Aircraft Flight Instruments Made with Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing

Air travel and military air defense technology have advanced significantly since MultiSource Manufacturing LLC first entered the industry in 1968. Airplanes, jets, helicopters, rockets, space systems, and even drones are more capable and safer than ever before. While technology has changed in many ways over the last 40 years, there are also many components of aerospace engineering that have remained the same. While manufacturers have replaced older analog systems in favor of modern digital tech, many of the standard flight controls and instrumentation still follow the same principles and functions. In addition to the main functions of most flight deck instruments remaining the same over the years, the aerospace and defense industries still require some of the highest precision and reliable machining performance for all parts, components, and full assemblies. Today, MultiSource Manufacturing prototypes and fabricates a broad range of parts for the aerospace industry with multi-axis machining, Swiss turning machines, live tooling, and more. When it comes to aerospace and defense manufacturing, our engineers and technicians have decades of expertise.

Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing

There are many aspects of aerospace and defense manufacturing that have changed greatly over time, but the production of flight deck controls, sometimes called the “aviation six pack,” follows the same general shape and form. These six instruments, found in every aircraft, include:

  • Airspeed indicator (ASI)
  • Altimeter
  • Attitude indicator
  • Heading indicator
  • Turn coordinator
  • Vertical speed indicator

Oldest Types of Aviation Instruments

Of these six instruments, the airspeed indicator and the altimeter are some of the oldest types of aviation instruments, and they provide many important data points to the engineers, pilots, and flight deck in general.

Airspeed indicator (ASI):

The ASI measures several types of aircraft speed. Most often, four basic types of airspeed are measured. First, the indicated airspeed (IAS) shows a reading without consideration of atmospheric pressure, weather, and potential instrument errors. The ASI also reads the calibrated airspeed (CAS) that corrects for installation and instrument error, the true airspeed (TAS) that corrects for atmospheric changes with altitude, and the groundspeed (GS), which measures the actual speed of the aircraft over the ground.


Traditional altimeters measure the height of the aircraft above sea level, but there are several altimeter systems that provide more information adjusted for altitude factors. Most flight decks will include altimeters that read the indicated altitude, which is only accurate with the correct barometric pressure settings; the true altitude, which is the exact height above sea level; and the absolute altitude, which is the height above ground level. Modern aircraft will also use altimeters that read the pressure altitude, which shows the altitude reading calibrated to standard atmospheric levels, and the density altitude, which adjusts the pressure altitude reading for external temperature changes.

Original Six Pack

There are many other instruments that fill a flight deck and provide vital information, but those in the original six pack are some of the older tools still used in updated formats today.

To learn more about aerospace and defense manufacturing, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500, request more information, or request a quote