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Aircraft Instrument Panel

The Power of the Panel

While as a Private Pilot you will be training to fly VFR only and constantly look outside the cockpit, it is still important to have a basis of knowledge of how all the instruments work (along with being able to fly by reference to instruments in an absolute pinch).  In this TOPIC we’ll go over every instrument in the Panel of a Piper Warrior and Cessna 152.  You should know:

  • How they work
  • What powers them
  • What are the failure modes of each instrument or piece of equipment
  • How to use the features of each instrument or piece of equipment (i.e. how to use a GPS mounted in the cockpit)

Regardless of what airplane you are training in, be sure to take the time with your instructor to sit in the cockpit and familiarize yourself with each and every instrument and piece of equipment in your airplane.

Clock: Shows time. Powered by DC and remains on when the master is switched off. Minimal battery drain.

Airspeed Indicator: Works off of Pitot tube and static port to indicate airspeed by differentiating between ram air pressure and atmospheric pressure.

Attitude Indicator: An “artificial horizon” powered by the aircraft’s vacuum pump.

Altimeter: Indicates altitude. Based off of static port (ambient air pressure)

VORs: Navigation instrumentation connected to the NAV radios.

Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI): Purely off of static port (calculates rate of change)