DeGroff Aviation

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does a PitotShield™ work?
A: PitotShields™ have been engineered utilizing data from dynamic pressure (q) exerted on a flat barrier. They are designed and extensively tested to release from the pitot tube when your aircraft's airspeed reaches 40 to 60 knots.

Q: I already have a pitot tube cover and it works fine. Why do I need a PitotShield™?
A: There are no excuses for not doing a complete and accurate preflight inspection of an aircraft before you take off. Yet we all know there are many potential distractions and the PitotShield is a "safety net" that could save you a lot of anxious moments on a take off roll by releasing and giving you a correct airspeed indication. (Not to mention save your aircraft and the lives of you and your passengers.) Surveys show that ten to twenty percent of pilots have begun their takeoff roll with their pitot cover inadvertently left on.

Q: I am responsible for a fleet of aircraft. Would PitotShields™ make sense for me?
A: Most definitely. Why even let the slightest chance of pilot error endanger your aircraft and the pilots who fly them? Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society. If you own an aircraft involved in an accident caused by a pitot tube cover being left on, the first thing the plaintiff's attorney will ask is, "Why did you not provide for your aircraft the safety of the new pitot tube cover technology?" Why open the window to a lawsuit stating that you failed to provide the safest pitot tube cover available?

Q: I have a high wing airplane. How could I ever miss removing my old-style pitot tube cover with the RBF flag?
A: We can't figure that one out either, but…according to NTSB reports, nearly
 40% of accidents where the pitot tube cover was left on involved high wing aircraft. Read the NTSB excerpts on our website.

Q: I keep my airplane hangered. Why do I need a pitot tube cover?
A: Insects such as "Mud Dauber" wasps and spiders love small openings just like a pitot tube offers. In fact, the most common threat is the Mud Dauber wasp that is as likely to build a nest in a hangered airplane as in one tied down in the open. They find their home, build nests and lay eggs. Insects and spiders can find their way into the cleanest of hangers. And when tied down on a ramp away from your hangar, a wasp can completely block a pitot tube in a matter of hours.

Q: I operate turbine aircraft. What if a PitotShield™ is ingested in the engine?
A: See previous question.

Q: If I forget to remove my PitotShield™ and it releases during my takeoff roll, won't I lose the PitotShield™?
A: Probably. That is why PitotShields have a free replacement guarantee. If you lose your PitotShield DeGroff Aviation Technologies will replace your PitotShield for the cost of shipping and handling only. Note: A space is provided on the PitotShield for you to mark your aircraft tail number so you can claim your PitotShield if it is found.

Q: My airplane has a pitot tube cover that swings out of the way when I fly, so why should I get a PitotShield™?
A: Those swiveling pitot tube covers are not likely to be FAA-approved. In fact, there is at least one accident reported involving malfunction of this type of pitot tube cover.

Q: So, if I might forget to remove it, why use a pitot tube cover at all?
A: NTSB reports show that since 1983, there have been fifteen accidents, two fatal, due to contamination of the pitot tube while on the ground. Click here for a NTSB summary of Pitot-related accidents.

Q: What is a PitotShield™?
A: A PitotShield™ is the first patented technology for a pitot tube cover in decades. Designed and invented for pilots, by a pilot, to protect an aircraft's pitot tube from contaminants like dirt, insects, spiders, etc., PitotShields have an added safety feature: it assures the pilot that in the unlikely event of the cover not being removed before takeoff it will disengage from the pitot tube. Made of a special soft yet durable space-age foam, PitotShields™ weigh less than an ounce, and are harmless to an aircraft or its rotating propeller.

Q: What will pitot heat do to the PitotShield™?
A: PitotShields are made of a space-age foam, inert to solvents, jet fuel and avgas. The material also has the characteristic of only becoming soft and actually shrinking at about 350 degrees. A fully heated pitot tube may tend to stick to the PitotShield, in which case there is the unlikely potential for PitotShields to function as a conventional old-style pitot cover does. Our PitotShields for round pitot tubes have a Teflon™ insert that will not melt to the tip of the pitot tube to prevent contamination. Bottom line: Always remove the pitot tube cover before flight.

Q: Why should I use a pitot tube cover?
A: Every pilot remembers the days of their primary flight training. We learn about the possibility of contamination of the pitot tube by dirt, insects, spiders, wax, etc. We are taught to remove the pitot tube cover before flying the airplane, and to install it after flight. BUT…we often become complacent with our preflight checklists. Surveys show that ten to twenty percent of pilots have attempted departure with their pitot tube covers in place. NTSB reports show this quite graphically: Since 1983 there have been eleven reported accidents, one fatal, due to neglecting to remove the pitot tube covers prior to takeoff. One Lear Jet, one twin Cessna and one twin Beach (Baron) were involved, with the remainder being singles. Of the singles, four were high-wing and four were low-wing. There are unknown numbers of incidents that do not get reported. Click here for a NTSB summary of pitot-related accidents.

Q: Why would it be beneficial to have the pitot cover disengage before takeoff?
A: Surveys show that ten to twenty percent of experienced pilots have begun their takeoff roll with a pitot tube cover in place. A review of NTSB reports revealed that since 1983, eleven accidents have involved failure to remove the pitot tube cover prior to takeoff- one fatal and ten non-fatal.

Q: Won't a loose PitotShield™ be dangerous Foreign Object Debris?
A: PitotShields are made from a space-age foam material that is durable yet light weight enough that it would not create a hazard for a spinning prop or an airframe. PitotShields have not been tested for ingestion into a turbine engine but informal surveys of many industry engineers and field service technicians indicate they have ingested much worse and lived to tell about it. They also feel that a PitotShield would be no more of a hazard than the RBF flag from the old-style pitot covers. Bottom line is that the responsibility of removing a pitot tube cover is that of the pilot of the aircraft during preflight.

Q: Won't a strong wind blow the PitotShield™ off my pitot tube?
A: Should your aircraft be tied down outside, we recommend going to the airport to check the placement of the PitotShield if very strong or gale-force winds have been experienced in your area. Though very uncommon, a direct frontal wind in excess of 40 knots could dislodge the PitotShield. If the PitotShield is dislodged, check the pitot tube for contamination prior to flight and call or go online for a replacement PitotShield.