Test and Evaluation of Aircraft Avionics and Weapon Systems, 2nd Edition
Book Review
JONATHAN KNAUL
© 2015

This is a very comprehensive, yet well balanced textbook, with the main objective of providing the Avionics & Weapons Systems Test Community (from Flight Test Engineers to support staff) with a prime reference on the basics of Avionics & Weapons Test & Evaluation.

Each chapter provides approximately 40 hours worth of flight test curriculum.  The wide spectrum of topics covered include subjects such as why-do-avionics/systems-flight-test; understanding certification standards; the six rules of avionics & weapons systems test; digital data bus basics; time-space-position information; the basics of navigation systems and electronic warfare.  These topics highlight but a few of the 14 chapters.  Each chapter also includes an extensive list of review questions at its close.

While not a “flight test cookbook”, Robert McShea, successfully instructs the reader on engineering basics related to avionics & weapons systems test with the objective of instilling a foundation of critical understanding within the tester.  Mr. McShea very capably does so by referencing historical and anecdotal information related to each topic, and by imparting just the right level of knowledge and detail on each subject area.  The tester is thus given enough of the engineering basics from which to confidently launch into a related test program.  Ultimately, the text shapes a solid foundation for the tester upon which he/she will have the engineering-sense to draw themselves deeper, when needed, once on a test program – effectively to learn the functionality and intricacies of the system under test as well as the one who designed it – a point the author rightfully emphasizes as absolutely necessary to successful testing.

The author goes one step further – many times asking the reader to understand “pilotese” – most elaborately done in the chapter on Navigation Systems.  This ensures that the tester is better equipped to function efficiently within a test team, and while not specifically mentioned, sets the stage for an understanding of role relation – a critical item in flight test reporting. 

Robert McShea has written a balanced, comprehensive yet exhaustive in its detail, and easy to read textbook on avionics & weapons systems testing.  It will provide Flight Test Engineers, Program Managers and Test & Evaluation support staff with some of the most essential building blocks required to successfully approach systems Test & Evaluation.  This text will also serve as a solid and reliable reference for same.  Robert McShea’s Test and Evaluation of Aircraft Avionics and Weapons Systems is simply an outstanding textbook for its subject area and is highly recommended.

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