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Aircraft Technical Equipment

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Article Information
Category: Level Bust Level Bust
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL


Contents

Description

Modern aircraft are equipped with technical equipment designed to help the aircraft to level at and maintain a prescribed flight level or altitude. This equipment rarely malfunctions but, if it does, the aircraft may overshoot or deviate from the cleared level, leading to level bust if the malfunction is not quickly detected.

Altimeter

Requirements:

  • An operator shall not operate an aeroplane by day in accordance with VFR unless it is equipped with:
    • a sensitive pressure altimeter calibrated in feet with a sub-scale setting, calibrated in hectopascals/millibars, adjustable for any barometric pressure likely to be set during flight;
    • whenever two pilots are required the second pilot’s station shall have separate instruments as follows: ... A sensitive pressure altimeter calibrated in feet with a sub-scale setting calibrated in hectopascals/millibars, adjustable for any barometric pressure likely to be set during flight; (IR-OPS CAT.IDE.A.125&CAT.IDE.A.130),(EU-OPS 1.650)
  • An operator shall not operate an aeroplane in accordance with IFR or by night in accordance with VFR unless it is equipped with:
    • two sensitive pressure altimeters calibrated in feet with sub-scale settings, calibrated in hectopascals/millibars, adjustable for any barometric pressure likely to be set during flight; These altimeters must have counter drum-pointer or equivalent presentation.
    • Whenever two pilots are required the second pilot’s station shall have ... A sensitive pressure altimeter calibrated in feet with a sub-scale setting, calibrated in hectopascals/millibars, adjustable for any barometric pressure likely to be set during flight and which may be one of the 2 altimeters required ... above. ... these altimeters must have counter drum-pointer or equivalent presentation. (IR-OPS CAT.IDE.A.125&CAT.IDE.A.130), (EU-OPS 1.652)

These altimeters must be entirely independent so that the failure of any component in one system does not affect the other system. In modern flight decks the EFIS altitude displays are completely different to conventional altimeters, usually featuring a vertical altitude tape on the right hand side. Modern aircraft are also fitted with comparators which warn the pilots of any discrepancy between the output of the primary altimeters. A third independent standby altimeter is also fitted to assist in the gross resolution of any difference between the primary instruments, although this 'Standby Altimeter' is not required to be as accurate as the two principal altimeters.

Altitude Alerter

Altitude Alerter is dealt with in a separet article.

Automation

Modern aircraft are equipped with automatic systems of various types. Automatic flight guidance (autopilot) and flight management systems vary widely between aircraft types and even between examples of the same aircraft type. Not only does equipment vary, but the underlying philosophy may differ from one system to another. Automatic systems carry out a number of complex tasks without direct pilot intervention, such as levelling the aircraft at a pre-set level and maintaining that level, or descending the aircraft to follow an instrument approach procedure. In carrying out these tasks the automatic system may adjust the aircraft power to maintain a constant speed. The safe and efficient operation of automatic systems relies on clear understanding of the capabilities and the design philosophy of the equipment. Failure to do so has resulted in several fatal accidents.

Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS)

ACAS is is dealt with in a separate article.

Ground Proximity Warning Systems (GPWS)

See the separate articles:

Further Reading

EUROCONTROL Level Bust Toolkit:

EASA:

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