When gyro instruments are lost, the aircraft is flown by reference to the needle and ball indicator and the airspeed and altitude gauges. It's the most rudimentary of instrument flying and requires a lot of concentration. It is not fun for very long.

The vertical bar (on the left gauge) or the airplane symbol (on the right gauge) indicates whether the airplane is turning and in which direction. If aligned with the mark on either side of the center mark, the aircraft will be turning at a standard rate (usually 3°/second). The ball is fluid damped and rests in a curved tube. When the ball is between the two lines, the aircraft is coordinated, meaning the aircraft is neither slipping or skidding in a turn.

by Rod Peterson ©2005 All Rights Reserved

Last updated: 7 October 2005