The Avionics Handbook

Avionics is the cornerstone of modern aircraft. More and more, vital functions on both military and civil aircraft involve electronic devices. After the cost of the airframe and the engines, avionics is the most expensive item on the aircraft, but well worth every cent of the price. Many technologies emerged in the last decade that will be utilized in the new millennium. After proof of soundness in design through ground application, advanced microprocessors are finding their way onto aircraft to provide new capabilities that were unheard of a decade ago. The Global Positioning System has enabled satellite-based precise navigation and landing, and communication satellites are now capable of supporting aviation services. Thus, the aviation world is changing to satellite-based communications, navigation, and surveillance for air traffic management. Both the aircraft operator and the air traffic services provider are realizing significant benefits.

Familiar technologies in this book include data buses, one type of which has been in use for over 20 years, head mounted displays, and fly-by-wire flight controls. New bus and display concepts are emerging that may displace these veteran devices. An example is a retinal scanning display.

Other emerging technologies include speech interaction with the aircraft and synthetic vision. Speech interaction may soon enter commercial service on business aircraft as another way to perform some noncritical functions. Synthetic vision offers enormous potential for both military and civil aircraft for operations under reduced visibility conditions or in cases where it is difficult to install sufficient windows in an aircraft.

This book offers a comprehensive view of avionics, from the technology and elements of a system to examples of modern systems flying on the latest military and civil aircraft. The chapters have been written with the reader in mind by working practitioners in the field. This book was prepared for the working engineer and his or her boss and others who need the latest information on some aspect of avionics. It will not make one an expert in avionics, but it will provide the knowledge needed to approach a problem.


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k almosH� re g t of effort to finally match it. With only a little extra labor, that station could have been turned into a space vessel able to carry humans anywhere in the Solar System. The road was open before us, ours for the taking.


And then the will faded. For the next 30 years, the trail-blazing was taken up by others, as Americans chose to do less risky and possibly less noble tasks. More importantly, just as the bold Soviet space program helped teach the Russians to live openly and free, the top-heavy and timid American space program of the late twentieth century helped teach Americans to depend, not on freedom and decentralization, but on a centralized Soviet-style bureaucracy— to the detriment of American culture and its desire to conquer

the stars.

That these facts might reflect badly on my own country saddens me beyond words. I was born into a nation of free-spirited individuals, where all Americans believed they were pioneers, able to forge new paths and build new communities wherever they went. Or, as stated in 1978 by one much-maligned but principled politician, born of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, We are the “can-do” people. We crossed the oceans; we climbed the mountains, forded the rivers, traveled the prairies to build on this continent a monument to human freedom. We came from many lands with different tongues united in our belief in God and our thirst for freedom. We said governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. We said the people are sovereign.Whether this describes the American nation today I do not know. If one were to use as a guide our accomplishments in space since Barry Goldwater said these words, one would not feel encouraged.

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