airspeed sensor vs rain/mist/cloud

I was wondering: as the pitot tube is an air inlet, what would happen if, during flight, the plane caught some rain, or flew through a low clowd? The plane can be made water resistant, but what if the water enters the pitot tube and goes to the airspeed sensor? Would it stop working? Be permanently damaged? Is there a filter to avoid that from happening?

Today there was some mist in the flying field, and made me think about it.

I searched over the forum and the web but coudn't find an answer.

Best regards,


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  • Another way of doing it is to have a small canister hooked-up to the tubing which collects water. It is used on small aircraft and gliders. There is also a filter inside that prevents water from going further in a tubing down towards the electronics.

    That is if you have tubing long enough.

  • it's not a problem, at all.

    the air (and water) is not going anywhere, it's not getting out on the "other side" of the sensor-

    The *only* problem you will see, is in close to zero condition, or supercooled rain , a droplet or slushy snow can cover the total  pressure (front) intake, static ports (4) are not that prone to being covered.

    And you can easily solve freezing problem by adding  heating  (coil resistive wire around the tube, at least 1 cm behind the static ports.)

    Then you can handle any conditions, until you get ice buildup on wings (the next problem)

    I'm flying in norther Norway... far above the buzzword "arctic circle".

  • That's why we have pilots. 

  • Full sized aircraft have drains in their pitot tubes, we do not. Rain could clog the tube and cause the autopilot to dive and add full throttle. We need better pitot tubes to be safe in adverse weather for fully automated flight.
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