DeGroff Brings New PitotShield to Singapore

Aviation is an activity in which the tiniest error can produce deadly consequences. As fastidious as pilots and ground crew may be, mistakes do sometimes get made. Steven DeGroff, founder of the Berne, Indiana, firm DeGroff Aviation Technologies, has spent more than 20 years trying to prevent one particular mistake from resulting in disaster.

At the Singapore Airshow this week, DeGroff is showcasing the latest iteration of its smart pitot tube cover, which is designed to fail-safe in the event of being mistakenly left on the aircraft at takeoff. The PitotShield is designed to fall off the tube when airspeed reaches the 40-to-60-kt. range; it is made of a special foam and so, once disengaged during takeoff roll, does not become FOD.

The company developed its first shields for use in light aircraft. The latest version of the PitotShield, which the company introduced during the NBAA-BACE convention in Las Vegas last October, will fit “virtually every turbine aircraft, both civilian and defense,” according to DeGroff. Prototypes of the patent-pending design will be on display at the company’s booth. It will be in production and available for sale from the third quarter of this year.

“I have incorporated numerous design features into this pitot cover concept to mitigate problems within the turbine market,” DeGroff says. “In addition to blocking contamination, it will not melt, burn or degrade if left on the pitot tube when pitot heat is powered up. It will not abrade or leave harmful residue on pitot tubes, and if inadvertently left on after power-up of pitot heat, it will disengage and fall harmlessly from the pitot tube."

Angus Batey

Angus Batey has been contributing to various titles within the Aviation Week Network since 2009, reporting on topics ranging from defense and space to business aviation, advanced air mobility and cybersecurity.