The history of the development of the aircraft attitude display devices

 Aircraft devices measuring the angle position of the aircraft in relation to the horizon and making this information available to the pilot played a crucial role in the development of instrument flying, allowing to fly with confidence in the situations of no ground visibility: in the clouds, at night, in poor weather conditions. It is not accidental that it is these devices or their modern successors that occupy a central place on any aircraft dashboard. A number of works, mostly from the Soviet period, are devoted to the history of these devices. Unfortunately, what they all have in common is an ideologized approach typical for all publications of that time: Soviet inventions and achievements were declared the first and the best while the achievements of others were understated. Another reason behind such approach was poor access to foreign sources: it was only recently that printed publications and archive materials from the first half of the 20th century began to be digitized and posted on the Internet, which makes them easily accessible. The articles and papers in English on the history of aircraft engineering, however, often demonstrate a lopsided presentation of the facts, probably due to the lack of awareness of successes achieved in other countries resulting from poor access to information sources and language barrier. This paper aims to provide a maximally unbiased and broad retrospective on the development of attitude display devices, based on the Russian and international sources. Many of these devices are completely (and perhaps, unduly) forgotten: they contain many interesting ideas and operating principles that may come in handy even today (naturally, provided that the implementation is state-of-the-art).

Recommended bibliographic description

, The history of the development of the aircraft attitude display devices, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  60-91

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143