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Pilots of today's complex aircraft can no longer fly by the seats of their pants. The pilot receives indications of
what the aircraft is doing through instruments and warning systems. These include airspeed indicators, unsafe
system warnings, and remote position indicators. Some systems, such as antiskid brake systems, allow the pilot
to obtain maximum performance, which may be impossible without mechanical assistance. This section covers
some of these systems and the hardware necessary to operate them.

method only works well when the control valves

are capable of operating very quickly. [Figure 10-1]

It is important that a pilot avoid excessive braking

to prevent skidding and loss of control. With a
tail-wheel-type airplane, too much braking could
result in a nose-over or ground loop. With
large-diameter tires on small wheels, heavy
braking could cause the tire to slip on the rim and
pull the valve out of the tube.

Modern high-speed jet aircraft usually have more

than one wheel on each side, and all of the brakes
Figure 10-1. This graph shows the wheel speed relative to
on one side are controlled with one pedal. With this the amount of brake pressure applied manually by the pilot
arrangement, the pilot has no way of knowing when of an aircraft.
one of these wheels begins to skid. Without prompt
corrective action to release a locked-up wheel, the
tire is likely to blow out and damage the aircraft, or In figure 10-1, the brakes are applied and the pres-
in severe cases, result in loss of control. sure rises until the wheel starts to slip, but not skid,
at point A. This is the ideal condition, but the pilot,
Friction created by the brakes reduces the wheel having no indication that a slip has been reached,
rotation rate, and friction between the tire and the continues to increase the force on the brake pedal.
runway slows the aircraft. If the tire rotation slows Sufficient pressure is soon reached to produce
too rapidly, the tire will begin to slip on the runway enough friction in the brake to cause the tire to start
instead of gripping it. Once the tire begins to slip, a to skid on the runway, as shown at point B. The
skid soon develops and braking effectiveness wheel now decelerates fast enough to be felt, so the
decreases rapidly to near zero. For maximum brake pilot reduces pressure on the pedal. Since the brak-
effectiveness, only enough brake pressure should be ing force that is needed lessens as the wheel slows,
applied to cause the tire to reach the point where it the wheel continues to decelerate even though the
just begins to slip. This produces the maximum brake pressure decreases. At point C, the wheel has
deceleration rate. completely locked up, even though the pressure
continues to drop. At point D, the pressure is low
Maintaining this optimum friction is not easy. As the enough for the friction between the tire and the run-
airplane slows, less brake pressure is needed to way surface to start the wheel rotating again, and
maintain the correct balance. Contamination such as soon after, the brake pressure drops to zero. The
water, snow or ice on the runway reduces the coeffi- wheel then comes back up to speed.
cient of friction between the tire and the runway.
This, too, complicates the problem of maintaining A successful antiskid system requires two features
the right amount of brake pressure to achieve maxi- that early on-and-off systems did not have. There
mum braking without excessive tire slippage. must be some form of wheel-speed sensor that can
detect a change in the rate of deceleration and send a
SYSTEM OPERATION signal for the pressure to be released before the wheel
You use a simple form of manual antiskid control
when driving on ice. For the most effective stop-
ping, you pump the brakes. They are applied only
enough to slow the wheel, then released before the
wheel decelerates enough to lock up. This same
on-and-off type of operation was employed in some
of the early aircraft antiskid systems. However,
Position and Warning Systems 10-3

gets deep into a skid. A valve is also needed that acts

quickly enough to prevent all of the pressure from
being released before the next application of the
brake. This controlled amount of retained pressure
prevents the brake-return system from pulling the
pressure plate all of the way back, and allows the
brakes to reapply almost immediately. The modern
modulated antiskid system provides the fastest
wheel-speed recovery and produces the shortest
stopping distance on any kind of runway surface.
Figure 10-2. A typical antiskid brake system consists of
When the pilot wants to stop the aircraft in the short- wheel-speed sensors on each main wheel, a control unit,
est distance possible, it is necessary to depress the and control valves for each brake.
brake pedals all the way to induce maximum braking.
All of the brakes receive the maximum pressure. If any
wheel should decelerate at a rate indicating an WHEEL-SPEED SENSORS
impending skid, some of the pressure to that brake is There are two types of systems in use, an AC system
dumped into the system-return manifold. The control and a DC system. They are essentially alike except
circuit then measures the amount of time required for for the wheel-speed sensors and one circuit in the
the wheel to spin back up and applies a slightly control unit. The AC sensor is a variable-reluctance
reduced pressure to the brake. This reduced pressure AC generator in the axle of the landing gear that
is determined by the time required for the spin-up. If uses a permanent magnet surrounded by a pickup
this reduced pressure again causes a skid to develop, coil. The outside of this sensor has four equally
the cycle is repeated. Some pressure is maintained in spaced poles with teeth cut into their periphery.
the wheel cylinders to prevent the pressure plate from
moving all of the way back. This application and A soft iron exciter ring with internal teeth is
release process continues with progressively decreas- mounted in the hubcap of the wheel so that it
ing pressure until the wheel is held in the slip area, rotates around the sensor. The two sets of teeth are
but not allowed to decelerate fast enough to produce a separated by a small gap, and as the exciter ring
skid. It produces the proper amount of braking for any rotates, the teeth approach each other and then
runway surface condition, with the pilot having only move apart. As the distance between the teeth
to apply a hard, steady pressure to the brake pedal. changes, the reluctance of the magnetic circuit is
alternately increased and decreased. This causes the
When the airplane slows down to approximately 20 amount of magnetic flux cutting across the pickup
miles per hour (m.p.h.) and there is no further dan- coil to change and induces an alternating current in
ger of skidding, the antiskid system automatically the coil. The faster the wheel turns, the higher the
deactivates. This gives the pilot full control of the frequency of the induced current. [Figure 10-3]
brakes for maneuvering and parking. As with most
auxiliary systems in modern aircraft, the antiskid
systems have built-in test circuits, and may be deac-
tivated in the event of a malfunction to give the
pilot normal braking but no antiskid protection.
Many large jet-transports have an auto-brake feature
that works in conjunction with the antiskid system.
When the system senses weight on the main wheels,
it automatically applies the brakes to produce one of
several pilot-selected levels of deceleration. This
results in a more immediate application of the
wheel brakes and maximizes the use of the antiskid
system. The pilot can override and disarm the
auto-brake system by applying manual brakes.

An antiskid system consists of three basic compo- Figure 10-3. The AC wheel-speed sensor creates a variable
nents: wheel-speed sensors, an antiskid computer, frequency AC current. The control unit converts the varying
frequency AC into a DC signal voltage that is proportional
and control valves. [Figure 10-2] to the frequency of the AC current.
70-4 Position and Warning Systems

The DC sensor is essentially a small,

permanent-magnet direct-current generator, which
produces a voltage output directly proportional to
the rotational speed of its armature. With this type
of sensor, there is no need for a converter in the
control unit. There also is less danger of
interference with the brakes due to the induction of
stray voltage into the sensing system. [Figure 10-4]

Figure 10-5. The antiskid control unit operates a brake con-

trol valve.

Figure 10-4. The DC wheel-speed sensor does not require an

AC-DC converter in the control unit because it generates a
direct current proportional to wheel speed. The shaft of the
armature is fitted with a blade driven by a bracket in the
wheel hubcap and rotates with the wheel. The generator
output usually is in the range of one volt for each ten m.p.h.
of wheel speed.

A three-port antiskid control valve is located in the
pressure line between the brake valve and the brake
cylinder, with the third line connecting the control
valve to the system-return manifold. During normal
operation of the brakes, with no indication of a skid,
the valve serves only as a passage and allows the
brake fluid to flow into and out of the brake. When
a wheel begins to decelerate fast enough to cause a
skid, the control unit detects the changing output Figure 10-6. A direct-current signal from the control unit
voltage of the wheel-speed sensor. The control unit energizes the coil on the armature of the flapper valve, and
sends a DC signal to the control valve, which closes the movement of the flapper changes the pressure drop
off the pressure port and opens the passage between across the fixed orifices.
the brake and the system return. This rapidly oper-
ating valve maintains an output pressure that is Fluid from the brake valve flows through the filter
directly proportional to the amount of signal current and discharges equally from each nozzle. Since the
from the control unit. [Figure 10-5] amount of flow is the same through each orifice, the
pressure drop across the orifices will be the same,
The DC signal from the control unit flows through a and the second-stage spool valve will assume a
coil around the armature of the flapper valve. This position that allows free passage between the brake
armature is free to pivot and is centered between valve and the brake.
two permanent magnets. [Figure 10-6]
When the control unit receives a signal from the
When the signal from the control unit indicates that wheel-speed sensor indicating an impending skid,
no skid is impending, and the braking action should it sends current through the coil of the armature to
be normal, the magnetic field of the coil reacts with polarize it. This causes the flapper to pivot and
the fields of the permanent magnets and holds the unbalance the flow from the nozzles. In figure 10-8,
flapper centered between the nozzles. [Figure 10-7] the flapper has moved over, restricting the flow
Position and Warning Systems 10-5

Figure 10-7. When the flapper is centered between the noz- Figure 10-8. When the armature of the flapper valve is ener-
zles, the pressure-drops across orifices O, and O 2 are gized, the flapper moves over and restricts the flow through
equal, resulting in output pressure P 1 equaling P 2. orifice O 1 while increasing it through O 2 . The increased
pressure drop across O2 causes P 1 to be greater than P2 .

from the left nozzle and opening the flow from the vents the pilot from landing with
one on the right. There is now more flow through the brakes applied. [Figure 10-9]
orifice O 2 and therefore a greater pressure drop
across it, leaving P a greater than P 2 . This imbalance
of pressures moves the second-stage spool over,
shutting off the flow of fluid from the brake valve to
the brake, and opening a passage from the brake to
the return manifold.

The extremely fast reaction time of this valve allows

it to maintain a pressure at the brake that is directly
proportional to the amount of current flowing in the
armature coil.

Figure 10-9. The locked-wheel detector receives a signal
The control unit has three main functions: to gener- from the squat switch, which indicates whether the aircraft
ate electrical signals usable by the control valve; to is airborne or on the ground. If airborne, the circuitry pre-
regulate brake pressure to prevent a skid during vents the brakes from being applied before touchdown.
landing deceleration; and to prevent application of
brake pressure prior to touchdown. Before the air- As soon as the airplane touches down, the squat
plane touches down, the locked-wheel detector switch registers that weight is on the wheels. The
sends a signal into the amplifier, which causes the wheels start to spin up, and at approximately 20
control valve to open the passage between the m.p.h., generates enough voltage in the wheel-speed
brakes and the system-return manifold. This pre- sensor to signal the locked-wheel detector.
70-6 Position and Warning Systems

detector then removes the touchdown control signal this pressure to increase slowly until another skid
from the amplifier. This allows the control valve to starts to occur, repeating the cycle.
apply full pressure to the brakes. [Figure 10-10]
When the aircraft is on a wet or icy runway, the anti-
skid system holds the wheels in the slip region.
However, the locked-wheel detector activates when-
ever one wheel hydroplanes or hits ice and slows
down to less than ten m.p.h. while its mated refer-
ence wheel still rotates faster than 20 m.p.h. A timer
measures the duration of the skid detector signal. If
it is more than one-tenth of a second, it sends a "full
dump" signal that holds the valve in the full-dump
position until the wheel spins back up above
ten m.p.h.
Figure 10-10. On touchdown, the squat switch removes the
ground from the locked-wheel arming circuit, and the When all of the wheels are turning at less than 20
wheel-speed sensor generates a signal which allows the
control valve to send full pressure to the brakes. m.p.h., the locked-wheel arming circuit disarms,
giving the pilot full braking action for low-speed
When the airplane is on the ground and the wheels taxiing and parking. [Figure 10-12]
are rotating at more than 20 m.p.h., the skid detec-
tor and modulator provide almost all of the antiskid
control. [Figure 10-11]

Figure 10-12. When the airplane is on the ground and all

three wheels are rotating less than 20 miles per hour, the
locked-wheel arming circuit is inoperative and the pilot has
full brake control for low speed taxiing and parking.

The control unit for antiskid systems using AC sen-

Figure 10-11. When the airplane is on the ground and all sors operates in the same way as those using DC
wheels are rotating more than 20 miles per hour, the skid
detector and the modulator provide signals for the amplifier.
generators, the only difference being the addition of
a converter circuit. This circuit receives the
varying-frequency alternating current and converts
A deceleration threshold is designed into the skid it into a varying voltage of direct current. The
detector circuit. The reference normally is set to changes in the DC voltage exactly follow the
about 20 feet per second, with a wheel speed that is frequency changes of the AC. [Figure 10-13]
at least six m.p.h. below the speed of the airplane.
When a wheel decelerates at a rate greater than this SYSTEM TESTS
threshold value, the skid detector signals the ampli- Because it is vitally important that a pilot know the
fier and then the control valve to reduce the brake exact condition of the brake system before using it,
pressure. It also signals the modulator, which auto- antiskid systems include test circuits and control
matically establishes the amount of current that will switches. These allow the pilot to test the entire sys-
continue to flow through the valve after the wheel tem, and if any faults are found, disable the system
has recovered from the skid. When the amplifier without affecting normal braking action. There is an
receives its signal from the modulator, it maintains anti-skid warning light in the flight deck to warn
this current, which is just enough to position the pilots whenever the system is off or has failed.
flapper to prevent the pressure from being com-
pletely released. The applied current maintains a GROUND TEST
pressure slightly less than that which caused the The integrity of the antiskid system can be tested on
skid. A timer circuit in the modulator then allows the ground before flight. The pilot turns on the anti-
Position and Warning Systems 10-7

tem before condemning the antiskid system. If the

brakes are spongy, remove the air by bleeding them.
Carefully check for warped disks, malfunctioning
return systems, and any indications of damage.

Inspection and maintenance of antiskid systems

requires logical troubleshooting to locate faults. Due
to the complexity of the components, they are usu-
ally returned to the manufacturer or a repair station
for any needed repairs. If one of the tests shows a
malfunction in the system, the most logical place to
start troubleshooting is with the wheel-speed sen-
Figure 10-13. The difference between the control unit of an
antiskid system using an AC wheel-speed sensor and one
using a DC sensor is in the converter between the sensor WHEEL-SPEED SENSOR
and the control circuit. Some DC wheel-speed sensors can be checked on the
airplane by removing the wheel hubcap to
skid control switch and presses the brake pedal. expose the blade of the sensor. With your finger,
Both the left and right brake lights should illumi- give the blade a sharp spin in its normal direction of
nate, indicating that all of the pressure from the rotation with the brakes applied and the antiskid
brake valves is being routed to the brakes. switch on. It will not turn more than 180 degrees.
It is not the amount of rotation that is important,
With the brakes still applied, the pilot presses the but the rate at which it is turned. If the system is
test switch and holds it for a few seconds. This sends operating properly, the brakes should
a signal through the wheel-speed sensors into the momentarily release and then reapply. Watch the
control unit to simulate a wheel speed of more than brake disk stack for relaxation then tightening, this
20 m.p.h. The lights should remain on. When the will confirm proper system operation. If this
test switch is released, the two brake lights should go "tweak" test does not cause the brakes to release,
out and stay out for a couple of seconds, then come consult the maintenance manual for the specific
back on. This simulates a wheel lockup that causes a type of airplane on which you are working to
release of, then restoration of, pressure. This test determine the correct test procedures. [Figure
checks the continuity of all of the wiring and opera-
tion of the locked-wheel circuits, amplifiers, and
control valves. These procedures vary with aircraft
type. Consult the appropriate manuals to determine
the correct procedure for your aircraft.

The antiskid system is included in the pilot's
pre-landing checklist. With the airplane configured
for landing, the pilot depresses the brake pedals.
The brake lights should remain off, which indicates
the control valves are holding the brakes in the fully
released position.

The pilot then presses the test switch, which should

illuminate the brake lights for as long as the switch
is held down. The test switch sends a signal through
the wheel speed sensors, simulating a wheel speed
greater than 20 m.p.h. If the system is operating
properly, the control valve will direct normal pres-
sure to the brake.

Figure 10-14. When the blade of the wheel-speed sensor is
If a flight crew reports an antiskid or brake mal- flipped, it should cause the brakes to release and then
function, verify that there is no air in the brake sys- reapply.
70-8 Position and Warning Systems


The control unit, shown in figure 10-15, may be If the trouble remains after checking the two devices
checked using a substitution method. Remove both that were the easiest to access, all that remains in
of the connector plugs from the box and swap them the antiskid system is the control valve. These
left to right. For example, suppose the trouble indi- valves are electrohydraulic, and the trouble could
cation was originally on the left side of the airplane. be in either the electrical or hydraulic section.
If the leads from the box are switched and the indi-
cation remains on the left side, the trouble is proba- The easiest check is the electrical resistance of the
bly not with the control unit. However, if the indica- coil. Remove the connector plug and measure the
tion moves to the right side, the control unit may be resistance of the coil with an accurate ohmmeter. It
defective. Any time you switch the leads, be sure to should measure within the tolerance specified in
reinstall them on the proper receptacles and properly the service manual. If the trouble is traced to the
secure them before returning the aircraft to service. control valve and is not electrical, the valve must be
removed. The problem is probably in the hydraulic
portion of the valve.

The extremely close tolerances used in the manu-

facture of this valve make the use of absolutely
clean fluid imperative. A fifteen-micron steel-mesh
screen is commonly installed in the line before the
orifices to insure that no contaminants reach the
inside of the valve. If this screen clogs, the valve
may malfunction. Check the manufacturer's service
manuals to see if it is possible to replace this filter
in the field. If it is allowed, follow the service
instructions carefully. If any field servicing is
allowed on the valve, it must be done in an area free
from contamination. Again, be certain to follow the
Figure 10-15. The two leads on the antiskid control unit may
be switched as a part of the troubleshooting procedure. manufacturer's latest service information.


A stall is a flight condition where the airflow over
the upper surface of the wing separates and
becomes turbulent. It occurs when the aircraft
reaches a critically high angle-of-attack (AOA). If an
airplane does not provide sufficient aerodynamic
warning of an impending stall, such as buffeting,
the pilot must be warned through some other
means. Small general aviation aircraft usually use
an audible tone or a red light. Many high-perfor-
mance aircraft use a stick shaker, which vibrates the
control column, or which may even force the col-
umn forward to reduce the angle-of-attack.

Many stall warning systems, particularly on lower

performance aircraft, measure the movement of the
stagnation point on the wing. The stagnation point
marks the particular location on the leading edge of
an airfoil where the air separates, some passing over
the top of the surface and the rest passing below it.
As the angle-of-attack increases, the stagnation
point moves down toward the lower surface. The
stagnation point is always in the same location
when the airflow over the surface becomes turbu-
lent, indicating the approach to a stall.


An electrically operated stall warning system uses a
small vane mounted near the stagnation point in the
leading edge of the wing. At flights above the stall
speed, the airflow over the vane is downward and
the vane is held down. An electrical switch con-
nected to the vane is open while the vane is down.
As the angle-of-attack increases toward an impend-
ing stall, the stagnation point moves down until the
airflow over the vane is upward. The vane is blown
up, closing the switch and illuminating a red light
or sounding a warning horn. [Figure 10-16]
Figure 10-16. W hen the wing is nearly stalled, the upward
NON-ELECTRIC STALL WARNING airflow moves the vane to activate the stall warning.
The reed-type stall warning system operates in a
manner similar to a musical instrument reed which
produces a tone when air travels through it. The As the angle-of-attack increases, the low-pressure
inlet of the small reed-type horn is located on the air traveling over the wing moves into an area
leading edge of the wing near the stagnation point. "where the reed inlet is located, causing it to sound.
By listening to the changing pitch of the horn, the
pilot can easily identify the point at which the stall
will occur.

On many high-performance aircraft, the margin

between the aerodynamically generated pre-stall
buffet and the actual stall is insufficient. Using the
70-70 Position and Warning Systems

stagnation point to activate a stall warning system

may not provide enough warning. Many corporate
jet and transport category aircraft use a stick shaker
to provide the pilot with an earlier and more reli-
able warning of an impending stall. The stick shaker
consists of a motor that drives an eccentric weight.
This motor is attached to the control column and
shakes it to alert the pilot before a stall develops. A
stall-warning computer based on airspeed,
angle-of-attack, flap configuration, and power
setting activates the stick shaker. The system is
energized at all times when the aircraft is airborne
and is deactivated on the ground by squat switches
on the gear.

All stall warning systems provide an indication of
an impending stall that is related to the
angle-of-attack. For precision flying, the pilot needs
to know the actual angle-of-attack during various
stages of the flight. One system for measuring and
displaying the angle-of-attack uses a slotted probe
sticking out of the side of the aircraft fuselage. The
slots carry impact air into the housing of the probe
where it moves a set of paddles connected to a
variable resistor. The change in resistance moves
a pointer around the indicator dial, which is
calibrated in percent of the stall-speed
angle-of-attack, or color-coded with a qualitative
indication of angle-of-attack. [Figure 10-17]

Another method of measuring angle-of-attack uti-

lizes a vane-type sensor. A thin, wedge-shaped vane
is mounted on a short arm that is free to rotate. In
flight, the vane streamlines with the relative wind.
As the angle-of-attack changes, the arm pivots and a
potentiometer connected to the arm transmits a posi-
tion signal to the stall warning system. The vane is
heated to prevent ice formation. [Figure 10-18]

The pilot can set a reference bug to show the desired

ratio of the airspeed to the stall airspeed. For exam-
ple, if the pilot wants to make an approach to land-
ing at an airspeed of 30% over the stall speed, the Figure 10-17. As the angle-of-attack changes, the amount of
reference bug would be set on 1.3. The pilot then air entering the angle-of-attack sensor changes. This
maintains the attitude needed to center the causes the paddles inside to change position. These pad-
angle-of-attack needle on the reference bug and the dles are attached to a potentiometer that varies the current
to an indicator that in turn gives an indication of AOA.
approach speed will automatically be correct. If the
angle-of-attack goes above or below the desired
value, the indicator will move away from the bug.
and other mechanically actuated devices.
A pilot needs to know that a control surface has Direct-current remote indicating systems are used
actually moved when commanded. Remote position in some aircraft to transmit position information so
indicating systems provide feedback about the sta- that it can be seen on an instrument dial. The posi-
tus of control surfaces, landing gear, control valves, tion pickup, or transmitter, is a variable resistor
Position and Warning Systems 10-11

Figure 10-20. A variable resistor provides a variable current

to a coil that aligns a permanent magnet with the resistor's
Figure 10-18. Many large airplanes utilize a vane-type sen-
sor for angle-of-attack. AUTOSYN SYSTEMS
One of the more popular remote indicating systems
used for all types of mechanical movement is the
Autosyn system. Autosyn is a registered
trade name for a system that uses a single-phase
electromagnet for the rotor and a three-phase delta
connected coil for the stator. [Figure 10-21]

Figure 10-19. When the pilot selects the Test position on a

Boeing 747 stall warning system, the air/ground relay is
bypassed, the stick shaker operates, the black and white
test indicator rotates, and the system checks the
angle-of-attack vane and flap position sensor.

made of wire wound around an insulating core in

the shape of a cylinder. Two wipers contact bare
portions of the wire along one edge of the cylinder, Figure 10-21. The Autosyn -type alternating-current remote
and current flows into the circuit through one of the indicating system employs two delta-wound coils. These
coils align with each other; one of them attached to an input
wipers and out through the other. The cylindrical shaft and the other to a remote pointer.
resistor is tapped at each 120-degree position and is
connected to a coil in the indicator that is wound on
a ring-shaped core. The indicator coil is also tapped The synchronous motors in the indicator and trans-
at each 120 degrees and connected to form an elec- mitter are identical. The rotors are connected in par-
trical delta circuit. The current through each of the allel and supplied with 28-volt, 400-hertz AC. The
three portions of the coil varies depending upon the three-phase stators are also connected in parallel,
position of the two wipers in the transmitter. As the and in most installations, one side of the rotor is
current changes, so does the magnetic field. Since a connected to one of the terminals of the stator.
small permanent magnet attached to the pointer
always aligns with the composite magnetic field, Whatever position is being monitored physically
the indicator is always aligned with the wiper arms moves the rotor of the transmitter. This could be the
in the transmitter. [Figure 10-20] flap position, landing gear position, or oil or fuel
quantity, as well as many of the pressure measure-
ALTERNATING CURRENT ments made with bourdon tubes or pressure capsules.
Many larger aircraft require greater accuracy than is
available from a DC remote position indicating sys- The AC magnetic field in the rotor induces a voltage
tem. For these applications, alternating-current sys- in the three windings of the stator, and because the
tems of either the Autosyn or two stators are connected in parallel, the magnetic
Magnesyn -type are used. field in the indicator will be exactly the same as that
70-72 Position and Warning Systems

in the transmitter. The same AC voltage as the rotor

in the transmitter excites the rotor in the indicator
so their magnetic fields are identical. Since mechan-
ical load on the indicator rotor is nothing more than
a small pointer, the rotor will assume the same posi-
tion inside the indicator as the rotor inside the
transmitter. The rotor in the indicator immediately
follows any movement of the transmitter rotor.

Many Autosyn systems use dual indicators. The

two synchronous motors are stacked, and the shaft
of the rear motor sticks through the hollow shaft in
the forward motor. One dial serves both indicators,
and the two pointers move in the same way the
hands of a clock do.
Figure 10-22. A Magnesyn -type AC remote indicating sys-
MAGNESYN SYSTEMS tem uses the paired relationship of two permanent magnets
Magnesyn is another remote indicating system to transfer transmitter position information to an indicator.
bearing a registered trade name and operating on
AC. The basic difference between an Autosyn depth in Chapter 16. Other types of warning sys-
and a Magnesyn system is in the rotor. The tems include takeoff configuration warning, landing
Magnesyn system uses a permanent magnet for its gear configuration warning, Mach/airspeed warn-
rotor rather than the electromagnet used in the ing, stall warning, ground proximity warning sys-
Autosyn system. tem (GPWS), and the engine indication and crew
alerting system (EICAS).
The stator of a Magnesyn system is a toroidal coil:
a coil wound around a ring-shaped iron core. The
transmitter and indicator are not necessarily the TAKEOFF CONFIGURATION
same physical size and configuration, but they are WARNING SYSTEM
alike in their electrical characteristics. The takeoff configuration warning system is armed
when the aircraft is on the ground and one or more
thrust levers are advanced to the takeoff power posi-
The coils in both the transmitter and the indicator tion. A warning light and/or aural warning will
are supplied with 28-volt, 400-Hertz AC, are tapped sound if the stabilizer trim is not properly set, trail-
each 120 degrees, and are connected in parallel. The ing edge flaps are not in the correct position, any
voltage generated in the transmitter coil is carried leading edge devices are not properly set, or the
into the indicator coil where it produces magnetic speed brake is not properly stowed. The warning
fields in its three sections. The composite field of signal stops when all monitored devices are prop-
these coils pulls the permanent magnet in the indi- erly set.
cator into exactly the same alignment as the magnet
in the transmitter. Any movement of the transmitter
magnet causes the magnet in the indicator to mirror LANDING GEAR CONFIGURATION
the transmitter position. [Figure 10-22] WARNING SYSTEM
The landing gear indication lights are activated
according to signals from each gear and the landing
CONFIGURATION gear lever. The particular gear indications may vary
WARNING SYSTEMS slightly, but the FAA requires positive indication of
The number and complexity of modern aircraft sys- "up and locked" and "down and locked" gear posi-
tems require various warning systems to alert the tions. A typical system might indicate the landing
pilot of malfunctions or incorrect aircraft configura- gear down and locked with an illuminated green
tion for a particular flight mode. Most warnings are light for each individual gear. Another may use a
visual, aural, tactile, or some combination. single green light for the entire gear configuration
Warnings alert the aircrew to conditions that require "down and locked" indication. If a single green light
some sort of action to ensure proper and safe opera- is used, the switches at each gear are connected in
tion of the aircraft. The type of signal depends upon series so that the "down and locked" light only illu-
the degree of urgency. One type of warning system minates when all gear are in the proper position.
is the fire warning system, which will be covered in
Position and Warning Systems 10-13

When the landing gear is in disagreement with the Excessive descent rate.
landing gear lever position, a red light illuminates,
meaning that the gear is in transit or in an unsafe Excessive terrain closure rate.
condition. When the landing gear is in the proper Altitude loss after takeoff or go-around.
up position and the gear lever is also in the "UP"
Unsafe terrain clearance when not in the landing
position, the gear position lights go out signifying configuration.
an "up and locked" condition. A technician nor-
mally checks the gear warning system during land- Excessive deviation below an ILS
ing gear retraction tests. Problems with the warning (Instrument
system are often caused by the gear position Landing System) glide slope.
switches. Always consult the manufacturer's service Descent below the selected minimum radio alti
manual for the proper procedures for adjusting the tude.
landing gear position switches in addition to any
other maintenance performed. Windshear condition encountered.

On some aircraft, a steady warning horn is provided When one of these conditions is encountered, the
to alert the pilot that the airplane is in a landing computer flashes warning lights and sounds an
configuration and the gear is not down and locked. alarm or warning. Some warnings are computer-gen-
The landing gear warning horn is usually depen- erated directions such as "Pull up" or "Windshear."
dent on flap and thrust lever position.
Generally, when a thrust lever is retarded and any CREW ALERTING SYSTEM (EICAS)
landing gear is not down and locked, the landing Older commercial airplanes utilize electromechani-
gear warning horn will sound, but can be silenced cal system indicators that employ multiple visual
using the warning horn cutout switch. Under cer- and aural cautions and warnings to alert of haz-
tain conditions, the landing gear warning horn can- ardous conditions such as engine problems or open
not be silenced. Although the actual flap settings cabin doors. Most of these systems use an annunci-
and thrust lever positions will vary from one aircraft ator that provides a master warning light along with
type to another, generally some provision is made to an aural indication to alert the crew that a malfunc-
remove the pilot's ability to silence the gear warning tion has occurred and that corrective action may be
when specific conditions occur. For example, the required. These indicators do not offer the versatil-
warning horn cutout might be disabled if the radar ity and redundancy available with modern digital
altimeter indicates less than 1,000 feet above technology.
ground with the aircraft in a landing configuration
and with an unsafe gear. New generation aircraft use electronic displays and
a full-time monitoring system known as EICAS,
MACH/AIRSPEED WARNING SYSTEM Engine Indication and Crew Alerting. The use of
Some aircraft are equipped with Mach/airspeed EICAS requires very little monitoring by the crew
warning systems that provide a distinct aural warn- and promotes quick, accurate identification and
ing any time the maximum operating airspeed is recording of problems.
exceeded. Reducing speed below the limiting value
is usually the only way to silence the warning. EICAS reduces flight crew workload by automati-
cally monitoring and recording engine parameters
The system operates from an internal mechanism for later review. EICAS also alerts the aircrew of
inside the Mach/airspeed indicator. Test switches problems when necessary. It is operative through all
allow an operational check of the system at any phases of flight, from power-up through post-flight
time. Maximum operating airspeeds exist primarily maintenance. Parameters used to set and monitor
due to airplane structural limitations at lower alti- engine thrust are displayed full time. The system
tudes and airplane handling characteristics at automatically displays any out-of-tolerance values
higher altitudes. on a cathode-ray-tube (CRT) or liquid-crystal dis-
play (LCD) in an appropriate color. The colored
GROUND PROXIMITY WARNING messages are designed to alert the aircrew to any
SYSTEM (GPWS) failure and convey the urgency in which to respond.
The ground proximity warning system (GPWS) pro- By utilizing electronic displays, EICAS provides
vides warnings and/or alerts to the flight crew when accurate, timely information on a single screen
any of the following conditions exist: rather than multiple engine instruments scattered
throughout the panel.
70-74 Position and Warning Systems

Figure 10-23. A simplified system diagram of the EICAS installed in the Boeing 757 shows its typically required components.

EICAS provides an improved level of mainte- upper display unit shows primary engine parame-
nance data for the ground crew without causing ters and crew alerting messages, and the lower dis-
the flight crew any extra workload. This has been play unit shows secondary engine parameters.
achieved by designing a system that will automat- [Figure 10-24]
ically record subsystem parameters when mal-
functions are detected. The system also provides EICAS monitors inputs from airplane subsystems
the flight crew with the capability for manual data and sensors. When an abnormal condition is
recording with the push of a single button. This detected, EICAS will generate and display an alert,
eliminates the need for extensive hand recording status, or maintenance message.
of systems and performance data. These features
increase the accuracy of maintenance data record-
ings and improve the communication between the
aircrew and ground maintenance crews.

EICAS usually includes two multicolor display

units, two computers, and two control panels.
These components, together with two
display-switching modules, cancel/recall switches,
and captain's and first officer's master caution
lights, jointly perform the various EICAS
functions. [Figure 10-23]

The EICAS computer processes and displays all

engine and aircraft system information required by
the crew. One computer is used at a time for dis- Figure 10-24. EICAS operational mode displays and engine
parameters are presented on two displays. A pilot can
playing the data on both display units. Computer select status and maintenance readouts on the secondary
selection is done on the display select panel. The display using the EICAS maintenance panel.