I was on a flight this morning and about halfway through takeoff the pilot slammed on the brakes and we returned to the gate. He informed us that the airspeed indicator had malfunctioned and that it would be safest if we were to return to the gate. The way he phrased it made it sound like not a big deal but it was better to aire on the side of caution. From my understanding this is one of the most, if not the most critical instrument in an airplane. But my question is, would it really have been that bad if we were to have taken off without an airspeed indicator?
Depending on the type of plane you were on there is a complete ASI on the co-pilots side and possibly an emergency back up ASI too for a total of 3 instruments.
I did an abort once because of an ASI malfunction. Sure we could have flown with the co-pilots side ASI but transitioning from T.O. to flight while sorting out a malfunction and the pilot using some of his instruments and the other ASI on the other side of the cockpit too could create problems.
The company operations manual probably says both ASI’s are necessary for flight, so and abort was done and maintenance was called.
Rather than a complete instrument failure it was most likely a disagreement between the CA’s and FO’s ASIs. During the take-off roll the pilot not flying will call out “80 knots” when indicated on their ASI, and if the pilot flying’s ASI is something other than 80 knots SOP is to abort the take-off. Airspeed disagreements isn’t something you want to figure out in the air.