An airplane global positioning system (GPS) is currently the most efficient, economical, and time prioritized way to navigate the skies. Created in 1973 by the Department of Defense, this global satellite navigation system provides time information and geolocation to GPS receivers worldwide. Utilizing motion sensors, rotation sensors and a computer to calculate velocity, position, and even the orientation of an object in motion (without external references). Radio aid is then used to send navigation signals, GPS data and inertial reference system information to the Flight Management System (FMS) or Black Box of an aircraft. The FMS itself has its own built-in navigation aids, airways needed for the route, and a complete database of airports. Once an optimal route is determined the proposed route is sent to the Air Route Traffic Center for analysis to determine if the current air traffic can accommodate the route. The approval of a route by the Air Route Traffic Center is then relayed to the pilot during pre-flight take-off for final route confirmation.

Early forms of aircraft navigation include techniques like pilotage and dead reckoning. Pilotage is a simple technique to visually navigate through means of identifying landmarks that include rivers, cities, mountains, towers, and lakes and comparing these markers to printed charts. Dead reckoning is a process used to determine the distance between checkpoints and the aircraft location by calculating time and distance bases at a specific speed.  Pilotage and dead reckoning are not the most efficient methods of navigation but when used together can increase productivity.

Pre-GPS era, post visual/papermap era, pilots relied on Non-Directional Beacons (NBDs) and VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR) systems. NBD is a ground-based low-frequency radio beacon transmitter used as an instrumental approach for offshore platforms and airports. An NBD gives off an omnidirectional signal that is then received by an Automatic Directional Finder (ADF) instrument located on an aircraft. The ADF instrument deciphers the signal and tells the pilot the location of the beacon and the pilot’s location relative to the beacon. The NBD frequency (transmitting 24/7 uninterrupted) that enters the ADF instrument gives the pilot exact directions to the station. The VOR system is comprised of a VOR ground station, an instrument that displays and interprets data and an aircraft antenna. Using this system a pilot can view the aircraft position relative to the beacon’s transmission from the ground station. There are approximately 1,000 VOR stations in the United States and are used mostly in connection with specific routes and airways in the sky.

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find the navigation system you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-503-374-0340.

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When you hear the term ‘flight controls’ you may picture the interior of the cockpit and the myriad of buttons and switches the pilot and co-pilot have at their disposal. However, these are in fact the flight instruments. The flight controls are surfaces on the exterior of the aircraft controlled by the instruments. Flight controls are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary flight controls are used to safely control the aircraft during flight and include the ailerons, elevators or stabilator, and rudder. Secondary flight controls consist of slats, flaps, spoilers, trim systems, and other high lift devices.

The three main flight controls, the rudder, elevator/stabilator, ailerons, operate by changing the airflow around them via their movement. These movements affect lift and drag produced by the airfoil/control surface tandem, and allow the pilot to control the aircraft on all three rotational axes. At low airspeeds, the controls may feel weak or sluggish, like the aircraft is struggling to change directions. However, at higher speeds the controls will become more sensitive and the aircraft will respond much more quickly. There are features included in the design of flight controls that serve to limit the amount of airflow deflection they create. These are called control-stop mechanisms and are in place to prevent the pilot from accidentally overcontrolling the aircraft during standard maneuvers.

The majority of flight control systems are mechanical tools that date back to the earliest aircraft types. Despite their simplicity, they are still in use today in most light and general aviation aircraft. More sophisticated aircraft, like military jets, have more complex flight controls. The aerodynamic forces at high speeds become too great for the pilot to overcome without assistance, so hydraulic systems are implemented to move the surfaces. Newer aircraft are also sometimes fitted with computers and fiber optic control systems to reduce weight and save fuel. These are called “Fly-by-Wire” flight controls.

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the flight control system parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-503-374-0340 or email us at

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Historically, the relay has been used as a means to transmit and receive information. Its earliest application was for contact through Morse code, an encoded system of telecommunication wherein letters and numbers are communicated through a standardized set of signals. Relays have many different classifications, but a standard relay is typically made of electromagnets and operates as a switch. The principal function of a relay is to open or close circuits electromechanically. They are more commonly used to control smaller currents and are not usually found in power consuming devices aside from small motors.

Electromagnetic relays are designed and constructed using mechanical parts including an electromagnet, movable armature, contacts, yoke, and a spring. The electromagnet, though it is a metal, has no magnetic properties until it is converted to a magnet via electrical signals. This is because currents passing through conductors take on the properties of a magnet. The electromagnet is wound with a copper wire and, when given sufficient power, acts as a magnet, attracting the surrounding parts and enabling the relay to function. Aside from electromagnetic, there are four other types of relay. They are:

Electrothermal: A relay made when two different materials are combined and formed into a bimetallic strip. When energized, the strip bends, connecting with the relay contacts.

Electromechanical: This relay is similar to the electromagnetic relay, but additional mechanical parts are the driving force, rather than magnetic power.

Solid State: These relays use semiconductor devices rather than mechanical parts, making device switching both faster and easier. An additional advantage of a solid state relay is its lifespan.

Hybrid Relay: As the name suggests, a hybrid relay is a combination of mechanical and solid state relays.

The differing types of relays provide a long list of applications. In addition to their use in electrical circuits, they are found in computer circuits, often performing the mathematical functions they feature. In automatic stabilizers, relays sense an increase or decrease in voltage and help control the circuit load. Relays are also used in televisions, traffic signal controllers, and temperature controllers to turn them on and off.

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find relays for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-503-374-0340.

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The attitude indicator (AI), also known as the artificial horizon, is an important flight instrument found in every aircraft. The AI helps the pilot maintain awareness of the aircraft’s position relative to the Earth’s horizon. It is particularly useful in times of inclement weather or other instrument meteorological conditions - conditions which require pilots to fly primarily or completely by the use of their instruments because of lack of visibility.

Inside the instrument is a spinning gyroscope, or gyro, that remains in the horizontal plane through precession with a pendulum mounted on the underside of the gyro. The center of gravity of the gyro and pendulum sits below the suspension points ensuring it stays upright and is able to stay in the horizontal plane. To better orient itself in regard to the direction of gravity, the attitude indicator has tiny pendulums on the rotor causing it to cover small air holes leading air to either be allowed or prevented to leave from the hole depending on the direction of gravity.  Despite this, the instrument can develop inaccuracies in pitch and bank over extended periods of acceleration, deceleration, or turns. This is because the instrument is not able to account for the curvature of the earth.

AI are prone to two different errors - acceleration and turning error. Both of these occur for the same reason: pendulosity to a false vertical. When an aircraft turns and accelerates, the gyro moves to the right. This will appear on the instrument as a climbing right turn. During deceleration, it has the opposite effect, appearing as a leftward descension. Higher performance aircraft will see this effect more severely because of their far greater power and acceleration capabilities.

The attitude indicator plays a vital role in any aircraft, and Complete Sourcing Solutions can help you find the right one for your aircraft. At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can provide all the unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-503-374-0340.

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Even the tiniest malfunction or failure in an aircraft’s window structure can be dangerous for the passengers and crew of the aircraft. Therefore, aircraft windows are just as tightly regulated as the rest of the airframe. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Advisory Circular 25.775-1 states that aircraft windows must undergo the same level of strength and resilience testing as other parts of the fuselage, like the wings and engines.

Windows are tested exhaustively against every possible threat they can face. Bird-strikes, for example, are a common concern during takeoff and landing, when the aircraft is operating at the same altitudes that birds fly at. The famous Miracle on the Hudson, US Airways Flight 1549, occurred when a flock of geese struck the aircraft and damaged its engines, for instance. Therefore, aircraft windows are tested thoroughly against the possibility of a bird-strike, with simulated tests conducted on the ground long before the design is ever certified for operations.

Windows must also be tested against chemicals, to ensure that their strength and integrity will not be compromised by exposure. De-icing fluid, hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, gas fumes, and more are all fluids that need to be tested against to guarantee that the window can resist them. Their frames must also be resistant to erosion and rust.

Most aircraft windows in the passenger cabin are made with a double layer. This is to ensure that if something compromises the outer window during the flight, the inner layer can withstand the pressure and environment outside. Windshields are fastened in place with bolts or with a clamping system, with the fastener used dependent on the manufacturer.

The average aircraft window has a lifespan of roughly ten years. Sometimes, a window will be changed due to cracks, deformation, or other forms of damage, with the pilots of the aircraft having a great deal of say whether the deck windshields should be changed or not. After all, they’re the ones sitting behind it!

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft window parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the aircraft parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-503-374-0340.

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Microcontrollers are electronic devices that are part of the microcomputer family. Fabricated with VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) technology, microcontrollers are available in 4 bit, 8 bit, and all the way up to 64 and 128 bit options. Microcontrollers can be found in almost every electronic application imaginable, ranging from home applications to traffic lights, from office tools to children’s toys.

A microcontroller is comprised of several parts. They are as follows:

  • The CPU: The CPU (Central processing unit) operates in a word length ranging from 4-bit to 64-bit or higher. The CPU fetches, decodes, and executes instructions that it receives from other parts of the computer.
  • Memory: Microcontrollers feature storage space for several different types of memory depending on the needs and usage of the microcontroller. Typical types of memory used in microcontrollers include RAM (Random Access Memory), ROM (Read Only Memory), EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) and EEPROM (Editable Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory). Memory also allocates a certain amount of flash memory to store program source code.
  • Timers and counters: Constituent parts of a microcontroller used in operations where modulation, clock functions, and frequency generation are important.
  • Analog to digital converters (ADCs): Converters are used when converting the output of an analog signal into a digital format. A common application of this technology is in sound equipment, specifically in microphones and other pieces of equipment that pick up and measure audio signals.
  • Digital to analog converters (DACs): The inverse of an ADC, a digital-to-analog converter turns digital signals into analog ones, which can be used to control analog equipment motors, speakers, and thermostats.

The greatest strength of microcontrollers is that they mount all their integral parts on a single chip. This design makes microcontrollers more compact, easy to install and maintain, and makes them cheaper as well. However, microcontrollers also have a relatively complex architecture, and they are not suitable for interfacing directly with high power devices.

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the microcontroller systems and parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-503-374-0340.

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Aircraft longevity is crucial to the aerospace industry. Even though maintenance may seem daunting, pilots should be paying close attention to flight hours and overall operations to keep the plane running for the unforeseeable future. In this article, we will be covering important steps of maintenance.

The annual inspection is the most obvious but also most important to plane health. An authorized mechanic once a year will perform essentially an overhaul on an aircraft. They will conduct a detailed inspection from the seats, to the interior panels and trim, to the engine will be inspected and checked for signs of damage, fixed, and reassembled. Once put back together, the plan will be taken for a test flight and correctly certified to operate for at least another year.

Oil changes are just as important on planes as they are on cars. Each different type of aircraft has a specific oil and time frame. Light aircraft such as Cessna Aircraft, Piper, or Cirrus need their oil changed every 50 hours of operation, on ground or in the air. Maintenance is key, especially oil maintenance, for an aircraft when you consider that it performs at its highest capacities of temperature and pressure every time it flies.

Airplanes that are specifically used at a flight school or commercial establishment have to undergo the hundred-hour-inspection. This inspection runs the same procedures as the annual inspection. The only difference is who authorizes of the paperwork. In an annual inspection a certified individual holding an Inspection Authorization must sign off, whereas any mechanic can perform the hundred-hour inspection.

For an aircraft or any part that encounters an immediate issue that requires attention, an Airworthiness Directive, or AD, is issued. An AD has a specific time frame or operating hours attached to it where the maintenance needs to be completed by that time. If the maintenance is not completed by this deadline, the aircraft will be grounded until the AD is followed, per the FAA. If a problem is not deemed an emergency, the manufacturer will issue a Service Bulletin, or SB. The nomenclature of an SB is the same as an AD; however, the main difference is the FAA enforces the AD. A SB is more of a suggestion by the manufacturer so there are no legal repercussions if a customer does not comply. The SB usually is a precursor to the AD.

Since it is a very rigorous inspection and maintenance processes there are different inspection levels labeled A, B, C, D checks. The A check is the quickest inspection. The inspection usually takes 1 day, taking that aircraft out of service for a day. It occurs every 500 hours, 250 flights, or the agreed schedule that the FAA has approved.

The B check is required every 6 months. It can take anywhere from one to three days. Some airlines use a progressive inspection program, which allows them to add items from B checks into the A check inspection to save time out of operations.

The C check is essentially the same as an annual check and covers the same bases but occurs every 2 years since the A and B checks are more frequent. They take a week to complete and is more thorough than the previous checks. It often allows the airline to upgrade their interior with new entertainment and seating systems.

The D check is also known as the heavy check and is the most extensive out of all 4 checks. This occurs once every 10 years and will remove the aircraft from service for months. An aircraft can only take a few heavy checks in its lifetime, before being scrapped for parts. This is a full investigation of the whole aircraft, down to the paint.

At Complete Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-503-374-0340.

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Aircraft communication systems, navigation components, and data devices all rely on the functioning capabilities of antennae. Without the existence of antennas, aircraft would have a much harder time functioning. Modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 are constructed with more than 20 antennae that extend from the fuselage, cockpit, wings, and tail. Aircraft are becoming more interconnected with advancements in technology, specifically, antennas.

With antennas being located on the exterior of the aircraft, they are more susceptible to wear and tear. Antenna repair and maintenance is critical to the successful operation of an aircraft. These repairs fall into three different categories: electrical, mechanical, and cosmetic repair. Electronic repairs involve a failed device that may have been removed during a troubleshooting sequence. An antenna is deemed functional by measuring how much power is radiating off the device. Mechanical failures occur when the antenna is bumped or strikes another object.

These objects can include trolleys, ground servicing equipment, lifts, and even birds. These bumps lead to cracks in the fasteners of the antenna, or the antenna itself. Repairing this type of damage may involve physically intervening in the structure of the antenna, potentially affecting its efficiency. If this occurs, an anechoic chamber can be used for testing; a costly and time-consuming process. In comparison, cosmetic damage is when the antenna suffers chipped paint or discoloration.

Cosmetic damage is common in antennas. As the aircraft is in flight, ice and water from the slipstream have a high probability of causing corrosion. The paint used on antennas must be extremely calibrated and specialized. Lightning strikes are another type of external damage an antenna may face. The harsh environment that these antennae are exposed to becomes an issue.

Antennas also provide satellite communications, marker beacons, weather radars, radio navigation technology, and many more functions. The aforementioned Boeing 787 features antennas for its landing instruments, air traffic control, traffic collision avoidance systems, and many other functions. Proper maintenance and routine inspections should be practiced ensuring its longevity.

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The complexity of aircraft hydraulic systems depends heavily on the functions it needs to perform. In smaller planes, hydraulics are used to operate constant-speed propellers, landing gear, and wheel brakes. On larger planes, the systems tend to be more complex as they are used to operate flight control surfaces, spoilers, wing flaps, brakes, and other flight critical functionality. The principles of hydraulics are based on Pascal’s law—pressure exerted anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted equally, in all directions throughout the fluid, such that the pressure ratio remains constant.

Let’s explore how hydraulic systems work. Hydraulic fluid is first pumped from a reservoir by an electric, or engine operated pump. It runs through a filter to keep the fluid clean, and then passes through a selector valve to relieve pressure. Once it reaches the actuator, the pressurized fluid power is converted into work by the actuators’ piston. The actuator can be single or double acting depending on the requirements of the system. The piston reacts and is able to control aircraft systems, brakes, flight controls, and many other operations. Actuators are the main moving parts in hydraulics; a vital component contributing to overall functioning capabilities.

A hydraulic actuator consists of a cylinder, or fluid motor, that utilizes hydraulic power to facilitate mechanical operation. It gives an output in terms of linear, oscillatory, or rotary motion. An actuator can exert a considerable amount of force since liquids are nearly impossible compress entirely. It consists of a hollow cylindrical tube on which a piston can slide. Some actuators are single acting, meaning fluid pressure is applied to just one side of the piston, causing it to move in one direction. There are also double acting actuators. This term is used when pressure is applied to both sides of the piston; a difference in pressure between the two sides causes the piston to move in the more pressurized direction. Actuators can come in different sizes and shapes depending on the size/weight of the object it needs to move.

Hydraulics have the ability to deliver a great deal of power without occupying too much space or weight. They can be operated quickly, relied on, and are easy to maintain. They do not need electricity to function, which means the chance of a fire hazard are very low, making them a safer option than other systems. Yet, perhaps the main advantage they offer is that they can handle an immense workload, which is invaluable in today’s aerospace engineering.

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When we think about being in a comfortable space, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not an aircraft cabin. Most people who fly economy class feel cramped and after a long flight, passengers are often tired and achy. Airlines have sacrificed passenger comfort throughout the years in order to save on costs and fit more seats. With heavy materials and the related fuel consumption, the design has often been centered around savings and maximizing profits. However, making aircraft comfortable for passengers is becoming increasingly economical as technology rapidly develops and consequently increases an aircraft's efficiency. 

The more an airline can save on the vast array of costs associated with flying, the more they can invest in cabins that increase comfort. Innovative technologies and material are used for both the interior and exterior components of an aircraft to improve passenger comfort. Let's take a look at a couple of the aircraft that have utilized these technologies: The Boeing 787 family and the Airbus A350 family.  

The Boeing 787 has a spacious cabin, large windows, and vaulted ceilings. The passenger’s windows are not only larger, but don’t have the traditional panel that slides up and down— passengers can adjust the tint with the press of a button. This technology increases passenger comfort by allowing them to maintain a view of the beautiful aerial scenery while not being blinded by sunlight. The design also incorporates a new air system which adjusts air pressure and humidity, and this leads to reduced fatigue and dryness. A few of the other features include more comfortable seating, large overhead bins, and new lighting systems. Adjustable LED lighting creates a more relaxing environment. The traditional lighting options have often contributed to fatigue. One of the newest technologies to increase passenger comfort is the Boeing 787s ability to sense and dampen turbulence— reducing motion sickness. 

The “Airspace by Airbus” cabin in the A350 family is quiet and comfortable. Airbus Industries was able to achieve its goal of increasing comfort by utilizing various modern technology. It has wider seats, high ceilings, and ambient lighting. The cabin’s air system is refreshed every few minutes and has an optimal cabin altitude of 6,000 ft, reducing the effects of jet lag. Air is also adjusted to comfortable temperatures and humidity. 

Both of these companies have used similar technology to increase airline passenger comfort and reduce the dreaded effects of jet lag while maintaining features unique to their own aircraft. But, none of these improvements would have been possible without the advancements in electrical systems and composite materials. 

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