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[edit to clarify: I'm not disagreeing with Gibbon1, I'm literally just curious about these questions and would love to know the answers]

oof, what makes AoA sensors so terrible? Also, it seems like if you have something that isn't particularly robust (pitot tubes apparently also being egregiously terrible in that regard), surely having a less accurate but more robust reference tool would be a good "oh bollocks" back up. e.g. additional redundancy based on different technology.




AoA sensors and pitot tubes are simple, purely mechanical devices that have to function in wind ranging from at least 0–700mph+ and in temperatures ranging from at least -60–120°F. They have to do this for tens of thousands of hours without failing. They have to survive being iced over repeatedly, being impacted by hail and rain, and all sorts of other difficult conditions that make reliability really challenging.

It’s a difficult problem to solve! These sensors are already probably much closer to what you would expect a low-fidelity reliable backup to be than you realize.


Generally sensors that aren't in a protected environment tend to suffer wear and damage.

A similar thing that happened with Birgenair Flight 301. A wasp built a nest inside the one of the pitot tubes. Which was the one the pilot and autopilot was using. And also being used to generate warnings.

I think validating sensor readings is a hard problem. The validation itself becomes another point of failure and confusion.




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