Many instruments exist for monitoring navigation and outside atmospheric conditions on aircraft. However, it’s just as vital to monitor the interior conditions of the aircraft, so aircraft mount numerous sensors to monitor their critical systems.
Liquids are a major component of an aircraft’s healthy operation. Oil, hydraulics, and fuel all need to be closely monitored and replaced as needed. To ensure that the aircraft has enough of these liquids, liquid level sensors are placed in the thermowells, reservoirs, tanks, sumps, and gearboxes. These sensors connect to the interface and display units in the cockpit to relay information like oil levels, fuel reserves, and others.
For some parts of an aircraft, operating temperatures must be closely monitored. The engines, for instance, are vulnerable to suffering cracks and failures if they run too hot, or too cold, or change temperatures too quickly. Therefore, temperature sensors are placed throughout the engine, such as in every cylinder. This allows the pilot to check if they are running too hot or too cold if something goes wrong during flight.
Flow sensors are often used in tandem with liquid level sensors. Flow sensors, as their name implies, monitor the flow rates of liquid, typically either fuel or oil. Mounted within the thermowell, they may also contain an electronics unit that connects to a digital exhaust gas sensor. They are typically installed in a pipe that carries liquid for which flow rate is being measured and can inform the pilot if flow is blocked or interrupted.
Pressure sensors are used to measure pressure that is either above or below a pre-set figure at that sensing location. These sensors are usually found in ducts, pipes, tanks, sumps, reservoirs, and even gearboxes in aircraft. Like other sensors, they monitor how well the aircraft is functioning, as de-pressurization or over-pressurization can cause serious stress damage to an aircraft’s fuselage or components.
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