Understanding the Pitot Tube and Pitot Heat in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Canned heat.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

The Pitot Tube is a vital piece of equipment on an aircraft. It can also be a little confusing in Microsoft Flight Simulator, so in this guide, we will break down what it does, why it matters, and how to make sure it is functioning properly.

What is the Pitot Tube?

A Pitot Tube is a device the measures the flow of a fluid. On an airplane, it is placed somewhere directly at the front of the plane, or sometimes front-facing on the wings. As the Pitot Tube faces forward, directly into the air that the plane is flying through, it can measure the flow of air through the tube and is one the methods than an aircraft uses to discern its speed. While there is a huge amount of math behind how this is calculated, we really need to know that it is a device that measures the speed of the plane.

What can go wrong with the Pitot Tube?

The main issue that can occur with the Pitot Tube is that it can have ice form inside it, interrupting or completely clogging the tube and interfering with the readings. This is extremely dangerous, as it becomes difficult to discern the plane’s speed, making it impossible to comply with instructions from the ATC.

What causes the Pitot Tube to ice up?

While it might seem obvious that cold weather will cause issues for the Pitot Tube, you would be surprised how easily it can ice up in clouds even when temperatures are above freezing. As such, it is a good idea to regularly check that Pitot Tube is working properly.

How do I de-ice it?

Many aircraft in the game will have an automatically heated Pitot Tube, but knowing the keyboard command to de-ice it is a good idea. Hitting Shift + h will turn on the Pitot Tubes heat on any plane where it is not automatically activated, de-icing this important device, and getting it to work accurately again.