Questions tagged [aircraft-systems]

The essential systems found on most aircraft, including power plants, fuel systems, electrical systems, and flight instruments.

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50
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3answers
22k views

Why is Python used on aircraft although it may not be certifiable?

I recently had a discussion with people who were active in the aviation industry and told me that one of the main languages/tools they use is Python. On the other hand I have always known that people ...
50
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9answers
11k views

Is this opinion on personal computer flight simulators too strict or is it actually true?

A couple of days ago I had a discussion with a commercial pilot and his opinion on personal computer flight simulators were a bit surprising to me. He said that flight simulators, even with ...
50
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3answers
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What is the technique or procedure to disable/disengage the MCAS on Boeing 737 Max 8 & 9 Aircraft?

What is the technique or procedure to disable the MCAS and manually fly the Boeing 737 MAX 8/9 Aircraft? To clarify my question, what I'm asking is can the pilot disengage the MCAS and if so, how do ...
47
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1answer
9k views

What does this plus (cross) sign on this electrical panel mean?

I'm looking at a picture of the electrical panel of a Phenom 100 and on it I see a + sign, does anyone have any ideas as to what it's supposed to mean?
42
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1answer
9k views

How does an Airbus aircraft connect to the Internet? [duplicate]

I would like to understand better where (physically in the aircraft) and how the Internet connection is received on an Airbus aircraft, in particular in an Airbus A380, and then how this system is ...
41
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2answers
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How do aircraft stall warning systems work?

If an aircraft stalls, there are stall warning systems called as Stall computers. Anyone has idea how they predict that its a stall and how they raise the alarm/warning?
41
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4answers
11k views

Why do flight control cables not slacken during the cold temperatures at cruise?

Image source Flight controls in airliners have long cable lengths in between the cockpit controls and the control surfaces. For instance in the picture above: the pilot operates the yoke, which ...
37
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3answers
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Are fighter jets designed to be so inherently unstable that a human can't fly one unassisted?

I'm told that in order to be more maneuverable fighter jets are designed in a way that makes them impossible for a human to control without the help of a flight computer. Is this actually true? ...
37
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4answers
41k views

What is a "Flight Director"?

What is a Flight Director, and how does it differ from Autopilot?
35
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1answer
8k views

How does WiFi work on an aircraft?

I've noticed that when a WiFi system is set up on an aircraft, a small bulbous structure is added. What does it contain and how does this WiFi system work?
33
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2answers
59k views

How does an alpha (AoA) vane work?

The alpha vane (also called AoA vane) is an external probe used to measure the angle of attack. I have been trying to understand how exactly it works, but I can't find any clear explanation or ...
32
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7answers
14k views

Why do aircraft use hydraulics instead of pneumatics?

I was reading about how the F-35 is having trouble with the "fueldraulic" system. This made me wonder: Why don't aircraft use pneumatic systems instead of hydraulic/fueldraulic systems? There are ...
31
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6answers
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What is propeller / engine sync and how does it work?

In some models of multi-engine airplanes there is a switch labelled something similar to "prop sync" or "engine sync". My questions are: What is engine synchronization? How is it achieved? Why is it ...
31
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7answers
31k views

Why do airplanes use AC electric power?

Primary electric power on larger airplanes is provided as AC. What aspects of aircraft make AC a better choice than DC?
31
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1answer
15k views

Which external instruments are visible on the A350's nose section?

Most pictures of airliner's nose sections show small dark tube- or fin-shaped instruments sticking out of the fuselage below the cockpit windows. For example this Airbus A350 shows them well: ...
30
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5answers
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Can a Boeing 777 be hacked?

All this confusion over flight 370 has me wondering if it would be possible to hack into an airplane and control the autopilot or other on-board systems in a way that the pilots couldn't regain ...
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3answers
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How do Ram Air Turbines get deployed?

I understand that most larger jets have a Ram Air Turbine (RAT) in case of total electrical failure (for instance, when you run out of fuel) in order to at least have some hydraulics and a couple of ...
29
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2answers
9k views

How is fuel dumped in aircraft?

I have heard incidents in which commercial aircraft are required to dump fuel in event of an emergency to avoid landing over maximum landing weight. What systems do aircraft have in place to dump fuel?...
29
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1answer
4k views

Why does the B-29 have eight oil needles?

In the image above, quiet flyer and I realized that there are 2 needles in every oil gauge, and there are 4 oil gauges. Well, why in the world are there 8 needles in total? And the optimal range arcs ...
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8answers
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Where do I start learning about Avionics programming? [closed]

I am a student in his last semester going for a B.S. in Computer Science. I would like to eventually transition into the space exploration industry (NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc). I know ...
26
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1answer
18k views

Does a Boeing 737-800 Have a Ram Air Turbine (RAT)?

I am travelling with Thomson on a Boeing 737-800 and wondered if it had a RAT?
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2answers
8k views

Is it possible to fly with counterbalanced single blade engines?

Refer the image for counterbalanced single blade (Source http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/bo-103.php). In ground school, they took us for aircraft inspection at end of our ground school ...
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8answers
27k views

What is the purpose of having contra-rotating props on an aircraft?

Why do planes, like the famous XF-11 and the Tu-95, have contra-rotating props? What is their purpose? Image credit: Mike Freer / Touchdown-Aviation / Wikimedia
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7answers
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Do safety-critical avionics systems run Linux?

I have heard diverse things about this. Some people claim that running Linux on safety-critical avionics systems is a very bad idea. On the other hand some people (who are rather unfamiliar with ...
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2answers
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How do aircraft differentiate between missile locks?

I have explored many similar questions such as: How does a Missile Lock Work? How is a missile lock detected? In reading there respective answers, I have learnt about the multitude of detection ...
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2answers
11k views

What is a gust alleviation system?

Reading about the 787 it says it has an active gust alleviation system similar to the system used on the B-2 bomber. [1] The gust alleviation patent says: The gust alleviation system picks ...
22
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3answers
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Is there a landing gear system that extends automatically to prevent belly landing?

To my knowledge, most aircraft with retractable gear are equipped with a landing gear warning system that makes repetitive beeping sounds in case the pilots try to land without the gear down. I ...
22
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7answers
37k views

Why do most single propellers have a clockwise rotation?

Why do most single propellers have a clockwise rotation (seen from the pilot's point of view)? There are though multi-engine planes that have each propeller rotating different directions, but in the ...
22
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2answers
5k views

How do pilots know that the switch/knob they just switched on/off actually did what it's supposed to do?

With the plethora of switches/knobs/buttons etc present in airplane cockpits, how can pilots be really sure that a button they just pushed (either to enable/disable some electronic system or move some ...
22
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2answers
17k views

What is Alpha protection?

This article states: An occurrence was reported where an Airbus A321 aeroplane encountered a blockage of two Angle Of Attack (AOA) probes during climb, leading to activation of the Alpha Protection ...
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3answers
8k views

What is this smoke coming from an F/A-18 shortly before takeoff?

Watching a video of F/A-18 fighter-jets taking off, I noticed some sort of gas blowing out behind the canopy shortly before the start of the takeoff roll. Here's a screenshot: In some videos the ...
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6answers
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Is the Fortran language still being used in aviation?

I am an aeronautical engineering student at Istanbul Technical University and our course plan includes Fortran as a programming language. I have some doubts about that because Fortran is an old ...
21
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6answers
11k views

When is an aircraft required to be pressurized?

For example a Cessna Grand Caravan doesn't have a pressurization system, but a Phenom 100 is pressurized, so what are the main reasons a manufacturer has to build an aircraft with a pressurization ...
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1answer
4k views

Can the wheel brakes hold an airliner in place if its engines are at full thrust?

Are wheel brakes on most commercial jet airliners capable of holding the jet stationary on a dry surface, if all the engines are given full thrust? Could doing this be potentially unsafe or damaging ...
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1answer
3k views

Is Doppler navigation still in use for civilian aircraft?

Is it possible to find an airliner nowadays with Doppler radar used for navigation purposes?
20
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3answers
5k views

Do planes have odometers?

I'm curious to know if planes have distance counters similar to the ones in cars indicating how many kilometres/miles the plane has flown since being put in service.
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2answers
2k views

Are commercial aircraft designed with a shared data network?

In modern airliners, do systems like the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) share the same physical and/or logical network as the flight management systems (FMS)? Is there any communication between ...
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6answers
13k views

Why is air mixed with bypass air on the A/C of an aircraft?

Air is taken from the compressors, then it is cooled by the air that comes from the ram air inlet. After that, it is compressed and cooled again by an expansion turbine. When finally air is condensed, ...
18
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3answers
16k views

What's that component between the engine and wing?

It's on most commercial aircraft and large aircraft with turbofan engines... Is there a specific name for it? Does it serve any other functions apart from attaching to the wing and feeding the engine ...
18
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2answers
6k views

What is the use of Stub Wings on Helicopters?

Some Helicopters like Russian Mi-24, UH-60 etx have Stub Wings. What is the role of such wings? Russian Mi-24 UH-60
18
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3answers
21k views

What can the Flight Attendant Panel do?

I've noticed that on some airlines (I may have seen it on SAS) the cabin crew had a small touchscreen at the front of the plane which they were using to select recorded audio messages etc, in both ...
18
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1answer
3k views

How does the fuel pump work in a PA-28 and when should I use it?

Just started flying again after 14 years and I'm taking this to the finish line this time. All my time, up till 10 am today, is in a C172. I did fly a PA 28-151 today and liked it. I do have some ...
18
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3answers
31k views

What is a vortex generator?

I saw a vortex generator mentioned in an aircraft listing. What is a vortex generator?
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2answers
5k views

What improvements did Airbus make as a result of the Air France 447 accident?

As far as I can tell, the following factors all contributed to this crash: Pitot tubes susceptible to ice crystal blockage Crew not aware that they can stall the airplane due to alternate law No ...
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4answers
2k views

How does the Guardian counter-MANPADS system work?

I came across this picture of a FedEx McDonnell Douglas DC-10 equipped with an anti-missile defense system. (wikimedia.org) According to the picture description: FedEx became the first U.S. ...
16
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8answers
6k views

Would a wireless fly by wire system be practical?

Given that most modern aircraft are controlled using the fly by wire system, what is the likelihood or the drawbacks of transmitting those fly by wire instructions from the cockpit and or cockpit ...
16
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2answers
10k views

What exactly are those openings in the bellies of many jetliners?

I have circled the areas (in yellow) under the belly of the 737. What exactly are those? (airliners.net)
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4answers
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What is the difference between a nacelle and a cowling?

I see these terms used almost interchangeably. To my understanding they both refer to the covering of an engine. Is there a technical difference between the two?
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3answers
6k views

How is the actual ground speed of an airliner measured?

Do pilots have the "ground speed" information available? If so, how is the ground speed measured? Or do they rely on GPS info to calculate it?
16
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1answer
4k views

Why is fuel used as a hydraulic fluid?

Why is fuel used in some servo-systems as a hydraulic fluid (fueldraulic systems) of modern civil and military aircraft such as the Boeing 777-200/-300 (Pratt & Whitney PW4084) or the Lockheed ...

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