• Bun Air Corp

Air Power: How It All Works

Aircraft engines must be reliable, and a pilot should get an immediate reaction whenever the ignition switch is flipped. It’s sometimes confusing just what makes the aircraft engine work. There are many parts to an airplane’s flight apparatus, but when it comes to aircraft, everything begins with the magneto. It is an electric generator driven by the engine with the voltage produced by coils and magnets.

Every piston-driven airplane engine has a pair of these units, a right, and a left magneto. Each of these ignites a spark plug in each cylinder. Though seemingly simple, this basic action is the foundation of the system that will allow full power without the usual engine/alternator action. Besides these important units, various tools that fulfill aircraft gauge duties are part of the flight mechanism.

How Voltage Is Created

Each of these units has its own spinning magnet and a wire coil with accompanying windings. The windings are identified as primary and secondary. Magnetic flux lines pass through the primary winding creating magnetic flux linkages. As the magnets move, the linkages transition and the result is voltage.

The secondary winding is used to create the energy and surge needed to fire the spark plugs. The secondary winding has much more power than the primary. The secondary can spark voltage through the breaker point opening in the primary, because its magnetic field breaks and this causes a huge shift in the magnetic flux linkage.

A resulting electrical surge caused by this action then crosses over to the secondary winding. This winding, in turn, amplifies the surge it receives. Finally, the secondary coil discharges the electric charge needed to spark the cylinder spark plugs with a mixture of fuel and air. This is a reliable source of flight power renowned for its simple operation method.

Essential Flight Instruments

Depending on what it is measuring, there are a few tools that can fill aircraft gauge actions. These include the altimeter, airspeed, and vertical speed indicators. These tools show the aircraft's altitude, speed, and rate of climb respectively. Airplanes are complex machines which require various systems to operate.

Along with the essential ignition system, aircrafts have navigational systems, a compass system, gyroscope systems, and more. A malfunction in any of its systems can signal a disaster for an aircraft. A standard T-formation set of aircraft instruments are the centerpiece of most modern aircraft.