30 Nov 2017

Advancements in Aviation

Innovations in avionics have been rampant in recent history. Some of the modern technological marvels utilized in aviation electronics are  3D printing, airplane communication satellites, supersonic, virtual platforms, augmented reality, unmanned aerial vehicles and more! These improvements not only enhance safety, but are smoothing the avionics supply chain and reducing the time it takes to conduct investigations and repairs. Below is a brief overview of some of the advancements in avionics and their impact on the industry.

UAV –Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are remotely or autonomously piloted aircraft. Though they are most commonly associated with drones, UAVs come in many variations. They are used for military purposes, research, as well as having more and more pervasive civilian and commercial uses. Drones, especially, are having an increasing impact on our everyday lives and economy. Amazon.com is one retailer that has signaled dramatic shifts in marketing and transportation with its announcement to leverage UAVs to deliver packages in the near future. Their intention is only one use for UAVs, which are starting to be implemented throughout many industries more and more pervasively in recent years. Drones and other UAVs are increasingly used in the military, restructuring reconnaissance and manpower, and are now being utilized in the physical inspections required by avionics technicians for large aircraft. UAVs are increasing industry efficiency by reducing labor costs and shrinking inspection times.

Data Collection

MROs (commercial aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul) are the diagnostic procedures required to ensure aircraft are maintained, safe, and flightworthy. They use a predictive method to analyze the aircraft and identify the lifespan of parts that may need repair.  This method is moving towards the realm of predictive maintenance, which will not only identify data about the aircraft and its parts but also will be able to extrapolate all possibilities and recommend the best course to follow whether you have to replace or repair an aircraft component.

Data collection is a crucial component in avionics repair and maintenance.  In the early days of aviation, most data were hand recorded by an aviation electronics technician through direct observation.  As the quantity and type of collected data increase, technological advancements help to improve both the ability to collect data and the accuracy of what is collected.

Augmented Reality

Historically, one has only been able to train on simulators in aviation flight schools. These simulators aim to enhance trainee skills while immersing the prospective pilot or technician in plausible work conditions. Augmented reality has completely overhauled avionics training for technicians by allowing students to learn without having to repair an actual aircraft. Augmented reality is a technology that allows one to superimpose virtual elements over the real world. This technology expedites and streamlines the training process by making it possible for people to train without having to wait for open training spots.

3D Printing

3D printing is currently being used in aviation but is still in a formative phase. Recently, Boeing used a 3rd party 3D printing company to produce a 777x wing trim tool. The production, which usually takes 3 months, took just 30 hours with 3D printing. This expedited process implies that the airline parts industry may shift towards the exchange of 3D printing blueprints rather than ordering full-scale parts. This sort of exchange of blueprints will increase efficiency, reduce waste, and possibly rework the entire aircraft manufacturing supply chain.

Why Join the Industry?

With the technology in aviation electronics developing at such a rapid pace, recently trained aviation electronics technicians are in high demand. Degree programs at Spartan College are cutting edge and allow you to take advantage of a top of the line avionics school. Pursuing avionics training at Spartan will ensure you are on top of the industry and are ready for a career as an avionics technician.