You are on page 1of 104

Student Resource

Subject B2-13h
Instruments Gyroscopic

Copyright 2008 Aviation Australia


All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, transferred, sold, or
otherwise disposed of, without the written permission of Aviation Australia.

This page intentionally left blank

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

CONTENTS
Topic
Definitions

ii

Study resources

iii

Introduction

Gyroscopes

13.8.2.1

Artificial Horizons

13.8.2.2.1

Slip Indicators

13.8.2.2.2

Directional Gyros

13.8.2.2.3

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - i

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

DEFINITIONS
Define

To describe the nature or basic qualities of.

To state the precise meaning of (a word or sense of a word).

State

Specify in words or writing.

To set forth in words; declare.

Identify

To establish the identity of.

List

Itemise.

Describe

Represent in words enabling hearer or reader to form an idea of an object or process.

To tell the facts, details, or particulars of something verbally or in writing.

Explain

Make known in detail.

Offer reason for cause and effect.

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - ii

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

STUDY RESOURCES
E.H.J. Pallett, Aircraft Instruments & Integrated Systems, Chapter 4
Jeppesen Aircraft Instruments and Avionics pp 29 41
Avionics Fundamentals, IAP Inc. Chapter 5
B2-13h Student Handout

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - iii

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - iv

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this subject is to allow you to gain knowledge of Aircraft Systems, Instruments
Gyroscopic.
On completion of the following topics you will be able to:
Topic 13.8.2.1 Gyroscopic Terminology and Characteristics
Define Gyroscopic related terms.
Explain the following:

Earth rate and calculate it for various positions on the earth in respect to apparent
precession

Rigidity and list the factors which affect it

2 and 3 gimballed gyroscope layouts

Gimbal lock condition;

methods of avoiding and

rectifying a gyro in this condition

Real drift and apparent drift and list the factors which affect them

Free, tied, earth and rate gyros.

Describe gyroscopic precession and determine the direction of precession resulting from an
applied force.
Identify the following gyroscopic instrument systems, state their purpose and explain their
operation:

Artificial Horizons

Slip Indicators

Directional Gyros

Describe precautions involved with gyroscopic instruments/components.


13.8.2.2.1

Gyroscopic Instrument Systems: Artificial Horizons

Identify the following gyroscopic instrument system, state their purpose and explain their
operation:

Artificial Horizons;

13.8.2.2.2

Gyroscopic Instrument Systems: Slip Indicators

Identify the following gyroscopic instrument system, state their purpose and explain their
operation:

Slip Indicators (Turn & Bank Indicators) and

13.8.2.2.3

Gyroscopic Instrument Systems: Directional Gyros

Identify the following gyroscopic instrument system, state their purpose and explain their
operation:

Directional Gyros.

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - v

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B January 2008

Revision 3

B2-13h - vi

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

TOPIC 13.8.2.1: GYROSCOPES


Newtons 1st Law of Motion
Inertia
An object in motion will remain in motion and an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted
on by an unbalanced force. This means that if there were no friction, eg space, you could
throw/push something and it will continue at that same speed forevermore. In reality in the
atmosphere of the earth we have plenty of friction from air and gravity which provides the
additional force to oppose the initial motion imparted by you. But the concept is that a moving
mass will continue to move in the same direction unless some other force acts upon it.

When a rotor is made to spin at high speed the device becomes a gyroscope possessing two
important fundamental properties:
Gyroscopic Rigidity or Gyroscopic Inertia:
caused by the inertia of the mass, keeping the axis rigid or pointing in the same direction.
Gyroscopic Precession:
describes the application of a force to the gyro and the effect of the angular displacement.
Both these properties depend on the principle of conservation of angular momentum, which
means that the angular momentum of a body about a given point remains constant unless
some force is applied to change it. Angular momentum is the product of the moment of inertia
(I) and angular velocity (w) of a body referred to a given pointthe centre of gravity in the
case of a gyroscope.
These rather intriguing properties can be exhibited by any system in which a rotating mass is
involved. Although it was left for man to develop gyroscopes and associated devices, it is true
to say that gyroscopic properties are as old as the earth itself: it too rotates at high speed and

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 1 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

So possesses rigidity, and although it has no gimbal system or frame on which external
forces can act, it can, and does, precess. There are, however, many mechanical examples
around us every day and one of them, the bicycle, affords a very simple means of
demonstration. If we lift the front wheel off the ground, spin it at high speed, and then turn the
handlebars, we feel rigidity resisting us and we feel precession trying to twist the handlebars
out of our grasp. The flywheel of a motor-car engine is another example. Its spin axis is in the
direction of motion of the car, but when turning a corner its rigidity resists the turning forces
set up, and as this resistance always results in precession, there is a tendency for the front of
the car to move up or down depending on the direction of the turn. Other familiar examples
are aircraft propellers, compressor and turbine assemblies of jet engines; gyroscopic
properties are exhibited by all of them.

Elements of the Gyroscope


The rotor is a perfectly balanced mass, mounted on a central shaft.

Gyro Rotor Construction


The gyro wheel or rotor unit must be perfectly symmetrical and circular about the spin axis.
Any other shape would cause an imbalance during rotation. To gain higher momentum and
therefore stability, the weight is normally concentrated on the rim. Too much weight causes
excessive bearing friction and consequently drift, so a compromise must be made between
momentum and friction. Because inertia depends upon the square of the radius, the rotors
are made as large as possible with the greatest mass concentrated at the rim.

Gyroscopic Balance
The gyroscope must be perfectly balanced to reduce the vibration felt during the high speeds
at which they are rotated. Therefore they are both statically and dynamically balanced.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 2 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Static Balance: to be statically balanced, the centre of gravity must be acting upon the spin
axis.
Dynamic Balance: to be dynamically balanced, the plane of spin must be acting at right
angles to the axis of spin.
Construction of the rotor will directly affect the rigidity of the gyro. The heavier the rotor is and
the closer to the outside rim that the weight can be distributed will contribute to the gyros
rigidity.
We add a frame with bearings and we have created the first axis of spin. This frame will soon
become our inner gimbal but unto it is pivoted itself we only have a single axis of spin.

Gyroscopic Rigidity or Gyroscopic Inertia: caused by the inertia of the mass, keeping the axis
rigid or pointing in the same direction.
Gyroscopic Precession: describes the application of a force to the gyro and the effect of the
angular displacement.
Both these properties depend on the principle of conservation of angular momentum, which
means that the angular momentum of a body about a given point remains constant unless
some force is applied to change it. Angular momentum is the product of the moment of inertia
(I) and angular velocity (w) of a body referred to a given pointthe centre of gravity in the
case of a gyroscope.
These rather intriguing properties can be exhibited by any system in which a rotating mass is
involved. Although it was left for man to develop gyroscopes and associated devices, it is true
to say that gyroscopic properties are as old as the earth itself: It too rotates at high speed and
so possesses rigidity, and although it has no gimbal system or frame on which external forces
can act, it can, and does, precess. There are, however, many mechanical examples around
us every day and one of them, the bicycle, affords a very simple means of demonstration. If
we lift the front wheel off the ground, spin it at high speed, and then turn the handlebars, we
feel rigidity resisting us and we feel precession trying to twist the handlebars out of our grasp.
The flywheel of a motor-car engine is another example. Its spin axis is in the direction of
motion of the car, but when turning a corner its rigidity resists the turning forces set up, and
as this resistance always results in precession, there is a tendency for the front of the car to
move up or down depending on the direction of the turn. Other familiar examples are aircraft
propellers, compressor and turbine assemblies of jet engines; gyroscopic properties are
exhibited by all of them.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 3 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

As a mechanical device a gyroscope may be defined as a system containing a heavy metal


wheel, or rotor, universally mounted so that it has three degrees of freedom:

Spinning freedom about an axis perpendicular through its centre (axis of spin XX1)
{this means the line from X to X1}

Tilting freedom about a horizontal axis at right angles to the spin axis (axis of tilt YY1)

Veering freedom about a vertical axis perpendicular to both the spin and tilt axes (axis
of veer ZZ1).

Axes of Freedom
Engineers have used many and various ways of describing the mounting and axis references
of the gyroscope. A three frame gyro was said to have three degrees of freedom which were
namely:

spinning freedom, which enabled a gyroscopes rotor to spin.

tilting freedom, where the gyro case or inner gimbal was free to rotate about the
horizontal plane, at right angles to the spin axis.

veering freedom, where the outer gimbal was free to rotate about the vertical plane,
which is perpendicular to both the spin and tilt axes.

The outer gimbal is supported in the frame or case of the gyro system. The modern technical
terminology used to express the degrees of freedom of gyroscopes tends towards accepting
as fact, that a gyro must spin to show the gyroscopic properties. Therefore, a two frame
gyroscope has only one degree of freedom, while the three frame gyroscope has two
degrees of freedom.
The three degrees of freedom are obtained by mounting the rotor in two concentrically
pivoted rings, called inner and outer gimbal rings. The whole assembly is known as the
Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 4 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

gimbal system of a free or space gyroscope. The gimbal system is mounted in a frame, so
that in its normal operating position, all the axes are mutually at right angles to one another
and intersect at the centre of gravity of the rotor.

The gyro must be universally mounted or in gimbals so as to maintain the two degrees of
freedom required, that is vertical and horizontal (in this explanation the spin axis of freedom
is ignored although the text refers to two degrees of freedom, it means full freedom of spin,
tilt & veer). The construction of the gyro determines the shape and form of the gimbals which
in turn depends on how the gyro will be used and in which plane it will be required to sense
movement.
Gimbals permit the gyro frame (or an aircraft) to move around the gyro while it maintains its
original attitude and direction of spin axis.
Plane of spin does not require a gimbal as this plane is simply the freedom of the rotor to spin
on its axis. A gyro cannot detect movement about its plane of spin, eg a DG cannot detect
pitch and an AH cannot detect yaw.
Each other gyro axis requires a gimbal to provide it with freedom.
Only 1 gimbal only permits freedom in only 1 axis (in addition to plane of rotation explained
above). A second gimbal is required to provide freedom in both axiss of tilt and veer.
We can limit the gimbals to our advantage in measuring things, eg a rate gyro only has 1
gimbal, but that will be covered in depth later.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 5 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Gyroscopic Inertia or Rigidity


The property of rigidity of the gyroscope is its ability to resist any force which tends to change
the plane of rotation of its rotor. This means that if a force is applied to try and move the
gyroscope to another position the rotors axis of spin will try and remain in the constant
direction in space. This property is the result of its high angular velocity, and the kinetic
energy possessed in the rotor. The gyroscopic inertia or rigidity can be increased by:
increasing the mass of the rotor
increasing the rotor speed
concentrating more mass near the rim of the rotor. This is called increasing the radius of
gyration.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 6 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Precession. The angular change in direction of the plane of rotation under the influence of
an applied force. The change in direction takes place, not in line with the applied force, but
always at a point 90 away in the direction of rotation.
The rate of precession also depends on three factors:

Strength and direction of the applied force

Moment of inertia of the rotor (rigidity of rotor - weight)

Angular velocity of the rotor (Rigidity of rotor speed)

The greater the force, the greater is the rate of precession, while the greater the moment of
inertia and the greater the angular velocity, the smaller is the rate of precession. (greater
rigidity smaller rate of precession for equal amount of applied force)
Precession of a rotor will continue, while the force is applied, until the plane of rotation is in
line with the plane of the applied force and until the directions of rotation and applied force
are coincident. At this point, since the applied force will no longer tend to disturb the plane of
rotation, there will be no further resistance to the force and precession will cease. gyro will
eventually gimbal lock or topple if unrestrained a rate gyro functions on the basis of
precession, but the gyro rotor is restrained by springs so does not gimbal lock rotor
continues to precess against spring pressure whilst turning force is detected by gyro rotor
more on rate gyros later.
The axis about which a torque is applied is termed the input axis, and the one about which
precession takes place in termed the output axis.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 7 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The property of precession only becomes apparent when an external force is applied to a
spinning mass. This will cause the plane of rotation to change direction. The change takes
place, not at the direction of the applied force, but at a point 90 away in the direction of gyro
rotation. The rate of precession also depends upon three factors:
Strength and direction of the applied force
Rigidity of the rotor; (mass of the rotor, where it is concentrated and speed)
The greater the force, the greater is the rate of precession, while the greater the rigidity of the
rotor, the smaller is the rate of precession.
Since precession is the angular change in position of the plane of rotation (spin) that occurs
when the applied force exceeds the rotational force, the direction of the precessional
movement is dependent upon the direction of the applied force and the direction of the gyro
rotation.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 8 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Unavoidable precession is caused by aircraft maneuvering and by the internal friction of


attitude and directional gyros. This causes slow "drifting" and thus erroneous readings. When
deflective forces are too strong or are applied very rapidly, most older gyro rotors topple over,
rather than merely precess. This is called "tumbling" or "spilling" the gyro and should be
avoided because it damages bearings and renders the instrument useless until the gyro is
erected again. Some of the older gyros have caging devices to hold the gimbals in place.
Even though caging causes greater than normal wear, older gyros should be caged during
aerobatic maneuvers to avoid damage to the instrument. The gyro may be erected or reset
by a caging knob. Many gyro instruments manufactured today have higher attitude limitations
than the older types. These instruments do not "tumble" when the gyro limits are exceeded,
but, however, do not reflect pitch attitude beyond 85 degrees nose up or nose down from
level flight. Beyond these limits the newer gyros give incorrect readings. These gyros have a
self-erecting mechanism that eliminates the need for caging.

Gimbal lock is normally prevented by limiting the movement of the inner gimbal with
mechanical stops as shown on the slide. A mechanical stop applied to prevent gimbal
locking. This physically prevents the inner gimbal and the outer gimbal from becoming
aligned. If the gimbals do reach these stops, the forces acting on the gimbal system cause
the system to precess randomly and topple.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 9 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 10 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Free or Space Gyros


An unrestricted, un-referenced displacement gyro is called a space gyro. These are gyros
that have complete freedom about three axis which are all acting at right angles to each other
(spin, tilt, and veer). This enables the gyro to maintain its position relative to some point in
space for an indefinite time assuming that there are no bearing imperfections or external
forces such as magnetic fields or gravity.
Typical gyro training aids and gyro toys are space gyros. They are not referenced to
anything, not even gravity. If you were to sit and watch a perfectly balanced and frictionless
space gyro, it will appear to rotate or drift away from the perpendicular, but in reality the rotor
is remaining rigidly fixed in space, and as the earth rotates, the frame rotates around the
rotor, appearing to the viewer on earth as though the gyro is rotating.
Obviously an un-referenced space gyro is of no use in an aircraft. For a start if the aircraft
were sitting still on the ground the gyro would be drifting off at a rate of 15 per hour due to
the earths rotation. A gyro in an aircraft must be referenced to the horizon, or the earth. So a
space gyro must be controlled to remain rigid, but with respect to the centre of the earth, this
is usually achieved by using gravity as a reference to maintain the gyro erect & referenced to
the centre of the earth.

Free or Space Gyros


These are gyros that have complete freedom about three axis which are all acting at right
angles to each other (spin, tilt, and veer). This enables the gyro to maintain its position
relative to some point in space for an indefinite time assuming that there are no bearing
imperfections or external forces such as magnetic fields or gravity.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 11 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Tied Gyros
A space gyro would be of no use whatever in establishing the needed vertical and horizontal
references required for safe instrument flight. We need to have gyros that have freedom
about three axis at right angles to each other, but which are controlled by some external
force, so they assume an attitude in respect to some given point. By tying the gyro spin axis
to some fixed point, we create what is called a tied gyro. The directional gyro indicator uses a
tied gyroscope. The gyro spin axis being tied horizontal in respect to the indicator case and
as such is parallel to the aircraft lateral and longitudinal axes. This type of application is
called a case tied gyro.

Earth Gyros
These are tied gyros whose spin axis is maintained in a vertical position with respect to the
earths surface by a gravitational device. These types of gyroscopes are called vertical gyros
and is the basic element of the gyro horizon or artificial horizon indicator.

Rate Gyros
These are tied gyros, which are tied to a particular reference point by springs, creating a gyro
which has only one degree of freedom. It is constructed so as to indicate rate of movement
about a plane at right angles to both the plane of rotation and the plane of freedom which in
this case is the tilting plane. The gyroscope is spring-restricted about the tilt axis so that when
the unit is turned about the vertical axis, the amount of displacement due to precession is a
measure of the rate of turn.

References Established by Gyroscopes


The application of the gyroscope into aircraft systems is to provide two essential reference
datums:

vertical flight reference

Against which aircraft attitude changes are noted and used to indicate both pitch and roll
functions of the aircraft.

directional flight reference

Against which aircraft heading changes are noted and used to indicate movement of the
aircraft about the vertical axis.
These references are established by gyroscopes having their spin axis arranged vertically
and horizontally. The vertical gyro is the sense element of all attitude gyros, whilst the
horizontal gyro is the sense element of the directional gyro providing aircraft heading
information.
From the above description, it can be seen that the three gyro controlled flight instruments
used by the pilot are all tied gyros. In each case however, a different method is used to tie the
gyro instrument to its appropriate reference point.

Earth Gyro
Before a free gyroscope can be of practical use as an attitude reference in aircraft flight
instruments and other associated navigational equipment, drift and transport wander must be
controlled so that the gyroscopes plane of spin is maintained relative to the earth; in other
words, it requires conversion to what is termed an earth gyroscope.
A Space Gyro referenced to earth is then termed an Earth gyro. Any Space gyro referenced
to a parameter is referred to as a tied gyro, so an Earth Gyro (tied to centre of the earth) is a
form of Tied gyro.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 12 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 13 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Rate Gyros
The difference between a displacement gyro, and that provided by a rate gyro: where a
displacement gyro utilises a gyros property of rigidity in space and measure displacement
around it, a rate gyro relies on a gyro being subjected to precessive forces against spring
pressure to determine rate of movement. The higher the rate of movement the greater the
inertial force applied to the gyro resulting in precession. The higher the rate of turn, the
greater the precessive force, the greater the movement against spring pressure.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 14 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Displacement Gyros
Aircraft in flight are still very much a part of the earth, i.e. all references must be with respect
to the earths surface. The free or space gyroscope we have been referring to in presenting
gyro theory would serve no useful purpose in an aircraft and would have to be corrected for
drift with respect to the earths rotation, called apparent drift, and for wander as a result of
transporting the gyroscope from one point on the earth to another, called transport wander.
It will also be noted that the pitch, roll, and directional attitudes of the aircraft are determined
by its displacement with respect to each appropriate gyroscope. For this reason, therefore,
the gyroscopes are referred to as displacement type gyroscopes. Each one has the three
degrees of freedom, and consequently three mutual axes, but for the purpose of attitude
sensing, the spin axis of the gyro is discounted since no useful attitude reference is provided
when displacements take place about the spin axis alone (displacement around axis of spin
is not detected). Thus, in the practical case, vertical-axis and horizontal-axis gyroscopes are
further classified as two-axis displacement gyroscopes.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 15 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Gyroscope Applications in Aircraft


For use in aircraft, gyroscopes must establish two essential reference datums:

Reference against which pitch and roll attitude changes may be detected

Directional reference against which changes about the vertical axis may be detected

These references are established by gyroscopes having their spin axes arranged vertically
and horizontally respectively. Both types of gyroscope utilise the fundamental properties in
the following manner:

Rigidity establishes a stabilised reference unaffected by movement of the supporting


body

Precession controls the effects of apparent and real drift thus maintaining stabilised
reference datums (erection systems to reference to earth).

For use in aircraft, gyroscopes must establish two essential reference datums: a reference
against which pitch and roll attitude changes may be detected, and a directional reference
against which changes about the vertical axis may be detected. These references are
established by gyroscopes having their spin axes arranged vertically and horizontally
respectively.
Both types of gyroscope utilize the fundamental properties in the following manner: Rigidity
establishes a stabilized reference unaffected by movement of the supporting body, and
precession controls the effects of apparent and real drift thus maintaining stabilised reference
datums.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 16 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 17 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 18 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

To compensate a space gyro to eliminate earth rate, at the equator we could precess it at 15
per hour, so that it will completely rotate every 24 hours (same as the earths rotation) thus
appearing to remain erect with respect to earth. If the gyro is not at the equator, the
precession value can still be easily calculated because apparent drift equals 15 sin (where
equals angle of latitude). Can be achieved by electrical torquing signals, or by unbalancing
gimbals to cause gyro to drift at desired rate.
Control of drift which, relates only to horizontal-axis gyroscopes and can be achieved either
by:

calculating corrections using the earth-rate formula given in the preceding table and
applying them as appropriate; e.g. to the readings of a direction indicator:

applying fixed torques which unbalance the gyroscope and cause it to precess at a
rate equal and opposite to the earth rate we,

applying torques having a similar effect to that stated in above, but which can be
varied according to the latitude.

A gyro corrected for earth rate or apparent drift will maintains its attitude with reference to the
earth, it will continue to point to the centre of the earth even as the earth rotates.
This is the name given to the apparent drift which becomes evident in the directional
gyroscope due to the earths rotation. It is a combination of both apparent tilt and apparent
veer. Apparent precession occurs at a rate of 15 degrees per hour x sine of the latitude in
which the gyro is operating. Apparent drift compensation is carried out by causing the
gyroscope to be precessed in the opposite direction to the earths rotation. This is achieved
by placing weights in the spin axis of the gyro rotor to unbalance the unit so that the weight
force causes the gyro to precess. The rate of precession is determined by the latitude in
which the gyro is being operated.
Real drift results from imperfections in the manufacture of the gyroscope such as bearing
friction, gimbal imbalances. Imperfections can cause unwanted precession which can only be
minimised by applying precision engineering techniques.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 19 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Transport Rate
Assume now that the gyroscope is transported from one point on the planet to another, with
its spin axis aligned with the local vertical component of gravity. It will have appeared to an
observer on the earth that the spin axis of the gyro scope has tilted this is transport wander
The control of transport wander is normally achieved by using gravity-sensing devices to
automatically detect tilting of the gyro scopes spin axis, and to apply the appropriate
corrective torques. Examples of these devices are later described.

Transport Rate
If a gyro were transported from the North Pole to the equator it will appear as though it has
tilted 90. In fact you have moved and not the gyro. In the diagrams, the one on the left shows
an uncorrected gyro which would display transport rate, the one on the right shows a
corrected gyro.
Transport rate is corrected by referencing the gyro to the centre of the earth, or gravity.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 20 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 21 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Gimbal errors: occur in all directional gyros which, as you will recall, have a horizontal spin
axis. The gimbal errors are caused during aircraft maneuvers. They are caused by loss of
gimbal relationship under certain conditions, in that the gyro spin axis and gimbals are no
longer at 90 degrees to each other. Gimbal errors are not caused by external forces, but by
the output from sensing synchros, as a result of the outer gimbal moving as the aircraft
rotates about the spin axis. This output causes heading errors on inter-connected
instruments during maneuvers however, these errors are eliminated when the aircraft returns
to straight and level flight. If the aircraft gyro frame is rotated about the rotor spin axis, the
outer gimbal must move to maintain the direction of the rotor spin axis. This movement of the
outer gimbal will be detected by the outer gimbal heading synchro.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 22 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 23 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 24 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Handling

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 25 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Ring Laser Gyro


Laser gyros are now widely used in aircraft navigation applications. They provide accurate,
independent navigational data with high accuracy and reliability. They are still a dead
reckoning system, and require no external inputs to function.
This type of Inertial Reference Unit is referred to as a strapdown system because it does not
require a gyro stabilised platform as described in a conventional INU. Pitch and roll
movements which would normally introduce errors in an accelerometer, are provided to the
computer and the accelerometer outputs are modified electronically to compensate for
attitude changes.
This form of Inertial Reference Unit normally provides primary Attitude information, and can
also measure altitude (inertially), rate of ascent and descent and groundspeed. Outputs from
an IRU are typically distributed over a digital data bus to flight control computers, navigation
computers, multi-function displays, etc.

Fundamentals of Laser Operation


LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Since its
discovery in 1960, LASER technology has expanded rapidly with application in many fields
other than aviation including medical, agriculture and engineering. The first step in producing
Laser is the ionisation of a gas which may be helium, argon, krypton, neon or xenon. Each
gas produces a different colour (and wavelength) of light. A mixture of helium and neon is
used in ring laser gyros. This gas mixture is held at low pressure inside a sealed tube
exposed to an anode and cathode plate. When a high voltage is applied across these plates
the gases ionise, producing a glow discharge similar to fluorescent tubes. In laser
gyroscopes the applied voltage is around 3000 volts.
What is the difference between laser light and say ordinary white light? Firstly, white light is a
mixture of many wavelengths; laser light is a single wavelength which is dependant on the
type of gas used. Secondly, ordinary light is scattered in all directions but laser light is a
parallel beam. For example, recent experiments using a pencil sized laser light aimed at the
moon found it spread to a distance of only two miles over the distance of 250,000 miles.
Laser is termed coherent light which means it is of a specific wavelength.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 26 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 27 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Construction of the Ring Laser Gyroscope


Ring laser gyros are not gyroscopes in the sense that we know them. They are simply two
beams of laser light rotating in opposite directions engineered to detect motion and behave
like a gyro. Laser ring gyros are constructed so that two laser beams are reflected around a
triangle causing the light to travel in an enclosed loop. The light travels in both directions at
the same time, so we have a clockwise beam and a counter-clockwise beam.
So how can this be used to detect motion? Picture a merry-go-round platform which is
stationary, with two people walking around it from the same starting point. One walks
clockwise and the other anticlockwise, and both can walk entirely around the merry-go-round
back to their starting point by walking 100 steps. However, if the platform is rotated slowly
clockwise, the person walking with the platform would need to take shorter steps to complete
the journey in the same number of steps. Conversely, the person walking against the
direction of rotation would need to take longer steps to complete the journey in 100 steps (like
walking on an escalator more steps to achieve the same distance).
This can also be explained using the Doppler principle.
A similar phenomenon takes place in our laser gyro. If the gyro is turned clockwise (CW), the
CW beam completes the journey in a shorter time. In order to complete the journey in the
same number of cycles the beam wavelength must be compressed, that is, the frequency
must be increased. Conversely, the counter-clockwise (CCW) beam wavelength must
increase (frequency decreased).

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 28 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 29 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Fibre Optic Gyro


Fibre Optic Gyros (FOGs) are a later expansion of the RLG principle. Similar to RLGs, they
operate on exactly the same principle of sending two light beams, in different directions
around a fibre optic path. Any movement of the Fibre Optic coil in either direction will result in
the path of light travelling further in one beam while the other light path travels less distance.
Bringing the two light beams out to some form of detector, which looks at the phase of the
light, will then give an output signal which will relate directly to the amount of rotation
encountered by the coil. This is again using the Sagnac effect as do the RLGs.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 30 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The reason FOGs are finding greater use than RLGs is that they can be made in much
smaller and compact installations. Also the path that the beams are required to travel around,
can be made much longer than a similar RLG light path, and this increase in path length
means that more accurate and smaller changes of rotation can be measured. Typically,
FOGs can have fibre optic coils which can measure anywhere from 100 metres to over 5
kilometres in length. The longer the path, means basically the more accurate the FOG can
be, which in turn means that the Inertial Measurement Unit will provide far greater
navigational accuracy.
Most modern day FOGs, because of their much smaller physical size than RLGs, are
incorporated with GPS receivers and Air Data units. What this does is to give the aircraft
designer a compact, fully self contained, navigation unit capable of very high accuracies.
Because of their operation and the virtual absence or nearly all moving parts, the mean time
between failure (MTBF) for these types of units is now measured in the order of years
between failures. Typical MTBFs are measured in excess of 50,000 hours of continuous
operation, which in laymens terms means nearly over 6 years of continuous operation
between reported faults.
The accuracy of these units is also higher than typical RLG units. Accuracies in the order of
15 metres or less, anywhere in the world, is something that Airlines are very happy to accept.

A typical unit from Northrop Grumman as shown above is currently fitted to the Airbus A380.
It weighs less than 8 kilograms, and draws less than 36 watts of power from the aircraft
electrical system. This unit combines the functions of GPS, Inertial Reference and Air Data
modules into one package. What this does is give a small lightweight package which draws
very little power, yet provides extremely accurate navigational accuracy.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 31 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Gyroscope Erection Systems


There are two main type of air driven gyro erection systems:
wedge plate
pendulous vane.
Both types rely on the gyroscopic precession to move the spinning rotor back to a balanced
or erect position.

Wedge Plate
The wedge plate system simply deflects the air from the rotor system across a wedge shaped
plate. This deflected air when exhausted evenly or balanced across the plate has no effect on
the outer gimbal. When an unbalanced deflection occurs due to the movement of the rotor
from the vertical, the air is distributed more on one side of the plate than the other. This
differential air flow causes a precession effect on the outer gimbal and therefore tries to
return the spinning rotor to the vertical position.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 32 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

A negative pressure is created so that the cabin air enters the filtered inlet and passes
through the channels to the jets. The air from the jets hits the rotor buckets, evenly driving the
rotor at approximately 15,000 rev./min. After spinning the rotor, the air passes through a
pendulous vane unit attached to the underside of the rotor casing and is finally drawn to the
vacuum source.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 33 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Pendulous Vane
The pendulous vane unit operates on an air driven gyro spinning around a vertical axis, such
as an artificial horizon. This type of erection system ports the exhausted air through four ports
located at right angles to each other. The pendulous vanes in the normal position port air
equally across all outlets and therefore no precession effect is generated. In an unbalanced
situation, the gyro rotor is tilted and the gravitational effect automatically adjusts the position
of the pendulous vanes and therefore directs the air differentially. This differential force
causes the rotor to precess back to the normal position.

Erection Systems for Electrically Driven Gyros


Mechanical
For electrically driven gyros, a mechanical form of erection is to manually cage the
gyroscope. This action mechanically forces the gyro gimbals to a position at right angles to
each other, that is, pitch, roll and yaw. Care must be taken when caging an instrument as
damage can result to gimbals and bearings if caging is undertaken incorrectly.
Ball Type Erection System
There are two main types of ball style levelling or erection systems used on artificial horizons
or attitude gyros:
ball cage type
rolling ball type.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 34 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Ball Cage Type


The ball cage type uses a number of steel balls usually between 5 and 8 suspended below
the gyro and free to roll across a radiused disc with hooks located around the perimeter.
These hooks capture the balls as their mass moves and apply a precession force to erect the
gyro. In the vertical plane, the mass of balls is centred and therefore no precession force is
applied. The precessional force applied will erect the gyro.
Rolling Ball Type
The rolling ball type system when used as a levelling device incorporates a slotted disc with a
ball free to travel inside the slot. The slot is driven in at a uniform speed approximately 30
rpm. When the assembly is tilted the ball exerts an effect on the disc. When tilted, the ball
rolls to the lower end and waits until the bottom of the slot catches up. Going uphill the ball is
pushed by the disc. This means that the average weight on the downhill side is less than the
uphill and therefore produces a torque effect which is related to tilt angle. This torque
precesses the gyro assembly in the desired direction to move the gyro back to the vertical
position.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 35 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 36 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 37 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 38 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Erection Systems for Electrically Driven Gyros


Torque Motors and Sensors
The application of torque motors is the most commonly used form of gyro correction and
possibly the easiest to use. The torque motor is similar to a small electric motor except that
the output shaft applies a twisting motion or force which is called torque, to the erection
gimbal system when energised. The power is supplied through levelling switches and the
torque motors are situated between the gimbal and the next supporting frame.
Because of the force of precession, a gyro spinning about the vertical axis requires the pitch
torque motor to be positioned between the inner and outer gimbal and the roll torque motor
positioned between the outer gimbal and frame.
Mercury Switches
A levelling switch mounted parallel to the aircrafts longitudinal and lateral axis (pitch and roll)
detect any deviation from level and therefore control current flow to the torque motors by
applying a torque opposite to the force creating it. The levelling switches can be either
straight or curved, the curved variety requiring a greater force to operate.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 39 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Torque Motors
The erection torque motors are squirrel cage motors with a laminated iron rotor, mounted
concentrically about the stator. The iron core stator has two windings, a reference winding
and a control winding. The reference winding is provided with a constant field and in normal
operation, that is, no displacement, it has current flowing via a capacitor and is therefore
phase shifted by 90 degrees. The control winding is in two parts and is able to provide a
reversible field. This circuit is supplied from the same AC source, as it is directly connected to
the supply there is no phase shift, leading the reference winding. The combined magnetic
field interacts with the field in the stator and the result controls the direction of the torque
motor and provides correctional torque to the gyro assembly. In the normal position there is
no current flowing in the torque motor circuits due to the levelling switch being in the level
position.

DC Coils and Permanent Magnets


Both systems use the resultant flux lines to impart a magnetic field which will tend to
magnetically displace the gyro and therefore impart a precessional force. A permanent
magnet is used where a constant correction force is required to act, as is the case for the
correction of apparent drift. The success of this type of permanent field will depend on the
operating environment of the aircraft, and the drift rate of the location. DC coils offer the
ability of being able to be switched on or off through the use of cutout switches, limit switches,
mercury switches or simply as a means of fast erection of the gyro.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 40 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 41 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Erection systems are necessary for erecting and maintaining the gyro spin axis in a vertical or
horizontal position relative to the earths surface. For an attitude indicator to be accurate the
gyros spin axis must be kept vertical, this is achieved by the erection devices detecting and
erecting the gyro to the local vertical. Due to the construction of erection devices, they will be
displaced whenever the aircraft changes airspeed or alters direction.
Unless provision is made to counter act the acceleration and turning forces, the erection
devices will precess the gyro axis to a false vertical and in doing so will present an incorrect

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 42 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

indication of the aircrafts attitude. The importance of erection systems and their correction
methods must be clearly understood.
Erection Errors
The erection errors caused by acceleration, deceleration and turning forces acting on the
conducting medium in the electrical leveling switches, or pendulous vanes used in the
mechanical erection systems can be compensated for by using the characteristics of rigidity
and precession to correct the errors.
Erection Error Correction
To correct for the erection errors encountered during acceleration or deceleration and turning
forces, a correcting torque is applied to the outer gimbal. This results in precession of the
inner gimbal to counteract the false vertical error.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 43 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 44 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Caging

The gyro can be caged manually by a lever and cam mechanism to provide rapid erection.
When the instrument is not getting sufficient power for normal operation, an "OFF" flag
appears in the upper right face of the instrument.
The instrument permits 360 of rotation about the pitch and bank axes without tumbling the
gyro. The expanded motion of the horizon bar provides sensitive pitch indications near the
level flight position.
When the aircraft exceeds the maximum of 27 in pitch up or down, the horizon bar is held in
extreme position and the sphere becomes the new reference. A continued increase of climb
or dive angle approaching the vertical attitude is indicated by graduations on the sphere.
When the aircraft nears vertical, the sphere begins to rotate 180. As soon as the aircraft
departs from the vertical, the instrument again indicates the attitude of the aircraft. This
momentary rotation of the sphere is known as controlled precession and should not be
confused with gyro tumbling. The attitude of the aircraft about the roll axis is shown by the
Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 45 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

angle between the horizon bar and the miniature aircraft, and also by the bank index relative
to the degree marking on the bezel mask (face plate).

Errors
Following recovery from unusual attitudes, displacement of the horizon bar in excess of 5 in
pitch and/or bank may result. Once the instrument senses gravitational forces, the erection
mechanism will immediately begin to correct the precession errors at a rate of 3 to 6 per
second. In a normal turn, centrifugal force acting on the erection mechanism will produce
normal precession errors in pitch and/or bank up to 5 on return to straight-and-level flight.
Acceleration or deceleration will also result in precession errors in proportion to the duration
and magnitude of the speed change. Following acceleration, the aircraft pitch attitude will be
lower than the instrument indication; following deceleration, the aircraft attitude will be higher
than the pitch indication until the erection mechanism realigns the gyro.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 46 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Aircraft Gyro Vacuum Systems


Aircraft gyro instruments can be powered by vacuum (air) or electricity. Electric gyros can run
off AC or DC power, depending upon what they were designed for.
Air driven gyros can run on positive pressure, or vacuum pressure. Air pressure is provided
by an engine driven vacuum pump, and the vacuum (more predominantly) is then plumbed
through the gyro instruments to run up the gyro rotors. In vacuum gyro systems the filters are
very important items as any contamination entering the gyro will dramatically shorten its
serviceable life. Filters must be regularly serviced

Aircraft use a venturi system when they do not have the facility for an engine driven vacuum
pump to power their air driven gyros. The venturi tube is an open ended metal tube tapering
towards the centre or throat. It is fitted to the fuselage or mainplane with the inlet end in line
with the direction of flight, and usually located in the propwash area.
In flight, the air is forced into the inlet end of the tube and accelerates through the narrowing
section or throat of the tube to a higher velocity. This increase in velocity produces a lower
pressure at the throat which is connected through tubing to a suction relief valve and then to
the case of the gyro instruments. The case of the gyro is also connected through a filter back
to atmosphere. As the pressure in the throat of the venturi is lower than atmosphere, the
atmosphere causes a flow of air or suction through the instruments to the venturi throat and
back to atmosphere as the air leaves the venturi. Venturi tubes as a vacuum source are
normally confined to early light aircraft and some of the later types of simple home built
aircraft. The venturi is extremely inefficient and limited in its capacity to drive instruments.
Venturi tubes are rated by the amount of vacuum they will produce at 120 Mph or 104 Kts.
The two-inch/50 mm venturi is used to produce two inches of mercury suction to drive one
turn and bank indicator, while the larger four-inch tubes are used for the directional and
attitude gyros. One design of the larger tubes is called the super-venturi or eight-inch venturi.
This venturi has an auxiliary venturi in its throat and is capable of more suction for the same
speed.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 47 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Problems
The most common problem with a venturi is from:
being struck
the tube assembly being damaged
being blocked by a foreign object.
Always make sure that the tube and fittings are clean, free from obstructions and have a
good physical appearance.
With the introduction of new aircraft, the aircraft systems and instrumentation became more
complex. Higher speeds and increased altitude required a more sophisticated vacuum supply
source. The major problem with the venturi system is the formation of ice in the throat and
other damage being sustained by the tube assembly sticking out in the airflow. The vacuum
powered gyroscopic flight instruments fitted to the many types of aircraft vary in the demand
placed on the vacuum system. The two main types of positive displacement, vane type
vacuum pumps which are driven from the engine accessory drives are:
wet type
dry type
and are classified according to their construction.

Wet Pumps
The earlier vacuum pumps were nearly all of the steel vane type which were lubricated from
the engine low pressure oil system. This oil has a one-way passage through the pump and is
lost with the discharge air over board, via the vent tube. In some designs this oil is returned to
the engine crankcase by separating the oil from the discharge air in an oil separator before
the air is allowed to enter the atmosphere which prevents the oil causing streaks along the
side of the fuselage.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 48 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The modern pumps are dry; that is, they have their wearing parts made of Teflon and or
carbon. The pump rotors are made of a fibre material and the rotor blades are of carbon. The
pump housing is high grade cast iron finely machined and in some cases the surface is
Teflon coated. These pumps can normally be driven in only one direction which is indicated
by an arrow on the housing To prevent mechanical damage to the engine accessory drive
system, the pumps have a weak-link shear drive designed to fail should the pump suffer an
internal fault.

Problems with Vacuum Pumps


Look for a show of oil or evidence of vibration. The vacuum pump should be smooth in
operation and an erratic output is characterised by a difficult to adjust suction relief valve. The
vacuum pump shear link must be checked for signs of stress and the pump must appear to
be in good order.
An aircraft vacuum source can be either from a vacuum pump which is engine driven or from
a venturi which is located in the propwash, external to the aircraft. The vacuum supply in both
cases is a source of low pressure.

An aircraft vacuum source can be either from a vacuum pump which is engine driven or from
a venturi which is located in the propwash, external to the aircraft. The vacuum supply in both
cases is a source of low pressure.
Pressurised air ported over cups in gyro rotor, or vacuum air sucked across cups. Spins gyro
rotor up to speed and is also used for gyro erection system reference gyro to earth to
eliminate transport rate. Only ever low pressure air used. Only likely to be incorporated in
light aircraft.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 49 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

At high altitudes vacuum-driven gyroscopic instruments suffer from the effects of a decrease
in vacuum due to the lower atmospheric pressure; the resulting reduction in rotor speeds
affecting gyroscopic stability. Other disadvantages of vacuum operation are weight due to
pipelines, special arrangements to control the vacuum in pressurized cabin aircraft, and,
since air must pass through bearings, the possibility of contamination by corrosion and dirt
particles

Vacuum-Driven Gyro Horizon


The rotor is pivoted in ball bearings within a case forming the inner ring, which in turn is
pivoted in a rectangular-shaped outer ring.
In the rear end cover of the instrument case, a connection is provided for the coupling of the
vacuum supply. With the vacuum system in operation, the surrounding atmosphere enters
the filtered inlet and passes through the channels to the jets. The air issuing from the jets
impinges on the rotor buckets, thus imparting even driving forces to spin the rotor at
approximately 15,000 RPM. After spinning the rotor, the air passes through a pendulous
vane unit attached to the underside of the rotor casing, and is finally drawn off by the vacuum
source.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 50 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Disadvantages of air driven gyro systems

Dirt and dust are a major problem with air driven instruments and therefore instrument
filters and system filters must be checked, cleaned or changed at regular intervals.

When cigarette smoking was allowed on aircraft, the residue from the smoke was a
major problem for gyroscopic air driven instruments.

Engine driven vacuum pumps must be regularly checked for correct operation.

Incorporation of mechanical pumps adds an additional piece of equipment requiring


servicing, in addition to the aircrafts alternator/generator.

To overcome the disadvantages of the air driven gyroscopic instruments in high performance
aircraft, gyroscopic instruments were designed for operation on electrical power derived from
the aircraft power supplies. This power is generally 115V 400Hz three phase alternating
current as supplied from the aircraft alternators or inverters or 28V direct current, the latter
being required for the operation of some turn and bank indicators. The alternating current
application has been used for the later types of turn and bank, gyro horizon indicators and the
remotely located attitude and directional gyros associated with flight control systems and
remote-indicating compass systems.
Electrical gyros only need a small amount of power from the existing aircraft power supply
hence an additional engine driven component (the vacuum pump) is no longer necessary.
AC electrically powered gyros can run much faster than air driven gyros so provide a more
rigid gyroscopic reference.
Electrically driven gyros incorporate more solid state components and therefore require less
maintenance effort compared to pneumatically driven gyros.
A particular limitation of air driven gyros over most electrically driven gyros is that the gyro
should never be removed from the aircraft until at least 30 minutes have passed from the
time the vacuum source was disconnected, or rotor has ceased spinning, as the inertia
contained within the rotor, and the relative absence of friction within the bearings, may allow
the rotor to spin for up to this length of time. Electrically driven gyros often incorporate a form
of electrical or dynamic braking which will slow the gyro rotor very quickly once power is
removed.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 51 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The direct current electrical gyro uses a method of construction where the rotor is actually the
armature winding and the stator is the permanent magnet. This principle of construction
allows the greater mass containing the armature winding to spin as the rotor giving greater
rigidity.
This direct current application utilises the gyro rotor which contains the armature winding of a
small permanent magnet motor. This is supplied with 28 volts DC via two spring loaded
brushes contacting a commutator, which is mounted on the rotor armature shaft. The stator is
a two-pole permanent magnet and forms part of the gimbal frame. In this application (Turn
and Slip indicator) the rotor speed is kept at approximately 4,200 RPM.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 52 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

AC Drive Methods and Motor Types


AC gyros are usually powered by a three phase 115 volt 400 Hz squirrel cage induction
motor, consisting of a rotor and a stator. A normal induction motor has the rotor revolving
inside the stator. In this instance the motor has been redesigned so that the rotor rotates on
the outside of the stator, this increases the mass of the rotor in order to provide the required
inertia.
The 115 volts AC is supplied to the stator and a rotating magnetic field is established in the
stator. This rotating field cuts the bars in the squirrel cage rotor and induces a current, the
effect of which produces a magnetic field around the bars which combine with the stators
field causing the rotor to spin at approximately 22,500 RPM.

AC Drive Methods and Motor Types


AC gyros are usually powered by a three phase 115 volt 400 Hz squirrel cage induction
motor, consisting of a rotor and a stator. A normal induction motor has the rotor revolving
inside the stator. In this instance the motor has been redesigned so that the rotor rotates on
the outside of the stator, this increases the mass of the rotor in order to provide the required
inertia.
The 115 volts AC is supplied to the stator and a rotating magnetic field is established in the
stator. This rotating field cuts the bars in the squirrel cage rotor and induces a current, the
effect of which produces a magnetic field around the bars which combine with the stators
field causing the rotor to spin at approximately 22,500 RPM.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 53 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Electric Gyro Horizon


Made up of the same basic elements as the vacuum-driven type, with the exception that the
vertical gyroscope is a 3-phase squirrel-cage induction motor (consisting of a rotor and a
stator).
One of the essential requirements of any gyroscope is to have the mass of the rotor
concentrated as near to the periphery as possible, thus ensuring maximum inertia. This
presents no difficulty where solid metal rotors are concerned, but when adopting electric
motors as gyroscopes some rearrangement of their basic design is necessary in order to
achieve the desired effect. An induction motor normally has its rotor revolving inside the
stator, but to make one small enough to be accommodated within the space available would
mean too small a rotor mass and inertia. However, by designing the rotor and its bearings so
that it rotates on the outside of the stator, then for the same required size of motor the mass
of the rotor is concentrated further from the centre, so that the radius of gyration and inertia
are increased. This is the method adopted not only in gyro horizons but in all instruments and
systems employing electric gyroscopes.
The motor assembly is carried in a housing which forms the inner gimbal ring supported in
bearings in the outer gimbal ring, which is in turn supported on a bearing pivot in the front
cover glass and in the rear casting.
The 115 V 400 Hz 3-phase supply is fed to the gyro stator via slip rings, brushes and finger
contact assemblies. The instrument employs a torque-motor erection system, the operation
of which is described in Pallett Aircraft Instruments on page 136, but will not be covered here.
When power is switched on a rotating magnetic field is set up in the gyro stator which cuts
the bars forming the squirrel-cage in the rotor, and induces a current in them. The effect of
this current is to produce magnetic fields around the bars which interact with the stators
rotating field causing the rotor to turn at a speed of approximately 20,00023,000 rev./min.
Failure of the power supply is indicated by a flag marked OFF and actuated by a solenoid.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 54 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 55 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.1 Gyroscopes
Page 56 of 56

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

TOPIC 13.8.2.2.1: ARTIFICAL HORIZONS

In order to measure a movement, you need a reference, and in this instance the gyro
becomes the reference or stable point. The amount of movement or deflections made by the
aircraft around this stable point are measured and displayed on the cockpit instruments.
Gyro Spin axis is vertical, so plane of spin is horizontal. This permits rigidity in lateral and
longitudinal axis and the displacement of the gimbals from the stable reference is what
provides the roll and pitch readout.
The gyro is a tied gyro referenced to the earths gravity to maintain the vertical spin axis
should imperfections or errors cause the gyro to drift. The erection system will re-align the
gyro with respect to gravity.
Most gyro horizons have a pull to cage knob to re-align the gyro in straight and level flight if it
is noted to be drifting off, or if it tumbles or suffers gimbal lock.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 1 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This form of gyro horizon has a fixed back plate or sky plate and the aircraft symbol is
attached to the gimbals and moves with respect to the back plate to indicate pitch and yaw
attitudes. This was an old method of displaying this information and probably not very often
seen in modern times.
The pitch restriction at 85 is to avoid gimbal lock. This is not a concern in the roll axis.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 2 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This picture is a more exact illustration of the way the gyro horizon actually provides a display
of pitch and roll. The dial is fixed and once upon a time would only have had a horizon line
drawn across the middle. In more recent time gyro horizons have been coloured with a light
colour above, typically blue, to represent the sky and a darker colour below to represent the
ground.
When the horizon pointer is up and in the blue it means the aircraft is climbing, and when
down in the green it is diving. The horizon bar is restricted in pitch movement up to 85
otherwise gimbal lock will occur, whereas the rolling action is unrestricted.
The display can therefore indicate unrestricted full barrell rolls but if a loop were performed
the indicator would show a climb up to 85 (when the aircraft nose is almost vertical, not
when its at the top of the loop) the assembly would then roll 180. The horizon pointer would
indicate straight and level inverted flight corresponding with the aircraft being upside down at
the top of the loop. As the aircraft comes down to complete the loop the horizon bar again
shows the aircraft heading for the ground until it is pointing almost straight at the earth (85
nose down) when it will again spin 180. This means the aircraft symbol will continue pointing
at the earth (indicating a dive). As the aircraft recovers to straight and level flight again at the
bottom of the loop the whole assembly will be back in its original attitude with the horizon bar
again showing straight and level flight.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 3 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 4 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

With the vacuum system in operation, a negative pressure is created so that the cabin air
enters the filtered inlet and passes through the channels to the jets which are directed onto
the buckets carved into the gyros rotor. The air from the jets hits the rotor buckets, evenly
driving the rotor at approximately 15,000 rev./min. After spinning the rotor, the air passes
through a pendulous vane unit attached to the underside of the rotor casing and is finally
drawn to the vacuum source. The air is exhausted through the pendulous vane unit, which
applies a correctional or precession force t keep the gyro perpendicular to the earths surface.
This is achieved through the magic of precession and as the gyro tilts off the vertical an air
port is uncovered permitting a greater flow of air from that port as it exits from the gyros rotor.
The additional airflow exerts a force on the gyro which is felt 90 in the direction of rotation
and will cause the gyro to precess back to the vertical.

Operation
The operation of the instrument is basically controlled by the principle of gyroscopic inertia or
rigidity. The gyro spin axis is maintained in a vertical position relative to the earth. As the
aircraft rolls and pitches in flight, the indication is given on a two colour dial, the top half
representing the sky and the bottom half which is darker, represents the ground.
The horizontal gyro spins about the vertical axis and therefore it can sense rotation about the
roll and pitch attitude of the aircraft.
Disadvantages of air driven gyro systems

Dirt and dust are a major problem with air driven instruments and therefore instrument
filters and system filters must be checked, cleaned or changed at regular intervals.

When cigarette smoking was allowed on aircraft, the residue from the smoke was a
major problem for gyroscopic air driven instruments.

Engine driven vacuum pumps must be regularly checked for correct operation.

Incorporation of mechanical pumps adds an additional piece of equipment requiring


servicing, in addition to the aircrafts alternator/generator.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 5 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

To overcome the disadvantages of the air driven gyroscopic instruments in high performance
aircraft, gyroscopic instruments were designed for operation on electrical power derived from
the aircraft power supplies. This power is generally 115V 400Hz three phase alternating
current as supplied from the aircraft alternators or inverters or 28V direct current, the latter
being required for the operation of some turn and bank indicators. The alternating current
application has been used for the later types of turn and bank, gyro horizon indicators and the
remotely located attitude and directional gyros associated with flight control systems and
remote-indicating compass systems.
Electrical gyros only need a small amount of power from the existing aircraft power supply
hence an additional engine driven component (the vacuum pump) is no longer necessary.
AC electrically powered gyros can run much faster than air driven gyros so provide a more
rigid gyroscopic reference.
Electrically driven gyros incorporate more solid state components and therefore require less
maintenance effort compared to pneumatically driven gyros.
A particular limitation of air driven gyros over most electrically driven gyros is that the gyro
should never be removed from the aircraft until at least 30 minutes have passed from the
time the vacuum source was disconnected, or rotor has ceased spinning, as the inertia
contained within the rotor, and the relative absence of friction within the bearings, may allow
the rotor to spin for up to this length of time. Electrically driven gyros often incorporate a form
of electrical or dynamic braking which will slow the gyro rotor very quickly once power is
removed.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 6 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 7 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 8 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The need for integrating the functions and indications of certain flight and navigation
instruments resulted in the main from the increasing number of specialised radio aids linking
aircraft with ground stations. These were developed to meet the demands of safe en-route
navigation and to cope with increasing traffic congestion in the air space around the worlds
major airports.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 9 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The required information is processed by black boxes which can be stowed in electrical
compartments and radio racks, but in order that the necessary precision flying may be
executed, information must still be presented to the pilot. This requires more instruments and
more instruments could mean more panel space. The method of easing the problem was to
combine related instruments in the same case and to compound their indications so that a
large proportion of intermediate mental processing on the part of the pilot could be bypassed
and the indications more easily assimilated.
During that phase of a flight involving the approach to an airport runway, it is essential for a
pilot to know, among other things, that he is maintaining the correct approach attitude. Such
information can be obtained from the gyro horizon and from a special ILS indicator which
responds to vertical and horizontal beam signals radiated by the transmitters of an Instrument
Landing System located at the airport. It was therefore a logical step in the development of
integration techniques in what are termed Flight Director Systems, to include the information
from both the gyro horizon and ILS indicator.
The methods adopted for the integration of such information, and the manner in which it is
presented vary between systems. A complete system normally comprises two indicators:
- flight director, attitude flight director or an approach horizon
- course deviation indicator (CDI) or a horizontal situation indicator (HSI).
The flight director indicator has the appearance of a conventional gyro horizon, but unlike this
instrument the pitch and roll indicating elements are electrically controlled from a remotely
located vertical gyro unit.
The approach attitude of an aircraft with respect to its ILS signals is indicated by independent
pointers monitored by the relevant ILS receiver channels. Displacement of the aircraft to the
left or right of the localiser beam is indicated by deflections of the localiser pointer. Glideslope
pointer functions in similar fashion.

Attitude Directors are basically Artificial Horizons with command steering bars incorporated.
The instrument provides the pilot with an indication of pitch and roll, but also has command
bars which can be used to guide the pilot onto a selected course, or to a selected altitude.
The command bars appear and the pilot flies the aircraft to align the aircraft symbol with the
command bars.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 10 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Flight Director Indicator (FDI)


This instrument may be known as an attitude director indicator (ADI) or an attitude reference
indicator (ARI). They all have slightly different displays, but they all operate in the same way.
The basic function of the FDI is to supply the pilot with the aircrafts attitude and steering
information. This represents a view from behind the aircraft looking forward. Steering
command and aircraft attitude are displayed around a fixed aircraft symbol.

Attitude Sphere
The sphere is free to move 360 in roll and depending on type, 90 or 360 in pitch. Gimbal
lock limitation minimised or eliminated

Bank Pointer
This displays the bank angle of the aircraft, and is read against a scale on the case of the
instrument.

Command Bars
There are two command bars, one for pitch, and one for roll. They are called command bars
because they command the pilot to fly the aircraft symbol towards the command bars. The
commands are supplied from the flight director computer, which can receive reference
signals from a range of navigation aid receivers or INS

Glideslope Pointer
This is located on the left side of the FDI and is used when the aircraft has captured the
runway glideslope beams, when landing. The aircrafts vertical position within the beams is
shown by the pointer. When the pointer is on the centre line, the aircraft is in the centre of the
glideslope. When the pointer is on the dot closest to the centre line, the pitch command bar
comes into view, and the pilot flies towards it. Figure 3.13 shows the glideslope pointer.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 11 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Localiser Deviation Indicator


Localiser pointer shows the aircrafts position in relation to the localiser beams. When the
pointer is in the centre of the scale the aircraft is positioned in the centre of the beams.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 12 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The flight director indicator has the appearance of a conventional gyro horizon, but unlike this
instrument the pitch and roll indicating elements are electrically controlled from a remotely
located vertical gyro unit.
Electrical interconnection of the flight director indicator components primarily concerned with
pitch and roll attitude information is shown on the slide. Whenever a change of aircraft
attitude occurs, signals flow from pitch and roll synchros to the corresponding synchros within
the indicator. Error signals are therefore induced in the rotors and after amplification are fed
to the servomotors, which rotate to position the pitch bar and horizon disc (or Sphere, or
cylinder) to indicate the changing attitude of the aircraft. At the same time, the servomotors
drive the synchro rotors to the null position.
The second circuit shows the interconnection of the glide slope and localiser pointer with the
ILS. During an ILS approach the receiver on board the aircraft detects the signals beamed
from ground transmitters in vertical and horizontal planes. If the aircraft is above the glide
path, signals are fed to the meter controlling the glide slope pointer causing it to be deflected
downwards against the scale, thus directing the pilot to bring the aircraft down on to the glide
path. An upward deflection of the pointer indicates flight below the glide path and therefore
directs that the aircraft be brought up to the glide path. The pointer is also referenced against
the pitch bar to indicate any pitch correction required to capture and hold the glide path.
When this has been accomplished, the glide slope pointer and pitch bar are matched at the
horizontal centre position.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 13 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

If, during the approach, the aircraft is to the left of the localiser beam and runway centre-line,
the localiser pointer is deflected to the right directing that the aircraft be banked to the right.
Flight to the right of the localizer beam causes pointer deflection to the left, directing that the
aircraft be banked to the left. When either of these directions has been satisfied, the pointer is
positioned vertically through the centre position of the horizon disc.
Flight director indicator houses a number of servo/synchro devices. Aircraft pitch & roll
information from twin gyro platform positions horizon disc & pitch bar. Additional
servo/synchro devices to drive command bars driven by signals from flight director computer.
Typical remote indicator housing servo/synchro systems to repeat information
sensed/processed by a remote equipment rack mounted black box.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 14 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 15 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.1 Artificial Horizons


Page 16 of 16

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

TOPIC 13.8.2.2.2: TURN AND SLIP INDICTORS

Turn Indicators
The turn and bank indicator or turn and slip indicator as it is most often called, is one of the
first instruments developed for instrument flying. The instrument actually combines a turn
indicator and a slip indicator in the one instrument. In early days of flying the turn-and-bank,
when used in conjunction with the aircraft compass made a valuable contribution to the art of
IFR flying. It was thus considered the primary blind flying instrument. With developments in
aircraft instrument technology the turn-and-bank has been replaced as the primary IFR
instrument by the AH, although in some light aircraft the turn-and-bank is still considered a
primary flight instrument. In larger aircraft the turn-and-bank has become a secondary
instrument or is not used.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 1 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 2 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Principle of Operation
The rate gyros spin axis is horizontal and corresponds with the aircrafts lateral axis, that
means the plane of spin is through the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. The rate gyro only has
one gimbal mounted within the frame or case of the instrument so it is only permitted one
degree of freedom which is in tilt. The pivot point for the gimbal is fore and aft of the gyro
rotor so it is pivoted in the longitudinal axis of the aircraft.
The gyro senses movement about the yawing axis of the aircraft. It is effectively mounted like
a DG, but does not have the freedom of a DG. When the aircraft yaws the gyro wants to
remain in its current attitude and alignment, but cannot because there is no gimbal to permit
veer. Because the gyro cannot remain pointing in the same direction the turning motion of the
aircraft has the same effect as if someone applied a precessive force to the front and rear of
the gyro rotor, trying to change its heading. This force is felt 90 in direction of rotation, so
will precess the gyro so it will tilt over. If the gyro was not restrained by springs it would
continue to precess in the tilt axis while ever the yawing motion was felt. Because the gyro is
held in place by springs, while ever the yawing motion (or rate of turn) remains constant the
gyro precession force will remain constant against spring pressure providing a constant
indication of the rate of turn. If the rate of turn is increased the precession force increases
tilting the gyro further against spring pressure. When the turning motion ends the precession
force is removed so the gyro will return to the original attitude, ie spinning in the vertical plane
corresponding with the aircrafts longitudinal axis.
Rotor axis parallel to aircrafts lateral axis
Yawing motion sensed & due to precession rotor tries to lie over against spring pressure
Lie over angle proportional to rate of turn & is opposed/restricted by calibrated spring tension
2 Minute and 4 Minute Turns
Gyro doesnt begin to lay over until after the turn has begun, ie when the heading begins to
change. This statement will be referred back to when covering Turn Coordinators.

Spin axis parallel to aircraft lateral axis


Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 3 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Yawing motion sensed rotor tries to lie over against spring pressure due to precession
Lie over angle proportional to rate of turn
Gyro lays over when heading changes
Rate of precession (lie over angle)
depends on:

Rate at which heading is changing

Rigidity of rotor (rotor speed)

Rate of precession dependant upon speed of gyro rotor (gyro rigidity)


Rate of Turn indicator rotor speed critical:

too fast & instrument under reads

too slow & instrument over reads

Rate of turn indicators incorporate rotor speed governor to ensure accuracy of indications

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 4 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 5 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

The Mechanism of a Typical Direct-Current Operated Turn-and-Bank Indicator


Direct current is fed to the brushes and commutator via a radio interference suppressor and
flexible springs which permit movement of the inner ring.
The rotor speed is controlled by two identical symmetrically opposed centrifugal cut-outs.
Each cut-out consists of a pair of platinum-tipped governor contacts, one fixed and one
movable, which are normally held closed by a governor adjusting spring. Each cut-out has a
resistor across its contacts, which are in series with half of the rotor winding. When the
maximum rotor speed is attained, centrifugal force acting on the contacts overcomes the
spring restraint causing the contacts to open. The armature current therefore passes through
the resistors, thus being reduced and reducing the rotor speed. Both cut-outs operate at the
same critical speed.
Angular movement of the gimbal ring is transmitted to the pointer through a gear train, and
damping is accomplished by an eddy-current drag system mounted at the rear of the gyro
assembly. The system consists of a drag cup, which is rotated by the gimbal ring, between a
field magnet and a field ring.
A power-failure warning flag is actuated by a stirrup arm pivoted on the gimbal ring. When the
rotor is stationary, the stirrup arm is drawn forward by the attraction between a magnet
mounted on it and an extension (flux diverter) of the permanent-magnet stator. In this
condition the flag, which is spring-loaded in the retracted position, is depressed by the stirrup
arm so that the OFF reading appears through an aperture in the dial. As rotor speed
increases, eddy currents are induced in the rotor rim by the stirrup magnet, and at a
predetermined speed, reaction between the magnet and induced current causes the stirrup
arm to lift and the OFF reading to disappear from view.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 6 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Major Parts
Rotor speed and rigidity is crucial for this instrument to indicate accurately. If speed drops off,
eg s clogged filter in an air driven system, the gyro will slow down and will then precess
further with less force applied (remember factors that contributed to amount of precession,
gyro rigidity and level of force applied to the gyro). So a slower gyro will over read. Speed
control is reliable in electrical instruments but in air driven systems the pilot must ensure the
vacuum gauge is reading correctly. A gauge reading an increased vacuum (meaning nearly 0
psi) would indicate that the system filters were dirty because the pump is evacuating the
system due to the fact that air cannot come in through the filter to replace the air the pump is
sucking out. This indication of a greater vacuum (almost 0psia) means the gyro rotors of all
the air driven instruments would be running slower, and hence the turn and slip indicator
readout would be in accurate. Loss of rigidity in the DG and AH would become apparent due
to them drifting off more often, but their readouts would still be reasonable reliable, whereas
the turn and bank readout would be compromised. Rotor speed is crucial in a turn and bank.
No erection method is incorporated in a turn and bank because it is physically prevented from
drifting off. It does have an earth rate correction in that the gimbals would be weighted
appropriate to counteract the earths rotation, but this form of correction is engineered into the
turn and bank at the time of manufacture.

Limitations of the Turn and Slip Indicator


Turn and Slip indicator will not respond to an aircraft bank, it will only indicate a turn if a
yawing motion is sensed.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 7 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Interpretation of Rate of Turn Indications


When the needle is deflected by only one needle width on a two minute turn indicator the
aircraft is executing a 2 minute turn, or 180 per minute or 3 per second which is a rate 1
turn.
On a four minute turn indicator the pointer must be aligned with a doghouse to execute a two
minute turn. On a 4 minute turn indicator if the needle is only displaced by one needle width
the aircraft is executing a 4 minute turn, or 90 per minute or 1.5 per second or a turning rate
of a rate.

Turn Indicator
Rate 1: 180 per minute
Rate 2: 360 per minute
Rate 3: 540 per minute
Rate 4: 720 per minute.
A 2 minute turn is 180 per minute which is a rate 1 turn.
A 4 minute turn is 90 per minute which is a rate 0.5 turn.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 8 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Turn Indicators (AI&A pg 34 AF 11-20)


The turn and bank indicator or turn and slip indicator as it is most often called, is one of the
first instruments developed for instrument flying. The instrument actually combines a turn
indicator and a slip indicator in the one instrument. In early days of flying the turn-and-bank,
when used in conjunction with the aircraft compass made a valuable contribution to the art of
IFR flying. It was thus considered the primary blind flying instrument. With developments in
aircraft instrument technology the turn-and-bank has been replaced as the primary IFR
instrument by the AH, although in some light aircraft the turn-and-bank is still considered a
primary flight instrument. In larger aircraft the turn-and-bank has become a secondary
instrument or is done away with in its entirety.

Turn Indicator
The turn indicator is a gyroscopically based indication using a two axis, or rate gyroscope
with a spring balance mechanism. Rigidity keeps the indicator in the neutral or zero position,
and as the aircraft turns, the force of gyroscopic precession gives the indication of turn. The
spring tension applied to the turn movement can be calibrated and this gives an indication of
rate of turn. Its secondary function is to ensure a return to zero once the momentum of the
turn has ceased.
Turn indicators are classified as Rate 1, 2, 3, or 4. This rating indicates the number of
degrees per minute the turn pointer is indicating, for example:
Rate 1: 180 per minute
Rate 2: 360 per minute
Rate 3: 540 per minute
Rate 4: 720 per minute.
To perform a 2 minute turn in larger aircraft would require too much angle of bank, hence 4
minute turn indicators came into being.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 9 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 10 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Turn Coordinators
A turn coordinator is an interesting development of the turn and bank indicators just
described, and is adopted in lieu of such instruments in a number of small types of general
aviation aircraft. The primary difference, other than the display presentation, is in the setting
of the precession axis of the rate gyroscope. The gyroscope is spring-restrained and is
mounted so that the axis is at about 30 with respect to the aircrafts longitudinal axis, thus
making the gyroscope sensitive to banking of the aircraft as well as to turning.
To achieve this the gyro gimbal is canted nose down about 30. This has the effect of
creating a precessive force when the aircraft displaces in roll, causing the indicator pointer to
offset as soon as the aircraft is banked. As heading then changes with the yawing motion the
turn coordinator then operates on the same principle as the turn indicator.
Turn coordinator gimbal canted nose down about 30 and senses roll and yaw
Quicker response to a turning motion
More closely respond to the artificial horizons indication of a bank/roll
Since a turn is normally initiated by banking an aircraft, then the gyroscope will precess, and
thereby move the aircraft symbol to indicate the direction of the bank and enable the pilot to
anticipate the resulting turn. The pilot then controls the turn to the required rate as indicated
by the alignment of the aircraft symbol with the graduations on the outer scale. Co-ordination
of the turn is indicated by the ball-type indicating element remaining centred in the normal
way.
The gyroscope is a DC motor operating at approximately 6,000 rev./min. In some types of
turn coordinator the gyroscope may be an AC brushless motor operating at constant
frequency, and supplied from a solid-state inverter housed within the instrument case.
The annotation no pitch information on the indicator scale is given to avoid confusion in pitch
control which might result from the similarity of the presentation to a gyro horizon.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 11 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Turn and Slip indicator will not respond to an aircraft bank, it will only indicate a turn if a
yawing motion is sensed. To make the turn and slip more responsive, that is to get it to
indicate when the bank is entered rather than waiting for the yawing motion to register on the
gyro. The effect of indicating sooner also coordinates the turn indicator more closely with the
AH so the pilots instruments complement each other during turns.
Indicates rate of turn, but responds to turn more quickly than rate of turn indicator
Rear view of a small aircraft as an indicator
When wings aligned with horizontal index marks aircraft wings are level
When wings are aligned to the turn indicator marks it indicates a 2 minute turn (2 minutes to
turn 360 )
Indicates a turn as soon as the aircraft is banked
More closely responds to the artificial horizons indication of a bank/roll
Compare the turn coordinator display with the AH display. Using the turn coordinator with the
30 canted gimbal it will indicate a turn in unison with the AH whereas the turn indicator
would not begin to indicate a turn until aircraft heading begins to change, ie aircraft starts
yawing.

The two instruments look to have opposite displays but in fact are indicating the same thing.
To prevent any confusion with the artificial horizon turn coordinators display the annotation
NO PITCH INFORMATION
The inclinometer or slip and skid indicator is a simple mechanical instrument that consists of
a ball in a liquid filled glass tube. This tube is curved and the ball reacts to gravity and
centrifugal force. It is used by the pilot to coordinate turns by use of aileron and rudder
control. If the pilot keeps the ball centred the aircraft is being flown in a coordinated manner,
that is he is not turning too quickly for the amount of bank, which will result in the aircraft
skidding out on the turn, and he does not have too much bank for his turning speed which
would caused the aircraft to slip inwards and loose altitude. The ball indicates these
conditions as follows.
When the aircraft is turning to fast for the bank angle it will be skidding outwards on the turn
Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 12 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

just like a speeding car, and the centrifugal or inertial forces will cause the ball to move to the
outside of the index marks corresponding to the direction the aircraft is skidding in. If the
angle of bank is too high, the ball will drop below the index marks due to the force of gravity,
again corresponding to the direction in which the aircraft is slipping or dropping.
The pilot can use just the turn and bank, compass and ASI to maintain controlled IR flight if
he loses his AH, ie turn coordinator will indicate any roll, compass will indicate any changes
in heading and the ASI will indicate increase in airspeed for a dive and decrease for a dive (or
a VSI will perform the same function. This provides the pilots of light aircraft with a level of
redundancy if their primary flight instrument, the AH fails. This is also why it is common in
light aircraft to have the turn and bank or turn coordinator powered by one system, eg
vacuum powered, and the AH and DG powered by another system, eg electrically Although
electrical instruments would have an emergency supply as well, eg the battery. This is where
the AC and DC gyro motors are considered, although the AC motor runs at higher speed and
is generally a more efficient and accurate instrument, if the aircraft alternator fails the AC
gyro motor will only continue to run if the aircraft has an inverter on board to convert the DC
battery power to AC for the gyro. Whereas the DC powered gyro can be run from battery
power with no additional power supply or power modifying components.

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 13 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.2 Slip Indicators


Page 14 of 14

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

TOPIC 13.8.2.2.3: DIRECTIONAL GYROS

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 1 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 2 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 3 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 4 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 5 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 6 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 7 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 8 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 9 of 10

AA Form TO-19
B2-13h Instruments Gyroscopic

Part 66 Subject

This page intentionally left blank

Issue B: January 2008

Revision 2

B2-13.8.2.2.3 Directional Gyros


Page 10 of 10