BAE Systems in England has developed an active collective for helicopters that can be configured to provide infinitely variable levels of feedback to the pilot.
Aircraft flight control systems
Since the maiden flight of the Falcon 7X on May 5, the 5,700-nm-range trijet has been flying almost daily from Dassault’s flight- test center in Istres, France. By the middle of last month, the 7X had logged 45 hours during 15 flights and had reached Mach 0.82 and 41,000 feet.
Landings to below Cat I and II ILS minimums have been possible for more than three decades, but the price of admission until recently has been autoland certification of the aircraft and crew.
Dassault is about to flight-test production-conforming modifications that should boost the range of its new Falcon 7X. Officials at the French manufacturer last month revealed that the average customer is choosing options and cabin equipment that are raising aircraft weight beyond earlier expectations. On many aircraft the weight gain is cutting range to just short of the promised 5,700 nm.
It has been 10 years since the ValuJet DC-9 accident in the Everglades that cost the lives of 110 people and a considerable amount of money. The cost to the aviation industry was also high as a result of additional requirements imposed on the existing aircraft fleet.
Reacting to a pair of landmark NTSB recommendations addressing potential safety vulnerabilities in autopilots, the FAA this month is amending airworthiness standards for automatic flight control systems in transport-category airplanes. The revised standards cover newly certified business jets with an mtow of more than 12,500 pounds.
As regulatory agencies in Europe and North America grapple with whether to permit the use of personal mobile phones in flight, the companies that intend to sell and market the services not surprisingly are trying to convince the world that the concept is perfectly safe, will not foster air rage as some have claimed and that the concerns in general have been overblown.
As the industry prepares for very light jets (VLJs) to live up to their billing to transform personal transportation, air-taxi and charter operations, members of the Aviation Insurance Association recently gathered for their annual conference in Grapevine, Texas, to consider risk exposure implications and market opportunities if the VLJ phenomenon turns its promoters’ rosiest visions into reality.
The Falcon 7X flight-test program is progressing on schedule, with four of the trijets logging more than 850 hours during 275 test flights. Certification flights with the EASA have begun and will be completed by year-end, to be followed by final certification and first deliveries early in the new year. As a further mark of progress, Falcon 7X S/N 04 joined the test fleet in late July.
Business jet manufacturers do not agree on the virtues of electric power for onboard systems. Although Boeing and Airbus airliners are already going “more electric,” Dassault, Raytheon and Gulfstream remain cool about the claimed advantages of electricity versus hydraulic or pneumatic power. New entrants in the purpose-built bizjet arena, such as Eclipse Aviation, Embraer and Spectrum Aeronautical, are much more enthusiastic.