Air data boom

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X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft, with nose air data boom

An air data boom provides air pressure, temperature, and airflow direction data to data acquisition and air data computers for the computation of aircraft orientation, airspeed, altitude, and related information. Depending on the nature of the activity, air data booms can be used as primary flight instruments or as a "measurement standard" of which primary flight instruments are compared to.

Purpose and overview[edit]

An air data boom is used to collect source data during the flight testing of aircraft. The air data boom is mounted on the aircraft in a location that allows for relatively undisturbed air to be measured. To attain such undisturbed air, mounting is usually done on the nose, wing, or upper horizontal stabilizer of the aircraft.

Typical components[edit]

Air data booms may measure one, some, or all of these capabilities:

Specialized air data booms may also contain mission-specific sensors such as humidity sensors, ice detectors, accelerometers, strain gages, and the like.


Air data booms are referred to by a variety of names, including:

  • flight test booms
  • nose booms
  • wing booms
  • YAPS heads (for yaw-and-pitch sensors)


Most air data booms are either procured from niche manufacturers such as Goodrich,[i][1] SpaceAge Control,[2] and others, or designed and built in-house by aircraft manufacturers and flight test organizations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since 2012, part of UTC Aerospace Systems
  1. ^ "Model 0092BH or 0092BJ Air Data Flight Test Boom" (PDF). Goodrich. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-17.
  2. ^ SpaceAge Control