Harsh world of aviation connectors

Here, PEI-Genesis’ SVP and MD Europe, Jonathan Parry, explains why reverse bayonet connectors are an excellent option for commercial aircraft


Connectors on commercial aircraft experience some of the harshest environments of all industrial applications. These connectors must perform flawlessly and remain mated when subjected to high altitudes, vibration, shock and fluctuating temperatures.


Despite a decline in passenger air travel over the course of the pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the sector to return to profitability in 2022. As passenger traffic normalises, so will the demand for aircraft and their components—with the global aviation connector market estimated to be worth $6.8bn by 2027.


There are six key areas on an aircraft where connectors are used: fuel management system, landing gear, airframe, galley/cabin, flight control panel and engine. Each area has its own set of requirements and challenges.

PEI-Genesis’ SVP and MD Europe, Jonathan Parry

Connectors used in the fuel management system must be airtight, so they are hermetically sealed during manufacturing to allow them to perform reliably during use. Connectors used in the landing gear experience repeatedly high impact, vibration and shock, plus extreme fluctuating temperatures, so are typically designed with a three-point bayonet coupling system.


Connectors used in the airframe must be environmentally sealed, electrically shielded and resistant to fluids and vibration. Those used in the galley and cabin are typically used for in-flight-entertainment and avionics, so must be lightweight, cost-effective and scoop-proof—featuring a longer shell on the receptacle that prevents the exposed pins from being damaged.


For the aircraft control panel, where space is limited, rack and panel type connectors are used that can be blind mated, allowing the connector to be reliably mated while saving space. Finally, in the aircraft engines and boosters, anti-rotation connectors are used that feature a reduced elastomer barrier for use with newer and older generation wires. These connectors are also designed with shell-to-shell metal bottoming, improving shielding and providing a secure fit.


One of the best connector designs for aircraft use is the bayonet. Bayonet, and particularly reverse bayonet connectors, are a useful coupling mechanism that allow the connector to be quickly locked and unlocked while maintaining a secure fit that prevents it from becoming dislodged in the face of extreme vibration. The reverse bayonet design features ramps built into the receptacle allowing the plug to be twisted and locked into position without the need for lock wires.


As a supplier of bayonet connectors for use in everything from military, aerospace, rail and more, PEI-Genesis custom assembles a variety of reverse bayonet connectors from the world’s leading connector manufacturers including Amphenol and ITT Cannon. These are available in various sizes and contact configurations and are rated to the most demanding mil-spec and aviation standards.


As the world adjusts and the aviation sector returns to post-pandemic growth, aircraft manufacturers must ensure they can continue to deliver aircraft with components that perform in the harshest conditions.