If you have had the opportunity to see a plane’s cockpit while in flight or have see a missile launched from a fighter jet, you have seen avionics in action. Avionics consist of the electronic systems that are used on aircraft and spacecraft as well as artificial satellites. This includes systems for communications, navigation, monitoring, and weather. The word “avionics” also refers to the science and the development of technology as it applies to aeronautics and astronautics. Avionics fall into two main categories: aircraft avionics and mission/tactical avionics.

Aircraft Avionics

Many of the avionics systems on an aircraft can be found and controlled in the cockpit. You’ll find systems for controlling the aircraft, monitoring, communication, navigation, anti-collision and weather sensing. The capacity of the aircraft’s electrical system depends on its size – airliners, military combat aircraft and spacecraft will usually run larger systems to drive their avionics. Several major vendors manufacture flight avionics systems, one of the largest being Honeywell.

Mission/Tactical Avionics

Military aircraft are fit with systems that are either designed to sense and respond to a threat or to deliver an offensive attack. Communication systems are able to withstand combat conditions while sophisticated radar systems are made to help pilots fly jets safely at low altitudes. Sonar is used to aid military aircraft in marine environments by tracking submarines and surface threats. Electronic support measures and defensive aids (ESM/DAS) are used to obtain information about possible threats. These systems can also be used to launch devices to counter attacks against the aircraft.

Avionics systems can also be found on police and EMS aircraft. Police helicopters track suspects and EMS aircraft locate rescue victims from the air using video or Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR).

Avionics vs. Avation

What is the difference? Avionics refers to the electronic systems that are used by different types of aircraft, while aviation describes the different uses for flying devices. Civil aviation includes commercial flights and private transport while military aviation may include surveillance flights, delivery of supplies or tactical attacks.

Crystal is an Account Manager with Location3 Media.

If you are anything like me, you prefer to leave all “Technology purchases” to the Man of the House. Not that I can’t do it – after all, I did buy my own iPod and figure out how to use it! But generally speaking, I figure it’s just part of a man’s DNA to know WHAT to buy, WHERE to buy it, and HOW it works. Besides, I don’t want to hear about it if I make a mistake!) Imagine his surprise when he walked in to find a new 52″ plasma TV lift cabinet for his birthday! I decided to follow the WHAT/WHERE/HOW formula myself. Try it yourself!

WHAT – TV lift technology has been around for years. First introduced as a state-of-the art innovation to luxury hotels and casinos, it is now accessible to the “average Jane.” The concept is simple: When you want to watch TV, push of a button and your television “pops up” from a piece of furniture (ours is housed in a beautiful mahogany armoire) and with another button push, “disappears” when TV time is over!

WHERE – TV Lifts are available from a variety of sources; from your local home theater retailer to reputable internet manufacturers. I recommend doing your research online first. You’ll find numerous reliable websites available at your fingertips. (This is also an excellent way to comparison shop!) Once you have narrowed your search, visit a “bricks-and mortar” store. Ask to see different models of the TV lifts action. Look for ease of operation, noise level and “d├ęcor” options. What I mean by that is, is the TV lift housed within a cabinet or console? This was important to me, as I didn’t want our TV to become the room’s point. I chose a custom-built TV lift cabinet, which holds all of our TV “stuff” – the cable box, TiVo, and all their accompanying wires!)

HOW – TV lift operating systems vary. Each has its own set of pros and cons, so make your decision based upon your own “needs” assessment, including your budget, warranties, etc. Some options include:

1) Rack and pinion operation;
2) Scissor-lift technology;
3) Telescopic lift design;

Rob Buehl is the President and CEO of ImportAdvantage the leading supplier of high end furniture with innovative pop-up TV lift systems Rob has been in the furniture business for 18 ears. He is a member of NHFA, CEA, CEDIA.

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