Does an Aircraft need at least one mechanical Instrument?

  caccy 15:46 25 Mar 2015
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In this complex computer age should aircraft be fitted with a mechanical,totally independent of any aircraft power or system, "left/right; up/down" indicator? i.e. an instrument on a gimbal.

I seem to remember flying in a glider many years ago that had two vertical tubes with different coloured liquids in them that told you whether you were climbing or decending.

  Forum Editor 17:41 27 Mar 2015

caccy

I understood what you were saying, I just didn't understand what its relevance was to modern aircraft operation.

Modern planes operate in an electronic age - they are subject to air traffic control regulation which relies on electronics because of the complexity of present day routing. A mechanical instrument might simply add another potential for faults - what happens when a mechanical altimeter develops a fault and gives a reading that differs from the digital one - which one should the flight deck crew believe?

In the main, instrument failure is not a major cause of air accidents - statistically human error accounts for around fifty percent of all air accidents, with mechanical failure (engines/wings etc.) coming next, followed by weather.

Modern aviation technology is so good that a passenger jet can take off in London, fly to Beijing, and land, all without any intervention on the part of a pilot.

  flycatcher1 17:36 29 Mar 2015

caccy That is exactly what was fitted to many of the older aircraft that I have flown in. I seem to remember that the Vulcan had a set of basic instruments powered by a separate inverter, it was a "No Go" item. Apart from normal instruments many Tiger Moths had a bent piece of sprung metal on the starboard strut. it did show some sort of speed but in a high wind...........?

morddwyd At Roosevelt Roads a US Navy base in Puerto Rico the Yanks refused to re-fuel a VC10 because the Brits had not paid their bills which went back a fair time and included Shackeltons. The Ten was there to support Sea Landing exercises (remember, those were the days when we had an Army, Navy and Air Force who could actually do things).

The very sharp Detachment Commander drew $500,000 from the Army Paymaster and paid the bill. The mire hit the fan on his return to the UK, his Imprest was a joy to behold, but eventally the Accounts people at MoD had to admit to their shortcomings.

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