Air data boom

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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 contain one, some, or all of these measuring capabilities:

  • aircraft angle of attack (AOA, alpha)
  • aircraft angle of sideslip (AOS, beta)
  • static pressure (Ps)
  • total pressure (Pt, pitot pressure)
  • outside air temperature (OAT)
  • total air temperature (TAT)

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 names to include:

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

Supply Sources[edit]

Most air data booms are procured from niche manufacturers or designed and built in-house by aircraft manufacturers and flight test organizations.

See also[edit]