What Is Aviation Electronics?

Aviation electronics refers to the electrical systems used by aircraft and spacecraft to maintain safe flight. You might wish to pursue a career in aviation electronics if you are interested in engineering or aircraft repair. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Defined

The field of aviation electronics, also known as avionics, has played an increasingly larger role in flying as aviation has entered the 21st century. Many of the functions in space shuttles, military craft, and commercial planes rely upon complex electronic systems composed of sensors, computers, display panels, and much more. These systems are designed with both passenger safety and cost effectiveness in mind.

Important Fact About This Career

Salary (2014)$56,910 (for avionics technicians)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 2% (for avionics technicians)
Certification FAA certification is typically preferred
Similar Occupations Electronics engineering technician, electrician, electro-mechanical technician, computer repair specialist, automobile service technician

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Use of Technology

An increasingly common example of an avionics system is fly-by-wire. Instead of the pilot manually controlling a plane as it flies, a computer reads sensor input, and then transmits the information electrically to the plane's actuators, which control the plane's movement. Other systems that rely on electronics include navigation, communications and, in the case of spacecraft, terrestrial landing aids.

Career Options

If you'd like to enter the field of avionics, you have options. You might choose to work in avionics engineering, which is a specialty or sub-field of electronic engineering. These engineers design and develop electrical systems and ensure that they are manufactured to specification and perform within the necessary standards.

You could also work as an aviation electronics technician and be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the electrical systems that are vital to planes' functioning. Avionics careers are available in both the private and government sectors. Employers of avionics experts range from aircraft manufacturers to airlines and private plane rental agencies.

Education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) states that both avionics technicians and engineers require formal education in most cases. For a career in engineering, you might be able to obtain an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree in avionics or aeronautical engineering. However, having a master's degree is usually needed for advancement, and it may be required to obtain teaching and research positions. Avionics technicians usually pursue their education through a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified aircraft maintenance program. These programs prepare students to become FAA-certified mechanics.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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