Cessna is a major manufacturer of single engine airplanes in the United States. The Cessna Sky Hawk is a small plane about twenty-seven feet long, with a wingspan of a little over thirty-six feet. The height of the plane is just under nine feet. The plane has only two seats—for the pilot and the copilot.
The rest of the plane’s interior is designed for holding cargo. The dials, gauges, and knobs on the instrument panel in a small plane basically serve the same purpose as those in a large commercial airliner. The instruments provide the pilot with information about the engine, electrical systems, fuel, speed, and altitude of the plane. An altimeter indicates altitude, or the plane’s height above sea level. The most common type of altimeter measures air pressure. As a plane gets higher, air pressure decreases. The altimeter measures the air pressure and converts that measurement into a measurement of altitude. Another important instrument is the airspeed indicator, which tells how fast the air is traveling past the plane. Many modern planes also have an artificial horizon, consisting of a small picture of an airplane and a horizontal line. When the plane is flying straight, the airplane in the picture is positioned with the horizontal line going straight through its wings. If the pilot turns, or banks, the picture of the airplane will tip one way or the other in relation to the horizontal line to show the angle at which the wings of the real plane are tipped.