Almost all conventional aircraft mount an autopilot system. Designed to maintain an aircraft’s altitude and direction during a flight, autopilots are primarily used to reduce the work strain and fatigue for pilots while controlling an aircraft during long flights. Autopilot systems can be programmed to keep the aircraft stabilized in lateral, vertical, and longitudinal directions.

Most autopilot systems have both manual and automatic modes of operation. In manual mode, the pilot selects each maneuver and makes small inputs into an autopilot controller, which prompts the system to move the control surfaces of the aircraft to perform them. In an automatic mode, the pilot selects the attitude and direction they desire for a flight segment, and the autopilot moves the control surfaces to reach and maintain those parameters.

Autopilot systems can provide one, two, or three axes of control of an aircraft. A one-axis control system will only control the ailerons, and is known as a wing-leveler system. Two-axis control systems can manipulate the ailerons and elevators, and three-axis autopilots control ailerons, elevators, and the rudder.

Light aircraft typically only mount simple autopilot systems with fewer capabilities than those used on high performance, transport, and passenger aircraft. Most modern autopilot systems will integrate navigation systems, and modern systems can perform other flight parameters. Automatic flight control systems can not only serve as an autopilot, but also control the aircraft during climbs, descents, cruising, and landing approaches. Some even integrate an auto-throttle function that can control engine thrust and make an automated landing possible. A flight management system can be programmed with an entire flight plan, from takeoff to landing, and will control every aspect of the flight, including the autopilot and auto-throttle systems, navigation route selection, fuel management schemes, and more.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft autopilot systems for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Turbulence is something that many flyers have experienced, and often can affect various structures, such as the wings. Despite the fears that some may have, it is actually almost impossible for the aircraft’s wings to be greatly affected or impaired by turbulence. This is due to the material and structural breakup of wings, as well as their design that allows them to have the ability to bend without losing any integrity of the structure.

In the first aircraft, wings were often built with wood due to its environmental resistance, and more importantly, its strength to weight ratio. Although we have long moved on from using wood in modern aircraft, the qualities that we found in wood are still the same that we use for picking materials today. One of the most popular materials used in aircraft structures and their wings is aluminum, making up anywhere from 60% to 80% of the aircraft's structural weight. This is due to a specific grade of aluminum, grade 2024, being one of the best known high strength aluminum with a great strength to weight ratio and high fatigue resistance. This aluminum is often used to create an aircraft’s spars, or metal beams that stretch through the entirety of the wing to support the weight load, as well as limit the amount of bending of the wing to maintain structural integrity.

Other metals are popular for other components as well, depending on the qualities desired and the application. Steel is often used for fasteners, landing gear, and the wing ribs due to its strength and ability to maintain long part life. Titanium is important for areas where high temperatures and weight are important, such as around the engines. Composites are also a widely used material for the wing’s panes and fairings.

Altogether, these various materials, both metallic and non-metallic, work to provide plane parts, such as the wings and fuselage, with the strength and flexibility they need to resist environments and corrosion, all while maintaining great strength to weight ratios. We have moved a long way since the first wooden wing planes, and the materials we utilize now ensure that wings can surpass the conditions brought on by turbulence safely and without fail.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find the wing components you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

There are numerous different types of pressure sensing devices, with names that can be confusing to the uninformed and uninitiated. All of these terms are specific to variable capacitive sensing technologies, which handle the detection and measurement of fluid pressure through the change in voltage across a capacitor. Variable capacitance is used in applications that need an extremely high degree of accuracy, like engine test stands and pressure decay leak detection. The most common terms are sensors, transducers, transmitters, and switches, which we will explore in this blog.

A pressure sensor is any device that measures pressure and converts it into an electrical signal. It is an all-encompassing term that includes pressure transducers, transmitters, and switches, which we will define next. All transducers, transmitters, and switches are sensors, but not all sensors are transducers, transmitters, and switches.

Pressure transducers and transmitters are functionally similar. A pressure transducer is an electromechanical device that translates pressure values into voltages across a high-impedance load (5,000 ohms or greater). A transmitter, meanwhile, translates pressure valves into currents (usually between 4 and 20 mA) across a low-impedance load. In general, transmitters are preferred for long-range transmission (thousands of feet or more). Neither transmitters nor transducers control or change pressure, however. They are used purely to measure pressure and communicate changes via electronic or visual means.

Finally, a pressure switch will trigger at a specific set pressure. This pressure can be either high or low, and can engage or disengage a circuit. Pressure switches are unlike transducers and transmitters in that they can affect the pressure they detect. Pressure switches are commonly used in vehicles to indicate low engine oil pressure, and in gas compressors with an automatic shut-off mechanism.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the pressure capacitance devices for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Many applications and devices need to switch currents with high isolation, or require the ability to switch high voltages and high currents with a low power control signal. Sometimes, a solution based on semiconductors simply isn’t enough. Designers sometimes have to utilize electromechanical relays and contactors to provide the control they need.

Electromechanical relays can switch relatively high currents using a few volts of control signal, and they provide a decent amount of voltage isolation between the control signal and the switched power. Very high current loads and high switching voltages call for contactors, which are essentially enhanced relays.

Both relays and contactors are electromechanical devices that use an electromagnetic solenoid to actuate one or more pairs of contacts. A single pole relay or contactor has a single pair of contacts, but there are also double pole relays and contactors, and more. Contacts can be normally open, or normally closed. Some relays and contactors also have double-throw contacts that combine a normally open and a normally closed contact.

Relays are mainly used for switching low and medium current loads at relatively low voltages, and they are available in many form factors including plug-in and board mount versions designed to be soldered onto a PCB. Important relay specifications include coil voltage and AC or DC coil operation, contact current rating and configuration, the number of contacts, and the actuation/release times. It is important to avoid switching currents that are too small for a relay to operate reliably. A relay’s lower limit for the current that can be switched depends on several factors such as the contact material and geometry, and the mechanical sliding of the contact surfaces. Reed and mercury wetted reed relays are best suited for low level switch applications, for example.

A contactor is the heavy-duty equivalent of a relay, and is typically used in factory and industrial applications. They are more rugged than relays, and are often designed to mount on a standard DNI rail. Contactors are designed to switch high loads such as fractional and multiple horsepower, multiphase motors, large heating loads, and industrial/commercial lighting. Like relays, contactors are available in AC and DC configurations, and can be designed to be driven by a programmable logic controller with 24 volt DC solenoid coils, but coils rated for AC line voltages are also available.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the electromechanical relays and contactors for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Given the complexity of modern turbofan engines, tools meant for maintaining them must be appropriately specialized for the task. In this blogpost, we’ll break down the six types of tools that’ll be the most frequently used in turbine engine maintenance and should never be missing from your toolbox.

The internal piping of a turbine engine can be dizzyingly complex and disassembling it to inspect it visually can be expensive in terms of both time and money. Therefore, a borescope and set of guide tubes to thread it through the engine’s various ports can help save both. If you operate a mixed fleet, however, you’ll need guide tubes matching each of the different engines.

Oil pressure is a vital metric of an engine’s health. If there’s a change in the pressure force sensor, you’ll need to respond by checking the pressure adjustment and cold start valve to ensure that both are clean and in good condition. This will require disassembling the pistons and springs, which requires specific tooling, which can vary from engine to engine.

Oil and fuel filter replacement is a routine and scheduled type of maintenance, but a necessary and vital one as well. Specialized tools for removing caps and the filters themselves are a superior alternative to simply trying to remove them by hand.

In turbofan engines, the seals of a turbofan engine accessory gearbox can eventually begin to leak. This applies to both the neoprene seals found on older engines, and the carbon-face seals used on newer models and can be seen in the oil stains on the bottom of the cowling. These stains should be easy to spot during a visual inspection, and easily fixed as long as you follow the engine’s maintenance manual and use the correct tools.

Helical inserts or helicoils are often used to secure steel screws inside magnesium or aluminum housing. However, these screws sometimes get stuck inside their inserts due to heat distress or corrosion. This means that if you try to remove the screw during disassembly, the insert will be pulled out as well. When this happens, you’ll need an insert tool kit to be able to replace that helicoil. Given that helical inserts are used throughout an aircraft’s support fuselage, they are also useful in other maintenance applications as well.

Windmilling is a potential issue for aircraft with bladed fans that are left outside without engine covers and occurs when the wind turns the fan while the engine is shut down. This causes a slight degree of friction as the blades shift in their pockets, which can be heard as a distinct clicking sound. In cold-weather conditions, shrinkage between the components can make this an even greater problem. This friction will eventually produce titanium dust that can become a serious engine health issue. Therefore, fan blades need to be removed one by one, have lubricating grease applied to them, and then re-installed, with every step of this process requiring specialized tools.

Read more »

The production cost of an aircraft is staggering, thus, training an inexperienced pilot in one is counterintuitive. The cost of human lives is also something to consider; would-be pilots don’t have enough experience and have the potential to damage the aircraft or injure themselves. Therefore, a flight simulator is the perfect solution. Flight simulators recreate the experience of flying an aircraft by utilizing virtual reality software for the purpose of pilot training and technical development. The aircraft systems, flight controls, and air conditions are all replicated, allowing the pilot to experience different flight scenarios. Simulators can range from full-sized cockpits on hydraulic actuators with state-of-the-art technology to desktop computer-based games.

Commercial travel airlines and the military have been using flight simulators for over two decades. They are essential in developing pilots’ skills in handling the controls and operations of differing aircraft, developing their understanding of flight principles in varying operating conditions, and increasing their capacity to understand differing avionics systems and software.

Flight simulators have the ability to simulate unsafe situations in which the pilot must act quickly; enhancing their training for the real deal. These events can include engine failures, malfunctions in the electronic systems, failed hydraulics, and many other unexpected issues a pilot may face. Training regimens are also extended to flight crews, so they are prepared as well. This is cost friendly practice with an emphasis on safety.

Aircraft engineers use simulators to test how new modifications perform in different environments and conditions; technical developments require a place to be practiced. Aircraft safety systems can also be pushed to their practical boundaries, allowing research and development on current/new practices. Research can also be performed in the areas of human factors affecting flight, equipment and procedural development, and accident evaluations. Airport functionality can also be tested in simulators including runway space, takeoff, and landing.

Aircraft simulators are an essential element in flight training for aviation pilots, military pilots, and airline flight crews. These simulators save time and money while keeping an emphasis on safety.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the flight simulator parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are currently the most efficient light bulb on the market, often out-performing formerly popular compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and incandescent bulbs. The lights have the potential to create a more sustainable future for energy in the United States. It is estimated that if every American replaced one conventional light bulb with an LED, the energy savings would be equivalent to removing the greenhouse gas emissions of 800,000 cars. Let’s take a look at the history of LEDs, and how their technology has the capacity to change power consumption in the United States.

In 1907, scientists discovered that when a voltage is applied to silicon carbide crystal, it emits yellowish light. At the time, the light was too dim to be used in any application. Over the coming years, LEDs were continuously developed and in the 1970’s the design we see today was born. The LEDs we recognize today utilize semiconductor chips to power light emitting diodes. They create light by electroluminescence within a semiconductor material using an interaction called a p-n junction.

When electrical currents pass through a semiconductor material, the electrons want to fill electron holes, or areas where an atom might have missing electrons and are positively charged. A material, like silicon, can be adjusted to control the number of electron holes by adding other elements to change its properties. Through this manipulation, two semiconductors can exist within one material, and this creates a boundary between the two called a p-n junction. Here, current can only pass through in one direction. As electrons pass through both semiconductors, they fill electron holes and emit the light that we see. Engineers have further developed LEDs to concentrate their light emission by controlling the angle at which light leaves the semiconductor.

With their efficient engineering, LEDs cut 80% of energy consumption compared to other types of light bulbs, and last up to 25% longer. To put this in perspective, you can run an average LED continuously for 3 years, 24/7, before it would need to be replaced. LEDs also convert 95% of the energy they consume directly into light, which reduces current overflow and waste, unlike incandescent lamps which only convert an average 10% of power consumed. As LEDs become more affordable and widely used, they’re quickly becoming popular with consumers. Various statistics project that by 2030, LED bulbs will account for 75% of all lighting sales in the United States.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find LED Displays and Semiconductor devices, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Have you ever wondered why the phrase “the nuts and bolts of it” exists? The reasoning might help in remembering the biggest difference between screws and bolts. A bolt is defined as a threaded fastener with a nut and a flat bottom. It requires a nut to secure it to a material. The bolt can only be loosened when torque is applied to the nut. A screw, for all intents and purposes, is a threaded fastener without those attributes— it is defined as a screw head with a circular helical ridge. Screws are fastened by applying torque to the head.

Now that we have a firm grasp on the differences between a screw and bolt, let’s take a look at how the different variations of fasteners might be sorted. Screws can be subcategorized into more categories than bolts, these categories can be based on driving method, shape, and job requirement. Bolts are sorted into a more distinct category per unit, based on type and job requirement. The most common versions of each will help illustrate these sorting parameters.

The most prevalently used and recognized types of screws are slotted, Phillips, combination and Allen. Slotted screws are the most commonly used. They are denoted by a linear diagonal slot across the entire head. Phillips screws have a hole resembling an “x” shape and are associated with Phillips screwdrivers. Combination screws are a combo of slotted and Phillips, but the slot does not extend to the edges. Lastly, Allen screws have a hexagon shaped indentation, and are typically used with an Allen wrench or socket wrench.

Job requirements of screw variations vary. The most recognized of this category are wood screws and sheet metal screws. Both of these models have a name that gives away their purpose. Wood screws are made of wood and can be seen in an assortment of sizes. Spiral threads throughout the fastener are intended to provide a secure grip when penetrating wood material. On the other hand, sheet metal screws usually have a denser head and are used in conjoining sheet metal and various other materials. Their purpose necessitates threads on the entirety of the fastener.

As mentioned, bolts are sorted a bit differently than screws. Normally, these devices are categorized solely by their job requirement. Variations of this mechanism that are commonly seen are the carriage bolt, hex head bolt, and shoulder bolt. A carriage bolt is best for attaching metal to wood— it has a rounded top and a square bottom, to secure the fastener in place. Hex head bolts are, as the name suggests, six sided. These bolts are often used for installments of wood or metal. Lastly, a shoulder bolt is designed to connect components. This bolt is commonly used in moving parts, for example, pulley bearings and gears.

When assessing what types of bolt or screw you might need, remember to consider the following recommended specifications: required job type, shape, and driving method. These outlined parameters will provide a foundation in your quest for the most capable fastener.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the types of screws and bolts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Gears are little confusing. There are so many different terms that can be used for the same thing, and there are so many slightly different things that the same general term can refer to. And “gearbox” is one of those terms. Despite the fact that they actually refer to slightly different gear arrangements, gearboxes are other interchangeably used with “gearhead” and “gear reducer”.

In general, a gearbox is a that it is a contained gear train, or mechanical unit, consisting of a series of integrated gears within a housing. It’s a box, with gears. At the most basic level, a gearbox functions like any system of gears, it affects torque and speed between a driving device like a motor and a load. They typically transfer energy from one device to another are used to increase torque while reducing speed. Some gearboxes can be used to do the opposite, decrease torque and increase. The inside of a gearbox can have any type of gears, from bevel gears and spiral bevel gears to worm gears and planetary gears. The gears are mounted on shafts, which can be supported by any type of rolling element bearings. Which type of gear and bearing used is dependent on the application.

Gearboxes has many different applications including machine tools, industrial equipment, conveyors, aircraft propellers, automobile transmissions, and so on. They’re used in essentially any rotary motion power transmission application that requires changes to torque and speed.

But, it’s important to remember that, as with any hardware, regular maintenance and repair are necessary. Because they do involve motion and are subject to excessive noise and vibrations, make sure that the gearbox and gears are properly lubricated, that overheating is avoided, and the gears are properly cleaned and aligned.

NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, is your go-to for all your shaft gearbox drives and components. 

Read more »

Fasteners are typically small hardware pieces such as washers, screws, studs fasteners and more. Fasteners are used in several different industries including aerospace. One of the oldest and most common fasteners on the market is the nail. The standard nail is made of a shank, or a metal rod, and is flat at the top with an end that is pointed. Nails are typically hammered into wood, drywall, etc. and are used to fasten materials together. The standard nail is made from steel, but other variations include aluminum, brass, bronze, iron, or copper. The United States alone has over 300 different types of nails manufactured, most of which are used in residential construction.

Nails fall into three categories. The categories are determined by length and are as follows: tacks or brads (nails under one inch), nails (nails between one inch and four inches) and spikes (nails over four inches long). Length for nails is measured using units called a penny. This term for this unit of measure was originally developed in the 1700’s in England. The use of nails dates back to as early as 3500 BCE. Originally nails were extremely rare and very expensive since they were individually hand-made from copper or bronze. Now, nails are mass produced on a very large scale and can be found in almost any store for a very cheap price. They are one of the oldest types of fasteners and are still widely used today in a variety of industries.

NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, should always be your first and only stop for all your hardware and fastener requirements. NSN Parts Now a premier supplier of fasteners for any industry. Whether new, old, or hard to find, we can help you find it. NSN Parts Now has a wide selection of nsn parts to choose from and is fully equipped with a friendly, knowledgeable staff, so you can always find what you’re looking for, at all hours of the day. If you’re interested in obtaining a quote, contact the sales department at or call +1-780-851-3631.

Read more »

Recent Twitter Posts

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships

Thanks for Visiting!

Before You Leave, Consider Taking a Look at Our NSN Parts Catalog. Don’t forget That We Can offer Same-Day Shipping On Most of Our Inventory!

Request for Quote