Winged Messengers: The possibility of sending signals along power wiring inside aircraft

Intra-Aircraft Power Line Communication

Keywords: Avionics, power, line, communication, PLC, wiring, aircraft, aviation, signal, electronics

A considerable portion of the mass of aircraft and spacecraft is made up of wiring. Reducing the number of wires can reduce payload mass, decrease fuel consumption, and simplify construction and maintenance; this goal can be achieved by exploiting wiring for multiple purposes. Sending electronic data through aircraft power wiring is a new research area which this text aims to advance. In the highly critical field of avionics, the development of aircraft electronics such as flight control and navigation equipment forms a multi-billion dollar industry, taking a key role in the aerospace sector. In contrast, power line communication (PLC) is conventionally thought of as a technology for domestic applications, such as home networking over household wiring. In this work, the distinct areas of PLC and avionics are synthesized. This text, as an early investigation, presents methods, materials and consequences of applying power line communication to avionics. Unlocking the bandwidth potential of avionic wiring could be an important step toward more efficient air flight.

Ryan Janzen applies principles of electrical engineering and physics to diverse fields, from biomedical science, to aerospace, to music and acoustics. With ten internationally distributed publications, he does research and teaching as a graduate student at the University of Toronto. Janzen is also a composer of orchestral music.