Avionics Master Switch; Meaning, Synonyms, Antonyms, Translation, Use Cases

avionics master switch

The avionics master switch manages the power supplied to the avionics bus, which powers all of the avionics circuit breakers in an airplane.

Avionics: (/eɪvɪˈɒnɪks/) noun

The science and technology of electronics applied to aeronautics and astronautics

For example; One of the most advanced avionics on the Sea King was the front.

Similar word; Black box

Etymology of use

As a portmanteau of “aviation electronics, “avionics” was first used in 1949 by Philip J. Klass, senior editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine.


Master: (/mɑːstəʳ/) noun, verb

Extremely skilled (noun)

Having complete control (verb)

Example: I was instructed by my master to deliver the message only in private.

Similar words: Lord, owner, keeper commander, etc.


Etymology of Use

This phrase was first used to refer to a “master” workman or craftsman” in the 1300s.


Switch: (/swɪtʃ/) noun verb

A switch is a little control that you use to turn an electrical gadget on or off. (Noun)

To move, modify, reverse, or alter the course of something.  (Verb)

Similar words (nouns): scourge, whip, etc.

Similar words (verb): Change, commute, etc.



She activated a switch, turning on the lamp. (Noun)

She switched to her first insurance provider. (Verb)


Etymology of Use

The word switch as a noun was first used in the year 1597.

Switch as a verb was first used in 1611.


Avionics Master Switch: (/eɪvɪˈɒnɪks/, /mɑːstəʳ/, /swɪtʃ/) Noun, Noun/Verb, Noun/Verb

Meaning in aeronautics

In an aircraft, an avionics master switch is used to turn on or off various systems. They are often situated in the comparatively calm environment of the cockpit or cabin.

The avionics master switch is what controls whether electrical power is supplied to avionics such as communication and navigation radios, GPS navigation equipment, etc.

It controls power to all radios, communications, navigation, and locating instruments.

Also, it turns on all radios (communications and navigation), GPS, and other equipment at the same time, instead of having to go one by one.

Also, the avionics master switch is like a master electricity switch that when you turn it on then you can use at home with many smaller buttons.

The switch allows you to control the power applied to the avionics bus, which supplies power to all the avionics circuit breakers.





Non-avionic switch

Use Cases

  • The avionics master switch is sometimes just a regular switch positioned extremely close to the avionics bus in some aircraft.
  • An avionics master switch was probably not installed by the factory if your aircraft was manufactured before the late 1970s.
  • I get calls almost every day asking me about the avionics master switch.
  • We advise using a switch-breaker type avionics master switch that is rated roughly 25% higher than the maximum load the avionics can handle when installing one.

Frequently asked question

What happens if you turn the master switch off in flight?

The master switch in an airplane can be used to cut off the electrical system while leaving the magneto-equipped engine operating. Independence allows each magneto to fire a unique set of spark plugs. The other magneto and its set of spark plugs will allow the airplane to fly safely even if one magneto fails.



The avionics master switch turns all the avionics on, you should turn it on after you started up the engine in order to protect your avionics from potential spikes from the alternator. It can be located in the cockpit, on the pilot’s left side (e.g. Cessna 172 RG), or above the pilot’s head on some Pipers or Pilatus.


Watch the video below for more detailed information on avionics.





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