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Pitot tubes

affinity4aviation

Active member
I've noticed that blocked pitot tubes, or ones where the cover or tape wasn't removed after cleaning the jet, have had several serious consequences. When the pre-flight walk around is done, is it SOP that an individual checks the pitot tubes for blockages? It said that sometimes Maintenace forgets to remove the covers or the tape. I'm surprised there isn't a warning system that alerts the pilots if they are covered or blocked since they are crucial for flight safety. What have they done to prevent these types of accidents from occurring again? (ie. Air Peru 757, Air France, Malasiya Air, etc. years ago.) Is it SOP for commercial pilots to call out 'live airspeed' upon take off, so they know that the pitot tubes are working? Surprised that their blockages or being covered or taped over, wasn't caught prior to take off. The exception being them icing over temporarily in flight, which caused a major problem for a flight, as they hadn't read the NOTAM regarding what to do. It was on Air Disasters.
 
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MsHighAltitude

Administrator
Staff member
I don’t know about the jets. For the little single prop I fly it’s part of the preflight walkaround to remove the cover and check for blockage. I call out “airspeed alive” too during the takeoff roll. But you’d know something isn’t right when you are half way down the runway at full power and airspeed still shows zero.
 

Plague

Active member
Covers have flags on them so it's obvious if they are fitted, as do any ground locks for gear, flight surfaces, etc. Walk around should see those. Occasionally a flag may get detached and that is obviously a potential problem.

On large aircraft the pitots and other sensors are usually on the fuselage in the vicinity of the cockpit and inaccessible without access equipment. So it's not practical to inspect them closely on a walk around. Even when accessible it's often not that easy to tell if there is something down there, so as MHA says the crew need to do a sanity check as they start the takeoff roll because that's the first time any problem is likely to become apparent.
As there are usually two or three pitots I'd like to believe most commercial aircraft would themselves check they agree and alarm if not, but after the MAX fiasco I wouldn't put money on it.
 

Sonerai

Active member
2 stories about this subject. On a bfr, right after take off asi went to 0, I mentioned it and asked if he wanted me to continue and he said no, So I landed and he ran a wire thru the tube and off we went and all was well. On first glider flight I noticed a black disk by the ask and I asked about it and I was told some power pilots focused on the asi, so he would have them cover the asi. I said can I do it and he said sure so on my first glider flight I had no idea of airspeed. I only did it once
 

Plague

Active member
but I have no idea how here
At the bottom of your posts there are three 'buttons' of rather faint, grey text - Report, Edit and Delete. Tap/click Edit and you get back into the same editor as for writing originally. The only difference really is when done you press Save instead of Post reply.
 

Sonerai

Active member
Thanks, but I am lazy and no teachers here with a red pen. I just type away and send and then look at it
 
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