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avionics (āˌvēŏnˈĭks) [key], electronic instruments used in air or space flight; also the design and production of such instruments. Early planes had few instruments, but as aviation and aircraft became more complex, so did instrumentation. Most of the new technology was electronic; hence, the expression "aviation electronics" arose and was later shortened to "avionics." After World War II, the increasing sophistication of military avionics helped spawn a proliferation of electronic applications to commercial and private aviation. Avionics includes numerous types of devices, including those used for navigation (see air navigation); control instruments that aid in steering and controlling the craft; and performance indicators, such as altimeters and velocity gauges.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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