Understanding the Ignition Switch and How It Works

As most seasoned pilots know, activating the ignition switch is one of the first steps to taking off from the runway. It’s the equivalent of inserting and turning a key in the ignition of an automobile. The ignition switch will … Read More

Understanding the Throttle and How It Works

The throttle is one of the most important control mechanisms in an airplane. Also known as a throttle lever, it allows pilots to adjust the engine power. Pilots can increase or decrease an engine’s power by pushing or pulling the … Read More

Crazing: A Common Problem With Aircraft Windows

Have you ever looked out the window of a commercial airliner, only to discover a pattern of small cracks in the glass? Upon seeing these cracks, you may assume the window is no longer safe. After all, commercial airliners have … Read More

Why Commercial Airliners Have Oxygen Masks

Ever wonder why commercial airliners have oxygen masks? Before taking off, a flight attendant will typically conduct a safety demonstration. He or she will tell passengers to fasten their seatbelt, secure their luggage and place their table trays in the … Read More

Galling: Understanding Why Fasteners Stick Together

Have you ever tried to remove a nut or bolt, only to discover that it’s stuck? Fasteners are commonly used in airplanes to hold parts together. With the exception of rivets, most fasteners are removable, meaning you can remove them … Read More

5 Surprising Facts About Rudders

Rudders play an important role in aviation. Located on the tail assembly of airplanes, they act as a primary flight control surface. Pilots can engage the rudders to change the airplane’s yaw. Even if you’re familiar with the general purpose … Read More

The Compass: An Instrumental Navigation Tool

When thinking of navigation tools commonly found in airplanes, a compass probably isn’t at the top of your list. After all, most airplanes are equipped with more advanced electronic navigation tools, such as heading indicators, Inertial Navigation System (INS) and … Read More

Tailstrike Prevention Measures Explained

Ever wonder how airplanes prevent trailstrikes? Tailstrikes are a concern for pilots. As the name suggests, they involve the tail of an airplane — specifically the underside of the tail or rear fuselage — striking the runway. Nearly all types … Read More

What Is Adverse Yaw and What Causes It?

Have you heard of adverse yaw? Yaw, of course, is one of the three axes of flight. It represents the oscillation or rotation of an object, such as an airplane, around a vertical axis. Pilots can control the airplane’s yaw … Read More