Reading Flight Instruments

Reading Flight Instruments

That’s how aircraft performance is monitored in flight. But how do you know how fast your plane is going, at what altitude, whether you are climbing or descending, and which direction your plane is headed? How can you ensure you are in control of a safe aircraft? You, the pilot, need feedback!

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Most general aviation aircraft are lightweight and this results in aircraft that are simple in design and equipment. This simplicity carries forward into the flight instruments. Some instruments are used to help you fly and guide the airplane while others are used to help you operate the airplane systems (engine, electrical, etc.). Let’s just talk about the flight instruments for now. All airplanes must have at least three basic flight instruments:

  • Airspeed indicator
  • Altimeter
  • Magnetic compass
You control your sport plane using both visual references and instruments
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide