What stops an aircraft from falling out of the sky? The fundamental reason is due to the aerodynamic lift acting on the wings but, for modern aircraft, sophisticated electronics is another essential ingredient.
Electronic systems associated with flight are known by the term ‘avionics’. Avionics covers the internal sensors and control systems within an aircraft; from airborne communication and navigation systems to ‘stealth’ aircraft design and flight control systems.
The avionics in most aircraft will be upgraded several times during the life of the airframe. This makes avionics one of the most important sectors in the aerospace industry and it is a major employer in the UK.
This degree programme aims to prepare you to work in a variety of related disciplines: radar systems, GPS/inertial navigation systems, guidance and control, and avionics systems design.
We have strong links with industry and a number of undergraduate projects have been generated from industrial projects undertaken by members of the Department. Examples include the development of infrared tracking algorithms for missile warning systems, antenna design for airborne communications and flight control systems for terrain avoidance in low-level flight.
Pilot Studies pathway
Our Avionics programmes give you the option to learn to fly and to build towards either a National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) or a full Joint Aviation Authorities/Private Pilot Licence (JAA/ PPL) in the first year and the ‘frozen’ Air Transport Pilot’s Licence (fATPL) in the second year. If you are seeking a career as a commercial airline pilot it is possible to work towards the fATPL.
Our flight training partners are based at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and time for flight training is provided in your timetable. Also, a particularly exciting experimental facility on the University campus is the Bibby Flight Simulation Laboratory featuring motion and visual cueing and a library of different aircraft types that students can ‘try their hands on’. A new two-seat motion simulator is used as support to our Pilot Studies programmes.
An additional fee of approximately £3,400 is required to cover the costs of the mandatory 20 hours pilot training that is required for all students who choose the Pilot Studies pathway and work towards the NPPL, JAA/PPL and fATPL.
Programme in detail
The programme starts by giving you a basic grounding in all of the necessary technical subjects in Year One, with modules in electrical circuits and systems, digital electronics, mathematics and an introduction to aerospace engineering (which covers the principles of flight and terminology of aerospace engineering). If you have chosen the option to learn to fly, Year One has a pilot studies module that supports the flying activities and the pilot ground school course for the private pilot’s licence (including meteorology, air navigation and air law), and time is factored into the Year One timetable to enable you to acquire the flying time required by the ‘with Pilot Studies’ programmes.
In Year Two, avionics is introduced through a dedicated module which covers everything from radar cross-sections of ‘stealth’ aircraft to airborne navigation using the Global Positioning System. Year Two also includes modules in instrumentation (covering the electrical devices that are used to monitor and control the flight of aircraft) and other relevant subjects.
In Year Three, there is an opportunity to specialise in a particular area of avionics with individual project work and optional modules in antenna and radar systems, control systems or navigation.
Throughout the programme, there is a strong multidisciplinary flavour to the subjects being studied, with common elements shared by mainstream aerospace engineering students and electrical engineers. However, the Avionics programme offers a range of avionics modules that will provide you with greater in-depth technical knowledge than is offered by either of the mainstream subject areas.
On H432, students spend their third year of study on industrial placement.
Department Key Facts
Number of first year students
110 Year One undergraduates in 2018
96% are employed or in further study six months after graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17)
Why this subject?
Equip yourself to take advantage of excellent career prospects
We work closely with industry leaders to develop all of our programmes. Building on the core principles of electrical/electronic engineering, you will develop advanced skills in hardware and/or software design and implementation, gaining experience with industry standard tools, technologies and working methods.
Be prepared for the global workplace
We offer outstanding opportunities for our students to experience different systems, technologies and cultures through Study Abroad placements.
Gain real hands-on experience
You will learn through the practical application of concepts and theory, always with awareness of their relevance to the real world. Working with leading tech companies, you will take projects from conception, through to design, implementation and operation and there are many opportunities to put your learning into practice through an optional year in industry.
Apply for generous scholarships
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) offers generous scholarships worth up to £1,000 per year. More details can be found at theiet.org/awards.
Thrive within our friendly environment
Our supportive and friendly environment is reflected in our high overall student satisfaction rate (National Student Survey). Your personal development and employability skills are reinforced in the supportive small group environment of our fortnightly tutorial sessions.
Be part of an institution which is leading the way in new technologies
From our Sensor City joint project with Liverpool John Moores University, to the new Centre for Plasma Microbiology, to our pioneering work on cyber security and organic electronics, the work of the department is leading the way in providing technological solutions to modern problems.