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Avionics are the electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites, and spacecraft. Avionic systems include
communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are
fitted to aircraft to perform individual functions. These can be as simple as a searchlight for a police helicopter or as
complicated as the tactical system for an airborne early warning platform. The term avionics is a portmanteau of the
words aviation and electronics.

Roughly 20 percent of the costs of the F-15E is in avionics.

The term avionics was coined by the journalist Philip J. Klass as a portmanteau of aviation electronics. Many modern
avionics have their origins in World War II wartime developments. For example, autopilot systems that are prolific
today were started to help bomber planes fly steadily enough to hit precision targets from high altitudes. [3] Famously,
radar was developed in the UK, Germany, and the United States during the same period. [4] Modern avionics is a
substantial portion of military aircraft spending. Aircraft like the F-15E and the now retired F-14 have roughly 20
percent of their budget spent on avionics. Most modern helicopters now have budget splits of 60/40 in favour of

The civilian market has also seen a growth in cost of avionics. Flight control systems (fly-by-wire) and new
navigation needs brought on by tighter airspaces, have pushed up development costs. The major change has been the
recent boom in consumer flying. As more people begin to use planes as their primary method of transportation, more
elaborate methods of controlling aircraft safely in these high restrictive airspaces have been invented
Modern avionics

Avionics plays a heavy role in modernization initiatives like the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Next
Generation Air Transportation System project in the United States and the Single European Sky ATM
Research (SESAR) initiative in Europe. The Joint Planning and Development Office put forth a roadmap for avionics
in six areas:[5]

 Published Routes and Procedures – Improved navigation and routing

 Negotiated Trajectories – Adding data communications to create preferred routes dynamically
 Delegated Separation – Enhanced situational awareness in the air and on the ground
 LowVisibility/CeilingApproach/Departure – Allowing operations with weather constraints with less ground
 Surface Operations – To increase safety in approach and departure
 ATM Efficiencies – Improving the ATM process

Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) represents more than 1,300 member companies,
including government-certified international repair stations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of
avionics and electronic systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of
avionics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment
manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.

Aircraft avionics

The cockpit of an aircraft is a typical location for avionic equipment, including control, monitoring, communication,
navigation, weather, and anti-collision systems. The majority of aircraft power their avionics using 14- or
28-volt DC electrical systems; however, larger, more sophisticated aircraft (such as airliners or military combat
aircraft) have AC systems operating at 400 Hz, 115 volts AC.[6] There are several major vendors of flight avionics,
including Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Honeywell (which now owns Bendix/King),Rockwell Collins, Thales
Group, GE Aviation Systems, Garmin, Parker Hannifin, UTC Aerospace Systems and Avidyne Corporation.

One source of international standards for avionics equipment are prepared by the Airlines Electronic Engineering
Committee (AEEC) and published by ARINC.

Communications connect the flight deck to the ground and the flight deck to the passengers. On-board
communications are provided by public-address systems and aircraft intercoms.

The VHF aviation communication system works on the airband of 118.000 MHz to 136.975 MHz. Each channel is
spaced from the adjacent ones by 8.33 kHz in Europe, 25 kHz elsewhere. VHF is also used for line of sight
communication such as aircraft-to-aircraft and aircraft-to-ATC. Amplitude modulation (AM) is used, and the
conversation is performed in simplex mode. Aircraft communication can also take place using HF (especially for
trans-oceanic flights) or satellite communication.

See also: Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System


Navigation is the determination of position and direction on or above the surface of the Earth. Avionics can use
satellite-based systems (such as GPS and WAAS), ground-based systems (such as VOR or LORAN), or any
combination thereof. Navigation systems calculate the position automatically and display it to the flight crew on
moving map displays. Older avionics required a pilot or navigator to plot the intersection of signals on a paper map to
determine an aircraft's location; modern systems calculate the position automatically and display it to the flight crew
on moving map displays.

Main article: Glass cockpit

The Airbus A380 glass cockpit featuring pull-out keyboards and two wide computer screens on the sides for pilots.
The first hints of glass cockpits emerged in the 1970s when flight-worthy cathode ray tubes (CRT) screens began to
replace electromechanical displays, gauges and instruments. A "glass" cockpit refers to the use of computer monitors
instead of gauges and other analog displays. Aircraft were getting progressively more displays, dials and information
dashboards that eventually competed for space and pilot attention. In the 1970s, the average aircraft had more than
100 cockpit instruments and controls.

Glass cockpits started to come into being with the Gulfstream G-IV private jet in 1985. One of the key challenges in
glass cockpits is to balance how much control is automated and how much the pilot should do manually. Generally
they try to automate flight operations while keeping the pilot constantly informed.[7]

Aircraft flight-control systems

Main article: Aircraft flight control system

Aircraft have means of automatically controlling flight. Today automated flight control is common to reduce pilot
error and workload at key times like landing or takeoff. Autopilot was first invented by Lawrence
Sperry during World War II to fly bomber planes steady enough to hit precision targets from 25,000 feet. When it was
first adopted by the U.S. military, a Honeywell engineer sat in the back seat with bolt cutters to disconnect the
autopilot in case of emergency. Nowadays most commercial planes are equipped with aircraft flight control systems
in order to reduce pilot error and workload at landing or takeoff.[3]

The first simple commercial auto-pilots were used to control heading and altitude and had limited authority on things
like thrust and flight control surfaces. In helicopters, auto-stabilization was used in a similar way. The first systems
were electromechanical. The advent of fly by wire and electro-actuated flight surfaces (rather than the traditional
hydraulic) has increased safety. As with displays and instruments, critical devices that were electro-mechanical had a
finite life. With safety critical systems, the software is very strictly tested.

Collision-avoidance systems

Main article: Aircraft collision avoidance systems

To supplement air traffic control, most large transport aircraft and many smaller ones use a traffic alert and collision
avoidance system (TCAS), which can detect the location of nearby aircraft, and provide instructions for avoiding a
midair collision. Smaller aircraft may use simpler traffic alerting systems such as TPAS, which are passive (they do
not actively interrogate the transponders of other aircraft) and do not provide advisories for conflict resolution.

To help avoid controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), aircraft use systems such as ground-proximity warning
systems (GPWS), which use radar altimeters as a key element. One of the major weaknesses of GPWS is the lack of
"look-ahead" information, because it only provides altitude above terrain "look-down". In order to overcome this
weakness, modern aircraft use a terrain awareness warning system (TAWS).
Black Boxes

Main article: Flight recorder

Commercial aircraft cockpit data recorders, commonly known as a "black box", store flight information and audio
from the cockpit. They are often recovered from a plane after a crash to determine control settings and other
parameters during the incident.

Weather systems

Main articles: Weather radar and Lightning detector

Weather systems such as weather radar (typically Arinc 708 on commercial aircraft) and lightning detectors are
important for aircraft flying at night or in instrument meteorological conditions, where it is not possible for pilots to
see the weather ahead. Heavy precipitation (as sensed by radar) or severe turbulence (as sensed by lightning activity)
are both indications of strong convective activity and severe turbulence, and weather systems allow pilots to deviate
around these areas.

Lightning detectors like the Stormscope or Strikefinder have become inexpensive enough that they are practical for
light aircraft. In addition to radar and lightning detection, observations and extended radar pictures (such
as NEXRAD) are now available through satellite data connections, allowing pilots to see weather conditions far
beyond the range of their own in-flight systems. Modern displays allow weather information to be integrated with
moving maps, terrain, and traffic onto a single screen, greatly simplifying navigation.

Modern weather systems also include wind shear and turbulence detection and terrain and traffic warning
systems.[8] In-plane weather avionics are especially popular in Africa,India, and other countries where air-travel is a
growing market, but ground support is not as well developed.[9]
Aircraft management systems

There has been a progression towards centralized control of the multiple complex systems fitted to aircraft, including
engine monitoring and management. Health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are integrated with aircraft
management computers to give maintainers early warnings of parts that will need replacement.

The integrated modular avionics concept proposes an integrated architecture with application software portable across
an assembly of common hardware modules. It has been used in fourth generation jet fighters and the latest generation
of airliners.

Mission or tactical avionics

Military aircraft have been designed either to deliver a weapon or to be the eyes and ears of other weapon systems.
The vast array of sensors available to the military is used for whatever tactical means required. As with aircraft
management, the bigger sensor platforms (like the E-3D, JSTARS, ASTOR, Nimrod MRA4, Merlin HM Mk 1) have
mission-management computers.

Police and EMS aircraft also carry sophisticated tactical sensors.

Military communications
While aircraft communications provide the backbone for safe flight, the tactical systems are designed to withstand the
rigors of the battle field. UHF, VHF Tactical (30–88 MHz) and SatCom systems combined with ECCM methods,
and cryptography secure the communications. Data links such as Link 11, 16, 22 and BOWMAN, JTRS and
even TETRA provide the means of transmitting data (such as images, targeting information etc.).

Airborne radar was one of the first tactical sensors. The benefit of altitude providing range has meant a significant
focus on airborne radar technologies. Radars include airborne early warning (AEW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW),
and even weather radar (Arinc 708) and ground tracking/proximity radar.

The military uses radar in fast jets to help pilots fly at low levels.[citation needed] While the civil market has had weather
radar for a while, there are strict rules about using it to navigate the aircraft.[citation needed]

Dipping sonar fitted to a range of military helicopters allows the helicopter to protect shipping assets from submarines
or surface threats. Maritime support aircraft can drop active and passive sonar devices (sonobuoys) and these are also
used to determine the location of hostile submarines.

Electro-optic systems include devices such as the head-up display (HUD), forward looking infrared (FLIR), infra-red
search and track and other passive infrared devices (Passive infrared sensor). These are all used to provide imagery
and information to the flight crew. This imagery is used for everything from search and rescue to navigational
aids andtarget acquisition.

Electronic support measures and defensive aids are used extensively to gather information about threats or possible
threats. They can be used to launch devices (in some cases automatically) to counter direct threats against the aircraft.
They are also used to determine the state of a threat and identify it.
Aircraft networks[edit]

The avionics systems in military, commercial and advanced models of civilian aircraft are interconnected using an
avionics databus. Common avionics databus protocols, with their primary application, include:

 Aircraft Data Network (ADN): Ethernet derivative for Commercial Aircraft

 Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX): Specific implementation of ARINC 664 (ADN) for
Commercial Aircraft
 ARINC 429: Generic Medium-Speed Data Sharing for Private and Commercial Aircraft
 ARINC 664: See ADN above
 ARINC 629: Commercial Aircraft (Boeing 777)
 ARINC 708: Weather Radar for Commercial Aircraft
 ARINC 717: Flight Data Recorder for Commercial Aircraft
 IEEE 1394b: Military Aircraft
 MIL-STD-1553: Military Aircraft
 MIL-STD-1760: Military Aircraft
 TTP – Time-Triggered Protocol: Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A380, Fly-By-Wire Actuation Platforms from
Parker Aerospace
 TTEthernet – Time-Triggered Ethernet: NASA Orion Spacecraft
Disaster relief and air ambulance[edit]

Disaster relief and EMS aircraft (mostly helicopters) are now a significant market. Military aircraft are often now built
with a role available to assist in civil obedience[citation needed]. Disaster relief helicopters are almost always fitted with
video/FLIR systems to allow them to monitor and coordinate real-time relief efforts. They can also be fitted with
searchlights and loudspeakers.

EMS and disaster relief helicopters will be required to fly in unpleasant conditions, this may require more aircraft
sensors, some of which were until recently considered purely for military aircraft.

Access to information is critical. Rockwell Collins industry-leading display technology for aircraft, ground vehicles
and soldiers provide the enhanced situational awareness required for mission success.

Cabin Displays

Rockwell Collins cabin displays provide passengers exceptional readability and image quality for their entertainment
and information needs. Our lightweight, energy-efficient displays are available in 15-, 17- and 21.3-inch models to
provide you maximum flexibility for cabin configurations.
Ground Vehicle Displays

Whether on the battlefield or in the public safety sector, situational awareness is critical. That’s why we’re constantly
evolving our display technologies to meet your mission requirements – and deliver the value you’ve come to expect.
Our highly ruggedized solutions improve your understanding of your environment and feature advancements in size,
weight, power and cost. The result – innovative situational awareness and networking technologies that keep you

Head Down Displays (HDD)

Your flight deck display is critical to safely and efficiently operating your aircraft. As a recognized leader in the
development and production of advanced multifunction displays, we offer a full range of sizes and configurations for
forward-fit or retrofit applications.

Our full-color-graphics video and night vision- and sunlight-compatible displays expand the capability and utility of
your flight deck. We incorporate industrial grade, commercial off-the-shelf technology components and designs to
ensure your solution is not only feature rich but affordable, too. These highly reliable displays are flying on a majority
of the world’s commercial and military aircraft fleets.

Head-up Displays (HUD)

Our Head-up Guidance Systems (HGS™) present flight information in the pilot’s forward field of view, eliminating
the need to continually transition from head-down instruments to head-up, out-the window view during critical phases
of flight. With eyes focused out in front of the aircraft viewing the presentation of flight path, flight path acceleration,
visual glideslope angle and the runway aim point, pilots can achieve greater precision and situational awareness at all

Our HGS is designed to a higher standard, providing industry-leading technology, integrity and reliability. Many of
the world’s premier airlines, business and regional operators, military tanker/transports and flight training companies
rely on HGS precision flight path guidance and energy management to ensure mission success.

Optical Bonding

For more than 30 years, Rockwell Collins military and aviation clients have demanded superior displays that will
perform 70,000 feet in the air or in the heat of battle. Rugged design. High optical clarity. Sunlight readability. Quick,
reliable manufacturing. All backed by more than 150 dedicated display center professionals.

Now this technology is available to new markets, offering proven, industry-leading manufacturing quality and
turnaround times for applications ranging from ATMs and cell phones to large-scale 3-D displays and rugged mobile

At the core of this superior performance is our patented, environmentally friendly, production-proven optical bonding
technology – Direct Dry Film™ – which outperforms optical liquid bonding. Features include:

 Superior bond strength for the life of the display, with no delamination
 Rugged, damage-resistant properties in extreme environments
 Perfect for custom, multilayer applications
 Material type compatibility: glass, plastics, films and adhesives
 Material thickness compatibility: .05 mm to 40 mm
 No optical degradations due to environmental exposure (solar, temperature and humidity)
 No limit on diagonal size
 Allows precise alignment of substrates
 100 percent reworkable
 Environmentally green, free of hazardous liquid solvents

Whether you’re looking for off-the-shelf, standard-sized displays, custom solutions or the opportunity to license our
technology for your application, we welcome the opportunity to work with you to accomplish your goals.
Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD)

In the battlespace, situational awareness is critical. We provide the tools you need to be effective in every mission and
continually evolve our display technologies to meet your mission requirements. Our highly ruggedized solutions
improve your understanding of the battlespace by combining advancements in size, weight, power and cost. The
result: innovative situational awareness and network technologies that are designed for the tactical edge of battle.

Integrated standby instrument system

An integrated standby instrument system (ISIS) is an electronic aircraft instrument combining the functions of an
altimeter, airspeed indicator, and attitude indicator. An ISIS is intended to replace separate equivalent mechanical
instruments that had been included in cockpits to serve as backup in case of failures in a glass cockpit instrument
system, and thus is designed to operate as reliably and independently as possible from the aircraft's main instrument
system, with embedded sensors and provisions for backup power.

A cathode ray tube (CRT) is a specialized vacuumtube in which images are produced when an electron beam strikes
aphosphorescent surface. Most desktop computer displays make useof CRTs. The CRT in a computer display is
similar to the"picture tube" in a television receiver.A cathode ray tube consists of several basiccomponents, as
illustrated below. The electron gun generates anarrow beam of electrons. The anodes accelerate the
electrons.Deflecting coils produce an extremely low frequency electromagnetic field that allowsfor constant
adjustment of the direction of the electron beam.There are two sets of deflecting coils: horizontal and vertical.(In the
illustration, only one set of coils is shown forsimplicity.) The intensity of the beam can be varied. Theelectron beam
produces a tiny, bright visible spot when itstrikes the phosphor-coated screen.

To produce an image on the screen, complexsignals are applied to the deflecting coils, and also to theapparatus that
controls the intensity of the electron beam. Thiscauses the spot to race across the screen from right to left, andfrom top
to bottom, in a sequence of horizontal lines called theraster. As viewed from the front of the CRT, the spot moves in
apattern similar to the way your eyes move when you read asingle-column page of text. But the scanning takes place
at sucha rapid rate that your eye sees a constant image over the entirescreen.
The illustration shows only one electron gun.This is typical of a monochrome, or single-color, CRT.
However,virtually all CRTs today render color images. These devices havethree electron guns, one for the primary
color red, one for theprimary color green, and one for the primary color blue. The CRTthus produces three
overlapping images: one in red (R), one ingreen (G), and one in blue (B). This is the so-called RGB colormodel.
In computer systems, there are several display modes, or setsof specifications according to which the CRT operates.
The mostcommon specification for CRT displays is known as SVGA (SuperVideo Graphics Array). Notebook
computers typically use liquid crystal display.The technology for these displays is much different than that forCRTs.
What does Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD) mean?

An active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) is a type of flat-panel display that uses cathode ray tubes
typically less than less than 4 inches thick. It is commonly used in mobile devices and televisions. An active matrix
High refresh rates
Polarizing sheets
Liquid crystal cells
Thin film transistor (TFT)
Compared to a passive matrix the active matrix has a higher quality picture, a faster response time, no ―trailers‖ or
double images and a broader display of colors. AMLCD also consumes less power.
Techopedia explains Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD)

The term active matrix refers to the active capacitors in the display of a screen. The capacitors control each individual
pixel, resulting in a faster response time and clearer picture. A passive matrix display requires altering a full row of
pixels to modify a single pixel, causing slow response times and trailers.

An active matrix has the ability to display fast-moving images with the use of thin film transistors (TFTs) and
capacitors. A TFT has a transistor for each pixel on a screen, allowing electrical current to be turned off and on at a
faster rate. This action displays a clearer picture, especially with moving images, and prevents the trailers that are
common with passive matrix displays.

In more basic terms, an active matrix LCD delivers individual support for each pixel, resulting in a brighter and more
colorful picture display. The AMLCD has basically replaced the passive matrix and can be found on most PCs,
notebooks and LCD TVs.

3.2 Basics of Flight Instruments

The purpose of A/C instruments are to provide the pilot with critical information for safe and effective
operation of the vehicle.

 Basic-Six or Basic-T: 

1) Pitot Static Instruments: 1, 2, 3

2) Attitude Instruments: 4, 5
3) HDG Instruments: 6, 7

Airspeed Artificial
Indicator Horizon

1 4 2
 Magnetic
Turn & Bank Directional Vertical Speed
Indicator Gyroscope indicator

5 6 3

Figure-3.4 Basic flight instruments [K6-5]

3.2.1 Pitot Static Instruments

 Preliminary Concept: 

1) Pitot Static Instrument System: Device driven by static pressure and pitot pressure obtained
from the pitot static tube.

2) Pitot Static Tube: It is an open-ended tube where moving fluid flows in order to measure the
stagnation pressure. Pitot static tube is mounted under the wing.

3) Bernoulli Equation at Constant Elevation: Assuming ideal uncompressible fluid.

ρV 2 (3.1)
Pd 
V : Speed.
ρ : Air density.
Ps : Static pressure.
Pd : Dynamic pressure.
Pt : Pitot or total or stagnation pressure.
Airspeed Indicator Altimeter Vertical speed Indicator

15 0 1 1 2
45 20 9 2 3
40 3 4
10 35 8 0 4
7 4 3
30 25 5
5 6 12 3 1 2

Pitot Pressure Line Static Pressure Line
Pitot-Static Tube Electrical Contacts for Heater

Ps = Static Pressure

Pt = Pitot Pressure


Figure-3.5 Pitot static instrument system [K3-6]

 Useful Equations: 

1) Equation of state for perfect gases:
P  ρ RT (3.3)

K  273.16  C (3.4)
P : Pressure Pa .

T : Temperature K .
R : 287.05 m2 .
s K
ρ : Atmospheric Air density kg .
2) Sea Level Values: Measured on a standard day in Mediterranean referred to as Standard

Temperature: T 0  15 C  59 F  288.16 K
m ft
Speed of Sound: a  340.0  1116.2
0 s s
kg slug (3.5)
Density: ρ  1.225  0.002377
3 3
0 m ft
Pressure: P0  1  atm   101,325  Pa   1013.25  mbar   29.92  in Hg

3) Equations: Takeoff and landing are extremely related to pressure. As a result, flights are
mostly in early morning or at night since temperature is low at that time.

↓ Temperature ∴ ↑ Pressure ∴ ↑ Speed ∴ ↓ ALT 10


a T 0.5
Speed of Sound:  st
a T
0 0

ρ  T


ρ0 0

P T 5.25
Pressure:  st
0 0

 T 1.5 T  120 
st  0

Viscosity:   T T  120 
0 0  st

The relation between ALT and temperature is not at all times linear and proportional, and the best proof for that are the
two layers of atmosphere known as the troposphere and the mesosphere. For more on ALT, temperature, pressure w.r.t. the
atmosphere refer to Appendix C.
4) Several Definitions of ALT:

Ha = Absolute ALT: Height above earth surface.

Ht = True ALT: Height above sea level but with Standard ICAO values.

Hd = Density ALT: Height above sea level with ambient density.

H d  Height Above Sea Level ρ actual ambient density (i.e. now) (3.9)

Hp = Pressure ALT: Height above sea level with ambient pressure.

H p  Height Above Sea Level P actual ambient pressure (i.e. now) (3.10)

Standard ICAO: The ambient pressure and density are always less than the
Standard ICAO ones.

ρ  1 →  ρ  ρ0

 1 → P  P 0 


ρ P
Ht → or
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 ρ0 P0

Figure-3.6 Height versus pressure or density

H H t
→∴ @ Standard ICAO: H t  H d  H P 
d ρ  ρ0
H p

P P0 t

H H
d ρ ≠ ρ0 t
P ≠ P0
 Airspeed Indicator (AI): To obtain the speed we measure the difference between the pitot and the 
static pressure, i.e. we obtain the dynamic pressure.

ρV 2 2P
P −P  → V
 d
d t s 2 ρ

1) Indicated Airspeed (IAS): Uncorrected speed.

2) Calibrated Airspeed (CAS): Airspeed corrected for instrument error and pitot static system

3) Equivalent Airspeed (EAS): Airspeed corrected for compressibility error. This error is
negligible up to 250 kts and 10,000 ft 3.05 km.

4) True Airspeed (TAS): Airspeed corrected for air density error.

TAS  CAS (3.14)

 Altimeter: It is a barometer that measures the change in pressure ALT, and outputs the elevation 
height. Altimeter could be set to different pressure modes for a specific ALT reading:

1) Pressure at Nautical Height (QNH):

Pressure Type: Sea level
pressure. Used for:
VFR Flying

2) Pressure at Standard Sea Level (QNE):

Pressure Type: Standard sea level pressure (i.e. 1 atm).
Used for:
High ALT flying.
Unpopulated area flying.

3) Pressure at Field Elevation (QFE):

Pressure Type: Airfield
pressure. Used for:
Aerobatic flying.

To avoid traffic conflict and to ensure security in the sky, the same altimeter setting should be used for a given region.
 Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI): It measures the change in pressure ALT and outputs the vertical 
speed. If the A/C flies straight, the pressure is constant and
hence, VSI is set to zero.

Increase Static Pressure: Decrease Static Pressure:

↓ H ∴ ↑ Ps ↑ H ∴ ↓ Ps

Figure-3.7 Static pressure variation with vertical motion

3.2.2 Attitude Instruments

These instruments are based on using a gyroscope to indicate the roll and pitch of an A/C.

 Artificial Horizon: A gyro operated instrument that shows the roll X-axis and pitch Y-axis attitudes of 
an A/C w.r.t. an artificial reference line horizon of earth. The gyro spins on the
yaw Z-axis. Also, the gyro can be driven either by vacuum air turbine or
electric motor.

 Turn and Bank Indicator: A gyro-operated instrument that is driven either by vacuum air turbine or 
electric motor. This was the first gyro that made blind flying
possible. This instrument contains 2 independent mechanisms:

1) Gyro driven pointer: This pointer indicates the rate of turn of the A/C.

Left Right

Figure-3.8 Rate of turn of the A/C

Gyroscope or Gyro is a rotating device that will maintain its original plane of rotation no matter which direction the A/C
is turned.
2) Detect slip and skid in the turn: There is a ball placed in a fluid filled curve-tube in the turn
and bank indicator. If we travel straight the ball stays in the
middle. To make a turn in a stable way, we must turn while
making sure that the ball remains in the middle. This means
that g and centrifugal acceleration are perpendicular.



Figure-3.9 Turn and bank indicator [K6-6]

3.2.3 HDG Instruments

These instruments are used to indicate the A/C HDG.

 Directional Gyroscope (DG): This instrument displays the A/C yaw angle. The gyro rotates about 
the pitch Y-axis and it is suspended in 2D Y-Z-axis. The gyro can be
driven either by vacuum air turbine or electric motor.



Setting Knob
Figure-3.10 Directional gyroscope indicator [K6-7]

1) The HDG can be set by the setting knob.

2) DG should be reset every 10 to 15 minutes (modern DGs reset automatically).

3) DG error are caused by: Earth
rotation (15 / hr).
Turn, Bank, and Pitch.
Gyro bearing friction.

 Magnetic Compass: This instrument displays the A/C horizontal direction or HDG w.r.t. earth 
magnetic meridian. Today, the compass principle is applied in modern
navigational displays as: Radio Magnetic Indicator (RMI) and
Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) . Magnetic Compass errors are:

1) Static Error: Magnetic pole and the true geographical pole are not at the same location. A
compass always points to the magnetic north pole, hence a static error.

Magnetic pole rotates slowly around the true pole (1 rev. / 1000
years). Magnetic variation: Difference between the true and magnetic
HDG. In Montréal:
Magnetic variation = 15 W.
This means that the magnetic North is 15 to the West of the true
North. True HDG of magnetic north = 360 – 15 = 345 .

2) Dynamic Error: Magnetic meridian has important dips in high LAT because after all earth is
not spherical; therefore, the compass card deviates from its horizontal
position; hence, the Center of Gravity (CG) changes, resulting in dynamic
error. If an A/C is traveling say to the East; when the plane:

Accelerate: the compass display the HDG but more tilted to the North.
Decelerate: the compass display the HDG but more tilted to the South.

Magnetic North Pole True North Pole

DIP Angle 15

DIP Angle = 0 M

t e


Not a perfect Parallel

Figure-3.11 Earth Magnetic field [K6-8]

RMI and HSI will be discussed further in Chapter 5.
3) Deviation Error: Airplanes are constructed in general from metals (i.e. aluminum alloy)
which could potentially be affected by the earth magnetic field and/or
airborne avionics; therefore, an electromagnetic (EM) field will be
generated, hence deviation error.

Adjustable magnets: are used to compensate the deviation error.

Compass swinging: should be performed annually to the compass to correct
the deviation error.
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
True HDG 000 / 360 030 060 090 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Displayed HDG 003 031 061 090 122 147 179 209 241 270 298 334
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Deviation Error -3 -1 -1 0 -2 +3 +1 +1 -1 0 +2 -4

Figure-3.12 Compass deviation error [K3-7]

3.3 Pilotage and Dead Reckoning

 Preliminary Concept: 

1) True Airspeed (TAS): Airspeed w.r.t. air.

2) HDG: Angle between A/C longitudinal axis and the meridian axis, measured clockwise
from the meridian (i.e. from North). HDG is used in correspondence with TAS.

3) Ground Speed (GS): Airspeed w.r.t. GND.

4) TK: Angle between GS vector and the meridian axis, measured clockwise from the
meridian (i.e. from North). TK is used in correspondence with GS.

5) Wind: It is determined by its speed or Wind Speed (WS) and direction or Wind Angle (WA).
Top View







Figure-3.13 Definition of speed vectors

Recently a lot of Research and Development (R&D) efforts are underway to adapt the use of composite materials instead of the
traditional aluminum alloy core. The major disadvantage of this transformation is the high cost of composite materials.
6) Drift Angle ( ): Angle measured by going from the HDG to the TK.

7) Bearing: Angle of an object seen from the A/C measured clockwise from the meridian
(i.e. from North).

 Going from A to B: 

TK Made Good

α γ β
Required TK

Figure-3.14 Distinction between Required TK and TK Made Good [K3-8]

1) Required TK: Angle representing the proposed A/C path over GND.
2) TK Made Good: Angle representing the actual A/C path over GND.
3) Opening Angle ( ): Angle representing the departure TK Error.
4) Closing Angle ( ): Angle representing the destination TK Error.
5) TK Error ( ): Angle representing the difference between the Required TK and
TK Made Good.

 10 Drift Lines: 

Required TK

A 10 10
10 10 B
10 nm 20 nm

Figure-3.15 10 Drift Lines [K3-9]

1) 10 Drift Lines are drawn around the Required TK to help:
Estimate wind drift
2) 10 nm marks are identified along the Required TK to help the estimate of GS.

3) It is recommended to perform a GS check every 10 nm.

 Double TK Error Method: 


150 − 6  144
2  6  12
A 6

Required TK 150
C Ke

thi Tra veling i

direc ti

1 0 dri 156
ft li

Wind ne

Figure-3.16 Double TK Error Method [K3-10]

1) Method is used to regain Required TK.

2) Due to crosswinds we deviate from the Required TK by say 6 .
0 0
3) To regain the Required TK we travel in the opposite direction by 2 x 6 . The first 6 is to
get back to the Required TK, and the next 6 is to compensate for future crosswinds.

4) The time it takes to fly from A to B to C is approximately the same time it takes to fly from
A to C.

 Visual TK Alteration Method: 


150 − 6  144
A 6
Required TK
Landmark C 6 150
t eli n
his d ire
g in

10 dri line
n 156
Wind ft

Figure-3.17 Visual TK Alteration Method [K3-10]

1) Method is used to regain Required TK based on finding a landmark.

2) Due to crosswinds we deviate from the Required TK by say 6 .
3) We locate a landmark on the Required TK (C) and fly toward it.
4) At the Required TK, we go south by 6 to overcome future crosswinds.

 Two Point Visual Range Method: 

TV Light Radio
A Tower House Required TK B

Figure-3.18 Two Point Visual Range Method

1) Method is used to fly on the Required TK through visual reference to landmarks.

2) Locate a landmark on the Required TK and fly toward it.
3) Repeat this procedure until destination is reached.

 Opening/Closing Angles Method: 


e 1 0 dri

ft li
g in
ne K


is d
A Required TK 150 C

8 150 − 4  8   138
10 drift li ftli

ne 0d

Figure-3.19 Opening/Closing Angles Method [K3-11]

1) Method is used if we determine late in the travel that we are off the Required TK.
2) Due to crosswinds we deviate from the Required TK by say 4 .
0 0
3) Late in the travel at point B we estimate the Opening Angle (4 ) and the Closing Angle (8 ).
0 0
4) To reach C we travel in the opposite direction by 4 + 8 .

 Return to Point of Departure Method: 

1) Method is used if we suddenly detect a problem during NAV and want to turn back.

2) Main reasons to use this method are:

Weather conditions
problems Etc.

3) Estimate GS, determine the TK angle, and calculate .

4) Calculate the Reciprocal TK.

Reciprocal TK  TK  1800 (3.15)
5) Finally obtain the Reciprocal HDG
Reciprocal HDG  Reciprocal TK  δ (3.16)

TAS Fly at this
Direction Wind
GS e

R o
e a
c i
r H
c D
a l




Figure-3.20 Return to Point of Departure Method

 Triangulation Method: 
TV Tower
Light House

Light House

TV Tower

Figure-3.21 Triangulation Method [K1-2]

1) Method is used to determine the A/C position.
2) We identify 2 or more landmarks and determine their bearings.
3) We then extend their lines.
4) The point where the lines intersect is where the aircraft is located.
1.1 Air Navigation

Air Navigation (NAV) is the process of directing the movement of an aircraft (A/C) from one point to
the other. It involves the control of position, direction, and speed of an A/C with respect to time.

1.2 NAV Methods

 Pilotage: Early method of NAV based on visual reference to landmarks. 

 Dead Reckoning (DR): NAV by extrapolating. That is, determining the present position through the 
knowledge of a previous reference position.

1) Obtain an estimate of the Ground Speed (GS).

2) Integrate over-time to obtain the position.


x  GS t dt
A δ GS

TAS: True Airspeed WS

HDG: Heading Angle Figure-1.1 GS estimation

GS: Ground Speed
TK: Track Angle
WS: Wind Speed
WA: Wind Angle
δ: Drift Angle
 Radio NAV: NAV through the use of wireless communication signals broadcasted by Ground (GND) 
or A/C based radio station.

 Celestial NAV: NAV in reference to heavily bodies, such as: sun, moon, planets, stars, etc. 

 Inertial NAV: NAV based on double integrating the A/C acceleration measured using airborne 

x  a  t  dt 1dt 2

 Satellite NAV: NAV through the use of data broadcasted by a Satellite (SAT) based transmitter. 

1.3 History of Air NAV

 1910’s (WWI): 

1) Compass
2) Altimeter: Instrument to measure height above a reference.
3) Airspeed Indicator
4) Watch
5) Pilotage
6) DR

 1920’s: 

1) Blind Flying: i.e. without looking from the cockpit window.

2) Directional Gyroscope: Instrument that sense angular motion using momentum of a spinning
mass with respect to (w.r.t) 1 or 2-axes orthogonal to the spin axis.

3) Artificial Horizon: Gyro operated flight instrument that shows the inclination of an A/C
w.r.t. a horizon bar.

4) Advanced DR

 1930’s: 

1) Basic-T: Standardization of flight instruments.
2) Electronic NAV
3) Radio Communication
4) Autopilot
 1940’s (WWII): 

1) Celestial NAV: Progress in long-range NAV.

2) Radio Communication

3) Radar: System that uses radio waves for detecting and locating objects in space.

Turn on radar Transmitter (Tx).

Radar sends a radio wave beam to the object.

Turn off radar Tx and turn on its Receiver (Rx).

Radar detects the echo reflected by the object.

Time for the traveled beam from the object to the radar is captured as well as
the Doppler shift of the echo.

Since radio wave travel with the speed of light c, hence position is known; and
the speed of the object is also known through the Doppler shift data.
Tx / Rx
Radar Reflect Object

Figure-1.2 Radar system

xct (1.4)

4) Transponder: Communication system that has a combined Tx and Rx. Used in A/C and
SATs for 2-way communications.
Satellite with


Figure-1.3 SAT system with an integrated transponder

 1950’s & 60’s: 

1) Jet-Age

2) Avionics: New term meaning electronic NAV was standardized.

3) Avionic Systems: Progress in electronic air NAV.

Automatic Direction Finder (ADF): System that tells us where the A/C is located.

Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-directional Range (VOR): System that tells us the
A/C angle w.r.t to
a GND station.

Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN): Military (MIL) system used to

provide bearing and distance between
the A/C and a GND station.

Integrated VOR & TACAN system (VORTAC): GND station with VOR
and TACAN antennas.

Instrument Landing System (ILS): System that guides the A/C for an ideal landing.

Inertial Navigation System (INS): Airborne system that gives continuous

A/C position information through DR.

4) Sophisticated Autopilot System

 Today: 

1) Space-Age

2) Integrated Flight Control

3) Flight Management System (FMS): System that can fly the A/C.

4) Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS): Touch-operated screen showing all flight
and engine instruments required to fly
an A/C with audio capabilities.

5) Heads-Up Display (HUD): Cockpit window will display navigational information, therefore
no need to incline to observe data on dashboard but rather look
straight to the window.

Angle information or bearing or azimuth are similar terms and could be used interchangeably.
6) Microwave Landing System (MLS): MIL system that does not require a straight flight
path in order to land.

7) Long Range Navigation (LORAN-C): System used to determine A/C position.

8) Optimized Method for Estimated Guidance Accuracy (OMEGA): System used to determine
A/C position.

9) Global Positioning System (GPS): System used to determine A/C position using SATs.

10) Air Traffic Control (ATC): Promoting safety an order in airspace.

11) Free-Flight Concept: The idea is based on letting every airplane in sky to know of each
other so as to increase traffic awareness, avoid collisions, and
reduce ATC workload.
2.3 International NAV Standards
For the sake of uniformity of the air NAV, international bodies have formed standards.

www.faa.gov www.icao.int


www.arinc.com www.fcc.gov www.itu.int

Figure-2.8 Logo of national and international bodies

 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO): It is a UN organization that has the following 

1) Develop standards for aviation matters.

2) Recommend specific systems .
3) Provides international agreements for ATC.
4) Defines country airspace. That is which country has responsibility over the ocean, etc.

 International Air Transport Association (IATA): Represents the interest of commercial airlines. 

 International Telecommunication Union (ITU): Recommends all allocations of frequencies in the 
radio spectrum.

 National Aviation: ICAO, IATA, and ITU work closely with national bodies such as: 

1) Canada:
Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA)
Industry Canada
But not a specific Hardware (HW).
2) United States:
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
Aeronautical Radio Inc. (ARINC): Private association for US-airlines; however,
since the US dominate the world airline business
ARINC standards are used worldwide.

2.4 Airspace Structure

For effective and safe ATC, the airspace is organized according to its specific purpose and use. The sky
is divided into Controlled Airspace [Classes A, B, C, D, & E] and Uncontrolled Airspace [Class G].

18.2 km
13.6 km
Class-A J -Airway
5.5 km
Continental Control Area
4.4 km Class-E

55.5 km V-Airway

9.3 km 1.2 km
8.0 km 0.9 km
0.4 km
Transition Area 4.7 km Class-D 0.4 km
0.2 km
Class-G Class-G Class-G

Figure-2.9 Airspace structure for Canada and the US as of 1991 [K6-3]

 Some Definitions: 

1) Mean Sea Level (MSL): Represents the Altitude (ALT) above the earth surface w.r.t sea.
2) Above Ground Level (AGL): Represents the ALT above the earth surface w.r.t GND.
3) Flight Level (FL)
4) Statue Mile (sm)

ft MSL  ft AGL (2.6)

FL1 ≡ 100 ft MSL (2.7)
1 sm  0.869 nm  1.609 km (2.8)

 Class A: Positive Control Area (PCA): 

1) ABOVE all airspaces.
2) From FL180 to FL600.
3) A/C is controlled with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
4) Radio communication with ATC before entering this zone is required.
 Class B: Terminal Control Area (TCA): 

1) Airspace in the vicinity of major busy airports in BIG cities.
2) Lightweight airplanes cannot fly here (special permission from ATC may be granted).
3) Uppermost circle radius = 30 nm = 55.5 km.
4) Maximum airspeed = 250 kts.
5) A/C must have a 2-way VHF radio and a mode-C transponder.
6) IFR aircrafts must have VOR equipment.
7) Visual Flight Rules (VFR) corridors are sometimes designated.
8) Radio communication with ATC before entering this zone is required.

 Class C: Airport Radar Service Area (ARSA): 

1) Airspace is similar to class B but for smaller CITIES.
2) Lightweight airplanes cannot fly here (special permission from ATC may be granted).
3) Control tower is equipped with radar.
4) Uppermost circle radius = 5 nm = 9.3 km.
5) Maximum airspeed = 250 kts.
6) A/C must have a 2-way VHF radio and a mode-C transponder.
7) Radio communication with ATC before entering this zone is required.

 Class D: Airport Traffic Area (ATA): 

1) Airspace in the vicinity of very small or DIMINUTIVE airports.
2) Lightweight airplanes may fly here (unless specified otherwise).
3) Control tower may not be equipped with radar.
4) Circle radius = 5 sm = 4.4 nm = 8.0 km.
5) Maximum airspeed = 250 kts.
6) A/C must have a 2-way VHF radio and a mode-C transponder.
7) Radio communication with ATC before entering this zone is required.

 Class E: Contains Remaining Controlled Airspaces: 

1) This airspace is EVERYWHERE due to its vast volume.
2) Lightweight airplanes may fly here (unless specified otherwise).
3) Airspace categories:

Continental Control Area: From FL145 to FL180 (Bottom of Class A).

Transition Area: Transition between Airport and En-route

environment. From 700 ft AGL to 1200 ft AGL.

Non-Tower Airport Area: Communication with ATC is recommended.

 Class G: Completely Uncontrolled Airspace: 

1) Low flying GND airspace.
2) Lightweight airplanes may fly here freely.
3) ATC does not have authority for traffic control.

Airspace Communications Separation Minimum

Class with ATC for Entry Provided Qualifications
A Required All A/C Instrument Rating
Private or Student Certificate
B Required All A/C
dependent on location
VFR from
C Required Student Certificate
D Required Student Certificate
None for
E Not Required for VFR Student Certificate
G Not Required None Student Certificate

Figure-2.10 Airspace summary [K6-3]

 Special Use Airspace: 

1) Warning Area (W): Area outside territorial limits (e.g. Over international water).
2) Alert Area (A): Area with high volume of aerial activity (e.g. Pilot training).
3) Prohibited Area (P): Flight is prohibited for security reasons (e.g. White House).
4) Restricted Area (R): Flight is restricted for safety reasons (e.g. Area where guns are used).
5) MIL Operations Area (MOA): Separate Civilian (CIV) traffic from MIL training activities.
6) MIL Training Route (MTR): Low amplitude/high speed MIL flight training.
7) Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ): Area where identification (ID) is required for
national security reasons. If A/C does not respond
it may be shot.

 Oceanic Control Areas: 

1) Airspace over ocean, outside individual countries.
2) Airspace is similar to class A.
3) Traffic control is the responsibilities of adjacent countries identified by ICAO .

 Airway: 

1) It is a highway in the sky.
2) Directions to fly along this highway are given by signal radiation of VOR or VORTAC
GND stations.

As an example, the Caribbean area is under US responsibility.
3) Airway width = 10 sm = 16 km.
4) Airway types:

Synonyms: V or VOR or Victor Airway.
Located in class E airspace (till
FL180). For short-trip / low ALT
flights. Used by IFR and VFR A/C.

Synonyms: J or Jet or Juliet Airway.
Located in class A airspace (From FL180 to
FL450). For long-trip / high ALT flights.
Used by IFR A/C.


Figure-2.11 V- or J-Airway NAV (i.e. without using waypoints)

2.5 Air Traffic Control System

The purpose of ATC is to promote safety and order in the sky. Also, ATC system is similar worldwide due
to ICAO standardization.

 ATC achieves its duties by managing and manipulating the following: 

1) Systems:
A/C. Airport
systems. NAV
Traffic control
devices. GND
equipments. Etc.

2) Information:
Apply rules and procedures. Provide
weather information. Enable
communication with aircrafts. Etc.
 ATC complexity are due to: 

1) Traffic density
2) Weather conditions
3) Cost considerations
4) Available technology

 ATC facilities include: 

1) Air Traffic Control Tower Center (ATCTC): Handles traffic around the airport.
GND Control

2) Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON): Handles traffic in the terminal area.
Departure control
Approach control

3) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC): Handles En-route traffic.

En-route Control

4) Flight Service Station (FSS):

Flight planning. Traffic
condition bulletins.
Weather information.
Status of Navigational Aid (NAVAID) reports.
Handling certain non-tower airport traffic.
Communication with VFR flights.
Coordination of search operations.

 MIL ATC: 

1) MIL ATC works closely with CIV ATC.

2) MIL ATC facilities include:

Radar Approach Control Facility (RAPCON): US Air Force.
Radar Air Traffic Control Center (RATCC): US Navy.

2.5.1 Visual Flight Rule – VFR

 Definition: VFR is based on flying by visually looking out of the cockpit to navigate with reference to 
GND landmarks and to avoid collisions with other A/Cs.

 VFR A/C can voluntarily access various ATC services: 

1) Radar traffic information service
2) Radar assistance: Obtain NAV vectors.
3) Terminal radar service: Merging of VFR and IFR traffic.
4) Tower En-route control: Short VFR flights.
 VFR Flight Plan: In general, filling a flight plan is not required for VFR A/C; however it is a good 
practice since it could be useful in search and rescue operations in case an accident
or a problem occurs. If a flight plan is filled, we do not need to follow it fully, but
if we do it would be better. Canadian authorities are more strict than the US and
requires that we fill-in a flight plan.

 VFR Weather Minima: 

500 ft ≈ 152 m


500 ft ≈ 152 m

1 mile ≈ 1.6 km

500 ft ≈ 152 m

Sea Level

Figure-2.12 VFR weather minima for Canada and the US [K3-3]

2.5.2 Instrument Flight Rule – IFR

 Definition: IFR is based on flying using airborne instruments (not by looking out of the cockpit). 

 Characteristics of IFR Flights: 

1) Pilot must have certain qualifications.
2) Pilot and A/C equipment are subject to periodic certification checks.
3) A/C must be equipped with:
Gyroscope Navigational
equipments Radio
communication Radar
transponder Etc.

 ATC control of IFR traffic is based on 2 methods: 

1) Procedural Method: ATC uses real-time position information received from the A/C as it
flies over predetermined GND reporting points (e.g. VOR stations).
2) Radar Method: ATC uses continuous position information obtained from GND based
radars. This method is more precise; therefore, closer A/C separation
distances are possible.

small small

Figure-2.13 Radar method enables small separation distances

 IFR Traffic Separation: 

1) ATC performs traffic separation for IFR A/C only (not VFR).
2) IFR separation is highly dependent on:
Airborne NAV equipment used. Control
method used (Procedural or Radar). Etc.

 IFR Flight Phases: 


En- ro
u ut
a ontr

Terminal Area


Ground Control r


Ground Control

Figure-2.14 IFR flight phases [K3-4]

1) Departure:
Pilot communicates with Clearance Delivery.
Departure transponder code is assigned.
Transfer to GND Control for taxi clearance to the active runway.
Transfer to Tower Control when A/C is ready to takeoff.
Transfer to Departure Control when A/C is airborne until the end of Terminal Area.

2) En-route:
Transfer to En-route Control during transition airspace.
As the flight proceeds the A/C is handed-over from one ARTCC to another.
Pilots are required to follow their routes & ALT, and report their position.
Change of route may be requested dues to weather or other circumstances.
While flying over the ocean, the rules and regulations of ICAO and the country
controlling the airspace must be followed .

3) Arrival and Landing:

Before arriving to the airport, ARTCC contacts Approach Control.

Transfer to Approach Control is done in 2 methods:

Holding Fix Method: Use when the sky is busy.
Radar ID Method: Transfer is done in a predetermined area.

Transfer to Tower Control when A/C is ready to land using ILS. Also at this stage,
VFR A/C which land visually are mixed with IFR airplanes; therefore, first come
first serve principle is applied.

Transfer to GND Control for taxi clearance to the active gate.


1,000 ft ≈ 305 m


Holding Outer Middle

Fix Marker Marker

Figure-2.15 Holding fix method and ILS for the landing phase [K3-5]

As an example, North Atlantic permits only IFR fights.
2.5.3 VFR and IFR

 Flight Planning: A flight plan is prepared filled either in person, by telephone, or by radio with FSS. 

1) A/C ID (registration sign).
2) Type of flight plan (VFR or IFR).
3) A/C NAV equipments.
4) Route of flight (V or J-Airway).
5) Departure point.
6) Destination point.
7) Departure time (in GMT).
8) En-route estimated time.
9) Fuel onboard (in terms of endurance time).
10) Cruising ALT (for IFR you request the ALT).
11) True airspeed (kts).
12) Number onboard (crew + passengers).
13) Color of A/C.
14) Alternate airport (mandatory for IFR).
15) Remarks as necessary.
16) Pilot’s Info: Name / License # / Address / Telephone #

 Cruising ALT: Specific cruising ALT must be respected depending on the A/C HDG. 

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
000 179 180 359 000 179 180 359
FL30 0.914 km FL20 0.610 km FL35 1.07 km FL25 0.762 km
FL50 1.52 km FL40 1.22 km FL55 1.68 km FL45 1.37 km
FL70 2.13 km FL60 1.83 km FL75 2.29 km FL65 1.98 km
FL90 2.74 km FL80 2.44 km FL95 2.90 km FL85 2.59 km
FL110 3.35 km FL100 3.05 km FL115 3.51 km FL105 3.20 km
FL130 3.96 km FL120 3.66 km FL135 4.12 km FL125 3.81 km
FL150 4.57 km FL140 4.27 km FL155 4.72 km FL145 4.42 km
FL170 5.18 km FL160 4.88 km FL175 5.33 km FL165 5.03 km
FL190 5.79 km FL180 5.49 km FL195 5.94 km FL185 5.64 km
FL210 6.40 km FL200 6.10 km FL215 6.55 km FL205 6.25 km
FL230 7.01 km FL220 6.71 km FL235 7.16 km FL225 6.86 km
FL250 7.62 km FL240 7.32 km Etc Etc
FL270 8.23 km FL260 7.93 km
FL290 8.84 km FL280 8.53 km 360 000
FL330 10.06 km FL310 9.45 km
FL370 11.28 km FL350 10.67 km 270 W E 090

FL410 12.50 km FL390 11.89 km

Etc Etc S
Figure-2.16 VFR and IFR cruising ALTs [K6-4]
3.1 Flight Controls

Aileron Center of Gravity
Vertical Trim Aileron Trim Tab Slat
Ruder Trim Tab Roll

Pitch X-longitudinal
Elevator Trim Tab
Elevator Flap Y-lateral

Horizontal Stabilizer Wing



Figure-3.1 A/C control surfaces [K1-1]

(Elevator) Yaw Roll
(Rudder) (Aileron)

Figure-3.2 A/C 6-degrees of freedom [K2-1]

 Movement Control: 6 degrees of freedom. 

1) Roll: Rotation movement of an A/C about a longitudinal axis
(X). Hardware: Aileron.
Control: Lateral motion of the stick.

2) Pitch: Rotation movement of an A/C about a lateral axis

(Y). Hardware: Elevator.
Control: Longitudinal motion of the stick.

3) Yaw: Rotation movement of an A/C about a vertical axis (Z).

Hardware: Rudder.
Control: Rudder pedals.

 Lift and Drag: Affects the A/C movement in the X and Z axes. 


 Thrust: That is the driving force of the A/C is accomplished by the power-plant control. 

Rool to the Left Rool to the Right


Pitch Up Pitch Down


Yaw to the Left Yaw to the Right

Left Pedal Right Pedal

Figure-3.3 Controlling A/C 6-degrees of free


A telecommunications tower with a variety of dish antennas formicrowave relay links on Frazier Peak, Ventura
County, California.

The atmospheric attenuation of microwaves in dry air with a precipitable water vapor level of 0.001 mm. The
downward spikes in the graph correspond to frequencies at which microwaves are absorbed more strongly. Some
standards designate the righthand side of the graph as within the range of infrared.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimeter;
with frequencies between 300 MHz (100 cm) and 300 GHz (0.1 cm).[1][2] This broad definition includes
both UHF and EHF (millimeter waves), and various sources use different boundaries. In all cases, microwave
includes the entire SHF band (3 to 30 GHz, or 10 to 1 cm) at minimum, with RF engineering often restricting the
range between 1 and 100 GHz (300 and 3 mm).
The prefix micro- in microwave is not meant to suggest a wavelength in the micrometer range. It indicates that
microwaves are "small", compared to waves used in typical radio broadcasting, in that they have shorter
wavelengths. The boundaries between far infrared, terahertz radiation, microwaves, and ultra-high-
frequency radio waves are fairly arbitrary and are used variously between different fields of study.
Beginning at about 40 GHz, the atmosphere becomes less transparent to microwaves, at lower frequencies
to absorption from water vapor and at higher frequencies from oxygen. A spectral band structure causes absorption
peaks at specific frequencies (see graph at right). Above 100 GHz, the absorption of electromagnetic radiation by
Earth's atmosphere is so great that it is in effect opaque, until the atmosphere becomes transparent again in the so-
called infrared and optical window frequency ranges.
The term microwave also has a more technical meaning in electromagnetics and circuit theory. Apparatus and
techniques may be described qualitatively as "microwave" when the frequencies used are high enough that
wavelengths of signals are roughly the same as the dimensions of the equipment, so that lumped-element circuit
theory is inaccurate. As a consequence, practical microwave technique tends to move away from the
discrete resistors, capacitors, and inductors used with lower-frequency radio waves. Instead, distributed circuit
elements and transmission-line theory are more useful methods for design and analysis. Open-wire and
coaxial transmission lines used at lower frequencies are replaced by waveguides and stripline, and lumped-element
tuned circuits are replaced by cavity resonators or resonant lines. In turn, at even higher frequencies, where the
wavelength of the electromagnetic waves becomes small in comparison to the size of the structures used to process
them, microwave techniques become inadequate, and the methods of optics are used.

 1The electromagnetic spectrum

 2Microwave sources
 3Microwave uses
o 3.1Communication
o 3.2Navigation
o 3.3Radar
o 3.4Radio astronomy
o 3.5Heating and power application
o 3.6Spectroscopy
 4Microwave frequency bands
 5Microwave frequency measurement
 6Effects on health
 7History and research

The electromagnetic spectrum

Electromagnetic spectrum

Name Wavelength Frequency (Hz) Photon energy (eV) Range width (Bel)

Gamma ray < 0.02 nm > 15 EHz > 62.1 keV infinite

X-ray 0.01 nm – 10 nm 30 EHz – 30 PHz 124 keV – 124 eV 3

Ultraviolet 10 nm – 400 nm 30 PHz – 750 THz 124 eV – 3 eV 1.6

Visible light 390 nm – 750 nm 770 THz – 400 THz 3.2 eV – 1.7 eV 0.3

Infrared 750 nm – 1 mm 400 THz – 300 GHz 1.7 eV – 1.24 meV 3.1

Microwave 1 mm – 1 m 300 GHz – 1 GHz 1.24 meV – 1.24 µeV 3

Radio 1 mm – 100,000 km 300 GHz – 3 Hz 1.24 meV – 12.4 feV 8

Microwave sources

Cutaway view inside a cavity magnetron as used in amicrowave oven (left). Antenna splitter: microstriptechniques
become increasingly necessary at higher frequencies (right).

High-power microwave sources use specialized vacuum tubes to generate microwaves. These devices operate on
different principles from low-frequency vacuum tubes, using the ballistic motion of electrons in a vacuum under the
influence of controlling electric or magnetic fields, and include the magnetron (used in microwave
ovens), klystron,traveling-wave tube (TWT), and gyrotron. These devices work in the density modulated mode,
rather than the currentmodulated mode. This means that they work on the basis of clumps of electrons flying
ballistically through them, rather than using a continuous stream of electrons.
Low-power microwave sources use solid-state devices such as the field-effect transistor (at least at lower
frequencies),tunnel diodes, Gunn diodes, and IMPATT diodes.[3] Low-power sources are available as benchtop
instruments, rackmount instruments, embeddable modules and in card-level formats. A maser is a solid state device
which amplifies microwaves using similar principles to the laser, which amplifies higher frequency light waves.
All warm objects emit low level microwave black-body radiation, depending on their temperature, so in
meteorology andremote sensing microwave radiometers are used to measure the temperature of objects or terrain
.[4] The sun[5] and other astronomical radio sources such as Cassiopeia A emit low level microwave radiation which
carries information about their makeup, which is studied by radio astronomersusing receivers called radio
telescopes.[4] The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), for example, is a weak microwave noise filling
empty space which is a major source of information on cosmology's Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe.

Microwave uses
Microwave technology is extensively used for point-to-point telecommunications (i.e. non-broadcast uses).
Microwaves are especially suitable for this use since they are more easily focused into narrower beams than radio
waves, allowing frequency reuse; their comparatively higher frequencies allow broad bandwidth and high data
transmission rates, and antenna sizes are smaller than at lower frequencies because antenna size is inversely
proportional to transmitted frequency. Microwaves are used in spacecraft communication, and much of the world's
data, TV, and telephone communications are transmitted long distances by microwaves between ground stations
and communications satellites. Microwaves are also employed in microwave ovens and in radar technology.
Main articles: Point-to-point (telecommunications), Microwave transmission and Satellite communications
Before the advent of fiber-optic transmission, most long-distance telephone calls were carried via networks
of microwave radio relay links run by carriers such as AT&T Long Lines. Starting in the early 1950s, frequency
division multiplex was used to send up to 5,400 telephone channels on each microwave radio channel, with as many
as ten radio channels combined into one antenna for the hop to the next site, up to 70 km away.
Wireless LAN protocols, such as Bluetooth and the IEEE 802.11 specifications used for Wi-Fi, also use microwaves
in the 2.4 GHz ISM band, although 802.11a uses ISM band andU-NII frequencies in the 5 GHz range. Licensed
long-range (up to about 25 km) Wireless Internet Access services have been used for almost a decade in many
countries in the 3.5–4.0 GHz range. The FCC recently[when?] carved out spectrum for carriers that wish to offer
services in this range in the U.S. — with emphasis on 3.65 GHz. Dozens of service providers across the country are
securing or have already received licenses from the FCC to operate in this band. The WIMAX service offerings that
can be carried on the 3.65 GHz band will give business customers another option for connectivity.
Metropolitan area network (MAN) protocols, such as WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access)
are based on standards such as IEEE 802.16, designed to operate between 2 to 11 GHz. Commercial
implementations are in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz ranges.
Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) protocols based on standards specifications such as IEEE 802.20 or
ATIS/ANSI HC-SDMA (such as iBurst) operate between 1.6 and 2.3 GHz to give mobility and in-building
penetration characteristics similar to mobile phones but with vastly greater spectral efficiency.[6]
Some mobile phone networks, like GSM, use the low-microwave/high-UHF frequencies around 1.8 and 1.9 GHz in
the Americas and elsewhere, respectively. DVB-SH and S-DMBuse 1.452 to 1.492 GHz, while
proprietary/incompatible satellite radio in the U.S. uses around 2.3 GHz for DARS.
Microwave radio is used in broadcasting and telecommunication transmissions because, due to their short
wavelength, highly directional antennas are smaller and therefore more practical than they would be at longer
wavelengths (lower frequencies). There is also more bandwidth in the microwave spectrum than in the rest of the
radio spectrum; the usable bandwidth below 300 MHz is less than 300 MHz while many GHz can be used above
300 MHz. Typically, microwaves are used in television news to transmit a signal from a remote location to a
television station from a specially equipped van. See broadcast auxiliary service (BAS), remote pickup unit (RPU),
and studio/transmitter link (STL).
Most satellite communications systems operate in the C, X, Ka, or Ku bands of the microwave spectrum. These
frequencies allow large bandwidth while avoiding the crowded UHF frequencies and staying below the atmospheric
absorption of EHF frequencies. Satellite TV either operates in the C band for the traditional large dish fixed satellite
service or Kuband for direct-broadcast satellite. Military communications run primarily over X or Ku-band links,
with Ka band being used for Milstar.
Further information: Satellite navigation and Navigation
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) including the Chinese Beidou, the American Global Positioning
System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS broadcast navigational signals in various bands between about 1.2 GHz
and 1.6 GHz.

An air traffic control radar using pipes as waveguides

Main article: Radar

Radar uses microwave radiation to detect the range, speed, and other characteristics of remote objects. Development
of radar was accelerated during World War II due to its great military utility. Now radar is widely used for
applications such as air traffic control, weather forecasting, navigation of ships, and speed limit enforcement.
Microwaves cannot be carried with usable efficiency in ordinary transmission lines but require waveguide, such as a
metal pipe.
A Gunn diode oscillator and waveguide are used as a motion detector for automatic door openers.

The ALMA telescope

Improving CMBR-maps

Radio astronomy
Most radio astronomy uses microwaves. Usually the naturally-occurring microwave radiation is observed, but active
radar experiments have also been done with objects in the solar system, such as determining the distance to
the Moon or mapping the invisible surface of Venus through cloud cover.
The Atacama Large Millimeter Array, located at more than 5,000 meters (16,597 ft) altitude in Chile, observes
the universe in the millimetre and submillimetre wavelength ranges. The world's largest ground-based astronomy
project to date consists of more than 66 dishes and was built in an international collaboration by Europe, North
America, East Asia and Chile.[7][8]
The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) has been mapped by a number of instrument at an ever
increasing resolution. The CMBR is understood to be a "relic radiation" from the Big Bang. Due to the expansion
and thus cooling of the Universe, the originally high-energy radiation has been shifted into the microwave region of
the radio spectrum. Sufficiently sensitive radio telescopes can detected the CMBR as a faint background glow,
almost exactly the same in all directions, that is not associated with any star, galaxy, or other object.[9]
Heating and power application
A microwave oven passes (non-ionizing) microwave radiation at a frequency near 2.45 GHz (12 cm) through food,
causing dielectric heating primarily by absorption of the energy in water. Microwave ovens became common
kitchen appliances in Western countries in the late 1970s, following the development of less expensive cavity
magnetrons. Water in the liquid state possesses many molecular interactions that broaden the absorption peak. In the
vapor phase, isolated water molecules absorb at around 22 GHz, almost ten times the frequency of the microwave
Microwave heating is used in industrial processes for drying and curing products.
Many semiconductor processing techniques use microwaves to generate plasma for such purposes as reactive ion
etching and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition(PECVD).
Microwave frequencies typically ranging from 110 – 140 GHz are used in stellarators and more notably
in tokamak experimental fusion reactors to help heat the fuel into a plasma state. The
upcoming ITER thermonuclear reactor[10] is expected to range from 110–170 GHz and will employ electron
cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH).[11]
Microwaves can be used to transmit power over long distances, and post-World War II research was done to
examine possibilities. NASA worked in the 1970s and early 1980s to research the possibilities of using solar power
satellite (SPS) systems with large solar arrays that would beam power down to the Earth's surface via microwaves.
Less-than-lethal weaponry exists that uses millimeter waves to heat a thin layer of human skin to an intolerable
temperature so as to make the targeted person move away. A two-second burst of the 95 GHz focused beam heats
the skin to a temperature of 54 °C (129 °F) at a depth of 0.4 millimetres (1⁄64 in). The United States Air
Force and Marines are currently using this type of active denial system in fixed installations.[12]
Microwave radiation is used in electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR or ESR) spectroscopy, typically in the X-
band region (~9 GHz) in conjunction typically with magnetic fields of 0.3 T. This technique provides information
on unpaired electrons in chemical systems, such as free radicals or transition metal ions such as Cu(II). Microwave
radiation is also used to perform rotational spectroscopy and can be combined with electrochemistry as
in microwave enhanced electrochemistry.

Microwave frequency bands

Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric transmittance (or opacity) to various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
Microwaves are strongly absorbed at wavelengths shorter than about 1.5 cm (above 20 GHz) by water and other
molecules in the air.

The microwave spectrum is usually defined as electromagnetic energy ranging from approximately
1 GHz to 100 GHz in frequency, but older use includes lower frequencies. Most common applications are within the
1 to 40 GHz range. One set of microwave frequency bands designations by the Radio Society of Great
Britain (RSGB), is tabulated below:

ITU radio bands

1 (ELF) 2 (SLF) 3 (ULF) 4 (VLF)

5 (LF) 6 (MF) 7 (HF) 8 (VHF)
9 (UHF) 10 (SHF) 11 (EHF) 12 (THF)

EU / NATO / US ECM radio bands

 A
 B
 C
 D
 E
 F
 G
 H
 I
 J
 K
 L
 M

IEEE radio bands

 HF
 L
 S
 C
 X
 Ku
 K
 Ka
 V
 W
 mm

Other TV and radio bands

 I
 II
 IV
 V
 VI
Microwave frequency bands

Frequency Wavelength
Designation Typical uses
range range

15 cm to
L band 1 to 2 GHz military telemetry, GPS, mobile phones (GSM), amateur radio
30 cm

weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications

7.5 cm to satellites (microwave ovens, microwave devices/communications,
S band 2 to 4 GHz
15 cm radio astronomy, mobile phones, wireless LAN, Bluetooth, ZigBee,
GPS, amateur radio)

3.75 cm to
C band 4 to 8 GHz long-distance radio telecommunications
7.5 cm

25 mm to satellite communications, radar, terrestrial broadband, space

X band 8 to 12 GHz
37.5 mm communications, amateur radio

12 to 16.7 mm to
Ku band satellite communications
18 GHz 25 mm

18 to 11.3 mm to radar, satellite communications, astronomical observations,

K band
26.5 GHz 16.7 mm automotive radar

26.5 to 5.0 mm to
Ka band satellite communications
40 GHz 11.3 mm

33 to 6.0 mm to satellite communications, terrestrial microwave communications,

Q band
50 GHz 9.0 mm radio astronomy, automotive radar

40 to 5.0 mm to
U band
60 GHz 7.5 mm

50 to 4.0 mm to
V band millimeter wave radar research and other kinds of scientific research
75 GHz 6.0 mm

satellite communications, millimeter-wave radar research, military

75 to 2.7 mm to
W band radar targeting and tracking applications, and some non-military
110 GHz 4.0 mm
applications, automotive radar
SHF transmissions: Radio astronomy, microwave
90 to 2.1 mm to devices/communications, wireless LAN, most modern radars,
F band
140 GHz 3.3 mm communications satellites, satellite television broadcasting, DBS,
amateur radio

EHF transmissions: Radio astronomy, high-frequency microwave

110 to 1.8 mm to
D band radio relay, microwave remote sensing, amateur radio, directed-
170 GHz 2.7 mm
energy weapon, millimeter wave scanner

P band is sometimes used for Ku Band. "P" for "previous" was a radar band used in the UK ranging from
250 to 500 MHz and now obsolete per IEEE Std 521.[13][14][15]
When radars were first developed at K band during World War II, it was not known that there was a nearby
absorption band (due to water vapor and oxygen in the atmosphere). To avoid this problem, the original K band was
split into a lower band, Ku, and upper band, Ka.[16]

Microwave frequency measurement

Absorption wavemeter for measuring in the Ku band.

Microwave frequency can be measured by either electronic or mechanical techniques.

Frequency counters or high frequency heterodyne systems can be used. Here the unknown frequency is compared
with harmonics of a known lower frequency by use of a low frequency generator, a harmonic generator and a mixer.
Accuracy of the measurement is limited by the accuracy and stability of the reference source.
Mechanical methods require a tunable resonator such as an absorption wave meter, which has a known relation
between a physical dimension and frequency.
In a laboratory setting, Lecher lines can be used to directly measure the wavelength on a transmission line made of
parallel wires, the frequency can then be calculated. A similar technique is to use a slotted waveguide or slotted
coaxial line to directly measure the wavelength. These devices consist of a probe introduced into the line through a
longitudinal slot, so that the probe is free to travel up and down the line. Slotted lines are primarily intended for
measurement of the voltage standing wave ratio on the line. However, provided a standing wave is present, they
may also be used to measure the distance between the nodes, which is equal to half the wavelength. Precision of this
method is limited by the determination of the nodal locations.

Effects on health
Microwaves do not contain sufficient energy to chemically change substances by ionization, and so are an example
of non-ionizing radiation.[17] The word "radiation" refers to energy radiating from a source and not to radioactivity.
It has not been shown conclusively that microwaves (or other non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation) have
significant adverse biological effects at low levels. Some, but not all, studies suggest that long-term exposure may
have a carcinogenic effect.[18] This is separate from the risks associated with very high-intensity exposure, which can
cause heating and burns like any heat source, and not a unique property of microwaves specifically.
During World War II, it was observed that individuals in the radiation path of radar installations experienced clicks
and buzzing sounds in response to microwave radiation. Thismicrowave auditory effect was thought to be caused by
the microwaves inducing an electric current in the hearing centers of the brain.[19] Research by NASA in the 1970s
has shown this to be caused by thermal expansion in parts of the inner ear. In 1955 Dr. James Lovelock was able to
reanimate rats frozen at 0 °C using microwave diathermy.[20]
When injury from exposure to microwaves occurs, it usually results from dielectric heating induced in the body.
Exposure to microwave radiation can produce cataracts by this mechanism,[21] because the microwave
heating denatures proteins in the crystalline lens of the eye (in the same way that heat turns egg whites white and
opaque). The lens andcornea of the eye are especially vulnerable because they contain no blood vessels that can
carry away heat. Exposure to heavy doses of microwave radiation (as from an oven that has been tampered with to
allow operation even with the door open) can produce heat damage in other tissues as well, up to and including
serious burns that may not be immediately evident because of the tendency for microwaves to heat deeper tissues
with higher moisture content.
Eleanor R. Adair conducted microwave health research by exposing herself, animals and humans to microwave
levels that made them feel warm or even start to sweat and feel quite uncomfortable. She found no adverse health
effects other than heat.

History and research

Electromagnetic spectrum (visible-light range highlighted).

The existence of radio waves was predicted by James Clerk Maxwell in 1864 from his equations. In 1888, Heinrich
Hertz was the first to demonstrate the existence of radio waves by building a spark gap radio transmitter that
produced 450 MHz microwaves, in the UHF region. The equipment he used was primitive, including a horse trough,
a wrought iron point spark, and Leyden jars. He also built the first parabolic antenna, using a zinc gutter sheet. In
1894, Indian radio pioneer Jagdish Chandra Bose publicly demonstrated radio control of a bell using millimeter
wavelengths, and conducted research into the propagation of microwaves.[22]
Perhaps the first, documented, formal use of the term microwave occurred in 1931:
"When trials with wavelengths as low as 18 cm were made known, there was undisguised surprise that the
problem of the micro-wave had been solved so soon." Telegraph & Telephone Journal XVII. 179/1
In 1943, the Hungarian engineer Zoltán Bay sent ultra-short radio waves to the moon, which, reflected from
there, worked as a radar, and could be used to measure distance, as well as to study the moon.
Perhaps the first use of the word microwave in an astronomical context occurred in 1946 in an article
"Microwave Radiation from the Sun and Moon" by Robert Dicke and Robert Beringer. This same article also
made a showing in the New York Times issued in 1951.
In the history of electromagnetic theory, significant work specifically in the area of microwaves and their
applications was carried out by researchers including:
Specific work on microwaves

Names Area of work

Barkhausen and Kurz Positive grid oscillators

Hull Smooth bore magnetron

Russell and Sigurd Varian Velocity-modulated electron beam (→ klystron tube)

Randall and Boot Cavity magnetron


Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated (ARINC), established in 1929, is a major provider of transport communications
and systems engineering solutions for eight industries: aviation, airports, defense, government, healthcare, networks,
security, and transportation. ARINC has installed computer data networks in police cars and railroad cars and also
maintains the standards for line-replaceable units.

Previously owned by the Carlyle Group, in August 2013, it was announced that the company would be sold
to Rockwell Collins. The sale was completed on December 23, 2013. It is headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland,
and has two regional headquarters in London, established in 1999 to serve the Europe, Middle East, and Africa
region, and Singapore, established in 2003 for the Asia Pacific region. ARINC has more than 3,200 employees at
over 120 locations worldwide.

ARINC was incorporated in 1929 as Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated. It was chartered by the Federal Radio
Commission (which later became the Federal Communications Commission) in order to serve as the airline
industry’s single licensee and coordinator of radio communication outside of the government. The corporation's
stock was held by four major airlines of the day. Through most of its history, ARINC was owned by airlines and
other aviation-related companies such as Boeing until the sale to The Carlyle Group in October 2007.

Not much later ARINC took on the responsibility for all ground-based, aeronautical radio stations and for ensuring
station compliance with Federal Radio Commission (FRC) rules and regulations. Using this as a base technology,
ARINC expanded its contributions to transport communications as well as continuing to support the commercial
aviation industry and U.S. military.

ARINC also developed the standards for the trays and boxes used to hold standard line-replaceable units (like
radios) in aircraft. These permit electronics to be rapidly replaced without complex fasteners or test equipment.

In 1978 ARINC introduced ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System),
a datalink system that enables ground stations (airports, aircraft maintenance bases, etc.) to upload data (such as
flight plans) and download data (such as fuel quantity, weight on wheels, flight management system (FMS) data),
via an onboard Communications Management Unit (CMU).

ARINC has expanded its business in aerospace and defense through its ARINC Engineering Services subsidiary.

Activities and services

Though known for publishing "ARINC Standards", this role is independent of ARINC commercial activities.
Standardization and ARINC Industry Activities

ARINC Industry Activities involve three aviation committees

 AEEC (Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee): Develop the ARINC Standards,

 AMC (Avionics Maintenance Conference): Organize the annual Avionics Maintenance Conference,
 FSEMC (Flight Simulator Engineering & Maintenance Conference): Organize the annual FSEMC conference.
ARINC services

ARINC services include

 ACARS -a digital datalink system for transmission of short, relatively simple messages between aircraft and
ground stations via radio or satellite
 AviNet Global Data Network - formerly known as the ARINC Data Network Service (ADNS)
 Air/Ground Domestic Voice Service
 Air/Ground International Voice Service
 Airport Remote Radio Access System (ARRAS)
 vMUSE- Multi-User Systems Environment for shared passenger check-in at airports
 Complies with the Common-Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) and Common Use Passenger Processing System
(CUPPS) standards
 SelfServ- common use self-service passenger check-in kiosks for Airports
 OnVoy- internet based passenger check-in system for use at off-airport locations such as hotels, cruise ships and
convention centers
 AirVue- Flight Information Display System (FIDS) for airports
 Also called Electronic Visual Information Display System (EVIDS)
 AirDB- Airport Operational Database Base (AODB)
 AirPlan by ARINC - Resource Management System (RMS)
 VeriPax - Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) validates passengers at security checkpoints
 Centralized Flight Management Computer Waypoint Reporting System (CFRS)
 Satellite Navigation and Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (SATNAV and ATCALS)
 ARINC Wireless Interoperable Network Solutions (AWINS) - connects all types of radio and telephone
systems including standard UHF and VHF analog radios, mobile digital, voice over IP systems, ship-to-shore,
air-ground, standard phones, and push-to-talk cellular.
 ABMS Border Management Systems – delivering a full stay management capability, screening all travellers
before travel, and managing visitors throughout their stay.
 In Flight Broadband – offering in-flight connectivity to passengers and crew inconjunction with
 AviSec – passenger data transfer and Advanced Passenger Information System.

The ARINC Standards are prepared by the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) where Rockwell
Collins and other aviation suppliers serve as a contributor in support of their airline customer base. An abbreviated
list follows.
400 Series

The 400 Series describes guidelines for installation, wiring, data buses, and databases.

 ARINC 404 defines Air Transport Rack (ATR) form factors for avionics equipment installed in many types of
aircraft. It defines air transport equipment cases and racking.[3]
 ARINC 424 is an international standard file format for aircraft navigation data.
 ARINC 429 is the most widely used data bus standard for aviation. Electrical and data format characteristics are
defined for a two-wire serial bus with one transmitter and up to 20 receivers. The bus is capable of operating at
a speed of 100 kbit/s.
500 Series

The 500 Series describes older analog avionics equipment used on early jet aircraft such as the Boeing 727, Douglas
DC-9, DC-10, Boeing 737 and 747, and Airbus A300.
600 Series

The 600 Series are reference standards for avionics equipment specified by the ARINC 700 Series

 ARINC 600 is the predominant avionics packaging standard introducing the avionics Modular Concept Unit
 ARINC 604 is a standard and guidance for the purpose of designing and implementing Built-In Test Equipment.
The standard also describes the Centralized Fault Display System.[4]
 ARINC 610B provides guidance for use of avionics equipment and software in simulators.
 ARINC 615 is a family of standards covering "data loading", commonly used for transferring software and data
to or from avionics devices. The ARINC 615 standard covers "data loading" over ARINC 429.
 ARINC 615A is a standard that covers a "data loading" protocol which can be used over various bus types such
as Ethernet, CAN, and ARINC 664.
 ARINC 618 is a standard that covers a data transmission protocol called "Character Oriented Protocol".
 ARINC 619 is a standard that covers a data transmission protocol over ARINC 429 called "Bit Oriented
 ARINC 620 is a standard that covers a data transmission protocol called "Datalink Ground System".
 ARINC 624 is a standard for aircraft onboard maintenance system (OMS). It uses ARINC 429 for data
transmission between embedded equipments.
 ARINC 625 is an Industry Guide For Component Test Development and Management. It provides a standard
approach for quality management of Test Procedure Generation within the commercial air transport industry.
 ARINC 629 is a multi-transmitter data bus protocol where up to 128 units can share the same bus. It is installed
on the Boeing 777.
 ARINC 633 is the air-ground protocol for ACARS and IP networks used for AOC data exchanges between
aircraft and the ground.
 ARINC 635 defines the protocols for the HF Data Link system for communication and messaging between
aircraft and HF Ground Stations.
 ARINC 653 is a standard Real Time Operating System (RTOS) interface for partitioning of computer resources
in the time and space domains. The standard also specifies Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for
abstraction of the application from the underlying hardware and software.
 ARINC 660 defines avionics functional allocation and recommended architectures for CNS/ATM avionics.
 ARINC 661 defines the data structures used in an interactive cockpit display system (CDS), and the
communication between the CDS and User Applications. The GUI definition is completely defined in binary
definition files. The CDS software consists of a kernel capable of creating a hierarchical GUI specified in the
definition files. The concepts used by ARINC 661 are similar to those used in user interface markup languages.
 ARINC 664 defines the use of a deterministic Ethernet network as an avionic databus in modern aircraft like
the Airbus A380, Sukhoi Super Jet 100 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
 ARINC 665 This standard defines standards for loadable software parts and software transport media.
700 Series

The 700 Series describes the form, fit, and function of avionics equipment installed predominately on transport
category aircraft.[5]

 ARINC 702A defines the Flight Management Systems (FMS)

 ARINC 704 defines the Inertial Reference System (IRS).
 ARINC 708 is the standard for airborne weather radar. It defines the airborne weather radar characteristics for
civil and military aircraft.
 ARINC 709 defines Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)
 ARINC 717 defines the acquisition of flight data for recording
 ARINC 718 describes an Air Traffic Control Transponder (ATCRBS/MODE S)
 ARINC 724B defines the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS)
 ARINC 735B defines the Traffic Computer with Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)
 ARINC 738 defines an integrated Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU)
 ARINC 739 is the standard for a Multi-Purpose Control and Display Unit (MCDU) and interfaces.
 ARINC 740 defines airborne printers
 ARINC 741 is the standard for a first-generation L-band satellite data unit.
 ARINC 743A defines a GNSS receiver
 ARINC 744A defines a full-format airborne printer
 ARINC 746 is the standard for a cabin telecommunications unit, based on Q.931 and CEPT-E1.
 ARINC 747 defines a Flight Data Recorder (FDR)
 ARINC 750 defines a VHF Digital Radio
 ARINC 755 defines a Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR) for approach and landing
 ARINC 756 defines a GNSS Navigation and Landing Unit
 ARINC 760 defines a GNSS Navigator
 ARINC 757 defines a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)
 ARINC 761 is the standard for a second-generation L-band satellite data unit, also called Swift64 by
operator Inmarsat.
 ARINC 763 is the standard for a generic avionics file server and wireless access points.
 ARINC 767 defines a combined recorder unit capable of data and voice.
 ARINC 781 is the standard for a third-generation L-band satellite data unit, also called SwiftBroadband (SBB)
by operator Inmarsat.
 ARINC 771 is under development (2015) now for second-generation L-Band satellite data unit, also called
Iridium NEXT by operator Iridium
 ARINC 791 defines Ku and Ka band satellite data airborne terminal equipment.
800 Series

The 800 Series comprises a set of aviation standards for aircraft, including fiber optics used in high-speed data

 ARINC 801 through 807 define the application of fiber optics on the aircraft.
 ARINC 810 is a standard for the integration of aircraft galley inserts and associated interfaces Title: Definition
of Standard Interfaces for Galley Insert (GAIN) Equipment, Physical Interfaces.
 ARINC 811 provides a common understanding of information security concepts as they relate to airborne
networks, and provides a framework for evaluating the security of airborne networked systems.
 ARINC 812 is a standard for the integration of aircraft galley inserts and associated interfaces
 ARINC 816 defines a database for airport moving maps
 ARINC 817 defines a low-speed digital video interface
 ARINC 818 defines a high-speed digital video interface standard developed for high bandwidth, low latency,
uncompressed digital video transmission.
 ARINC 821 is a top-level networking definition describing aircraft domains, file servers and other
 ARINC 822 is the standard for Gatelink.
 ARINC 823 is a standard for end-to-end datalink encryption.
 ARINC 825 is a standard for Controller Area Network bus protocol for airborne use.
 ARINC 826 is a protocol for avionic data loading over a Controller Area Network bus.
 ARINC 827 specifies a crate format for electronic distribution of software parts for aircraft.
 ARINC 828 defines aircraft wiring provisions and electrical interface standards for electronic flight bag (EFB)
 ARINC 834 defines an aircraft data interface that sources data to Electronic Flight Bags, airborne file servers,
 ARINC 838 provides a standardized XML description for loadable software parts.
 ARINC 840 defines the Application Control Interface (ACI) used with an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)
 ARINC 841 defines Media Independent Aircraft Messaging
 ARINC 842 provides guidance for usage of digital certificates on airplane avionics and cabin equipment.

COTS Data buses

Commercial-off-the-shelf has become the preferred way of doing business among power bus designers in military

and aerospace applications such as the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. Meanwhile solid-state devices

continue to make inroads into new designs.

The U.S. military relies heavily on the ability of its electronic surveillance and communication systems to fight the

battles of the 21st century. The devices must not fail.Designers of these military systems recognize that a key part of

keeping these systems functioning properly is managing their power. The power bus of each aircraft, tank, or ship

must maintain an uninterruptible flow of electricity from its generation at the engine, generator, or battery all the

way to the user, such as the processor or radio. The power bus also must properly distribute, monitor, and switch

electrical flow to prevent failure.Today, designers in nearly all military systems are using commercial-off-the-shelf

(COTS) equipment to manage power distribution. Former Defense Secretary William Perry's 1994 initiative to use

COTS wherever and whenever possible has evolved to become the main method of procurement in powering

military electronics. The devices that make up the power bus, such as distribution units, solid-state controllers,

circuit breakers, and power converters are COTS devices.

Modern power components still meet military environmental guidelines, but they are available faster and at lower

prices than mil-spec devices of the past. The COTS procurement phenomenon has come full circle, not only where it
relates to power electronics, but where it relates to virtually all other military and aerospace electronic devices as

well.Steadily COTS has about done all it can, says Jeff Shepard, president of Darnell.com, a market research firm in

Corona, Calif., that covers virtually anything to do with power. It has become the way that most military electronics

companies do business, he adds."It is pure economics," he continues. There was almost a blank check for military

spending in the 1980s, he says, but in the mid-1990s that all changed and now the U.S. Department of Defense is

very cost-sensitive.

COTS has a huge time-to-market advantage that in some cases makes up for small decreases in efficiency, Shepard

says.The benefit of COTS is the fast track it offers from vendor's shelf to system design-in, says Mike Pitka, product

marketing manager for motor drives and remote control power at Data Device Corp. (DDC) in Bohemia, N.Y.

Custom devices have substantially longer design cycles than COTS, he adds.

The power-management market for the military is very much a COTS world, says Len Marsalla, director of

marketing for the Power Technology group at Spectrum Control in Fairview, Pa. Spectrum Control makes rugged

power distribution units with EMI filtering for military ground applications in 28 and 48-volt buses. Spectrum

Control customers can get rugged power supplies for environmentally demanding applications quickly, where

before COTS the prices were higher and the products took longer to turn around, he says.In addition, COTS devices

have improved to where they are not any less rugged and they have even better performance that the old mil-spec

products, Marsalla says. Power devices from Spectrum Control are not commercial-grade products, he points out,

yet they are commercially developed and available off the shelf. Most companies like Spectrum Control offer

separate lines of commercial- and military-grade products available off-the-shelf, he says.The company's ruggedized

48-volt power distribution unit has redundant power via Oring diodes, continuous load capacity of 50 amps per side,

is 23-inch rack mountable, and is designed for steady state operation at 40 degrees Celsius, with no air flow. One of

the things that makes Vicor's power converters appealing is that they are all COTS devices, says Keith Nardone,

military product manager at Vicor in Andover, Mass. Vicor makes high-density power converters for military

aircraft and vehicles.At Vicor, the primary sales point is price per watt, Nardone says. All Vicor power devices are

COTS, Another COTS trend involves the customer's growing desire for a standard product that has a little custom

tweak here or there to make it fit the application, says William Standen, vice president of marketing and sales at
Martek Power S.A. in Los Angeles. It is a type of value-added approach, he adds.However, COTS has its own

problems, says Alfredo Ramirez, deputy chief engineer for the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the

Northrop Grumman Ryan Aeronautical Center in San Diego. Program managers must be vigilant of the COTS

components that come in from suppliers, he says.

"Sometimes they will make tweaks or subtle changes to their products that you don't expect," he says. "It's a

different philosophy now." Before COTS the burden was on the suppliers to make sure everything was mil-spec and

properly documented and tested; now the situation is reversed.One application area where COTS technology is not

the driving factor is space.The high-radiation environment of space makes it difficult for COTS products to work in

space, says Tiva Bussarakons, technical product manager in the International Rectifier high-rel component

subsystems group in El Segundo, Calif. Most of International Rectifier's products for space are not COTS, he says.

International Rectifier makes high-voltage, high-speed power metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors —

better known as MOSFETs — for space such as their RIC7113 products, Bussarakons says. International Rectifier

has become one of the major suppliers to the power applications, especially with acquisitions earlier this year such

as Advanced Analog, a maker of power converters in San Jose, Calif., Shepard says."We expect to see this

consolidation among commercial mechanical manufacturers to continue," Shepard says. Especially since companies

such as Lucent and Nortel have dropped mechanical manufacturing operations and are outsourcing,

Global Hawk

The new Global Hawk UAV from by Northrop Grumman Ryan Aeronautical has a power bus that is made up

entirely of COTS equipment. As large as a manned aircraft, Global Hawk can fly 1,200 miles to an area of interest,

remain on station for 24 hours, survey an area of 60,000 square nautical miles — roughly the size of Illinois — and

then return 1,200 miles to its operating base.

The UAV has a range of 13,500 nautical miles, at altitudes as high as 65,000 feet and endurance of 36 hours. During

a typical mission, the Global Hawk sensor suite can provide near-real-time imagery of the area of interest to the

battlefield commander via satellite.A hydraulic pump, which is attached to the landing gear box, generates the AC

power on the UAV, Ramirez says. It generates 110 AC volts, which then converts to 28 volts DC before it hits the

electronics, he says. In case of generator failure, the aircraft switches to battery backups, which enable control of the
vehicle for a safe landing, he says.The majority of the electronics on the aircraft use DC power, Ramirez says. The

only ones that do not are devices used for mission-critical wideband communications, which require AC, he says.

Low-power electronics

The current power bus on most aircraft — with Global Hawk as an exception — is 270 volts DC, Martek's Standen

says. There also are systems designers looking at power buses powered by as many as 800 volts, he adds. This trend

toward increasingly high power system voltages, coupled with ever-shrinking device power consumption, presents

system engineers with a thorny design problem. Individual devices such as processors, displays, and radios typically

operate at 3.3 volts and less, Standen says.

The concern involves the potential for power fluctuations in the system. The dynamic range of voltages is

increasing, Darnell's Shepard says. For example on some aircraft 270 volts are generated and eventually converted

to around 3 volts and even less for some electronics, he explains. That is about a ten-to-one dynamic range, Shepard

says, and it is only going to increase. At the same time, devices that are increasingly power efficient also are

increasingly prone to damage from power spikes and dropouts. At less than a volt, one little fluctuation in voltage

can upset the entire device, therefore converter manufacturers are feeling the pressure to be even more efficient,

Standen says.The density of power circuitry must increase to help cope with the high dynamic ranges, Shepard says.

Systems designers also must monitor the effectiveness of the converters, he says.There is no doubt that the

manufacturers of power converters are going to feel the heat to make what are already highly efficient devices even

better, Standen says. Martek designs and manufacturers semi-custom power supplies such as the PSD-208 DC-DC

Multiple Output, a design for the Global Hawk's synthetic aperture radar, Standen says. The device is a 900-watt

DC-DC converter with 11 outputs and 8 SM series modules and circuitry,

Solid state

Demand for solid-state power controllers is growing quickly as system designers look past the initial cost and

embrace the technology's improving reliability and performance, experts say. Solid-state devices are the next step up

from thermal mechanical parts, DDC's Pitka says. While customers may pay more for these at the front end, they

will save in the long run due to low maintenance of solid-state products, Pitka explains. The technology is primarily
for new designs and major architecture upgrades, Pitka says. It is not a pin-for-pin replacement for thermal parts, he

adds. It enables users to manage power more effectively, Pitka says.


IEEE-488 stacking connectors

IEEE-488 is a short-range digital communications 8-bit parallel multi-master interface bus specification. IEEE-488
was created as HP-IB(Hewlett-Packard Interface Bus) and is commonly called GPIB (General Purpose
Interface Bus). It has been the subject of several standards.
Although originally created in the late 1960s to connect together automated test equipment, it also had some success
during the 1970s and 80s as a peripheral bus for early microcomputers, notably the Commodore PET. Newer
standards have largely replaced IEEE-488 for computer use, but it still sees some use in the test equipment field.
In the late 1960s, Hewlett-Packard (HP)[1] manufactured various automated test and measurement instruments, such
as digital multimeters and logic analyzers. They developed the HP Interface Bus (HP-IB) to enable easier
interconnection between instruments and controllers (computers and other instruments).
The bus was relatively easy to implement using the technology at the time, using a simple parallel bus and several
individual control lines. For example, the HP 59501 Power Supply Programmer and HP 59306A Relay Actuator
were both relatively simple HP-IB peripherals implemented only in TTL, using no microprocessor.
HP licensed the HP-IB patents for a nominal fee to other manufacturers. It became known as the General Purpose
Interface Bus (GPIB), and became a de facto standard for automated and industrial instrument control. As GPIB
became popular, it was formalized by various standards organizations.

In 1975, the IEEE standardized the bus as Standard Digital Interface for Programmable Instrumentation, IEEE-488;
it was revised in 1978 (producing IEEE-488-1978).[2] The standard was revised in 1987, and redesignated as IEEE-
488.1 (IEEE-488.1-1987). These standards formalized the mechanical, electrical, and basic protocol parameters of
GPIB, but said nothing about the format of commands or data.
In 1987, IEEE introduced Standard Codes, Formats, Protocols, and Common Commands, IEEE-488.2. It was
revised in 1992. IEEE-488.2 provided for basic syntax and format conventions, as well as device-independent
commands, data structures, error protocols, and the like. IEEE-488.2 built on IEEE-488.1 without superseding it;
equipment can conform to IEEE-488.1 without following IEEE-488.2.
While IEEE-488.1 defined the hardware and IEEE-488.2 defined the protocol, there was still no standard for
instrument-specific commands. Commands to control the same class of instrument, e.g., multimeters, would vary
between manufacturers and even models.
The United States Air Force, and later Hewlett-Packard, recognized this problem. In 1989, HP developed their TML
languagewhich was the forerunner to Standard Commands for Programmable Instrumentation (SCPI). SCPI was
introduced as an industry standard in 1990. SCPI added standard generic commands, and a series of instrument
classes with corresponding class-specific commands. SCPI mandated the IEEE-488.2 syntax, but allowed other
(non-IEEE-488.1) physical transports.
The IEC developed their own standards in parallel with the IEEE, with IEC-60625-1 and IEC-60625-2, later
replaced by IEC-60488.
National Instruments introduced a backward-compatible extension to IEEE-488.1, originally known as HS-488. It
increased the maximum data rate to 8 Mbyte/s, although the rate decreases as more devices are connected to the bus.
This was incorporated into the standard in 2003 (IEEE-488.1-2003),[7] over HP's objections.
In 2004, the IEEE and IEC combined their respective standards into a "Dual Logo" IEEE/IEC standard IEC-60488-
1, Standard for Higher Performance Protocol for the Standard Digital Interface for Programmable Instrumentation -
Part 1: General,[10] replaces IEEE-488.1/IEC-60625-1, and IEC-60488-2,Part 2: Codes, Formats, Protocols and
Common Commands,[11] replaces IEEE-488.2/IEC-60625-2.[12]

IEEE-488 is an 8-bit, electrically parallel bus. The bus employs sixteen signal lines — eight used for bi-directional
data transfer, three for handshake, and five for bus management — plus eight ground return lines.
Every device on the bus has a unique 5-bit primary address, in the range from 0 to 30 (31 total possible
The standard allows up to 15 devices to share a single physical bus of up to 20 meters total cable length. The
physical topology can be linear or star (forked).[15] Active extenders allow longer buses, with up to 31 devices
theoretically possible on a logical bus.
Control and data transfer functions are logically separated; a controller can address one device as a ―talker‖ and one
or more devices as ―listeners‖ without having to participate in the data transfer. It is possible for multiple controllers
to share the same bus; but only one can be the "Controller In Charge" at a time.[16]
In the original protocol, transfers use an interlocked, three-wire ready–valid–accepted handshake.[17] The maximum
data rate is about one megabyte per second. The later HS-488 extension relaxes the handshake requirements,
allowing up to 8 Mbyte/s. The slowest participating device determines the speed of the bus.[18]


Female IEEE-488 connector

Pin 1 DIO1 Data input/output bit.

Pin 2 DIO2 Data input/output bit.

Pin 3 DIO3 Data input/output bit.

Pin 4 DIO4 Data input/output bit.

Pin 5 EOI End-or-identify.

Pin 6 DAV Data valid.

Pin 7 NRFD Not ready for data.

Pin 8 NDAC Not data accepted.

Pin 9 IFC Interface clear.

Pin 10 SRQ Service request.

Pin 11 ATN Attention.


Pin 13 DIO5 Data input/output bit.

Pin 14 DIO6 Data input/output bit.

Pin 15 DIO7 Data input/output bit.

Pin 16 DIO8 Data input/output bit.

Pin 17 REN Remote enable.

Pin 18 GND (wire twisted with DAV)

Pin 19 GND (wire twisted with NRFD)

Pin 20 GND (wire twisted with NDAC)

Pin 21 GND (wire twisted with IFC)

Pin 22 GND (wire twisted with SRQ)

Pin 23 GND (wire twisted with ATN)

Pin 24 Logic ground

IEEE-488 specifies a 24-pin Amphenol-designed micro ribbon connector. Micro ribbon connectors have a D-shaped
metal shell, but are larger than D-subminiature connectors. They are sometimes called "Centronics connectors" after
the 36-pinmicro ribbon connector Centronics used for their printers.
One unusual feature of IEEE-488 connectors is they commonly use a "double-headed" design, with male on one
side, and female on the other. This allows stacking connectors for easy daisy-chaining. Mechanical considerations
limit the number of stacked connectors to four or fewer, although a workaround involving physically supporting the
connectors may be able to get around this.
They are held in place by screws, either UTS (now largely obsolete) or metric M3.5×0.6 threads. Early versions of
the standard suggested that metric screws should be blackened to avoid confusion with the incompatible UTS
threads. However, by the 1987 revision this was no longer considered necessary because of the prevalence of metric
The IEC-60625 standard prescribes the use of 25-pin D-subminiature connectors (the same as used for the parallel
port onIBM-PCs). This connector did not gain significant market acceptance against the established 24-pin


Function Abbreviation Description / Example

Source Handshake SH SH1 - complete

AH AH1 - complete

T5 - responds to serial poll; untalks when listen address received; talk only
Basic Talker T
T6 - untalks when listen address received; no talk only
T7 - no serial poll; untalks when listen address received; talk only capability

Extended Talker TE TE0 - no extended talker

L3 - Listen only mode; unlistens if talk address received

Basic Listener L
L4 - Unlistens if talk address received
Extended Listener LE LE0 - no extended listener

SR0 - no service request capability

Service Request SR
SR1 - complete

RL0 - no local lockout

Remote-Local RL
RL1 - complete

Parallel Poll PP PP0 - does not respond to Parallel Poll

Device Clear DC DC1 - complete

DT0 - no device trigger capability

Device Trigger DT
DT1 - complete

Controller C C0 - no controller function

E1 - open collector drive electronics

E2 - three state drivers

More information see Tektronix.

Use as a computer interface[edit]

HP's designers did not specifically plan for IEEE-488 to be a peripheral interface for general-purpose computers; the
focus was on instrumentation. But when HP's earlymicrocomputers needed an interface for peripherals (disk
drives, tape drives, printers, plotters, etc.), HP-IB was readily available and easily adapted to the purpose.
HP computer products which used HP-IB included the HP series 80, HP 9800 series, the HP 2100 series, and the HP
3000 series. Some of HP's advanced pocket calculators of the 1980s, such as the HP-41 and HP-71B series, also had
IEEE-488 capabilities, via an optional HP-IL/HP-IB interface module.
Other manufacturers adopted GPIB for their computers as well, such as with the Tektronix 405x line.
The Commodore PET (introduced 1977) range of personal computers connected their peripherals using the IEEE-
488 bus, but with a non-standard card edge connector. Commodore's following 8-bit machines utilized a serial bus
whose protocol was based on IEEE-488.[24] Commodore marketed an IEEE-488 cartridge for the VIC-20,but never
produced a cartridge for the Commodore 64. Several third party suppliers of Commodore 64 peripherals made a
cartridge for the C64 that provided an IEEE-488-derived interface on a card edge connector similar to that of the
PET series.
Eventually, faster, more complete standards such as SCSI superseded IEEE-488 for peripheral access.
Rear of the Commodore CBM-II showing card edge connector IEEE-
488 port

Rear of the CommodoreSFD 1001 floppy disk drivewith IEEE-488 port

Rear of a Tektronix TDS 210 digital oscilloscope with IEEE-488 port

Rear view of an Agilent34970A data acquisitionchassis / multimeter

C64 interface

Comparison with other interface standards

Electrically, IEEE-488 used a hardware interface that could be implemented with some discrete logic or with a
microcontroller. The hardware interface enabled devices made by different manufacturers to communicate with a
single host. Since each device generated the asynchronous handshaking signals required by the bus protocol, slow
and fast devices could be mixed on one bus. The data transfer is relatively slow, so transmission line issues such as
impedance matching and line termination are ignored. There was no requirement for galvanic isolation between the
bus and devices, which created the possibility of ground loops causing extra noise and loss of data.
Physically, the IEEE-488 connectors and cabling were rugged and held in place by screws. While physically large
and sturdy connectors were an advantage in industrial or laboratory set ups, the size and cost of the connectors was a
liability in applications such as personal computers.
Although the electrical and physical interfaces were well defined, there was not an initial standard command set.
Devices from different manufacturers might use different commands for the same function. [27] Some aspects of the
command protocol standards were not standardized until Standard Commands for Programmable
Instruments (SCPI) in 1990. Implementation options (e.g. end of transmission handling) can complicate
interoperability in pre-IEEE-488.2 devices.
More recent standards such as USB, FireWire, and Ethernet take advantage of declining costs of interface
electronics to implement more complex standards providing higher bandwidth. The multi-conductor (parallel data)
connectors and shielded cable were inherently more costly than the connectors and cabling that could be used serial
data transfer standards such as RS-232, RS-485, USB, FireWire or Ethernet. Very few mass-market personal
computers or peripherals (such as printers or scanners) implemented IEEE-488.