How to Measure Fuel in Aircraft?

While electric aircraft serve as the future of aviation that most engineers are working toward, a majority of modern aircraft still operate through the combustion of fuel-and-air mixtures. As fuel determines the distance that an aircraft can travel and the power it can generate, is it absolutely necessary to have a means of measuring the amount of fuel present within tanks during a flight operation. Without an ability to conduct fuel measurement in aircraft, pilots would not know if they were about to lose the power of flight mid-air, or a leakage could go completely unnoticed. As such, fuel measurement is paramount for upholding safety and efficiency.

When creating measurement tools for aircraft fuel, it is important that calculations take into account value altering factors that are specifically encountered during flight. For instance, measuring fuel based on a rate will have to account for variations in rate that source from aircraft speed, altitude, and ambient temperatures. Additionally, fuel expenditures will change based on the overall weight of the aircraft as well.

While various smaller aircraft can take advantage of measurement tools that are similar to automobiles, these solutions are impractical for large airliners and cargo transporters. For bigger aircraft, a system of aircraft fuel level sensors will be used. As the aviation industry is one that demands precision and accuracy, only high accuracy sensing devices are used to avoid any potential hazard or miscalculation that may lead to issues further down the line. Additionally, sensors must also be designed to withstand the changes in latitudes that the aircraft will often face. As a result of these constraints, the two most popular options for aviation applications are ultrasonic and capacitance sensors.

With a capacitance type sensor, fuel levels are determined by funneling fuel through vents which causes a variance in sensor capacitance. This change is then measured to determine the level of fuel, presenting all data in an easy-to-digest format for the benefit of pilots. For a capacitance type sensor to function as intended, it utilizes a control monitor, indicator, and tank unit. With an ultrasonic sensor, distance is calculated through the emission of sound waves as the receiver turns reflected signals into a readable electrical signal. To generate the sound waves that travel to and from the target, a transmitter with piezoelectric crystals is used.

Most aircraft typically store fuel within the wings, and tank mounted sensors are often implemented for measuring fuel levels. Capacitive probes are the most common for commercial airliners. For all aircraft, a fuel quantity indicating system is required, and such devices may come in the form of a sight glass, electric fuel quantity indicator, or other various options. As fuel measurement is a crucial element of conducting safe flight, it is imperative that aircraft fuel level sensors and instruments are all functioning as intended and are inspected on a regular interval. If you find yourself in need of top-quality aircraft fuel measurement components to carry out your operations, look no further than ASAP Inventory.

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