What Is Avionics?

Essentially, avionics refer to aviation electronics. Demand exists for well-trained technicians, commonly called aircraft mechanics, who can maintain, troubleshoot, and repair aviation electronics. This article contains an expanded definition of avionics, an explanation of avionics careers, and some information about avionics education. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Avionics, or aviation electronics, is a general term for all electrical equipment used in missiles, aircraft and spacecraft. Avionics encompasses components the pilot directly uses, such as navigation, weather radar, and radio communication equipment. In addition, avionics also comprises other electronic systems not directly used by the pilot that control and monitor flight and engine performance.

Important Facts About Avionics

Median Salary (2014) $56,910 (for avionics technicians)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)Little or no change (for aircraft and avionics mechanics and technicians)
Professional Certification National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT) certification preferred by many employers
Similar Occupations Mechanical Engineering Technician, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Avionics systems and components are repaired and maintained by avionics technicians, also known generally as aircraft mechanics. These specialized technicians may do preventative routine maintenance by inspecting the instruments and other electrical and electronic parts. Technicians may also troubleshoot faulty components using reports from other aircraft workers and operators, such as pilots. After repairing and replacing the necessary parts, technicians test the equipment to ensure it works as it should.

Education

There are education opportunities for those interested in working in the field of avionics. Some colleges and universities offer diplomas, associate's, and bachelor's degree programs in avionics technology or avionics. These programs prepare graduates to become avionics technicians and engineers. The programs usually balance in-class theory with practical, hands-on application in a laboratory environment. Typical courses in a bachelor's degree program in avionics include the following:

  • Electrical circuits
  • Fundamentals and circuit analysis
  • Digital electronics
  • Microwave, radar, and pulse systems
  • Power distribution systems
  • Flight control and management systems
  • Electronics flight instrument systems
  • Long-range navigation systems
  • Integrated avionics systems
  • Traffic alert and avoidance systems

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