Aircraft Turbine Engine Instruments

Engine Pressure Ratio Indicator

Engine pressure ratio (EPR) is an indication of the thrust being developed by a turbofan engine and is used to set power for takeoff on many types of aircraft. It is instrumented by total pressure pickups in the engine inlet (Pt2) and in the turbine exhaust (Pt7). The reading is displayed in the flight deck by the EPR gauge, which is used in making engine power settings. [Figure 1]

Aircraft Turbine Engine Instruments
Figure 1. Engine pressure ratio indications

Torquemeter (Turboprop Engines)

Only 10 to 15 percent of the thrust produced by a turboprop engine is from propulsive force derived from the jet thrust exiting the exhaust. Engine pressure ratio is not used as an indicator of the power produced by a turboprop engine. Turboprops are usually fitted with a torquemeter that measures torque applied to a shaft turned by the gas generator and power turbines of the turbine engine. The torquemeter can be operated by engine oil pressure metered through a valve that is controlled by a helical ring gear that moves in response to the applied torque. [Figure 2]

Aircraft Turbine Engine Instruments
Figure 2. Typical turbine engine instruments

This gear moves against a piston that controls the opening of a valve, which controls the oil pressure flow. This action makes the oil pressure proportional to torque being applied at the propeller shaft. Generally, transducer is used to transfer the oil pressure into an electrical signal to be read by the flight deck instrument. The read out in the flight deck is normally in lb/ft of torque, or percent horsepower. The torquemeter is very important as it is used to set power settings. This instrument must be calibrated at intervals to assure its accuracy.


Gas turbine engine speeds are measured by the engines rpm, which are also the compressor/turbine combination rpm of each rotating spool. Most turbofan engines have two or more spools, compressor, and turbine sections that turn independently at different speeds. Tachometers are usually calibrated in percent rpm so that various types of engines can be operated on the same basis of comparison. [Figure 2] Also, turbine speeds are generally very high and the large numbers of rpm would make it very confusing. Turbofan engines with two spools or separate shafts, high pressure and low pressure spools, are generally referred to as N1 and N2, with each having their own indicator. The main purpose of the tachometer is to be able to monitor rpm under normal conditions, during an engine start, and to indicate an overspeed condition, if one occurs.

Exhaust Gas Temperature Indicator (EGT)

Exhaust gas temperature (EGT), turbine inlet temperature, (TIT), turbine gas temperature (TGT), interstage turbine temperature (ITT), and turbine outlet temperature (TOT) are all relative temperatures used to monitor the temperature of the exhaust gases entering the first stage turbine inlet guide vanes. Even though these temperatures are taken at different locations on the engine (each engine having one location), they are all relative to the temperature of the gases entering the first stage turbine inlet guide vanes.

Temperature is an engine operating limit and is used to monitor the mechanical integrity of the turbines, as well as to check engine operating conditions. Actually, the temperature of the gases entering the first stage turbine inlet guide vanes is the important consideration, since it is the most critical of all the engine variables. However, it is impractical to measure turbine inlet temperature in most engines, especially large engines. Consequently, temperature thermocouples are inserted at the turbine discharge, where the temperature provides a relative indication of that at the inlet. Although the temperature at this point is much lower than at the inlet, it provides surveillance over the engine’s internal operating conditions. Several thermocouples are usually used, that are spaced at intervals around the perimeter of the engine exhaust duct near the turbine exit. The EGT indicator in the flight deck shows the average temperature measured by the individual thermocouples. [Figure 2]

Fuel-Flow Indicator

Fuel-flow instruments indicate the fuel flow in pounds per hour (lb/hr) from the engine fuel control. Fuel flow in turbine aircraft is measured in lb/hr instead of gallons, because the fuel weight is a major factor in the aerodynamics of large turbine aircraft. Fuel flow is of interest in monitoring fuel consumption and checking engine performance. [Figure 2]

Engine Oil Pressure Indicator

To guard against engine failure resulting from inadequate lubrication and cooling of the various engine parts, the oil supply to critical areas must be monitored. The oil pressure indicator usually shows the engine oil pump discharge pressure.

Engine Oil Temperature Indicator

The ability of the engine oil to lubricate and cool depends on the temperature of the oil, as well as the amount of oil supplied to the critical areas. An oil inlet temperature indicator frequently is provided to show the temperature of the oil as it enters the oil pressure pump. Oil inlet temperature is also an indication of proper operation of the engine oil cooler.
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