You may or may not know it, but bearings are the small components that drastically increase your level of comfort on an aircraft. Small, but mighty, bearings are used in many mechanisms throughout an aircraft including engine components, braking systems and cabin fixtures.

As their name suggests, bearings shoulder the weight of various components. Rotational and linear movement is aided by bearings, which usually include small elements such as balls or cylindrically cut jewels. The main advantage of bearings is that, by design, they reduce friction within machine mechanisms. Due to their rolling or sliding elements, the surface area between two stationary components is reduced thus lowering  the level of friction. This is music to both mechanics’ ears and passengers’ ears. Mechanics worry less about component wear and tear, while passengers are spared the uncomfortable humming of multiple components vibrating.

Though simple in concept, bearings come in many different shapes and sizes that are applicable in a variety of settings. The most common types of bearings include, rolling element, jewel bearings, magnetic bearings, and fluid bearings.

Ball bearings are a type of rolling bearing that feature a set of small metal balls encased between two solid rings. Movement, particularly radial movement, is aided by ball bearings as the balls are confined within a small contact area. This type of bearing is found in applications where the load is relatively small. Gas turbine engines include ball bearings in their design to help support the crankshaft.

Tiny and precise, jewel bearings are used in dials and measuring devices. They can be made of sapphire or ruby and bear weight by rolling the axle slightly off center. These types of bearings are highly accurate and reliable. Outside of aircraft instruments, they can be found in high-quality wristwatches.

Unlike the above-mentioned bearings, magnetic bearings support weight without actually touching the two components. This impressive mechanical design is based upon electromagnetic suspension, with the load supported by magnetic levitation. While these bearings seem new age and desirable, they are one of the few bearing types that require a constant power input to keep the load stable. Aircraft turbines, motors, and generators usually include electromagnetic bearings in their design due to their ability to mitigate friction.

Fluid bearings are similar to magnetic bearings in principle are fluid bearings in that the bearings do not touch the physical components that they are supporting. Instead, the bearings feature a layer of fluid between that lubricates and assists the movement between two components. Fluid bearings can be defined by two categories; hydrostatic and hydrodynamic. The first type requires an external pump to funnel the fluid in between the two surfaces. Hydrodynamic bearings use rotation to change the liquid into a wedge between the two surfaces.

No matter the shape or application, bearings are useful mechanisms that together greatly improve the functioning of an aircraft. Without bearings, the mechanical lifespan of system components would be severely reduced. Friction is an undesirable occurrence which, left unchecked, can jeopardize the airworthiness of an aircraft. Using the right bearing, in the right setting makes all the difference.

At Aviation Store Online , owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the mechanical bearings needed in the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. A dedicated account manager is available 24/7 to assist in finding all the parts and equipment you need. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at  or call us at +1-505-365-1770.

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Among the various instruments on an aircraft, the airspeed indicator is one of the most basic and most important. Without a functioning airspeed indicator, a pilot can only guess how fast their aircraft is going, making navigation or charting a flight-plan nearly impossible. The indicator measures the aircraft’s speed in knots or miles per hour and represents this speed with a basic needle and dial instrument. Each plane has its own specified airspeeds that a pilot needs to be aware of for things like takeoff, landing, stalling, and cruising.

The airspeed indicator works by comparing dynamic pressure (or ram air pressure) and static pressure in what is called the pitot-static system. A pitot-static system is a differential pressure system that compares dynamic air pressure from the pitot tube and static air pressure from a static port. Inside the casing of the instrument is a sealed diaphragm that receives both static and dynamic pressure from the pitot tube. Static pressure is also measured from inside the casing, but outside the diaphragm. The static pressures from both inside and outside the diaphragm cancel each other out, leaving a measurement of total dynamic pressure, or ram air pressure. As the aircraft accelerates, the dynamic pressure from the pitot tube increases, causing the diaphragm to expand. Through mechanical linkage, this measurement of increased airspeed is shown on the airspeed indicator’s needle.

There are various types of airspeed, however. Indicated airspeed denotes the airspeed read from the indicator. Calibrated airspeed is the actual speed of the aircraft, after adjusting for position and instrument errors. True airspeed is calibrated airspeed adjusted for nonstandard pressure and temperature, while equivalent airspeed is calibrated airspeed adjusted for compressibility errors. Finally, there is groundspeed, which is the actual speed of the aircraft over the ground. Groundspeed is true airspeed corrected for the effects of the wind and is most often used in flight-planning.

The airspeed indicator is separated into several different arcs, denoted by color. The white arc on the airspeed indicator depicts the normal flap operating range. In the white arc, full flaps can be used (typically for takeoffs and landings). The green arc denotes the aircraft’s normal operating range, while the yellow arc is reserved as a cautionary range, which the pilot should only enter if they are currently flying through calm weather conditions. Lastly, the red arc indicates the maximum allowable airspeed that the aircraft’s frame can support.

Alternate forms of airspeed indicators also exist. Aircraft capable of supersonic flight will also measure their airspeed in Mach numbers, and many newer instruments also use GPS systems to calculate their velocity.

At Aviation Store Online, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the airspeed indicator parts and systems for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-505-365-1770.

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In March 2019, British Airways passengers found their seats and settled into their flight from London City Airport to Dusseldorf. Imagine their surprise when — during the descent into landing — the craggy hilltops of Edinburgh, Scotland appeared below. Using a selection of devices inside the cockpit, the pilots dutifully followed their flightpath and navigational instruments. It just so happened that they were given the wrong flight plan.

Inside the cockpit, commercial or otherwise, there are various aircraft instruments and dials such as the altimeter, course deviation indicator and attitude indicator; all of which help navigate the plane. In cloudy conditions a pilot has little visibility, meaning they must rely on these instruments to fly the plane from point A to point B.

The altimeter is a device that gauges the level of atmospheric pressure to pinpoint the aircraft's altitude above sea level. With this information the pilot knows exactly how high the aircraft is cruising. The pilot uses the altitude reading to ensure that the aircraft is safely cruising at an altitude with no hazardous objects in the course.

Alongside the altimeter is the Course Deviation Indicator (CDI). This instrument indicates the ‘where’. The CDI is helpful in that it doesn’t only give a location in reference to landmarks, it describes the lateral position of the aircraft in regard to the planned flight path as well. It is a visual indication of the plane’s location and progress along its flight path. As far as the aforementioned British Airways pilot knew, the plane was on track to Dusseldorf.

The attitude indicator is the component that determines how the plane is sitting in the air; it is essentially an artificial image of the horizon. The top half of the display is usually blue, and the bottom half is brown. The fuselage silhouette, the horizontal line, and the carrot are the main indicators. Looking at the attitude indicator, the pilot will expect to see a small semi-circle shape in the middle of the gauge — this is the fuselage silhouette. The pilot will also see the horizontal line that cuts across the gauge. Finally, the pilot will take note of the carrot, a triangle shaped symbol sitting at the twelve o’clock position. If the planes position is balanced, the center of the fuselage silhouette will be sitting in the center of the horizon. It is paramount that the silhouette is within the blue area, while the carrot should be pointing right down the center of the dial. Should the pilot find that the carrot has deviated from the middle, it is an indication that the plane is rolling or banking.

Together with the altimeter and the CDI, the pilot can maneuver the plane in the correct direction at the correct altitude. In addition, the attitude indicator can be used to adjust the plane to keep it level in the air.

A pilot has multiple instruments that help position the aircraft in essentially a blank map. It is not surprising that the British Airways pilots flew to Edinburgh. They were simply following their navigational devices.

At, Aviation Store Online, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find any navigational aircraft instruments or components, whether for civil or defense related aerospace and aviation industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-505-365-1770.

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