Course Title: Avionics and ATM Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Avionics and ATM Systems

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Prof. Roberto Sabatini

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8015

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no prerequisites for this course.
It is presumed you have a basic understanding of aircraft systems and operations.

Course Description


This course aims to address fundamental and advanced topics in Aviation Electronics (Avionics) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems. The course will cover the fundamental theoretical aspects of the underlying technologies and provides an overview of the principles of the associated electronic equipment incorporated in modern avionics and ATM systems. The course will further explore architectures, functions and operations of existing avionic systems (communication and navigation systems, flight instrumentation, flight control systems, etc.) and will also provide an understanding of modern Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management and Avionics (CNS+A) concepts, including design, test/evaluation, and certification challenges.

You will examine how these systems contribute to the safe, reliable and efficient operation of modern aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Particular emphasis is given to emerging technologies (sensors, data fusion algorithms, etc.) aiming to improve safety, efficiency, maintainability/reliability and environmental sustainability of aircraft and RPAS in the current and next generation ATM framework (in line with SESAR and NextGen modernisation initiatives). In addition, the distinctive characteristics of avionic systems used in military aircraft and RPAS are discussed (guided weapon systems, electronic-warfare equipment, etc.). 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes:

1. Needs, Context and Systems

  • Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)

2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team
  • Develop and operate within a hazard and risk framework appropriate to engineering activities

4. Professional Practice

  • Initiate, plan, lead or manage engineering activities
  • Understand the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline
  • Apply systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects
  • Demonstrate effective team membership and team leadership
  • Demonstrate orderly management of self, and professional conduct. 

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Integrate specialised and advanced skills with a developed knowledge of avionic and ATM systems.
  2. Implement advanced systems engineering concepts, analyse and assess the performance characteristics, maintainability/reliability features of modern avionics (software and hardware).
  3. Apply software and hardware safety assessment techniques to the design of avionic systems.
  4. Analyse total CNS+A system performance in terms of safety, efficiency and environmental sustainability based on individual systems and equipment.
  5. Identify and being able to distinguish between avionic systems used in civil/military aircraft and RPAS.
  6. Apply Human Factors Engineering principles to the design of avionic systems and flight deck/cockpit interfaces.
  7. Identify and apply international regulations, standards and practices in avionics engineering.
  8. Identify and critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of modern avionics and emerging technologies.
  9. Generate, research and explore ideas, concepts and processes in avionic and ATM systems through integrated creative, critical and reflective thinking.
  10. Initiate, lead, negotiate and interact with others in planning, adapting to and executing projects.
  11. Synthesise information from various resources to identify solutions to problems within the aerospace and aviation community.
  12. Interpret, communicate and present complex work and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences using professional conventions.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn this course through lectures, directed reading, class room discussion, and investigative research. The learning process is reinforced through problem-based learning using case studies.

Overview of Learning Resources


Course-related resources will be provided on the course’s Blackboard (RMIT Learning Hub). These will include course notes, and other learning materials generated by the course lecturer(s), references, and approved links to useful material on external web-sites.

Prescribed Textbooks

  • Spitzer, C.R., Ferrell, U. and Ferrell, T. “Digital Avionics Handbook”, CRC Press, Third edition, 2015.
  • Moir, I., Seabridge, A. and Jukes, M. “Civil Avionics Systems”, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
  • Ilčev, S.D. “Global Aeronautical Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance (CNS)”, Volumes 1 and 2, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2013.
  • Wise, J.A., Hopkin, V.D. and Smith, M.L. (Eds.). “Automation and Systems Issues in Air Traffic Control”, vol. 73, Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.

Additional Texts

  • Galotti, V.P. “The Future Air Navigation System (FANS): Communication, Navigation, Surveillance – Air Traffic Management”, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 1997.
  • Kyton, M. and Fried, W. “Avionics Navigation Systems”, John Wiley & Sons, 2nd edition, 1997.
  • Moir, I., Seabridge, A. and Jukes, M. “Military Avionics Systems”, John Wiley & Sons, 2006.
  • Moir, I. and Seabridge, A.G. “Design and Development of Aircraft Systems”, John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 
  • Collinson R.P.G. “Introduction to Avionics”, Third edition, Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.
  • Donohue G.L. “Air Transportation Systems Engineering”, vol. 193, AIAA, 2001.
  • Austin, R. “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: UAVS Design, Development and Deployment”, vol. 54, John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  • Cook, A. (Ed.). “European Air Traffic Management: Principles, Practice, and Research”, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007.
  • Wickens, C.D., Mavor, A.S., Parasuraman, R. and McGee, J.P. (Eds.). “The Future of Air Traffic Control: Human Operators and Automation”, National Academies Press, 1998.
  • Belobaba, P., Odoni, A. and Barnhart, C. (Eds.). “The Global Airline Industry”, vol. 23, John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.
☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Assessment tasks


Assessment Task 1

7 Classroom Quizzes

Weighting: 15% of total course mark;

This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 – 8


Assessment Task 2

1 Individual Assignment

Weighting: 20% of total course mark;

This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 – 9, 11, 12


Assessment Task 3

1 Individual Presentation

Weighting: 15% of total course mark;

This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 – 12


Assessment Task 4

1 Group Presentation

Weighting: 20% of total course mark;

This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 – 12


Assessment Task 5

1 Final Exam

Weighting: 30% of total course mark.

This assessment task supports CLOs: 1 – 9, 11, 12