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Air Navigation, Part 2



Air Navigation, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.25

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    airspeed, altimeter, aneroid, cockpit, groundspeed, hypersonic, indicator, pleasurable, semi-automated, terrain-clearance, velocity, supersonic, relation, landing, aircraft, banking
     content words:    In Air Navigation


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Air Navigation, Part 2
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Did you know that instruments can fly? Don't worry. You won't see clarinets and saxophones landing on runways at airports around the world. What you will see in airplanes and other aircraft are cockpits filled with special instruments that help pilots with air navigation. In Air Navigation, Part 1, we discussed how airplanes and other aircraft maneuver through our skies. In this article we will look at the instruments and devices that keep our pilots and our skies safe.
 
2     In the cockpit of every aircraft there are instruments that help pilots monitor their speed, altitude, and course. The cockpit is a compartment located at the front of an airplane. Think of it as the front seat of an airplane where the pilot sits to "drive" the plane. There are also copilots who help to monitor the instruments. In smaller aircraft, the cockpit may only be large enough to hold one to two people. Smaller, light aircraft usually have a simple set of instruments called the airspeed indicator, aneroid altimeter, and magnetic compass. In larger aircraft, supersonic and hypersonic aircraft, and military aircraft these instruments may be altered. For example, in supersonic and hypersonic airplanes the airspeed indicator shows the airspeed as a Mach number.
 
3     Airspeed indicators are devices for measuring how fast air flows. They contain short tubes with one open end that faces the stream of air. If there is no air flowing into the tube, there is a minimum amount of pressure on the tube. This pressure is called static pressure. When the stream of air flows into the tube, the pressure in the tube rises. This causes the pressure to increase on vents in the second tube (located behind the first tube). A gauge uses a measurement between the static pressure and the air pressure to give a reading of the airspeed in units of velocity. In airplanes this is called the indicated airspeed. To get a true airspeed, the airspeed indicator automatically corrects the reading depending on the density of air in that area.

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