Boeing Addresses Pitot Tube Anomaly On Its 737s

By John Croft
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
January 20, 2014

Boeing says a simple wiring change will solve a persistent issue that operators of its 737 next-generation models have been experiencing with pitot probes—the external sensors that provide crucial airspeed readings to pilots and onboard systems.

The problem came to light when the crew of a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 on an instrument arrival to the Riga Airport in Latvia in snow and ice on Jan. 7, 2012, experienced divergent airspeed indications and other warnings, including the activation of the co-pilot's stickshaker throughout the final approach and landing. The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) found that the co-pilot's pitot probe had experienced an internal short-circuit, allowing ice to corrupt the airspeed measurement. Due to the mechanics of the failure, a watchdog circuit designed to detect the problem and alert the pilots, did not activate.

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