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I wonder if in a couple of decades we'll look back at pitot tubes and wonder what the hell we were thinking using such a fragile solution.

(Of course, in a couple of decades we'll probably have a much more accurate external method of finding out speed/airspeed.)




Maybe, but keep in mind that they are in operation on thousands of planes operating night and day, and they very seldom fail. So it's not what you would call a fragile solution. After all, the pitots involved in this flight were already due to be replaced because of icing problems.

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It's hard to measure how fast you're going through the air without being able to sample the air. Pitot tubes are just the tubes that bring the air to the inside of the plane to be sampled; nothing more.

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I mean, I know the physics behind pitot tubes, but I wonder if we'll come up with a better way of measuring this. Something like measuring deflections of a thousand tiny rods on the plane skin. Still vulnerable to icing and other mechanical damage, I suppose.

Maybe we'll just have really accurate GPS and beam external local instantaneous wind-speed measurements to the plane.

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But, what would be taking those hyperlocal windspeed measurements--at the same altitude and within a mile or two? I can't think of any way at all to accomplish this short of a satellite with an incredible new method to measure many slices of moving air.

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The real WTF is that planes are kept aloft by aerodynamics. One day we'll look upon that the way nowadays we think of zeppelins.

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Being restricted to rich people with "fuck the planet" attitude, hopefully the jet airliner market will be small enough to stall technologically.

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