Every so often, you’ll read about a dramatic story of someone being struck by lightning. And while the story might certainly have been dramatized, the actual chances of anyone getting struck by lightning are extremely low. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. You might be surprised to hear that lightning has struck aircraft slightly more frequently than it has people. It is estimated that on average, each airplane in the U.S. commercial fleet is struck lightly by lightning more than once each year. The difference here is that modern aircraft have been designed to take such lightning hits without having its flight influenced. Read on below for details of what actually happens when lightning strikes a plane.

The most important information that you can take away from this article? It is completely safe to fly in an aircraft during a lightning storm. As aircraft can often trigger lightning when flying through a heavily charged region in clouds, commercial aircraft are engineered so that they can withstand these hits. If the plane has been exposed to lightning, the plane will undergo inspection by aircraft maintenance personnel after it has landed. These inspections, which will look closely at electrical parts and aircraft fuselage parts, tend to go smoothly as aircraft often go unharmed or sustain very minimal damage.

When lightning does strike, it typically hits the wingtip, nose, or other sharp edge of the plane, where it then exits the body via the tail. This was designed so that the aircraft’s body, or fuselage, acts as a cage to block electromagnetic fields. Electric charges and energy from the lightning arc run through the outside of the aircraft while the inside is protected from any voltage.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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During flight, lightning strikes on aircraft is a daily occurrence around the world. This is most often caused by aircraft flying through a static charged cloud. Despite fears, there is often little to no damage caused by strikes, and aircraft are thoroughly inspected after the flight. With the many important components and combustible fuel that is present, aircraft are expertly engineered to provide the utmost protection against electric charges. In this article, we will give a short overview of how aircraft are protected against lighting.

To protect the aircraft, the fuselage and skin work together to create a conductive shield that acts similar to a Faraday cage. Faraday cages work to distribute electric charges and cancel the effect of the charges on the cage interior. Like these cages, gapless aluminum skin that is conductive is installed around the aircraft to ensure that lightning hits and exits all on the exterior. Lightning can sometimes produce transient charges underneath the skin, and thus equipment utilizes grounding, shielding, and surge suppression to remain unscathed. Parts that are critical to the aircraft’s functions also have to adhere to strict FAA lighting protection regulations.

The aircraft fuel system is a critical piece to protect due to the combustibility if met with a spark. To prevent this, the skin around these areas is made thick enough to avoid even a burnthrough due to a strike. Components must also be precisely installed and designed as to withstand lightning. Radar and flight instruments are another critical area to protect, and they are located in the radome which may be struck. Diverter strips are installed onto the surface and act like a building’s lightning rod, diverting the current away from the structure.

Airplane manufacturers are always looking for new ways to better protect aircraft, and even modern composite planes have been designed with conductive wires to prevent damage of strikes. Through the use of these various methods of engineering, aircraft have been able to be amply protected from strikes that are a daily occurence in aviation.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find fuselage parts and wingtip parts you need, new or obsolete. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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To be eligible to fly at night using Visual Flight Rules (VFR), pilots must be able to meet various requirements as dictated by the Federal Aviation Regulations. In this blog, we will discuss a short overview of these requirements and how pilots can meet them to conduct night flight with VFR while carrying passengers.

To fly at night, pilots must have sufficient “night pilot currency.” Pilot currency is a quota that pilots have to meet that shows their ability to fly at night is up to date. This currency is on 90 days intervals and specifies that a pilot must have conducted at least three takeoffs and landings during the times between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. The pilot during these flights also must have been the only one who was using the flight controls, and the aircraft must be of the same category, class, and type if there is a required type rating associated.

Aircraft equipment that is used during normal daylight VFR flight is required to perform night flights, as well as a few more. For the extra equipment that is required for night flight, an aircraft must have aircraft fuses, aircraft landing lights, anti collision lights, position lights, and a source of electrical energy. Pilots use the acronym “FLAPS” to remind themselves of the required equipment.

Along with aircraft equipment lights that are required for night flight, pilots also have restrictions and requirements in place for how they utilize aircraft lights during night. Anti collision, position, and anchor lights are required to be utilized by pilots. These lights also have specific circumstances that pilots operate them, such as illuminating the aircraft when parking in an operations are of the airport or that anchor lights must be lit for anchoring the aircraft.

There are other requirements that pilots must ensure they met as well, such as having at least 45 minutes of extra fuel than for what they need to land in the specified destination. This is similar to the day, where Federal Aviation Regulations require an extra 30 minutes of fuel. Altogether, without meeting all of these mandated steps, pilots are not able to conduct a night flight during VFR.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find airspeed indicator parts, landing lights, and fuses you need, new or obsolete. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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If you’ve ever been inside the cockpit of an aircraft, you’ve seen that there are many different aircraft instruments, controls and dials available at the helm, which, to the average person, might seem a tad overwhelming to understand. Thankfully, any pilot sitting in the cockpit has undergone years of training with many flight hours under their belt. Their training has prepared them enough so that they are not only able to understand what the controls can do, but also enough to respond quickly to them. While it can take many months to truly grasp everything there is to know about the controls, you can still understand the basic concept behind the controls. Below is a brief outline of the six most important flight instruments.  

  1. Airspeed Indicator - The airspeed indicator is a dial that displays the aircraft’s speed in knots (kn), miles per hour (MPH), or meters per second (m/s). It can do this by measuring the difference in pressure between the static pressure of the static port and total pressure from the pilot tube.
  2. Attitude Indicator - Also known as artificial horizon, the altitude indicator shows the aircraft’s relation to the horizon, which indicates whether or not the wings are level or if the nose of the aircraft is pointing above or below the horizon pitch.
  3. Altimeter - The altimeter displays the aircraft’s altitude above sea level. It does this by measuring the difference between the atmospheric pressure obtained through the static system and the pressure in a stack of aneroid capsules inside the altimeter.
  4. Turn Coordinator - The turn coordinator works in conjunction with the Heading Indicator and the Turn-and-Slip Indicator to detect rolling, yawing, and turning movements in the aircraft.
  5. Vertical Speed Indicator - The VSI (also sometimes called a variometer, or rate of climb indicator) senses changing air pressure, and displays that information to the pilot as a rate of climb or descent in feet per minute, meters per second or knots.
  6. Heading indicator - Sometimes referred to by its older name, the directional gyro or DG, the heading indicator (also called an HI) is a flight instrument used in an aircraft to inform the pilot of the aircraft's heading.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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Removing an aircraft’s engine can be one of the most difficult and complicated procedures in aircraft maintenance. Given the enormous variety in aircraft and engine designs, there is no single list of instructions that can be provided as a guideline, as every airframe and every engine layout will inevitably have a different checklist that must be followed. There are, however, universal requirements that every engine will have that must be fulfilled, such as disconnecting and reconnecting the electrical, hydraulic, and fuel supply lines, the intake and exhaust path components, the engine controls, and the engine mounting connections to the airframe. One should always refer to the engine manufacturer’s instructions when performing any type of engine removal or installation.

Engines are removed for a number of reasons, the first and most common being that the engine or a component within it has exceeded its operational lifespan. Lifespan depends on variables like operational use, quality of manufacture or overhaul, the degree of maintenance performed, and the types of operations being carried out by the aircraft. The manufacturer sets engine removal times based off of these factors. Based on service experience, it is possible to establish a maximum expected time before overhaul (TBO) or span of time within which an engine needs to be overhauled. Regardless of condition, an engine must be removed when it has accumulated the recommended maximum allowable time since its last overhaul. Regardless of its condition, an engine must be removed when it has accumulated the recommended maximum allowable time since its last overhaul.

Another common reason for removal is sudden stoppage. Sudden stoppage is a rapid and complete stoppage of the engine’s functions, and can be caused by engine seizure, or by a propeller blade striking an object in such a way that the revolutions per minute drops to zero in less than one complete revolution of the propeller. Sudden stoppage occurs under conditions like complete and rapid collapse of the landing gear, nosing over of the aircraft, or crash landing. A sudden stoppage can cause internal damage to components like the propeller gear teeth, the gear train, the crankshaft counterweights, and the propeller bearings. When sudden stoppage occurs, disassembly and replacement is almost always required.

Another reason for removal and disassembly is when metal particles in the engine oil screens or magnetic chip detectors are found. This can mean that there is an internal failure in the engine, and something is falling apart. However, carbon that breaks loose in the interior of the engine can come in rock-like pieces that resemble metal, so to check against this, simply place any suspect particles near a magnet. If they are affected, it means that they are made of metal and something is broken inside the engine.

Other common reasons for engine removal include excessive engine vibration (especially in turbines), backfiring and misfiring, and overall low power output.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the engine removal and maintenance equipment for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at 1-919-348-4040.

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In electronics and electrical engineering, fuses are electrical safety devices that are designed to provide overcurrent protection of an electrical circuit. The most essential component is a metal strip or wire that melts when too much current flows through it, and therefore interrupts the current. Fuses are sacrificial devices, meaning that once a fuse has operated, it must be replaced or rewired.

Fuses have been used since the early days of electrical engineering, with the first examples of expendable wiring being used to protect electrical devices dating back to 1864 and Thomas Edison patented the first true fuse in 1890. There are now thousands of fuse designs, each with their own specific current and voltage ratings, breaking capacity, and response times. Time and current operating characteristics are especially important for providing adequate protection without needless interruption. Properly wired, fuses can prevent short circuits, overloads, mismatched loads, and device failure.

Fuses consist of the aforementioned metal strip or wire fuse, mounted between a pair of electrical terminals, and are usually enclosed by a non-combustible housing. The fuse is arranged in a series to carry all of the current passing through the protected circuit. The resistance of the element generates heat due to the current flow and influences the size and construction of the element; however, the heat produced cannot cause the element to reach an unsafely high temperature. The fuse element is made from aluminum, copper, silver, zinc, or alloys to provide stable and predictable characteristics. Ideally, a fuse can carry its rated current indefinitely, and melt quickly with little to no excess. A fuse element cannot be damaged by minor current surges and cannot oxidize or change its behavior after years of service.

Fuses have several parameters they must operate under. The rated current is the maximum current that the fuse can continuously conduct without interrupting the circuit. The speed at which a fuse blows depends on how much current flows through it, and the material the fuse is made of; it is not a fixed interval but decreases as the current increases. The breaking capacity is the maximum current that can be safely interrupted by the fuse. This should be higher than the prospective short-circuit current. For example, fuses for small, low-voltage residential wiring systems are commonly rated to interrupt 10,000 amps, while fuses for commercial or industrial power systems are rated for 300,000 amps.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the fuse systems and parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at 1-919-348-4040.

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The electrical systems within an aircraft are extensive. Steps need to be taken to ensure that the system doesn’t overload causing a power outage on an aircraft. Resistors are electrical components that oppose the flow of electrical current. They are by nature, passive components that only reduce voltage rather than increase them. Wirewound resistors are cylindrical components with resistive wire wrapped around them. The rod is typically made of ceramic or fiberglass and the wire is usually made out of an alloy such as nichrome. An exterior casing insulates the wirewound resistors to help block any heat coming from the circuit interruption.

The key to wire wound resistors is in the winding and the material of the wire. The level of resistance can be changed by adjusting the wire resistivity and wire length. A metal wire with high resistance opposes large amounts of electric current, while, a metal wire with low resistance blocks a small amount of electric current. The longer the wire, the more space the free electrons have to travel and collide with atoms, therefore the higher the resistance. During collision, energy is lost in the form of heat and only a small amount of electric current flows through the wire resistor. In comparison, electrons only have to travel a short distance, thus do not collide with atoms as frequently. The result is that a larger amount of electricity passes through the resistor. In a similar principle to the length of the wire, the size of the wire coil spiral directly affects the level of resistance. If the cross section of the coil is small, the electrons are more compact, so collide with the atoms, thus losing energy. If the coil is larger, the resistance is lower as more electrons escape collision and carry on through the resistor.

Two types of wire resistors are commonly used with aircraft equipment. Precision wire resistors are used for low temperature applications that require a high level of accuracy for example calibration equipment. Power wire resistors are used in instances of high temperature. In an aircraft, a power resistor can be found in the main electrical system as a current sensor. Due to their adaptability, wire resistors are a popular hardware component to use in aircraft. They can be manufactured in all different sizes and materials to suit the desired task. Compared to other resistors, wire resistors are low cost, have high accuracy and stability rates, and offer wide variances in resistance. The downfall of wire resistors is that, under high frequencies, the wire acts as an inductor.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the wire resistors for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1 919-348-4040.

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Powerful ignition systems are integral to the functioning and efficiency of modern aircraft. Gas turbine engines like those seen on the General Electric CF6, depend on capacitor-type ignition systems for combustion. These systems are powered by a low-voltage DC power supply and utilize the same igniter parts to power the engine’s combustion process. 

Because of FAA requirements, a gas turbine engine ignition system is a dual system designed with redundancy in the event that a flight-critical part fails. The main structures you’ll come across in a gas turbine engine ignition system are: two exciter ignition units, two transformers, two intermediate ignition leads, and two high tension leads. A few components that are integral to these structures and ignition system functionality are ignition exciters, storage capacitors, and transformer windings.

A standard capacitor-type ignition system feeds low-voltage DC power, often a 24-volt DC input, to an exciter unit. The power supply encounters a filter just before it reaches the exciter unit to prevent interference with the aircraft avionics system. From here, the power is routed to two locations: a DC-motor that powers the multi-lobe cam and single lobe cam, and a storage capacitor.

The breaker points are actuated by the multi-lobe cam. They ensure that flow of current is one directional and channels the supply the auto transformer winding. Here, a magnetic field is created through the opening and closing of the breaker points. When the breaker is closed, the magnetic field of the transformer collapses, inducing a high-voltage feed. This input is passed through a rectifier, which limits flow to a single direction.

At this point, the storage capacitor receives the input power supply. The storage capacitor is attached to the spark plug igniter through a contactor and a dual winding triggering transformer. Once charge has built up on the capacitor, the contactor closes. Some of the high voltage charge flows through the primary winding of the transformer unit to a trigger capacitor. The rest of the high-voltage current is fed to the secondary transformer, where it ionizes the gap at the spark igniter. The spark igniter is now conductive, and the storage capacitor discharges accumulated energy in tandem with electrical charge from the trigger capacitor. This process allows the spark igniter to provide a series of sparks in a small fraction of time.

Once the engine is started, the ignition system is switched off. Combustion is considered self-sustaining at this point. While some ignition systems are manually operated by the pilot, most are manipulated by a Full Authority Digital Control System (FADEC). The electronic controls will auto-engage a continuous ignition process in the event of specified conditions such as a stall warning or flameout. An air-cooling fan airflow system is integrated within the ignition system to keep it operating safely, especially in the event that continuous ignition is needed. 

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find gas turbine engine parts, spark igniter parts, new or obsolete. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified and FAA AC-0056B accredited company, we’re committed to providing reliable parts you can trust. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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Traditional aircraft instruments include pitot instruments and gyroscopic instruments. These two designations simply categorize the instruments based on the system in which they receive the information. Gyroscopic instruments include the attitude indicator (AI), heading indicator (HI), and the turn coordinator (TC)— also known as the turn and bank (TB) indicator. Having knowledge of the instrument power system, gyroscopic principles, and individual operating principles of each instrument will help you understand how gyroscopic instruments operate.

Anything that spins exhibits gyroscopic principles. However, it is specifically titled a gyroscope if a wheel or rotor are mounted to utilize these properties. Gyros may be mounted freely, which allows them to rotate in any direction about its center of gravity. Restricted or semi-rigidly mounted gyros have one plane of freedom that is held fixed in relation to the base. Gyroscopes have high density and high speed with low friction bearings. Rigidity in space and precession are the two main properties of gyroscopic action. Rigidity in space is the ability of a gyroscope to remain in a fixed position in the plane that it is spinning. Precession is the tilting or turning of a gyro as a result of a deflective force.                      

Gyroscopes may be vacuum, pressure, or electrically powered. Usually, there are at least two sources of power used in order to ensure that one is available if the other fails during flight. Electrically driven gyroscopic instruments incorporate the rotor as the armature of an electric motor. Vacuum and pressure systems spin the rotor at high speeds by drawing a stream of air from the cabin and accelerate and directing it against the rotor vanes. There are separate instruments in the cockpit that display information about the vacuum pressure. If it drops below normal operating range, it indicates that the gyroscopic instruments may be unstable and inaccurate.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft instruments you need, new or obsolete. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at 1-919-348-4040.

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It’s pretty easy to understand speed in a ground vehicle: it’s read right off of the speedometer and all the driver is required to do is follow the speed limit. However, this isn’t the case with aircraft— aerodynamics makes it a little more complicated. There are different types of airspeed and they are indicated airspeed (IAS), true airspeed (TAS), groundspeed (GS), calibrated airspeed (CAS), and equivalent airspeed (EAS).

There is a measurement device on the outside of an aircraft, called a pitot tube, that measures fluid flow velocity. This information is displayed on the IAS. A pilot can read the IAS right off of the airspeed indicator on the instrument panel in the cockpit.

The TAS is the speed of an aircraft relative to the air through which it is moving. Both altitude and temperature affect the TAS. Air density decreases with an increase in altitude because there is less air from above and pushing it down, and gravity is weaker. Air density also decreases as temperature increases, and vice versa. Because the molecules are further apart as a result of lower air density, the pitot tube receives less air molecules and has an inaccurate read; it will display a lower airspeed. TAS is generally 2% higher than IAS with every 1,000 ft gained in elevation. Pilot operating handbooks contain information on an individual aircraft’s true airspeed and fuel consumption at various altitudes, power settings, and temperatures. Some aircraft have an airspeed indicator equipped with a true airspeed ring. The pilot will input altitude and temperature information and will then be able to read the true airspeed on the indicator.

GS is the movement of an aircraft relative to the ground. This information is obtained by adding the tailwind from the TAS or subtracting the headwind from the TAS. Unlike the IAS or TAS, the GS does not determine when the aircraft will stall and does not influence aircraft performance. The wind speed may be obtained using navigation landmarks, radio-aided position location, inertial navigation system, or GPS. Ground speed radar can also be used to measure it directly.

CAS is the IAS corrected for instrumental and positional errors. At various airspeeds and different flap settings, the instruments may display an incorrect airspeed. This is more common at low airspeeds and high pitch attitudes. The CAS and TAS are the same at sea level when under International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) conditions; and if there is no wind, it is the same as the GS.

The EAS is the same as the TAS at sea level under ISA standards. The difference between the CAS and EAS is negligible at lower altitudes. At higher altitudes and speeds, the CAS needs to be corrected for the compressibility of air.

At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the cockpit parts you need, new or obsolete. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asap-components.com or call us at 1-919-348-4040

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