WHAT IS AVIONICS?
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WHAT IS AVIONICS? A Presentation at the WAMEA Meeting Jock McTavish - 23 Mar 2007. The Vanishing Specialty - 1. Aviation technology has developed over the last few decades into a family of specialized technologies and trades and companies – leading to our current rules for AMEs and AMOs.

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WHAT IS AVIONICS?A Presentation at the WAMEA MeetingJock McTavish - 23 Mar 2007


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The Vanishing Specialty - 1

  • Aviation technology has developed over the last few decades into a family of specialized technologies and trades and companies – leading to our current rules for AMEs and AMOs.

  • Indeed the CARs replaced the older system partly because of the emergence of the new and inter-related trades.

  • Change is again disturbing this equilibrium.


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Some Avionics History

Here are some cockpits that tell the story.

  • Once there were no avionics.

  • Then a little avionics showed up.

  • Then avionics filled up the available space.

  • Then avionics started getting smaller.

  • Presently, avionics is integrated into most of the aircraft systems.


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The Glass Cockpit

  • A revolution in cockpit display concepts has occurred. Designers have blended ideas from airline flight decks and the computer industry.

  • What's unique is the integration of virtually all aircraft functions, including non-avionics systems … funneled through the glass displays.


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Definitions of Avionics

  • Surprisingly there isn’t a clear definition. Just various sensible attempts to describe present applications of electronics to aviation.

  • Before we consider the Canadian situation, let’s see what some authorities say.

    - FAA, EASA, EIA, NASA, and Wikipedia.

    - and a practical definition from BAAE.


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Electronic Industries Association

  • Avionics is not defined by EIA, but “System” is, and systems are a basic consideration in the engineering of aviation.

  • A System is the composite of equipment, material, computer software, personnel, facilities and information/procedural data that satisfies a user need.


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Wikipedia

  • Avionics literally means aviation electronics. It comprises all electronic systems designed for use on an aircraft.

  • This includes communications, navigation and the display and management of multiple systems.

  • It also includes systems as various as a search light for a police helicopter to a tactical system for an Airborne Early Warning.


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BAAE Avionics Repair Centre - Cardiff

  • Avionics is broadly defined now.

  • In addition to the usual flight deck systems for navigation, communication, collision and terrain avoidance, and instrumentation, it now includes equipment for the galley and cabin, including passenger entertainment systems and test equipment, headsets, defibrillators, cabin sales computers and lights.


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FAA

  • Avionics and electrical systems cover a broad discipline of engineering that represents dramatic advances in modern science and technology.

  • Navigation systems that operate on satellite signals, enhanced and synthetic vision that is completely constructed from electrical and infrared sensors, and aircraft performance controlled by digital electronics are examples.


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NASAAvionics Generic Architecture Definition

Faced with the pervasive nature of avionics, NASA decided avionics was the primary engineering perspective for control systems and subsystems but would exclude sensors, effectors and hardware systems outside a given boundary in a given situation. The next slide is a graphic of this boundary method of definition.


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Electronic Change Rate

  • Avionics changes simply because electronics changes not even at a linear but a logarithmic rate.

  • “Moore’s Law” has become the expression of this rapid change.

    “Each 18 months, electronics becomes twice as capable and half as expensive.”


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Accelerating Change

  • Ray Kurzweil is a futurist and respected inventor (Scanners and OCR). He points out to us that biology evolves and technology changes at an exponential rate. This is very counter-intuitive, for we exist in, and think in, linear time.

  • This is precisely the difficulty between planners and regulators (linear thinkers the lot) on the one hand and those living with technical realities of accelerating change.

  • Here then are some graphs from Kurzweil to illustrate the log/linear nature of change.


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The smallest transistor

University of Manchester scientists have made a transistor of carbon 1 atom thick that switches one electron. But Isn’t carbon a Structures thing?


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TCCA - CAR 571.10Maintenance Release

5. No person shall sign a maintenance release in respect of specialized maintenance unless the requirements of section 571.04 have been met.


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TCCA - CAR 571.04Specialized Maintenance

No person shall perform the specialized maintenance set out in Schedule II … except IAW an MPM of an approved AMO.


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TCCA - CAR 571 Schedule II Specialized Maintenance

  • Here are listed the definitions for all the specialties including avionics.

  • They are definitions by exceptions, and so confusing and easily outdated.


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Avionics Is & Isn’t

  • The repair of avionics components and systems is avionics specialized maintenance, except for:

    a. repairs of wiring and connectors;

    replacement of:

    b. connectors and electrical components;

    c. antennas

    d. integral fuses and lighting components


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Avionics Isn’t

e. replacement of an avionics LRU provided that any testing required can be done using standard test equipment, built-in test equipment (BITE) or equipment specified in the aircraft manufacturer’s instructions for continuing airworthiness;


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Avionics Isn’t

f. on-site management of passenger entertainment systems performed in accordance with the applicable instructions in the maintenance manual of the aircraft or systems manufacturer or the manufacturer’s instructions for continuing airworthiness; and


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Avionics Isn’t

g. routine maintenance that is described in the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance manual or instructions for continuing airworthiness or performed in accordance with currently recognized industry practices for service in the field.


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Avionics Is

2. Any avionics system installation or modification is avionics specialized maintenance except for:

(a few odd things befitting small aircraft)

Whether STC or LSTC or SB or AMM.


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Non-Required Avionics

  • Now there's a strange term.

  • It’s wiggle room for new technologies not involved directly in support of the aircraft.

  • Things not essential. Optional helps.

  • Items with enough purpose to be in the aircraft but not so much as to concern the regulators.

  • Includes computers, Electronic Flight Bags, Radios for other than aircraft nav/com, entertainment, customer or mission electronics.


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The Vanishing Specialty - 2

  • Electronics is now pervasive in every field of engineering.

  • Avionics is a specialty that is dissolving at its traditional boundaries.

  • Technically avionics maintenance is becoming associated with every aircraft system.

  • Regulation wise, avionics is disappearing, as a clear distinct act of maintenance.


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Practical Example

  • Avionics clearly MEANS to include Air Data and Transponder Testing and Recertification.

  • Under the CARs, on older aircraft like Malibu, Dash 8 or Falcon 20, such work IS avionics. Because the task IS NOT described in the aircraft continuing airworthiness data.

  • Yet, on newer aircraft like Meridian, CRJ or Falcon 700, such work IS NOT avionics because the task IS described in the aircraft CAW data.


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Where Now?

  • When specialties were recognized in aviation it was primarily to make the person who did the work responsible for the work and the AMO he/she worked for, responsible for the release of that work.

  • It breaks the chain of accountability for Specialty AMO’s not to be accountable for release of their workers.


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What is Avionics?

  • Avionics is the acquisition, communication, processing, storage and display of data; and the interface and control of aviation systems.

  • It is that work of maintenance and modification and also it’s release.


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