After Russia and Europe, it’s now in the United States where a freezing weather wave hits. The cold means extra care for your pitot probes.

From humidity, to ice build up to an inoperative pitot heater, there are a variety of reasons to clear the pitot probes.

When ice blocks the pitot probe, speed readings can vary and two situations can occur :

  • Situation 1: The pitot probe ices over and the static port remains open

Here the dynamic pressure remains trapped in the pitot probe. If you keep your attitude unchanged, your speed will freeze. If you climb in altitude, your static port remains open and the trapped static pressure becomes higher than the real static pressure. This situation will result in a poor speed readings – you’ll be flying at a lower speed than actually indicated. The opposite is true during a descent.

  • Situation 2: Your pitot-static system is wholly iced over.

Here all the pressure remains trapped, and your anemometer locks up. Whether you’re going up or down, your speed will stay the same.

ATEQ Aviation provides air data sensor covers available for most commercial, military and corporate aircraft. 

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