April 2018 Issue

Spinning Your Gyros

The vacuum-driven instruments in a typical steam-gauge panel might be old-fashioned, but they do work. Until they don’t.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent some time helping students transition to full-fledged private pilots. One of the first questions I do is ask them is to picture a standard six-pack of “steam-gauge” instruments and explain what they each do and where they get their energy. Most pilots can quickly rattle off the airspeed indicator, the altimeter and the vertical speed indicator. Those systems are relatively simple to understand and describe.

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