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Navigation and Communication Systems

Prepared by: Lindsay V. Oczak Fall 2000

Communication Systems
VHF HF ACARS

/ AIRCOM Secal decoders SATCOM

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

COMM Radios

Two types commonly used for communication:

VHF

VHF (very high frequency) is used by air traffic control and operates in the VHF band between 118 and 136.975 MHz Range is 30 miles at 1000 feet and approximately 135 miles at 10,000 feet HF (high frequency) used for extended range communication operates between 2.0 and 29.999 MHz

HF

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

VHF & HF Systems

Both the VHF and HF system utilize transmitters, receivers and antennas.

Transceivers are units that include both the transmitter and receiver in one unit. VHF and HF systems are completely independent of each other and utilize their own transmitters, receivers and antennas.

VHF systems are found in any aircraft capable of two way radio communication and are largely used for controlling traffic. HF systems are found in large transport category aircraft that may need to communicate over large distances (overseas).
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

ACARS (ARINC Communication Addressing


and Reporting System)
Transmits

short messages from aircraft systems to central facility in Chicago Two modes used
mode Flight crew transmits Polled mode Ground station transmits
Demand

Note:

AIRCOM is the European and Australian equivalent


References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Secal Decoder

Used to filter messages on COMM radio receivers Aircraft are assigned a tone combination for secal unit to monitor. Secal unit alerts the crew to an incoming radio transmission

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

SATCOM

Utilizes satellites for transcontinental flight communications More reliable the HF communication Range is between latitudes 75 N and 75 S Uses three sub-systems

Ground earth station Aircraft earth station Satellite system

Capable of of transmitting information from many different sources

AIRCOM, ACARS, flight-crew communications, passenger telephone, telex and fax


References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Navigation Systems
VOR ADF ILS LOC GS Marker Radio

altimeters
DME GPS Transponders

beacons ELT
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

VOR (VHF omni-directional range)


VORs operate between 108.0 to 117.9 MHz frequency band System includes

VOR ground station or transmitter VOR receiver in aircraft

In light aircraft this is often combined with the comm radio


CDI course deviation indicator TO/FROM indicator OBS omni-bearing selector or course selector ON/OFF flag to determine field strength
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Aircraft display

Antenna

VOR Operation
VOR The

station continually transmits an infinite number of radials. VOR receiver in the aircraft receives the signal and operates the visual indicator. pilot determines the bearings of VOR station with respect to the aircraft.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

The

ADF (automatic direction finder)


Operation
The

ADF receives NDB (non-directional beacon) signals in the 19 to 535 kHz AM broadcast low band. ADF display pointer (RMI or radio magnetic indicator) will indicate the relative bearing to the selected AM band in that range.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

The

ILS (instrument landing system)


Combination of several systems to provide pilot with the ability to land in conditions with poor visibility. Components

LOC (localizer)

Horizontal reference Vertical reference Distance from runway

GS (glide slope)

Marker beacon

Radio altimeter

Very accurate altitude measurement


Very accurate distance measurement
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

DME (distance measuring equipment)

LOC (localizer)

Combined with the VOR system Utilizes 1 of 40 ILS channels between 108.10 to 111.95 MHz. Operation

The ground transmitter is located at the far end of the runway and provides a valid signal up to 18 NM The CDI (course deviation indicator) gives full fly left/right deviation of 700 feet at the runway threshold.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

GS (glide slope)

Utilizes 1 of 40 channels between 329.15 to 335.00 MHz. Operates on the same principles as the LOC.

The GS transmitter is located between 750 and 1250 ft. from the approach end of the runway and is offset 250 to 650 ft. The indicator is either an ADI (attitude-director indicator) or HSI (horizontal-situation indicator).

Both indicators combine other indications for ease of use.

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Marker Beacons

Marker beacon receivers operate at 75 MHz and sense the audio signature of 3 types of beacons.

Blue outer marker (5 miles from end of runway)

Modulated with 400 Hz

Amber middle marker (2/3 mile from end of runway)

Modulated with 1300 Hz


Modulated with 3000 Hz

White inner marker (1500 feet from end of runway)

Operation

As the aircraft flies over each maker the appropriate light will flash and an audible sound may be heard.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Radio Altimeters

The radio altimeter provides better accuracy then the pressure sensitive altimeters. Operation

The transmitter sends out a VHF signal downward then receives the reflected signal. The transmitter-receiver unit calculates the time needed for the signal to transmit and return to obtain AGL (above ground level) altitude. DH (decision height) used for instrument landings may be incorporated in this system.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

DME (distance measuring equipment)

Range is up to 199 NM at the high end of controlled airspace based on line of sight with accuracy of mile or 3% of the distance. DME operates on frequencies from 962 to 1213 MHz. Operation

The aircraft transmitter sends out paired pulses at specific spacing. The ground station receives the pulses and then responds with paired pulses at the same spacing but a different frequency. The aircraft receiver measures the time it takes to transmit and receive the signal which is transmitted into distance.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

GPS (global positioning system)

Utilizes a 24 hour satellite system that is accurate within 100 meters and is unaffected by weather. Has 3 independent segments

Space segment satellites Control segment ground based monitoring User segment aircraft

Database updating and antenna maintenance are the primary concerns to the GPS user. Will be the most widely used system in the near future. References: Aircraft Electricity and
Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Transponders

An automatic receiver and transmitter that can receive a signal (be interrogated) from a ground station and send a reply back to the station. Used to identify aircraft on radar

Identification or squawk is 1200 for VFR flight Squawk assigned by ATC for IFR flight Used for emergency transmissions

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Transponder operation
Three

modes of operation
A C S

Mode

Location only, non-altitude reporting Location and altitude reporting Can do Mode A and C and also responds to TCAS (traffic collision avoidance systems)
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Mode

Mode

ELT (emergency locator transmitter)

Required on all aircraft to provide a signal on crash landings that will enable search aircraft or ground stations to locate the aircraft. Consists of a dual frequency radio transmitter and battery power supply with a whip antenna. Transmits on international distress signals of 121.5 (civil) and 243.0 (military) MHz.

Activated by impacts of 5g or more or manually. Transmits up to 100 miles at receiver altitude of 10,000 ft for 50 continuous hours.

Located in an area of the aircraft where impact damage will be minimal.


Tail cone area Aft top of cabin


References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

ELT Testing

Three switch positions: AUTO, OFF and ON Testing may be done under the following conditions:

Tune VHF COMM receiver to 121.5 MHz Only within the first 5 minutes of an hour Only three pulses should be activated Listen for an audible signal when switched to ON position

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

ELT Servicing

The battery pack must be changed in accordance with the date stamped on the unit. The battery pack must also be replaced or recharged when it has been in use for more than one cumulative hour, or when 50% of the useful life or charge has expired. Testing should be performed regularly.

Inspections must be made every 12 calendar months.


Regulations FAR Part 91.52
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspections for NAV/COMM Equipment


System

inspections inspections

Antenna Static

discharge inspections

Operational

checks or any additional inspections required by the manufacturer


References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspection of NAV/COMM Systems


Inspect the condition and security of equipment including wiring bundles. Check for any indications of overheating in the equipment or wiring.

Check for poor electrical bonding


Requirements are specified by the manufacturer. Cables should be kept as short as possible, except antenna cable which have a specific length determined in installation.

Proper bonding on the order of .003 ohms is important to the performance of avionics equipment.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspection of NAV/COMM Systems

Check instruments and radios for secure attachment to the instrument panel. Check that all avionics are free of dust or contaminates. Equipment ventilation openings must not be obstructed. Check all plugs, connectors, switches, controls for operation and condition.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspection of NAV/COMM Systems


Check

all instruments for placards as needed. Check all instrument lighting and annunciator lights for operation. Check circuit breaker panel for placards labeling each circuit breaker installed.

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Antenna Inspection
Check

for:
or missing antenna insulation through insulators

broken lead

Safety

wires
antenna housing or poor sealant at base of antenna

Cracked Missing

References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Antenna Inspection
Check

for:
installation of corrosion

Correct Signs

Condition
Bonding

of paint/bonding and grounding

of each antenna from mounting base to the aircraft skin.

Tolerance 1 ohm, maximum


References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspection of Static Dischargers/Wicks


Check

for:

Physical

security of mounting attachments, wear or abrasion of wicks, missing wicks, etc. Assurance that one inch of the inner braid of flexible vinyl cover wicks extends beyond the vinyl covering. Assurance that all dischargers are present and securely mounted to their base.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Inspection of Static Dischargers/Wicks


Check

for:

Assurance

that all bases are securely bonded to the skin of the aircraft. Any sign of excessive corrosion or deterioration of the discharger tip. Any lighting damage shown by pitting of the metal base. The ohm value of the static wick itself per manufacturers instructions.
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2

Additional Inspections
Transponder
Per

FAR 14 Part 91.411 and 91.413 FAR Part 91.52

ELT
Per

Functional

checks of all other COMM and NAV systems per the manufacturers instructions
References: Aircraft Electricity and Electronics pg: 294-328, AC 43.13-1B Chapter 12 Section 2