Henri Pitot

Henri Pitot was born in southern France more than three centuries ago, on 3 May 1695. One day, while browsing in a bookstore, Pitot found a geometry textbook. The book sparked in Pitot an interest in physics and inspired him to study maths and science. Pitot became particularly interested in the science of hydraulics. He wrote a book on how to manoeuvre ships and then invented a device to measure the velocity of water in rivers and aqueducts. The device was named the 'Pitot tube.’ In addition to publishing several papers on hydraulics, Pitot did research in the fields of mechanics, geometry and astronomy. Henri Pitot died at the age of 76 on 27 December 1771, more than 130 years before the first aircraft took to the skies. However, every pilot in our modern world is familiar with the 'pitot tube', which is used on every aircraft to determine airspeed. Pitot tubes have been used in various fields to calculate a fluid's velocity, based on differences in pressure, but it is undoubtedly the aviation industry which has benefited most from Pitot's 18th century invention.