Standard Instruments

The instrument panel is one of the most important things all aspiring private pilotss should get acquainted with. It is impossible for one to pass his or her checkride and obtain the much sought after private pilot licence without being able to successfully differentiate each of the instruments and and their uses. Here are the more common standard instruments you find on an aircraft’s panel.

  • ·         Altimeter-The altimeter shows the aircraft’s altitude above sea-level by measuring the difference between the pressure in a stack of aneroid capsules inside the altimeter and the atmospheric pressure obtained through the static system.
  • ·         Attitude indicator-The attitude indicator (also known as an artificial horizon) shows the aircraft’s attitude relative to the horizon. From this the pilot can tell whether the wings are level and if the aircraft nose is pointing above or below the horizon.
  • ·         Airspeed indicator-The airspeed indicator shows the aircraft’s speed (usually in knots ) relative to the surrounding air. It works by measuring the ram-air pressure in the aircraft’s pitot tube.
  • ·         Magnetic compass-The compass shows the aircraft’s heading relative to magnetic north. While reliable in steady level flight it can give confusing indications when turning, climbing, descending, or accelerating due to the inclination of the Earth’s magnetic field.
  • [Heading indicator-The heading indicator (also known as the directional gyro, or DG; sometimes also called the gyrocompass, though usually not in aviation applications) displays the aircraft’s heading with respect to geographical north.
  • ·         Turn indicator-The turn indicator displays direction of turn and rate of turn. Internally mounted inclinometer displays ‘quality’ of turn, i.e. whether the turn is correctly coordinated, as opposed to an uncoordinated turn, wherein the aircraft would be in either a slip or a skid
  • ·         Vertical speed indicator-The VSI (also sometimes called a variometer). Senses changing air pressure, and display that information to the pilot as a rate of climb or descent in feet per minute, meters per second or knots.

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