BAE – Fly-by-wire controls set for electrical flight – Drones Information


BAE Systems uses almost half a century of know-how to develop flight controls of the future.

ENDICOTT, N.Y. – Flight controls are the components under the surface of an airplane that make it fly. Early flight controls were mechanical and used cables and pulleys to connect the pilot’s yoke and pedals to the aircraft’s control surfaces. Most modern aircraft today use fly-by-wire controls. These are electronic systems that are lighter and can save fuel.

Fly-by-wire controls use sensors and computers to convert pilot input into commands. The commands are transmitted to the aircraft’s actuators to move the control surfaces. These surfaces, such as ailerons, spoilers, and rudders, generate the torque required to control the movement of the aircraft.

First in flight

BAE Systems introduced the fly-by-wire technology for military aircraft with the F-16 and F-18 that flew with our systems in the mid-1970s. We introduced the technology to a commercial aircraft just a few years later, and in 1994 we developed the first complete commercial fly-by-wire system for the 777. Recently, our controls enabled the first flights of the AW-609, B525 Relentless and 777X.

Overall, our fly-by-wire systems have flown in more than 50 different aircraft and have collected more than 150 billion flight hours. This means that an aircraft takes off and lands safely every second of every day thanks to our flight-critical systems.

Pioneering at the next border

Fly-by-wire technology will evolve as the first hybrid and all-electric planes fly to the sky. These aircraft require smarter and more integrated controls that are small enough to fit in two-seat air taxis and that can scale to a 400-seat passenger plane. While electric flight may still be a decade away, BAE Systems is currently working on defining and developing flight control systems for the future.

We have invested in our core technology to make fly-by-wire systems smaller, lighter and faster than ever. Our latest computers send precise commands every few milliseconds to more than 40 electronic controls distributed throughout the aircraft. The systems are also 40 percent smaller and lighter than five years ago. We are also developing advanced algorithms that make our flight controls more resistant to cyberattacks.

We don’t stop there and our eyes are on the future of flying. Fly-by-wire systems are essential for the next generation of aircraft to leave the runway. BAE Systems is ready for tomorrow, with the technology that makes it possible and the know-how to make electric flight safe.

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