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A Revolution In Avionics.

Updated on August 13, 2009

Airlines Avionics Institute presented the Volare Award to Gus Kyriakos, the youngest recipient ever of the Award. Gus Kyriakos had more than 35 years of experience in the avionics industry and the term "impossible" used to be a personal challenge for him.

He was offered the challenge of implementing a new approach to Glass Cockpit design using Micro-machined Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) so that the operation of the mechanical gyroscopes in small air-crafts were mimicked electronically. With MEMS, it was possible to have a flat panel display on which features like moving maps, traffic and weather information could be added to improve safety factors.

Gus Kyriakos also understood software and mechanical issues though he was an in-the-trenches engineer and he loved hardware design. His ability lay in diagnosing the design problem in isolation as well as in the backdrop of the whole system. Prior to taking up this job, he successfully developed Traffic - Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and this device was responsible for saving countless lives.

As soon as he took up the above job, he started building a team of hardware and software engineers. After updating the project road-map, they plunged into the job of getting the embryonic product to function properly. Being a hard core leader, he had the reputation of being called "a hard charger". He also earned the reputation of being able to break any software within five minutes.

Though the team led by him tried their best to come out with the required solutions, the constraint was the totally different operating environment in a small aircraft in contrast to that in a large airliner.

Some of the problems faced by Gus and his team were that some of the air-crafts had flight instruments on the right side of the cockpit, the absence of air conditioning in most of the small air-crafts thus allowing temperature reach very high levels and the different approaches adopted by autopilot manufacturers towards interfacing issues. Each approach had to be studied and addressed which was time-consuming.

They also had to have a battery back-up to control the airplane even if there was a total power failure. The battery should also have the capacity to work in the potentially high temperatures.

After solving these issues, the team started revising the software code again and again until they were satisfied that it was 100% fit for the purpose it was intended.

Kyriakos then applied his expertise in packaging to house the electronics without relocating the OEM instrument panel on the aircraft which was a remarkable feat.

Then came the task of obtaining authorization documents called Technical Standard Orders (T.S.O.) from the Federal Aviation Administration. Designs were explained and corrections were effected wherever suggested to get the acceptance by that Department.

Thus the product called EFD 1000 came into being to revolutionize the industry of Avionics. It was Gus Kyriakos' leadership and knowledge and also the labour of his team of engineers that made this revolutionary concept turn into reality.

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      skymaster 6 years ago

      Backup batteries can`t help much because if you loose the battery you lose the radios(god help you inside an atz).

      Also the old good pitostatic system with analog gauges will never fail you as a backup. If you have space on your panel get them in.

    • John Janiszewski profile image

      John Janiszewski 6 years ago from Flushing, Michigan

      The battery backup is indeed useful in my avionic systems. An electrical failure is a scary situation for any pilot.