How Does an Air Data Computer Work?

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Air data computer and its advanced operation

System Control Center Woman working in a Technical Support Team

An air data computer is an advanced device, also known as an avionics component. They play a very significant role in aviation maintenance, as they provide certified airspeed and parameters for altitude, which are of utmost importance in the efficient operation of an aircraft.

These air data computers assimilate data from the external parts and sensor systems of the plane and analyze them to give a series of calculated outcome which are crucial for the aircraft’s functionality.

All the flight-related information is now stored in the air data computer. With these computers being made available for comparatively smaller commercial and private aircraft, air data computers have become indispensable.

An earlier design of ADC

During the later years of the 1960s, there was a groundbreaking military project. In this, the first single device was installed. It took the inputs and systematically supplied all the data.

Tomcat Fighter, the central air data computer which was installed in the F14A, completely revolutionized the concept of cockpit information streaming and set the standard for the modern Air Data Computer technology.

The air data computer analyzes static, and pilot pressure, total air and outside air temperature), TAS (true airspeed), IAS (indicated airspeed), angle of attack, pressure altitude, Mach number, and angle of yaw and that sum up the basis of how an air data computer work.

All these operations and wiring in the cockpit of the aircraft made it a mess for the pilots to work comfortably, and thus, the invention of the air data computer took place.

Cloudy binary code transmitted in sky

The rotorcraft in ADC

The rotorcraft undergoes certain mechanical phenomena and due to the downwash of the rotor, which can easily affect and alter the accurate pressure measurements. The rotor downwash can be corrected using digital filtering technology.

The digital filtering technology reduces the pneumatic noise present in the air pressure without the addition of any weight.

The air data computer is capable of holding multiple sets of configuration data so that it can reach the target platform as a result of this various aircraft, which is how an air data computer work.

Basic working

The air data computer has two tubes/ capsules. One is for static pressure, whereas the other one is for dynamic force when there is a signal imbalance in the circuit, which rotates a shaft through a motor.

This physical reading is then converted to electrical signals using a transducer. The air data computer now has sensors Analogue to Digital Interface Units. Before the air data computer receives the results, they are converted to digital signals.

We hope you learned how an air data computer works with the detailed explanation above. It has a very significant role in the overall working and functionality of the aircraft.

It helps to obtain the correct reading of pressure, and it also rectifies the imbalance in the dynamic and static pressure in an airplane.

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