Outside my window the engine shut down. It had been running for barely a minute. Curious, I walked onto the tarmac to see what the problem was. The pilot looked at me with the
slightly bewildered gaze of someone whose detailed planning has suddenly become
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan with some instruments out. Top: engine instruments with warning panel in front of pilot. Left: flight & navigation instruments. Centre: ("right") in the picture): radios, radar, autopilot and GPS.
"The radios don't work," he said, without any emotion. "I can
hear, but no-one's responding to my calls." It was the same on both the VHF
radios, he told me, and he hadn't tried the HF yet.
I started checking the standard causes. First, I gave his
microphone plug a firm push to make sure it was in properly. "Click". Ah, that
might be it. I flicked the power back on and called the control tower. No
worries. I tried the second VHF radio. That's good too.
Thanking me profusely, the pilot said it was a good thing,
because he had left his lunch box in his car and he would have left without it.
I went back inside, shaking my head. Just another minor
occurrence in another very busy day in the life of an Avionics maintenance
Avionics is an abbreviation of "Aviation Electronics". In the
aircraft maintenance industry, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) in
avionics looks after all the electrical, instrument and radio systems. This may
include installing, maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing avionics systems
If you want to get into avionics, you need to know which
avenues to try. Do you want to cut your teeth on the big stuff? Are you strictly
a hi-tech person? Are you willing to work your way up from the bottom? I hope
this article will help answer these questions.
First, let's introduce the three main branches of