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Sensor Probes

The F-14 is equipped with a number of probes to gather information about its flight condition as shown in the graphic below:

  1. Angle-of-Attack Nose Probe: The Angle-of-Attack (AOA) is an essential dimension since it measures the angle between the aircraft's vertical flight direction and the vertical wind direction. A too high AOA means that at a given speed the wings will fail to produce lift which will result in a loss of controllability and stability. This is especially important during the landing phase where the aircraft is fairly slow approaching the carrier and also during air combat maneuvering where a loss of controllability can be deadly.
    Each AOA probe measures the pressure at several points and then the AOA is calculated. Usually, several AOA probes are installed to measure a correct AOA.
    Note that this probe was not installed on very early F-14As. See also the chapter about the Test & Evaluation Equipment for details about the prototype's special noseprobe.
  2. Pitot Static Pressure Probe: The static pressure is used to calculate the aircraft's altitude and speed. Together with a radar altimeter (or GPS), this gives a good value for the altitude.
  3. Angle-of-Attack Probe (AIC): Basically same as 1. This probe feeds the AOA into the air inlet control computer for optimal position of the air inlet ramps. This is important to allow undisturbed airflow into the engine.
  4. Total Temperature Probe (AIC): The temperature (plus pressure and speed) is used to position the air inlet ramps (The airflow condition is dependant of the pressure and temperature.)
  5. Angle-of-Attack Probe: Basically same as 1.
  6. Windvane/Yaw Indicator: The windvane is a simple thread attached to a small circular panel on top of the F-14s nose. This windvane is used during take-off or landing approach to optically show the pilot the presence of cross-winds which might disturb smooth flight and demand quick reaction.
    Note that this windvane is not installed on all F-14s.
  7. Total Temperature Probe (AIC): This probe on the port side was only installed on the first few prototypes. At least BuNo 157980 and 157981 were equipped with it. Todays F-14s only use the starboard side probe (4.)
Click on image-icons to view an enlarged photo:


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