Sagem Touts Fly-by-wire Benefits on Eurocopter X4

 - October 13, 2011, 2:28 PM
The main cockpit display in Eurocopter’s X-4 will be projected on the windshield, with the flight path shown in highway-in-the-sky style. A central display, in a more conventional head-down position, will present navigation and power information.

Equipment manufacturer Sagem, which is developing fly-by-wire (FBW) controls for the Eurocopter X4 medium-twin helicopter, said the system will improve safety, reduce pilot workload and enhance flying precision. The crew will use fewer controls, Guillaume Thin, Sagem’s vice president of the “future helicopter program,” told AIN. “Innovative” sidesticks will regroup several functions. According to Thin, “The aircraft no longer needs [detailed direction by the pilot], as it does a lot by itself.” The company expects the FBW controls to improve precision, as the computer “understands” the pilot’s input and finds a way for the helicopter to respond accordingly, regardless of turbulence. Eurocopter has planned two versions of the X4; the first is scheduled for 2016, with a more advanced version incorporating FBW to follow in 2020. Sagem believes its FBW system can be ready in 2018.