Avionics is a portmanteau of "aviation electronics". It comprises electronic systems for use on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft, comprising communications, navigation and the display and management of multiple systems. It also includes the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles; these can be as simple as a search light for a police helicopter or as complicated as the tactical system for an Airborne Early Warning platform.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a U.S. space-based global navigation satellite system. It provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to worldwide users on a continuous basis in all weather, day and night, anywhere on or near the Earth which has an unobstructed view of four or more GPS satellites. GPS is made up of three segments: Space, Control and User.
A radio direction finder (RDF) is a device for finding the direction to a radio source. Due to radio's ability to travel very long distances and "over the horizon", it makes a particularly good navigation system for ships, small boats, and aircraft that might be some distance from their destination.
An Inertial Navigation System (INS) is a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity (direction and speed of movement) of a moving object without the need for external references. It is used on vehicles such as ships, aircraft, submarines, guided missiles, and spacecraft.
Honeywell (legally Honeywell International Inc. ) is a major conglomerate company that produces a variety of consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments. Honeywell is a Fortune 500 company with a workforce of approximately 128,000, of which approximately 58,000 are employed in the United States. The company is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey.
Avionics software is embedded software with legally-mandated safety and reliability concerns used in avionics. The main difference between avionic software and conventional embedded software is that the development process is required by law and is optimized for safety. Interestingly, some claim that the process described below is only slightly slower and more costly (perhaps 15 percent) than the normal ad-hoc processes used for commercial software.
The heading indicator (Directional Gyro or DG) is a flight instrument used in an aircraft to inform the pilot of their heading. It is sometimes referred to by its older name, the directional gyro, or (UK usage) direction indicator or DI.
An attitude indicator (AI), gyro horizon or artificial horizon, is an instrument used in an aircraft to inform the pilot of the orientation of the aircraft relative to earth. It indicates pitch (fore and aft tilt) and bank or roll (side to side tilt) and is a primary instrument for flight in instrument meteorological conditions. Attitude indicators also have significant application under visual flight rules, though some light aircraft do not have them installed.
An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. Most people understand an autopilot to refer specifically to aircraft, but self-steering gear for ships, boats, space craft and missiles are sometimes also called by this term. The autopilot of an aircraft is sometimes referred to as "George."
Operational Display Systems refers to systems used for tracking the status of multiple objects in avionics. Operational Displays Systems are usually being developed by large countries' civil aviation authorities, with inputs from technology companies and air traffic controllers associations. Air traffic control systems gradually evolved from the old sweeping radar to modern computer-driven systems showing maps, weather info, airplane routes and digitized radar tracks on an ergonomic console.
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays. Where a traditional cockpit relies on numerous mechanical gauges to display information, a glass cockpit uses several displays driven by flight management systems, that can be adjusted to display flight information as needed. This simplifies aircraft operation and navigation and allows pilots to focus only on the most pertinent information.
The Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (or TCAS) is an aircraft collision avoidance system designed to reduce the incidence of mid-air collisions between aircraft. It monitors the airspace around an aircraft for other aircraft equipped with a corresponding active transponder, independent of air traffic control, and warns pilots of the presence of other transponder-equipped aircraft which may present a threat of mid-air collision (MAC).
Direction finding (DF) refers to the establishment of the direction from which a received signal was transmitted. This can refer to radio or other forms of wireless communication. By combining the direction information from two or more suitably spaced receivers (or a single mobile receiver), the source of a transmission may be located in space via triangulation.
Rockwell Collins, Inc. is a large United States-based international company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, primarily providing aviation and information technology systems, solutions, and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers.
Y-Gerät (Y-gadget), also known as Wotan, was a radio navigation system used by the Luftwaffe in World War II to aid bomber navigation. It was preceded by the X-Gerät system. As the British slowly gained the upper hand in the Battle of the beams, they started considering what the next German system would be like. With the standard beam systems clearly no longer of any use, some sort of entirely new system would have to be developed.
Garmin Ltd. , incorporated in George Town, Cayman Islands, is the parent company of a group of companies founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min Kao (hence the name GarMin), that develops consumer, aviation, and marine technologies for the Global Positioning System. Its subsidiary Garmin International, Inc. serves as headquarters for the Garmin Limited companies and is located in Olathe, Kansas, which is located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area in the United States.
The FuG 227 Flensburg was a German passive radar receiver developed by Siemens AG and introduced into service in Spring 1944. It used wing-mounted dipole antennae and was sensitive to frequencies of 170-220 MHz. It allowed Luftwaffe nightfighters to home in on the Monica tail warning radar fitted to RAF bombers. On the morning of 1944-07-13, a Junkers Ju 88G-1 nightfighter equipped with Flensburg mistakenly landed at RAF Woodbridge.
The Bendix/King KLN 90B is a panel-mounted, IFR-Approach Capable, long-range, airborne navigation system used in mostly general aviation aircraft with the primary purpose of providing the pilot with position information and displaying guidance information with respect to a flight plan defined by the pilot.
The Garmin G1000 is an integrated flight instrument system manufactured by Garmin typically composed of two display units, one serving as a primary flight display, and one as a multi-function display. It serves as a replacement for most conventional flight instruments and avionics.
Beam Approach Beacon System (or BABS) is an automatic RADAR landing system developed in the early 1940s. It is a responder mounted in a Hillman van and placed at the end of the runway. In some cases fixed sites were installed and by the mid 1950's Standard 9 vans were in use. It was interrogated by Rebecca mounted in an aircraft. It responded by transmitting dots on one side of the runway and dashes on the other.
Lowrance Electronics is a manufacturer of consumer sonar and GPS receivers, as well as digital mapping systems. Lowrance is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma and employs approximately 1,000 people. The company is best known for its marine, aircraft and automobile GPS receivers. In March, 1999, Lowrance announced an agreement to merge with Magellan Corporation, as part of a merger agreement with Magellan's parent company Orbital Sciences Corporation.
A Flight Management System is a fundamental part of a modern aircraft in that it controls the navigation. The flight management system (FMS) is the avionics that holds the flight plan, and allows the pilot to modify as required in flight. The FMS uses various sensors to determine the aircraft's position. Given the position and the flight plan, the FMS guides the aircraft along the flight plan. The FMS is normally controlled through a small screen and a keyboard.
The Hobbs meter is a device that records elapsed time. It is frequently used in aviation applications to record the time that the electrical power (battery master switch) is 'on'. Hobbs is a genericized trademark for products generically called Engine Hour Meters. Hobbs meters are made by Honeywell, but there are other manufacturers such as ENM and Datcon.