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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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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We often take it for granted, but airplanes are truly one of the most impressive advancements in engineering history. From the Wright Brothers’ first plane made primarily of spruce wood to Airbus’s massive double-deck A380, airplanes have changed quite a bit — especially when you compare the simple design of the Wright Flyer to the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine design of the A380, a plane so massive that it took 1,500 companies from 30 countries to manufacture it’s 4 million individual parts. And yet, despite the obvious difference between the Wright Flyer and the A380, some things haven’t really changed: the basic shape of an airplane. Whether you’re flying in a massive Airbus A380, a regular Boeing 737, or an antique WWII fighter plane, there’s the same basic five sections: the fuselage, wings, engines, cockpit, and landing gear.

  • The fuselage is the main body of the plane that connects almost all of the other sections into a balanced symmetrical unit. This is where the passengers sit, and the cargo is held.
  • The wings protrude from both sides of the fuselage. They work with the stabilizers and integral flight-control surfaces like the flaps, ailerons, rudder, slats, and spoilers to form and change the airfoil such that the pilot can fly the airplane.
  • The engines are mounted either to the wings or to the rear sides of the fuselage. They propel airplanes to gather speed to take off, gain altitude, and maintain altitude and velocity while cruising.
  • At the front is the cockpit, where the pilots sit and fly the airplane. Modern cockpits include many different flight instruments that provide navigational, operational, safety, and communications information to the crew in real time.
  • And at the bottom of the fuselage, is the retractable landing gear. The landing gear has a front gear strut with two side-by-side wheels and two to four bogeys with two to six wheels each; each wheel has hydraulic disc brakes.

ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, is a premier distributor of aircraft parts, NSNs, and board level components. We offer high-quality parts with the shortest lead times and the fastest shipping times in the industry. If you’re interested in a quote or more information about aircraft parts, visit us at www.asap-components.com, or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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Flying and being thousands of feet in the air can be a thrilling experience. Well, maybe. For a lot of people, the excitement wears out really quick. Especially if you’re on an airplane with no broadband service. At that point, what do you do? Generally, you either sleep or try to look out the window. But, usually, the view isn’t great, and it’s obstructed because instead of square like your car, it’s round. Have you ever wondered why?

In 1949, de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jetliner, flew its first flight. The idea was to revolutionize air travel with high speeds and less travel time. But, two fatal disasters in 1954 revealed major design flaws, namely the plane’s ability to withstand stress.

As a jetliner, the Comet flew at high altitudes to reduce flying costs. Higher altitudes mean lower air density and lower drag, which in turn means reduced load on the engines. But, because higher altitude also means lower air pressure, there’s a point where the cabin pressure is greater than the outside pressure of the plane. This means that the fuselage parts, or body of the plane, will expand slightly, and human passengers will feel the pressure difference. To combat that, the cabins are pressurized for normal human body functioning, and the cabin is made cylindrical so that changes in pressure are reduced and the stresses are dispersed equally. However, as the Comet showed in the 50’s, square windows don’t allow for that.

Square windows cause stresses to form at the edges. Instead of dispersing equally around the cabin, they concentrate at the window. And if left unchecked, these stresses can cause cracks and break the airplane open. On the other hand, round windows don’t restrict stress flow, and stress lines flow smoothly around it. Which is why, ever since the discovery in the 1950’s, aircraft manufacturers have used rounded window designs.

The next time you look out of an airplane window, you can rest assured that your flight will be swift and safe. At ASAP Components, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we want to make sure that you fly safe and sound. As a premier distributor of aviation and aircraft parts and components, we make sure that we only offer the highest quality parts. For a quick quote or to learn more, visit us at www.asap-components.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.

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Gulfstream’s G500 and G600 business jets set groundbreaking worldwide records when they flew from Shanghai to Honolulu, and then once more from Honolulu to Savannah, Georgia, where Gulfstream is headquartered.  The G500 set eight city-pair records in its class on its own, earlier this year; although the records have already been set, they have yet to be verified by the National Aeronautic Association.

Gulfstream’s G500 can carry 19 passengers, sleep eight, and completed its journey from Shanghai to Honolulu in 8 hours and 34 minutes, travelling on average at Mach 0.90; in its second trip, it completed the flight in 7 hours and 44 minutes.  In contrast, the G600 can carry up to 19 passengers, sleep nine, and is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s Canada PW815GA engine.  The G600 has an advanced wing design that is as much as 23% more efficient than competing aircrafts in its class.  The G600 completed the Shanghai-to-Honolulu trip only one minute slower than the G500, travelling at the same Mach 0.90 speed.

After recent test flights exceeded the company’s expectations, Gulfstream extended the G500 and G600 flight ranges.  The G500 has a range of 5,200-nautical miles at Mach 0.85 and 4,400-nautical miles at Mach 0.90.  The G600 now has a 6,500-nautical mile range at Mach 0.85 and a 5,100-nautical mile range at Mach 0.90.

Gulfstream’s President Mark Burns stated that their customers are accustomed to “flying practically anywhere in the world at record speeds” and that the G500 and G600 are on par with their highest performing aircraft, the G650ER.

ASAP Components is an online distributor of Aircraft parts, NSN parts, Fasteners and Bearing parts, Pratt & Whitney parts, Connector parts and Broad level Electronic components.  With a continuously increasing inventory, you can be sure ASAP Components will have everything you need and more.  ASAP Components will ensure all needs are addressed in a timely and professional manner.  ASAP Components is known for having hard to find and/or out of stock parts and can always help you find cost-effective solutions.  For a quote, reach out to the main office by phone: 919-348-4040 or by email: sales@asap-components.com

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