Avionics News September 2020 - 46

industry

INTEGRATED
AVIONICS
SYSTEMS
A continuum of shrinking components and

growing capabilities

S T O R Y

H

B Y

D A V E

ow many of us remember our first visit to
the cockpit of a turbine-powered aircraft? Or
a high-performance piston single or twin?
If you were like many, you looked on in awe, marveling
that these giants of the turbine-aircraft cockpit - captain,
first officer, a radio operator/navigator and, maybe, a
flight engineer - knew what all those controls did, the
systems they powered and tuned, the myriad of enginehealth indicators, the navigation indicators, the VHF
nondirectional beacon indicator and radio tuning controls,
plus all the switches, circuit breakers and potentiometers
for controlling radio volume and cabin lighting.
Round analog dials spread across the panel, from port to
starboard.
Elsewhere in all the other cockpit space, electrical
components seemed to fill every nook and cranny of the
flight deck, spread across the panel, down the side panels
of the cockpit, and up and across the overhead. And if
the aircraft still used a flight engineer to manage the
powerplants, that engineer sat behind the first officer in
46

avionics news

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september

2020

H I G D O N

front of his own bank of dials and switches and controls.
Access to this aviator's office came with a bit of
contortion on the part of the captain and first officer as they
maneuvered over and around a central pedestal wedged
between the flight officers' seats, itself with more controls
and switches. Compare that image with what you'd see
with a similar visit to the flight deck of today's modern
turbine aircraft, be they business jets or propjets.
Walk into the spacious flight deck of the Boeing 787,
the Airbus A320, or the svelte cockpit of a Global Express,
Gulfstream G650 or Cessna Citation Sovereign for a
lesson in contrast. Three or four large color-rich computer
screens fill the panel's width, and small banks of switches
and breakers reside overhead, on the side panels and on
the pedestal where a groundbreaking example of avionics
integration typically resides: the flight management system,
or FMS.
The FMS came into existence when Universal Avionics
first combined precision navigation radios with a flight
control system previously installed as a stand-alone



Avionics News September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News September 2020

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Avionics News September 2020 - Intro
Avionics News September 2020 - No label
Avionics News September 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News September 2020 - 1
Avionics News September 2020 - 2
Avionics News September 2020 - 3
Avionics News September 2020 - 4
Avionics News September 2020 - 5
Avionics News September 2020 - 6
Avionics News September 2020 - 7
Avionics News September 2020 - 8
Avionics News September 2020 - 9
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Avionics News September 2020 - Cover3
Avionics News September 2020 - Cover4
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