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A Hands-on Project for Avionics Systems Course in Aviation Engineering Technology Program

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Division for Experimentation & Lab-oriented Studies Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Chenyu Huang Purdue University

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Chenyu Huang is currently a Post-doc Researcher in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, Masters’ Degrees in Air Traffic Planning and Management, and Aerospace and Aviation Management, Ph.D. degree focused on Aviation Data Analytics, Avionics, and Aviation Safety Support Systems from Purdue University. Chenyu is an FAA Advanced Ground Instructor. He has been immersed in a wide range of aviation related research work, and has expertise in solving cutting-edge aviation problems, such as aviation data analytics and modeling, UAS operations, air traffic management automation, flight safety enhancement, aviation emissions assessment, and engineering applications on aviation operations. He has worked closely with related industry leaders and aviation authorities, including Boeing, United Airlines, Jeppesen, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Air Traffic Management Bureau of China.

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Mary E. Johnson Ph.D. Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Mary E. Johnson earned her BS, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. After 5 years in aerospace manufacturing, Dr. Johnson joined the Automation & Robotics Research Institute in Fort Worth and was program manager for applied research programs. Fourteen years later, she was an Industrial Engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M - Commerce before joining the Aviation Technology department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2007. She is a professor and is a Co-PI on the FAA Center of Excellence for general aviation research known as PEGASAS and leads engineering efforts in the Air Transport Institute for Environmental Sustainability. Her research interests are aviation sustainability, data driven process improvement, and engine emissions.

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Thomas Eismin Purdue University

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Thomas K. Eismin is a professor of Aviation Technology and has been teaching at Purdue University since 1977. Professor Eismin has held several Federal Aviation Administration ratings including: an Inspection Authorization, an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics Certificate, a Designated Mechanic Examiner Certificate, and Private Pilot Certificate, with Instrument and Lighter-Than-Air ratings. Professor Eismin is author of the internationally recognized text Aircraft Electricity and Electronics 6th ed., has also authored the Avionics Systems and Troubleshooting 2nd ed. and has numerous journal publications and/or national presentations relating to aviation education and innovative teaching techniques.

Professor Eismin’s primary teaching interests include the advanced electronic technologies found on modern computerized aircraft. He specializes in avionics (aircraft electronics) systems including: electronic flight instruments, central maintenance computers, and engine indicating and crew alerting systems. His knowledge, publications, and text materials in this area have received national and international recognition. Though consulting activities Professor Eismin has provided expertise for both industrial and government agencies. He is a member of several national aviation organizations and has held various executive positions for those groups.

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Avionics systems is one of the compulsory courses for students majoring in Aeronautical Engineering Technology (AET), an undergraduate program accredited by ABET-ETAC. Students in the AET program are expected to develop an integrated ability of understanding theoretical knowledge and mastering hands-on skills. An appropriate course design is vital to facilitate the development of anticipated ability. The course of avionics systems covers the theory of operation and applications of common electrical components used in various aircraft circuits, and it has been viewed as one of the difficult courses for students to apply knowledge systematically in a real working scenario. In order to deliver a successful avionics systems course, the avionics systems course typically combines lecture and lab session. Physical and mathematical relationships of electrical components are introduced in lecture sessions, and relevant applications and experiments are covered in lab sessions. In addition, it is important to enable students to integrate electrical knowledge with other relevant skills to elevate their capability to better use knowledge in problem solving. This paper introduces a hands-on project for avionics systems course to better enhance a practical education for AET students. This hands-on project proposes assembling an Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) flight tracking system as a real-world aeronautical example. ADS-B is one of the major technology components of next generation air transportation system. Students are expected to apply electrical and avionic knowledge to build up an entry-level ADS-B receiver, and deploy the receiving system to collect and decode flight data. This project requires students to have knowledge of basic electronics and avionics, basic computer programing, and basic mathematics. As a part of the AET program, this project would be in the second electronics course. The connections to the first and third courses will be detailed in the paper. To accomplish this project, students will need to assemble an ADS-B receiver using provided hardware, program the desired code, load code into hardware, deploy system to collect and decode data, and analyze the results. Therefore, the project engages students with many skills, such as circuit analysis and design, soldering, programing, and system field testing. The project helps students develop the ability of integrating skills from different courses to solve real aviation problems. A course project related to cutting-edge technology and leading to an operational project outcome allows students to have better understanding of avionics and its relevant applications.

Huang, C., & Johnson, M. E., & Eismin, T. (2018, June), A Hands-on Project for Avionics Systems Course in Aviation Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29687

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