SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1962

Electroforming Supersonic Pitot-Static Tubes


A pitot-static tube or “boom” is a device mounted on the leading edge of an airplane ahead of any possible source of turbulence produced by other airplane surfaces. There are two uses for this tube. One is to report to the altimeter the static air pressure, due to plane altitude, from which the actual altitude may be determined if the barometric pressure is known—hence the word static. The other use is to measure plane velocity. The word pitot comes from the surname of Henri Pitot, a French physicist who lived between 1695 and 1771. Pitot invented an instrument for measuring the velocity of a fluid by measuring the difference between the pressure exerted upon a surface facing the flow and that upon one tangent to the flow. This instrument has been adapted to the measurement of the speed of airplanes. The pitot part of the tube feeds data to the air speed indicator. A later use of the pitot tube was developed by mounting a tube in the air stream inside a jet engine to measure gas flow velocity. A pitot-static tube is therefore an instrument to aid in measuring both the speed and the altitude of an airplane.

Author Information

Savage, F., K.
Savage-Rowe Plating Co., Kalamazoo., Mich.
Bommerscheim, C., H.
Savage-Rowe Plating Co., Kalamazoo., Mich.
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Developed by Committee: B08
Pages: 150–159
DOI: 10.1520/STP46011S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6748-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6596-0