AVN400 - Advanced Instruments and Avionics

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Last revision date Sep 24, 2018 12:44:50 AM
Last review date Dec 3, 2018 12:18:13 AM

Subject Title
Advanced Instruments and Avionics

Subject Description
In this course, radio navigation and landing systems, pulse avionics systems and aircraft electrical systems will be studied. Students will learn about the basic principles of operation of the following navigation and landing systems: GPS, ADF, VOR, LORAN-C, ILS and MLS.They will also learn the characteristics of the radio signals used, the specifications, the limitations, the errors, the information provided to pilots, etc. for each system and they will be able to sketch block diagrams of the receivers and other electronic components for each system. Subsequently, students will study the production, properties and methods of operation of primary and secondary radar and then learn about the on-board aircraft systems TCAS, GPWS and RNAV.  Finally, students will study typical aircraft electric systems used in general aviation aircraft as well as those used in large passenger aircraft.

Credit Status
One Credit

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:


  • Explain the operational capability of GPS.
  • Describe the space, control and user segments of GPS.
  • Describe the theory of GPS operation.
  • Explain the concept of TOA ranging.
  • Define the NAV-msg content.
  • Understand the service and accuracy of GPS.
-         Explain how DGPS works.
  • Explain the principles of operation of the DME as secondary radar pulsed ranging system.
  • Describe a ground transponder station and its basic operation.
  • Explain the X and Y channel arrangements and the frequency pairing with the VOR and LOC.
  • Understand jitter, automatic standby, squitter and echo protection.
  • Compare the DME with the military TACAN.
  • Describe the general principles of the ATC transponder.
  • Explain the different modes of interrogation.
  • Draw a secondary surveillance radar block diagram (three-pulse SLS).
  • Explain how the airborne unit replies only to valid interrogations.
  • Explain the controls and operation of the airborne system.
  • Describe the principles of encoders (altitude reporting).
Aircraft Generators & Motors
  • Understand the general principles of DC and AC power generation.
  • Define armature reaction and its correction.
  • Draw simple generator connections – series, shunt and compound.
  • Explain single and three-phase ac generators.
  • Differentiate between delta and wye connections.
  • Explain the general principles of DC series-, shunt- and compound-wound motors.
  • Classify AC motors according to horsepower, phase, operating frequency and type of construction.
  • Understand the power-to-weight ratio of electric motors for use in aircraft.
Electrical Systems
-         Review a basic single and light twin aircraft electrical system showing the major components such as the battery, battery master switch, main electrical bus bars, external power connections and monitoring devices.
-         Explain a basic starter system.
-         Explain the basic operation of an electromechanical voltage regulator.
-         Explain twin engine generator control and load sharing.
  • Describe the history and development of the ADF system.
  • Explain the basic principles of operation of the ADF system.
  • Discuss the characteristics of the loop antenna.
  • Explain the composite polar diagram (cardioid diagram).
  • Draw the block diagram of the ADF system.
  • Explain in some detail the sources of system errors.
VHF Omni Range
  • Explain the VOR as a phase comparison navigation system.
  • Draw a basic ground station block diagram and explain the generation of the radiated signals.
  • Draw the block diagram of the airborne VOR system.
  • Differentiate between manual and automatic methods of VOR presentation to the pilot.
  • Explain the various controls and operation of the VOR system as installed in an aircraft.
  • Explain the two sources of errors – instrument and propagation.
  • Explain the principles of DVOR (Doppler VOR) and its use to eliminate signal distortion due to multipath reception.
Instrument Landing Systems/Marker Systems
  • Give a description of the ILS.
  • Explain the pairing of the localizer and glideslope frequencies.
  • Draw a diagram of the radiation patterns of the localizer and glideslope transmitters including modulation frequencies used.
  • Draw a diagram showing the location of the marker systems.
  • Explain the basic airborne marker receiver.
Microwave Landing Systems/GPS Approach/Free flight Principles.
-         Explain the basic principle of operation of the MLS.
-         Describe the subsystems required for basic MLS operation
-         Describe the azimuth and vertical coverage angles.
-         Sketch the transmitter antenna locations at the airport.
-         Identify the operational frequencies and channels.
-         List the number of channels in MLS
-         Explain what the pilot sees during a MLS precision approach.
-         State the time required to transmit an MLS data transmission.
-         Identify the component parts of the digital data transmission.
-         Describe the advancement of the use GPS for automated and precision landings.
-         Define the concept of free flight and how it will integrate with ATC and the future of aviation.
Loran C_& E-Loran
-         Explain the theory of operation.
-         Identify the basic principle of navigation with LORAN C.
-         Identify the frequency of operation.
-         Explain how the receiver unit functions.
-         Explain what the pilot sees and uses with the Loran C.
-         State the significance of the numerical designation of a Loran chain.
-         Explain transit sequence from a Loran chain.
-         Describe the transit format for master and slave stations.
-         E-Loran Rx & GPWS
TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems)
-         Identify current status of TCAS.
-         State why there is a need for and the purpose of TCAS.
-         Identify the levels of TCAS.
-         Identify the priority levels in TCAS.
-         Define the interaction between aircraft using different levels of TCAS.
-         State the approximate size of the “monitored airspace”.
-         Identify TA and RA. 
-         Describe the pilot’s interaction with TCAS and ATC.
RNAV (Area Navigation)
-         Define the area navigation concept.
-         Identify and describe various RNAV systems in use.
-         Describe what the pilot sees/does when using RNAV.
-         Describe RNAV capabilities.
            -       Describe RNAV Modes of Operation (a pilot’s perspective): 
                                        VOR/DME, Enroute or RNAV, Approach, Parallel VOR
-         Compare and contrast analog and digital RNAV computers.
Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System  
-         Identify the purpose of EGPWS.
-         Describe the modes of warning available.
-         Describe the limitations and operating parameters of each mode.
-         Describe the EGPWS inputs and outputs.
-         Describe methods of annunciation and override functions.
-         Define the legal requirements of EGPWS as per Transport Canada and the FAA.
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)
-          How ADS-B works.
-          ADS-B data link
-          ADS-B ground infra-structure
-          ADS-B Out Applications
-          ADS-B In Applications
-          ADS-B deployment

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: http://www.senecacollege.ca/about/policies/academic-integrity-policy.html Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website http://open2.senecac.on.ca/sites/academic-integrity/for-students to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.