A legacy of protective technology for pilots, by pilots

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a PitotShield™ work?

PitotShields are engineered utilizing data from dynamic pressure (q) exerted on a flat barrier. They are designed and extensively tested to release from the pitot tube when your aircraft’s airspeed reaches 40 to 60 knots.

I already have a pitot tube cover and it works fine. Why do I need a PitotShield™?

There are no excuses for not doing a complete and accurate aircraft preflight inspection before you take off. Yet we all know there are many potential distractions. Between 10-20% of pilots have begun their takeoff roll with their pitot cover inadvertently left on at some point. The PitotShield™ is the “safety net” that saves you when you forget to remove the cover. By falling off, it saves anxious moments on a takeoff roll when the airspeed doesn’t register, not to mention saving your aircraft and the lives of you and your passengers.

I am responsible for a fleet of aircraft. Would a PitotShield™ make sense for me?

Most definitely. Our full line of pitot shields covers a wide variety of aircraft. Why let the slightest chance of pilot error endanger your aircraft and the pilots who fly them? Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society. If you own an aircraft involved in an accident caused by a pitot tube cover being left on, the first thing the plaintiff’s attorney will ask is, “Why did you not provide for your aircraft the safety of the new pitot tube cover technology?” Why open the window to a lawsuit stating that you failed to provide the safest pitot tube cover available?

I have a high wing airplane. How could I ever miss removing my old-style pitot tube cover with the RBF flag?

Statistically speaking, there is a good chance one day you will. According to NTSB reports, nearly 40% of accidents where the pitot tube cover was left on involved a high wing aircraft.

I keep my airplane hangered. Why do I need a pitot tube cover?

Spiders and insects such as mud dauber wasps love small openings like a pitot tube. In fact, the most common threat is the mud dauber wasp, which is likely to build a nest and lay eggs in a hangered airplane as one tied down in the open. Once inside, a wasp can completely block a pitot tube in a matter of hours.

If I forget to remove my PitotShield™ and it releases during my takeoff roll, won't I lose the PitotShield™?

Probably. The product does include a space for you to mark your aircraft tail number so you can claim your PitotShield™ if it is found.

So, if I might forget to remove it, why use a pitot tube cover at all?

NTSB reports show that since 1983, there have been multiple accidents, including fatal accidents, due to contamination of the pitot tube while on the ground.

What is a PitotShield™?

A PitotShield™ is the first patented technology for a pitot tube cover in decades. Designed and invented for pilots, by a pilot, to protect an aircraft’s pitot tube from contaminants like dirt, insects, spiders, etc., PitotShields have an added safety feature: they assure the pilot that in the unlikely event of the cover not being removed before takeoff it will disengage from the pitot tube. Made of a special soft yet durable space-age foam, PitotShields weigh less than an ounce, and are harmless to an aircraft or its rotating propeller.

What will pitot heat do to the PitotShield™?

PitotShields are made of a space-age foam, inert to solvents, jet fuel, and avgas. The material also has the characteristic of only becoming soft and actually shrinking at about 350 degrees. A fully heated pitot tube may tend to stick to the PitotShield™, in which case there is the unlikely potential for PitotShields to function as a conventional old-style pitot cover does. Our PitotShields for round pitot tubes have a Teflon™ insert that will not melt to the tip of the pitot tube to prevent contamination. Bottom line: Always remove the pitot tube cover before flight.

Why should I use a pitot tube cover?

Every pilot remembers the days of their primary flight training. We learn about the possibility of contamination of the pitot tube by dirt, insects, spiders, wax, etc. We are taught to remove the pitot tube cover before flying the airplane, and to install it after flight. But we often become complacent with our preflight checklists. Surveys show that 10-20% of pilots have attempted departure with their pitot tube covers in place. NTSB reports reveal numerous accidents including fatalities related to attempted takeoffs with contaminated pitot tubes, usually due to mud dauber wasp nests. This was a particular problem after 9/11, when nearly the entire US fleet of aircraft was grounded several days to a week or more. There was a large incidence of RTOs at that time because pitot covers weren’t always placed on the aircraft, and some from pitot tube covers left in place at takeoff. Most of these RTOs don’t make it into the NTSB reports despite the resultant flight delays, re-routing, damage to tires, brakes, etc.

Won't a loose PitotShield™ be dangerous Foreign Object Debris?

PitotShields are made from a space-age foam material that is durable yet very light weight. They would not create a hazard for a spinning prop or an airframe.

Won't a strong wind blow the PitotShield™ off my pitot tube?

Should your aircraft be tied down outside, we recommend going to the airport to check the placement of the PitotShield™ if very strong or gale-force winds have been experienced in your area. Though very uncommon, a direct frontal wind in excess of 40 knots could dislodge the PitotShield™. If the PitotShield™ is dislodged, check the pitot tube for contamination prior to flight and call or go online for a replacement PitotShield™.

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