Avionics are the basic electronic systems on aircraft, spacecraft and satellites.
Seven systems compose avionics:
- Communications: Systems connect to ground crew and passengers and usually operate on a specific air band. Advanced military vessels also contain communication avionics to reach satellites.
- Navigation: Satellite systems, like GPS or WAAS, or inertial navigation systems and ground-based radio help guide pilots by pinpointing the position of the aircraft on or above the Earth’s surface.
- Monitoring: Includes dials, gauges and instruments. If the cockpit contains computer monitors instead of analog displays, it is called a “glass” cockpit.
- Flight Control: Refers to autopilot. This system initially kept bomber planes steady to ensure accuracy. It later evolved to prevent pilot error and reduce challenges during takeoff and landing. In helicopters, auto-stabilization is another form of autopilot.
- Collision Avoidance: Traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS) detect other airplanes and alert pilots to possible collisions. The software includes instructions to avoid accidents once it detects aircraft.
- Fuel Systems: The fuel quantity indication system (FQIS) calculates the remaining fuel, and the fuel control and monitoring system (FCMS) manages fuel for various tasks.
- Weather Systems: These systems can warn of turbulence or excessive precipitation. These warnings allow pilots to adjust altitude to maintain a safe flight path.
Avionics has been constantly evolving along with advancements in technology. Today, more and more systems used in aircraft are operated digitally. Digital means allow for the seamless storage, retrieval, and transfer of data. While some information may be lost when converting from analog to digital, losses are minimal, and preserving data digitally typically yields better long-term results.
In addition to flight display advancements, avionics is also making in-roads in other areas such as emergency Autoland systems that finally solves the puzzle of what to do if the pilot collapses and there are no other pilots on board.
There are rapid advances in another avionics area; wearable head-up displays (HUDs) that make installing a HUD much simpler and less costly than traditional HUDs. Wearable HUDs also enjoy a nearly unlimited field of view, because the pilot is not constrained to looking through a fixed combiner glass mounted in the forward field of view.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Avionics Certificate, a 5-day course that covers theories, technical, certification requirements, and the technologies applied in current and future avionic systems.
By taking this training course, participants will fully understand all the avionics systems, software, hardware, cybersecurity and other topics involved in avionics.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.