Just days after taking the wraps off the fly-by-wire G650 last month, Gulfstream revealed that it has successfully flown a GV testbed fitted with a fiber-optic “fly by light” (FBL) control system.
Aircraft flight control systems
Cessna is adopting “hybrid” fly-by-wire technology to actuate the flight controls on the Citation Columbus, formerly known as the Large Cabin Concept jet. This is Cessna’s first use of fly-by-wire flight controls in a Citation design, and the system combines electronic and mechanical control of flight control actuators.
Water that pooled under the floor panels of a Falcon 20, froze and restricted the movement of the aileron trim actuator as the airplane was landing at London Stansted Airport is to blame for the airplane’s “frozen” controls, according to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Whenever a manufacturer develops a new airplane, engineers have the opportunity to incorporate new technology into the design. With the large-cabin Columbus, Cessna engineers didn’t opt for a composite airframe or an all-electric systems architecture, but they have chosen an innovative approach to fly-by-wire flight controls.
On the heels of launching the fastest, longest-range large-cabin jet–the G650–Gulfstream announced this morning that it successfully flew a GV testbed fitted with a fiber-optic “fly by light” (FBL) control system late last month. The FBL technology that is being demonstrated on the testbed is actually a generation beyond the fly-by-wire system developed for the new G650 that was announced last Thursday.
Cessna announced today that the Citation Columbus 850 large-cabin business jet will employ “hybrid” fly-by-wire technology for the flight controls, using a system designed by Parker Aerospace. Parker is responsible for designing and manufacturing primary and secondary flight controls and high-lift, stabilizer trim and speed brake controls.
Eurocopter AS 350B2, Kamarang, Guyana, Feb. 6, 2005–The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) determined that the cause of the Canadian-registered AS 350 accident was a flight control malfunction and the pilot’s inability to control the helicopter before it hit the ground. Although the TSB did not determine the cause of
the malfunction, the agency said it was probably a loss of hydraulic pressure.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft hopes to make the first engine runs on its PowerJet SaM146-equipped Superjet 100 this week as it awaits authorization to begin flight tests that it now says could take place in about a month’s time. A second aircraft, now undergoing completion, could fly before June, according to Sukhoi.
Fly-by-wire flight controls are on the verge of making their debut in civil helicopters, decades after their introduction on fighters, airliners and, more recently, business jets. Eurocopter is investigating all-electric system architectures, including flight controls, hoping to have them in service in five to 10 years. In the U.S., Sikorsky has just flown a fly-by-wire H-92.
Considering the myriad benefits that digital fly-by-wire flight control systems provide, it’s somewhat surprising that only one business jet–Dassault’s Falcon 7X–has been certified with the technology.