Lightning Air Data Sensor

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0104
Category: Air Data
Object Type: Sensor/Transducer
Object Name: Lightning Air Data Sensor
Part No: None
Serial No: None
Manufacturer: Elliott Bros
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): Lightning 
Year of Manufacture: circa 1965
Width (mm):
Height (mm):
Depth (mm):
Weight (g):
Location: Archive Object Store



The Air Data Transducer contains an aneroid capsule, or diaphragms, which expands and contracts with the pressure input from the Pitot tube. The case around the diaphragm is airtight and is vented to the static port. The difference between the pitot pressure and the static pressure is called dynamic pressure. The greater the dynamic pressure, the higher the airspeed.
The units have a circular alloy base 6.7cm diam. with four fixing feet protruding. Unit surmounted by Perspex/plastic cylindrical lid. A solenoid within a circular armature and pitot & static barometric connections are visible. The solenoid coil's motion is sensed by an electromagnetic rotary sensor (around the 6-toothed disc).
The current in the solenoid produces a counter-force against that produced by the pitot-static air pressure difference across the diaphragm attached to the coil. External electronics continuously controls the coil current to keep the rotary sensor signal in the middle of its range (probably its null point). With this balance achieved, the coil current is exactly balancing the air-pressure difference and therefore proportional to it. Suitably manipulating the coil current value yields airspeed.

These little units were used in the Autostabiliser on such aircraft as the Lightning and later the VC10.

In this example the Perspex cover is missing and the connections in the base are incomplete.

Click to enlarge
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