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Blocked Static System

in Flight Instruments

If the static system becomes blocked but the pitot tube remains clear, the ASI continues to operate; however, it is inaccurate. The airspeed indicates lower than the actual airspeed when the aircraft is operated above the altitude where the static ports became blocked, because the trapped static pressure is higher than normal for that altitude. When operating at a lower altitude, a faster than actual airspeed is displayed due to the relatively low static pressure trapped in the system.

Revisiting the ratios that were used to explain a blocked pitot tube, the same principle applies for a blocked static port. If the aircraft descends, the static pressure increases on the pitot side showing an increase on the ASI. This assumes that the aircraft does not actually increase its speed. The increase in static pressure on the pitot side is equivalent to an increase in dynamic pressure since the pressure can not change on the static side.

If an aircraft begins to climb after a static port becomes blocked, the airspeed begins to show a decrease as the aircraft continues to climb. This is due to the decrease in static pressure on the pitot side, while the pressure on the static side is held constant.

A blockage of the static system also affects the altimeter and VSI. Trapped static pressure causes the altimeter to freeze at the altitude where the blockage occurred. In the case of the VSI, a blocked static system produces a continuous zero indication. [Figure 7-11]

Blocked static system

Figure 7-11. Blocked static system.

Some aircraft are equipped with an alternate static source in the flight deck. In the case of a blocked static source, opening the alternate static source introduces static pressure from the flight deck back into the system. Flight deck static pressure is lower than outside static pressure. Check the aircraft AOM/POH for airspeed corrections when utilizing alternate static pressure.

51DPcJTcMwL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_Learn more about all of your flight instruments with the Instrument Flying Handbook.¬†This is the FAA’s primary pilot resource for instrument flight rules (IFR) covering everything pertinent to operating an aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) or without reference to outside visuals, relying solely on the information gleaned from the cockpit.


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