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The Effect of Turbulence on a Multi-Hole Pitot Calibration



Christopher J. Crowley, Iosif I. Shinder, Michael R. Moldover


Abstract- Accurate calibrations of multi-hole Pitot tubes require thousands of measurements spanning ranges of the fluid’s velocity, and the pitch and yaw angles. When calibrating a commercially-manufactured multi-hole Pitot tube in NIST’s low-turbulence wind tunnel, we found hysteresis in certain ranges of airspeed, pitch angle, and yaw angle. In the worst case, the hysteresis caused a calibration error of 30 %. We demonstrate that the hysteresis was caused by a flow instability associated with flow separation. A turbulence intensity of only 1 % removes the hysteresis; however, the calibration dependends on the turbulence intensity over the entire range of our measurements (0.25 % to 2 %). Therefore, multi-hole Pitot tubes should be calibrated and used at the same turbulence levels.
Flow Measurement and Instrumentation


airspeed calibration, multi hole Pitot tube, detached boundary layer, and Turbulence.


Crowley, C. , Shinder, I. and Moldover, M. (2013), The Effect of Turbulence on a Multi-Hole Pitot Calibration, Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created June 10, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017