How To Operate Advanced Avionics Systems

The first challenge is to acquire the “how-to” knowledge needed to operate advanced avionics systems. This handbook describes the purpose of each kind of system, overviews the basic procedures required to use it, explains some of the logic the system uses to perform its function, and discusses each system’s general limitations. It is important to note that this handbook is not intended as a guide for any one manufacturer’s equipment. Rather, the aim is to describe the basic principles and concepts that underlie the internal logic and processes and the use of each type of advanced avionics system. These principles and concepts are illustrated with a range of equipment by different manufacturers. It is very important that the pilot obtain the manufacturer’s guide for each system to be operated, as only those materials contain the many details and nuances of those particular systems.


Many systems allow multiple methods of accomplishing a task, such as programming or route selection. A proficient pilot tries all methods, and chooses the method that works best for that pilot for the specific situation, environment, and equipment. Not all aircraft are equipped or connected identically for the navigation system installed. In many instances, two aircraft with identical navigation units are wired differently. Obvious differences include slaved versus non-slaved electronic horizontal situation indicators (EHSIs) or primary flight display (PFD) units. Optional equipment is not always purchased and installed. The pilot should always check the equipment list to verify what is actually installed in that specific aircraft. It is also essential for pilots using this handbook to be familiar with, and apply, the pertinent parts of the regulations and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

Advanced avionics equipment, especially navigation equipment, is subject to internal and external failure. You must always be ready to perform manually the equipment functions which are normally accomplished automatically, and should always have a backup plan with the skills, knowledge, and training to ensure the flight has a safe ending.

Which Advanced Avionics Systems To Use and When

The second challenge is learning to manage the many information and automation resources now available to you in the cockpit. Specifically, you must learn how to choose which advanced cockpit systems to use, and when. There are no definitive rules. In fact, you will learn how different features of advanced cockpit avionics systems fall in and out of usefulness depending on the situation. Becoming proficient with advanced avionics means learning to use the right tool for the right job at the right time. In many systems, there are multiple methods of accomplishing the same function. The competent pilot learns all of these methods and chooses the method that works best for the specific situation, environment, and equipment. This handbook will help you get started in learning this important skill.