Note: This unit is an archived version! See Overview tab for delivered versions.

AERO5520: Aircraft Avionics and Systems [not running in 2018] (2018 - Semester 1)

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Unit: AERO5520: Aircraft Avionics and Systems [not running in 2020] (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Gibbens, Peter
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: AMME5510 OR AERO9560 OR (AERO2703 AND AERO3560).
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study aims to develop a thorough qualitative understanding of modern avionics and aircraft systems. It deals with the full breadth of cockpit avionics systems and subsystems from flight instrument and display technology to flight management, flight control, navigation and sensor systems.

At the end of this unit students will be able to understand the following: the principles of modern cockpit display technologies and the information they portray; the functions of flight control and navigation systems and their interactions with actuation and other aircraft systems; engine management systems; communication systems; payload sensor systems; the interactions of avionics components with power, hydraulic, bus and communication systems together with their underlying physical principles; the principles of avionics system requirements, specification, design, regulation and certification; fault tolerance and redundancy; software engineering and system integration.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Additional Notes: Department permission is required for this unit.
Department Permission Department permission is required for enrollment in this session.
Timetable: AERO5520 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 3.00 2 13
2 Workgroup 3.00 1 3
3 Laboratory 2.00 1 4
4 Other 5.00 1 2
5 Demonstration 2.00 1 2
6 Independent Study 2.00
T&L Activities: This Unit of Study involves 5 hours of teaching contact per week on average. Normally this will consist of 3 hours of lectures covering theoretical and case study material on avionics and systems and two hours that will alternate between laboratory sessions, demonstrations, workgroups and independent study sessions. Later in the semester site visits will be organised to industrial organisations to gain first-hand experience and familiarity with avionics and systems in civil aircraft and flight simulators.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Application of critical analysis to existing system designs, learn about system components, their functions and interfacing issues, and their integration into larger systems. To take design requirements and criteria to propose viable avionics system designs for specific design problems. Design (Level 4)
Application of physical principles relating to electrical and communications systems, information and human factors, and system engineering considerations to real and hypothetical systems. Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
Applications of research techniques and analytical procedures to the investigations of the characteristics of existing aeronautical avionics systems. Information Seeking (Level 3)
Participation in team design and design review activities. Development of analytical reports, design proposals and specifications Communication (Level 3)
Development of liaison, negotiation and managerial skills by role participation in cooperative design teams and design reviews. Project and Team Skills (Level 4)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Project and Team Skills (Level 4)
1. To be able to engage with others in a teams and to undertake in-team coopetation and inter-group negotiation in a process of system design reviews.
Communication (Level 3)
2. To develop team roles and leadership roles focusing on verbal communication, negotiation and presentation skills.
3. To develop a high level of professional written reporting capability through report submissions dealing with system design, specification and analysis.
Information Seeking (Level 3)
4. To be able to undertake research and information finding skills with respect to aircraft avionics and systems for the purpose of critical analysis.
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
5. To study the types of avionics systems in common use and understand their purposes, modes of operation and functions
6. To study the types of sensor and actuation systems in common use on aircraft and to understand their purposes and functions and how they interact with other systems and avionics
7. To study the design regulations for avionics and systems and understand their impact on aircraft operability
8. To study human factors issues in the development and integration of aircraft avionics and systems.
Design (Level 4)
9. To develop an understanding of system design considerations in avionics and control systems with particular emphasis on flight critical issues.
10. To develop an understanding of systems integration methods and considerations and to be able to critically analyse a system, its operation and reliability from a design perspective.
11. To be able to take an avionics system design requirement and to develop a detailed system design layout, architecture and systems integration specification.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 System analysis and evaluation Yes 40.00 Week 8 4, 6, 7, 10,
2 Avionic System Design Report Yes 60.00 Week 13 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11,
Assessment Description: Assignment 1: This assignment will involve the complete assessment of an avionic and control system involving all considerations relating to the function of the overall systems and its subcomponents, analysis of power, signal and communications requirements and system integration issues.

Assignment 2: This assignment will involve the specification of an avionic/control/navigation/weapon system in response to a stated requirement. A system proposal is required that addresses all aspects of system architecture and design, system performance and reliability, interfacing and integrations issues. The solutions will comprise sub-components proposed by development teams who will need to negotiate design criteria and integrations issues with other teams to arrive at a viable solution. Presentation of the outcomes in oral and written forms (to the customer) is a key performance indicator.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
  • Aircraft Communications and Navigation Systems - Principles, Maintenance and Operation
  • Aircraft Display Systems
  • Aircraft Systems,Mechanical Electrical and Avionics Subsystem Integration
  • Civil Avionics Systems
  • Digital Avionics Systems
  • Introduction to Avionics
  • Modern Aviation Electronics
Online Course Content:

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: Overview. History of avionics systems. Types of systems and system components. Examples and case studies.
Week 2 Lecture: Basic system components. Power systems, communications systems, display systems, wiring and cabling. Sensors and actuators. Case studies.
Week 3 Lecture: System architectures. Design requirements, regulations and rules. Case studies.
Week 4 Lecture: System integration: Inter-system influence and cross-system design considerations. Operation environments and their impact on design considerations. Reflection on power system design and operation and communication system design and operation.
Week 5 Lecture: Radio systems: Transmitters and receivers, antennas, design considerations, interference. Typical radio based systems and problems. Case studies.
Week 6 Lecture: Primary and secondary aircraft systems, their function, operation and inter-operation. Examples and case studies.
Week 7 Lecture: Complex avionics sytems in the cockpit. Function, operation, display information, human-machine-interaction, and human factors.
Week 8 Other: Site visit: Avionics and aircraft systems in flight simulation.
Lecture: Flight control systems in detail. Examples and case studies.
Assessment Due: System analysis and evaluation
Week 9 Lab: Simulation Laboratory: Flight control and navigation system- familiarity and operation.
Lecture: Flight management and navigations systems in detail. Examples and case studies.
Week 10 Other: Design review meeting
Lecture: Aircraft systems in detail. Examples and case studies.
Week 11 Lecture: Avionics and aircraft system design - requirements, design, testing, product.
Other: Site visit: Avionics and aircraft system in practice.
Week 12 Lecture: Avionics system evaluation. Validation and verification.
Other: Design review meeting
Week 13 Lecture: System reliability, fault tolerance and redundancy and maintenance requirements.
Assessment Due: Avionic System Design Report

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Aeronautical / Science (Medical Science Stream) 2021, 2022
Aeronautical Engineering / Arts 2014
Aeronautical Engineering / Commerce 2014
Aeronautical Engineering / Medical Science 2014
Aeronautical Engineering / Project Management 2014
Aeronautical Engineering / Science 2014
Aeronautical Engineering / Law 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Commerce 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Arts 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Medical Science 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Project Management 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Science 2014
Aeronautical Engineering (Space) / Law 2014
Aeronautical Mid-Year 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
Aeronautical Engineering 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
Aeronautical / Science 2021, 2022
Aeronautical / Science (Health) 2021, 2022
Aeronautical / Law 2015
Aeronautical (Space) 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) / Arts 2015, 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) / Commerce 2015, 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) / Project Management 2015
Aeronautical (Space) / Science 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) / Law 2015
Aeronautical (Space) / Science (Health Stream) 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) / Science (Medical Science Stream) 2021, 2022
Aeronautical (Space) Mid-Year 2021, 2022
Master of Professional Engineering (Aerospace) 2013
Aeronautical / Arts 2021, 2022
Aeronautical / Commerce 2021, 2022

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Project and Team Skills (Level 4) Yes 6%
Communication (Level 3) Yes 12%
Information Seeking (Level 3) Yes 10%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4) Yes 38%
Design (Level 4) Yes 34%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.