Air Temperature (SAT): The temperature of undisturbed
air through which the aircraft is about to fly. It is the local Vertical Speed: The aircraft’s rate of change in height. Also
temperature of the air with no element due to the velocity of referred to as rate of climb, rate of descent, or altitude rate.
the air. Static temperature is lower than recovery or total
temperature. Indicated by the symbol, T. Vmo: The maximum permitted operating true airspeed for a
given aircraft under any condition.
Temperature Transient: A dynamic temperature condition not
periodically repeated. The term “transient” often implies an
anomalous, temporary departure from a steady-state
temperature condition. The departure may be either constant
or cyclic.

Total Pressure: The sum of local atmospheric pressures plus


dynamic (operating) pressures. Total pressure is the sum of
static and impact pressures. Indicated by the variable, Pt.

Total Air Temperature (TAT): The temperature of an airflow


measured as the airflow is brought to rest without removal or
addition of heat. Total temperature is higher than static or
recovery temperature because of adiabatic compression of air
going to zero velocity. Indicated by the symbol, Tt.

Transducer: Device for translating a physical phenomena


from one form to another. In air data, transducers are most
commonly used to translate physical measurements of
pressure or temperature into electrical signals (analog or
digital) for transmission to the aircraft’s control or display
instruments.

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INDEX

angle of attack 5

angle of sideslip 1

altitude rate 5

altitude 3

architectures 3

data transducers 3

data bus 3

data communications 2

error 2

impact pressure 1

Mach 1

operating accuracy 2

pneumatic lag 4

ports 1

pressure altitude 3

pressure 1

primary accuracy 2

probes 2

resolution 2

secondary accuracy 2

sensors 1

stability, long-term 2

stability, short-term 2

static accuracy 2

static air temperature (SAT) 2

total air temperature 2

total pressure 1

total air temperature (TAT) 2

transducers, see data transducers

true airspeed 5

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WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Some air data questions related to specific applications may not be directly addressed in the handbook. After five decades
of providing the finest air data measurement devices and systems for commercial and military aircraft worldwide, we know
listening to your questions, comments, and suggestions - whether you are a current customer or not - helps us deliver
superior performance and value in all of our air data products, systems and services.

If you don’t find the information you need, simply call a Goodrich air data specialist at 952 892 4000. We will be happy to
answer your questions and discuss your air data application.

If you did not receive copies of Goodrich brochures with this handbook, or if you’d like more information about how the
Goodrich Air Data Computers can solve your air data problems, contact a Goodrich air data computer expert today at:

Sensor Systems
Goodrich Corporation
Attn: Pressure Product Marketing
14300 Judicial Road
Burnsville, MN 55306-4898
USA
Tel: 952 892 4000
Fax: 952 892 4800

www.aerospace.goodrich.com

16
Sensor Systems
Goodrich Corporation
14300 Judicial Road
Burnsville, MN 55306-4898
USA
Tel: 952 892 4000
Fax: 952 892 4800
4081 LIT 08/02
© Rosemount Aerospace Inc., 2002
Printed in the USA
www.aerospace.goodrich.com The Goodrich name, logotype and symbol are trademarks of Goodrich Corporation.