If not in flight, any pilot wishes for the aircraft to be on the ground and in the correct place. The last thing any airport worker needs is a runaway plane on the runway. Brakes stop or slow the motion of a machine. Often a machine keeps running and is only stopped from moving forward by pressing on brake pads. For example, in an automatic car, the driver must keep their foot on the brake pedal to stop the car moving forward at a red light or in traffic.

Aircraft brakes must be far more complex and robust than automobile brakes. The amount of energy it takes to halt a landing aircraft is significantly greater than that needed to halt a car. Aircraft brakes are usually configured in a multiple disc setup such as segmented rotor-disc brakes used in heavy duty aircraft. Brakes are adapted to the high-pressure hydraulic control system through the multiple stationary control disc surfaces that come into contact with rotating segments. Kinetic energy from the moving aircraft is converted into heat energy that is then dissipated into the surrounding air. The excess heat that is generated in the energy conversion is dissipated through specific spaces in between the discs.

Brakes require back-up alternatives in the case of a system failure. An accumulator is an emergency source of power for the brakes. It is pre-charged with air or nitrogen, which is accompanied by a hydraulic fluid. Under enough stored pressure, the fluid is forced out of the power brake accumulator and through the brake system to slow the aircraft. Along with backup measures, the material of the brakes is carefully considered. In modern aircraft the brakes are made of a carbon fiber material which is lightweight and efficient in dissipating the large amount of kinetic energy. The temperature range of carbon fiber brakes is impressive and can accommodate any excess heat.

The FAA sets out various regulations that outline the required capabilities of aircraft braking systems. In the event that any form of the brake operating energy is lost, it must be possible to bring the airplane to rest with a braked rolling stop. The aircraft must also have a parking brake to ensure the aircraft will not roll on a dry and level paved runway. Testing such as the maximum kinetic energy stop is required to determine the energy absorption rate of each wheel, brake and tire.

Anti-skid, auto brake, brake temperature indicators, brake fans, and parking brake are all examples of brake enhancement systems. With these systems, aquaplaning, rejected take-offs, brake temperature, and aircraft runaways can all be avoided. Further preflight and post-flight measures can be taken to ensure the correct functioning of the brakes. All in all, the aircraft braking systems is a well-planned and measured system that considers each and every aspect required to keep the aircraft on the ground and in the right place.

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In-flight entertainment was very different when commercial flight first became popular. For example, in 1936, the Hindenburg aircraft offered a piano, lounge, dining room, smoking room, and a bar. Shortly thereafter, airlines began offering movie projections and music during long flights. Throughout the years, amenities have become much more advanced. 

Nowadays, airlines are capable of offering in-flight wifi that has become sophisticated enough to provide streaming services—which means we get to watch Netflix and Hulu on flights that are equipped to handle it. As more technological solutions develop, we will start seeing all of the airlines provide high speed internet options.

Wifi is accessible on aircraft through two different systems: ground-based mobile broadband towers and satellite technology. Ground-based signals send the signals upwards and the aircraft catches them through an antenna that is usually located at the base of the fuselage. While the aircraft travels, it connects to the nearest tower, so ultimately it should not disrupt the connection. However, this option isn’t available overseas or in remote locations where there aren’t any towers available. And that’s where satellite technology becomes most useful. Satellites that are in geostationary orbit, which move with the Earth’s rotation, send signals below them through receivers and transmitters. The aircraft receives the signal through an antenna on top of the fuselage and distributes it to passengers through a router.

There are many companies that are researching and developing new technology for in-flight entertainment, with wifi being one of the top priorities. Because wifi was developed for use on the ground, it took a little longer to resolve the issues that accompanied in-flight use. However, it is advancing very quickly and now there are options to provide high speed internet access.

At ASAP AeroSpace Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaerospacehub.com or call us at 1-920-785-6790.

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Automatic flight controls are now considered a standard feature in general and commercial aviation. A pilot might depend on an autopilot system for a variety of tasks, such as guiding an aircraft on a programmed route, maintaining a determined altitude, or aircraft landing (currently, these systems are not employed during takeoff).

Autopilot System Basics

Automated flight controls are made up of two integrated systems: the autopilot system, and the flight director (FD) component. The flight director operates as the “brains” of the system. It makes calculations based on parameters set by the pilot and is responsible for determining what controls and movement are necessary in order to meet those specifications. In most cases, the FD will rely on an air data computer (ADC), a flight data computer, a flight management system (FMS), and hundreds of component sensors throughout the aircraft.

The autopilot system is responsible for carrying out the determinations of the FD, or control movement of the aircraft. It accomplishes this through a set of electromechanical devices or servo actuators, which will interact with control surfaces through control circuits, and initiate control movement based on input from the FD.

There are three major control areas on an aircraft, which are based on its three axes of rotation. These components are called the elevators, rudder, and ailerons. An autopilot system actuates any one of the control surfaces when engaged by the FD, allowing the aircraft to turn, descend or lift based on the mechanisms interaction with airflow.

Pros and Cons of Automatic Flight Control

Automatic flight controls reduce the workload of a pilot, allowing them to focus on other priorities such as monitoring fuel consumption, weather conditions, and other outstanding avionic systems. The control system can also be highly beneficial in more adverse situations that a pilot might encounter. They can manage consistencies in aircraft control when navigating a busy terminal or buy time when determining a new flight plan in unexpected weather conditions. However, one of the most important aspects of understanding a flight control system, is knowing when to use it, and when not to.

The most prevalent con of an automated control system is the tendency to become over dependent on its capabilities. The Air France Flight 447 crash of 2009 is known as a prime example of what can go wrong when the functionality of an automated system is not fully understood. The Airbus A330 aircraft disconnected from its automatic flight controls unexpectedly, and the flight crew did not know how to resolve the situation and regain control of the aircraft. The crash resulted in the loss of the 228 passengers onboard.

While it can sound redundant, it’s important for the pilot and maintenance crew to remember to regularly inspect the airworthiness of these automatic flight controls. Even if the pilot is perfectly trained to use these instruments and work without them, it’s dangerous to fly with malfunctioning equipment.

At ASAP Aerospace Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the autopilot parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaerospacehub.com or call us at +1-920-785-6790.

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In little over 100 years, the evolution of flight has come a long way. The Wright Brothers shocked the world by creating the first heavier-than-air aircraft capable of controlled sustained flight, despite only managing to fly for 12 seconds. In this day and age, manufacturing giants like Airbus and Boeing are shocking the world with how much they are advancing the field of aerospace. By improving the design and decreasing the weight of aircraft parts, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been able to create more efficient and aerodynamic aircraft. Since first flight was achieved in 1903, mankind has been using technological advancements to turn aerospace into an incredibly fast-paced and growing industry.

There are four components of flight that OEMs are concerned with in order to create a more efficient and aerodynamic vessel: thrust, drag, lift, and weight.  Drag is the air resistance that creates force against the plane. Thrust is the force which the plane’s engine is generating in order to maintain flight. The higher the drag a plane experiences, the more fuel it has to burn. OEMs solve this problem by creating more aerodynamic designs and decreasing the weight of each part used to create planes.

OEMs typically decrease weight by using composite materials. Composite materials are combinations of two or more different materials in order to achieve desired characteristics— in this case the desired characteristics needed for flight. Using heavy materials increases the fuel cost of a plane but using materials that are too weak compromises the plane’s structural integrity. Aluminum, which was commonly used prior to composites, is light enough for flight but lacks the durability and stability needed for more practical applications. By using composite materials, OEMs are able to create the perfect balance necessary for each specific part. Due to recent technological advancements, nanomaterials have been incorporated into the manufacturing process in order to imbue final products with unique characteristics such as increasing durability or temperature resistance. This fulfills the specific needs of each manufacturer. By making planes as light as possible while still maintaining all of the qualities that they need in order to be operational, OEMs are decreasing the weight of the plane and maximizing the fuel efficiency of the planes they create. This can mean savings of 500,000 gallons of jet fuel per year per plane. 

In addition, thanks to the accessibility of 3D-printing, OEMs are able to test experimental designs that can be more efficient than traditional models. 3D printing lets OEMs churn out batch after batch of prototypes to see how new design changes impact the overall flight of the plane. From this, OEMs are then able to see which designs create a more aerodynamic plane that optimizes thrust, drag, lift, and weight.

At ASAP Aerospace Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you fulfill all of your aircraft wing and aerodynamic aircraft parts, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaerospacehub.com or call us at +1-920-785-6790. 

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