Generally speaking, avionics are the basic electronic systems on aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites. Avionics is what makes flight possible, and you’ll hear the term often if you learn to fly.
Avionics are all the electrical systems applied to aviation, including communication, navigation, monitoring, flight control, collision avoidance, and fuel systems. These are the systems that bring passengers safely from one destination to another.
Many systems that are essential to each flight. For example, when you think of fuel systems, you can walk if you run out of gas in your car. If you run out of fuel in an airplane, the outcome is often disastrous. The same with weather systems. Pilots can’t see upcoming weather conditions, but these systems can warn of turbulence and precipitation, allowing pilots to adjust altitude to maintain a safe flight path.
History and Importance of Avionics
Avionics have been around since 1914 starting with early communication systems. The term was later coined by the senior editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology, Phillip J. Klass, who first used the term in 1949. The term was literally developed from a blend of the terms “aviation with electronics.”
Avionics = Electronics + Aviation
Avionics can include navigation, radio, and monitoring of aircraft performance. It involves the design, installation, use, and assembly of every electronic device on an aircraft or a spacecraft. Even if an aircraft is not engine-powered, it usually has avionics.
Avionics are helpful to pilots in nearly every aspect of flying. Starting with a flight plan to take off, reach cruise, and make a successful landing. They are a vital part of navigations, communications, performance monitoring, fuel systems, flight recorders, aircraft management systems, radar, sonar, and electronic support measures.
According to WCC Aeronautical & Technical College (2020), “There is also a rise in the number of aircraft deliveries, military aircraft spending, and there is an overall growth in the market. According to Markets and Markets, the aviation market is “projected to grow form USD 62.22 Billion in 2016 to USD 92.85 Billion by 2022.”
According to one source, “Avionics help pilots with the workload of flying an aircraft and can be used to make better informed decisions throughout all phases of flight.”
The importance of a blend of both automated and manual (human pilot controlled) is necessary for safety purposes. Consider monitoring, as an example, which includes digital gauges and instruments. Many of the aircraft’s systems can be automatically monitored by today’s sophisticated avionics systems, which can alert pilots to in flight conditions. Visual displays and aural alerts provide pilots with nearly constant feedback and warnings. “Glass Cockpits” emerged in the 1970s and began to replace gauges with computer monitors. As with most things, balance is essential for pilots to fly safely.
Economic Perspective: Globalization Impact
Due to globalization, there has been an increase in the interactions between countries, which has increased the need for rapid evolvement in technology and manufacturing. With this, aviation is expanding as more and more people are traveling, which brings the need for more growth in the avionics industry.
According to WCC Aeronautical & Technical College (2020), “[I]n the next 20 years, it is reported that the aviation industry will have to add 25,000 new aircrafts, which would then require 480,000 new technicians and mechanics to maintain the new planes.”
The Avionics portfolio has expanded over the past 100 years since the first communication devices and navigation instruments were introduced. New markets are emerging quickly, and with international business relations growing, air travel is becoming more critical. This brings the increased importance of Avionics and jobs centered around every part of the systems used.
Fortune Business Insights™ Presents the Top 15 Companies in the Avionics Industry:
1. Northrop Grumman
3. Sagetech Avionics
4. Honeywell International Inc.
5. Universal Avoinics (UA)
6. Meggitt PLC
7. Raytheon Technologies Corporation
8. Panasonic Avionics
9. FLIR Systems
10. Collins Aerospace
11. BAE Systems
14. GE Aviation
15. L3Harris Technologies, Inc.