James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 21 16:21:49 UTC 2003

Someone posted a request here about the word "avionics", specifically when it
first appeared.

Answer:  If you want to do a lot of digging, first try Jane's All the World's
Aircraft, which has been published, yearly I believe, since I don't know when
but very likely the 1940's.  Whoever first called himself an "avionics
vendor" is sure to have had an ad in Jane's for that year.

Where can you find old copies of Jane's?  Darned if I know, outside the
publisher's office.

Other places to look are in specialized aviation magazines, such as "Flying"
which I know was published since before the mid-1950's and which is available
in some public libraries.

Yes, the late 1940's is a plausible time for someone to coin "avionics" as a
portmanteau of "aviation electronics".  That is the era in which the ILS and
GCA landing systems and the VOR and TACAN navigational systems---all still in
use today---were being developed.

        - James A. Landau
          systems engineer
          FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
          Atlantic City Int'l Airport NJ 08405 USA

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