Digital AvionicsIntroduction: Basic Subsystem(Part 1)
HistoryThe word avionics is short for
. But it actually encompasses much more thanelectronics. The development of Avionics started as early as the 18th century. In 17
83, the Montgolﬁer
brothers used a barometer to measure altitude. The famous Wright brothers used avionics as well: ananemometer to measure airspeed. Soon after that, aircraft were equipped with magnetic compasses tomeasure heading, angle of attack vanes to measure attitude, fuel-quantity gauges to measure fuellevels, and so on. Yet in the early days, navigation was still done visually. At the end of the 1920s,
avionics had progressed so much, that the ﬁrst blind ﬂight and landing was performed: navigati
on wasdone solely based on gyroscopes and radio navigation aids. Over the 1930s, radio navigation and landingaids were further developed, and implemented on aircraft. In the 1940s, the second world war started.This resulted in the development of radar for aircraft detection. Also, communication became moreimportant. VHF and UHF communication was developed. But with all these systems, the pilot really hada hard time. The two decades after WW2 therefore mainly resulted in a reduction of the pilot workload.The 1950s saw the introduction of tactical air navigation (TACAN), airborne intercept radar with trackingcapability and Doppler radar, medium pulse repetition frequency (PRF) airborne intercept radar, digitalmission computers and inertial navigation systems. The 1960s saw the introduction of integratedelectronic warfare systems, fully automated weapon release, terrain-following radar, automatic terrainfollowing, the head-up display laser target marketing technology and the early digital mission computer.
Systems like autopilots, automated warning systems and integrated ﬂight instruments were developed.
This was also the time where the basic T was implemented in aircraft.
In 1970’s , during oil crisisEﬃciency became an important topic. Digital computers were developed, aiding pilots in ﬂying andnavigating their airplane as eﬃciently as possible.
At the same time development of multi-function
displays, information could also be displayed in a much more ﬂexible way. This resulted in so
: cockpits with a lot of displays. Today, glass cockpits are quite common. But we also havesystems like GPS navigation and digital communication links. And many more advanced systemsintegrated with Aitrcraft avionics to give safe and assured confidence , and reliable flying.Of paramount importance in any aircraft is the system (or systems) used for sensing and indicating the
aircraft’s attitude, heading, altitude and speed. In early aircraft, these ins
truments were simple electro-mechanical devices. Indeed, when flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) rather than Instrument Flight
Rules (IFR) the pilot’s most important source of information about what the aircraft was doing would
have been the view out of the cockpit window! Nowadays, sophisticated avionic and display technology,