Difference between revisions of "Pressure, Atmosphere and Instrumentation"

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Revision as of 18:29, 12 March 2019

Pressure instruments are widely used in aviation. This article introduces the basic components of pressure as relevant to gliding. We shall then discuss how the pressure varies in the atmosphere, and the implications of this on the functioning of pressure instruments.

The author finds it very hard to discuss such topics without the aid of mathematical formulae. Every effort shall be made to explain the physical background of all the definitions and theorems used. If there is something you cannot understand, please consult an instructor who may determine what level of mathematical understanding (if any) is necessary. You do not need to be a physicist or engineer to fly gliders.

Fundamental Thermodynamics



Static pressure

Dynamic pressure

Total pressure

How to measure pressure

Pressure coefficient


Simplified model

Compressible effects

The International Standard Atmosphere


Air speed indicator


Errors: TAS & IAS

Stall speed and \(V_{NE}\)




Vertical speed indicator (power)

Total energy in gliding: a more interesting quantity

How to measure total energy

Variometer (gliders)