Cast Iron to Wi-Fi

In the golden age of flying the world of aviation consisted of iron men and women who with skill, finesse, and sometimes brute force willed their aircraft to continue flying. Names like Rickenbacker, Earhart, and Yeager conjured visions of superhuman...

Knowing how to read electrical schematics is essential if you need to know what to do when that self-test gizmo fails, or you have run out of boxes to change. It is not my intention to paint all avionics training with a broad brush. I have also been in some outstanding avionics courses that were geared more toward understanding the systems; however, these have been few and far between. Avionics training without avionics understanding is a false economic move that is doomed to bite you when you can least afford it. A core of properly trained experienced avionics technicians can and will have a very positive effect on your bottom line and overall aviation safety.

I believe by combining maintenance and avionics disciplines we as an industry have exceeded the point of information saturation that the human mind can effectively retain. If you do not understand avionic systems now, I have bad news for you. Future avionic systems being engineered at this time make our current systems look antiquated. Laser, superconductors and wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) ups the ante.  

It is time to go back to our roots and recreate specialists to quickly and safely deal with avionic systems. The cost of repeat write-ups alone bears out the truth of this statement. The cost to safety is inexcusable. In recent times serious aircraft accidents and incidents seem to be on the increase. Many of them can be attributed directly to avionics issues.

This call to action will, at first, be expensive but the increase in safety and reliability will pay back many fold.

Look at the recurring discrepancies

This is the time to have a critical look at your reliability system, be it CASS or otherwise. Is the data indicating an overabundance of repeat and recurring avionics discrepancies? Don’t just look at the alarm levels. Research the number of repeat and recurring write-ups that have occurred in the previous year.

Now, calculate their cost to your business in lost revenue and customer satisfaction. Have you checked with your avionics repair stations? How many of those expensive black boxes that have been sent in for bench check come back with no fault found? The phrase “No fault found,” is synonymous with the axiom, “you wasted money.”

How about your training program? When was the last time you sat in on a course, or even looked at its syllabus? Is it adequate for the changing times? Does it target avionics understanding? Do you have dedicated avionics technicians?

Is it time to reinvest in safety?

Michael Dziurgalski is an FAA aviation safety inspector and prinicpal avionics inspector ASTAR Air Cargo Inc. based in Cincinnati, OH. He served in the U.S. AIr Force as an avionics technician and quality control inspector.

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