What is CADS on Boeing 737? (Central Air Data System)

The Central Air Data System (CADS) is an integral part of the Boeing 737 aircraft, responsible for collecting and processing air data to provide essential information for flight operations. CADS plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the aircraft throughout its journey. By continuously monitoring atmospheric conditions and calculating critical parameters, CADS enables pilots to make informed decisions and fly the aircraft with precision.

As an advanced avionic system, CADS constantly gathers real-time data from multiple sources, such as pitot-static probes, air data computers, and other sensors. It then processes this information to derive various important parameters, including airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, outside air temperature, as well as the angle of attack and sideslip. By providing accurate and reliable data on these vital aspects, CADS ensures the safe and efficient operation of the Boeing 737.

The Role of the Central Air Data System

The CADS on the Boeing 737 performs several critical functions to aid in flight operations and enhance the overall safety of the aircraft. Let’s explore some of its key roles:

Continuous Monitoring of Atmospheric Conditions

One of the primary functions of the Central Air Data System is to continuously monitor the atmospheric conditions around the aircraft. It ensures that the flight crew is provided with accurate and reliable data regarding the outside air temperature, humidity, pressure, and other weather-related parameters. By delivering this information in real-time, CADS enables pilots to assess the current environmental conditions and make necessary adjustments to their flight plan, if required.

The accurate monitoring of atmospheric conditions is particularly crucial when it comes to preventing weather-related incidents. With CADS, pilots can identify potential hazards, such as thunderstorms, icing conditions, or turbulence, and take appropriate measures to avoid them. The system assists in maintaining a safe flight envelope, ensuring the well-being of passengers and crew on board.

Calculation of Airspeed and Altitude

The Central Air Data System also plays a pivotal role in accurately calculating the airspeed and altitude of the aircraft. By utilizing information from pitot-static probes, the system measures the dynamic and static pressures, which are then processed to determine the aircraft’s indicated airspeed, true airspeed, and Mach number. These calculations are essential for maintaining the aircraft within its optimum performance range and ensuring a smooth flight experience.

In addition to airspeed, CADS calculates altitude by comparing the static pressure at various flight levels. It provides pilots with precise data on the aircraft’s height above mean sea level, allowing them to make informed decisions regarding altitudes, cruising levels, and compliance with airspace restrictions.

Enhancing Safety with Angle of Attack and Sideslip Information

Another critical feature of the Central Air Data System is its ability to calculate the angle of attack (AOA) and sideslip angle. The angle of attack represents the angle between the wing’s chord line and the oncoming airflow, while the sideslip angle indicates the angle between the aircraft’s longitudinal axis and the relative wind.

By providing this information to the flight crew, CADS enables them to identify potentially dangerous flight conditions, such as stall or loss of control situations. Monitoring the angle of attack and sideslip angle allows pilots to adjust their control inputs and make necessary corrections to maintain the aircraft’s stability and prevent unsafe flight regimes. CADS acts as a valuable tool in ensuring the aircraft’s aerodynamic integrity and minimizing the risk of accidents.


The Central Air Data System (CADS) is an essential component of the Boeing 737 aircraft, providing vital air data to support safe and efficient flight operations. By continuously monitoring atmospheric conditions, calculating airspeed and altitude, and offering valuable information on the angle of attack and sideslip, CADS enables pilots to fly the aircraft with precision and make informed decisions. With the help of CADS, the Boeing 737 remains a reliable and technologically advanced aircraft, ensuring the utmost safety for passengers and crew onboard.

For More: What is DISC on Boeing 737? (Disconnect)