enter image description here

In the above image, we can see two black objects that look like ceiling fans. This is just a reference image, but I am pretty sure that I have also seen small table fans mounted in cockpits of large cargo as well as high altitude flying planes with direction facing pilots in one documentary aired on tv.

Are they fans? and what is the purpose of their direction towards front glass in the pressurized air-conditioned cockpit?

Note - This question is not about FANS

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    $\begingroup$ For questions about something in an image, it usually helps quite a bit if you edit the image to draw a (red) circle around the thing(s) which you are asking about. Doing that makes it really clear what you are interested in, prevents confusion, saves people reading the question from spending time looking closely at the image to just find the thing you are asking about, and makes it less likely that someone answers about something other than what you are actually interested in. In other words: please edit the image to clearly indicate what you are asking about. $\endgroup$
    – Makyen
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Makyen - Yes done. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ check this picture out reckontalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/… $\endgroup$
    – ossobuko
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 0:59
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    $\begingroup$ They are accessory propellers - to provide thrust for the ejector seats so that they can clear the massive tailplane instead of hitting it ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @PoofosFoofus Humor is welcome, but it's kept to comments rather than answers. Your post would be deleted as an answer, but should be fine as a comment. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 14:47

2 Answers 2


They are indeed "Soviet style air conditioning". You will see them in other Eastern-bloc aircraft too. We even had them in the Shorts Skyvan. They are operated by a simple on-off switch and can be swiveled to point in the direction chosen by the pilots. The fan blades are made of rubber so they won't cause injury if one's hand inadvertently comes into contact with them. In this picture of the Skyvan, you can see the fan (arrowed) and the switch (circled).

enter image description here

Here is another airplane with the ubiquitous Soviet Air Conditioning system, Tupolev 154.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I'm surprised that Soviet AC isn't a flap in the scuttle panel that can be opened for a draught, a-la Landrover series 4WDs. $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 4:22
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    $\begingroup$ They are just fans @SwiftPushkar, there for pilot comfort. They swivel so pilots can adjust them, there's nothing more to it than that. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ I like the switch placed almost an inch clear of the blade path for operator comfort. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ @SwiftPushkar: the pilot aims the fan so he or she has a nice cool breeze blowing on them. Yes, it sounds a bit odd - in an airplane flying at a few hundred km/hr the pilot wants a nice cool breeze. ??? But there you are... :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ And when aimed at the glass, the air flow will help defog the window. $\endgroup$
    – mustaccio
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 11:57

They ARE fans, and they're just for pilot comfort.


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