dtw2hyd
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Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:08 pm

Among Boeing 787, 737, Airbus A350, A32X, Airbus/BBD A220, Boeing/Embraer E2 families which one has the most modern/future proof flight control/FBW architecture.

Is there any paradigm shift in FBW architecture since A320.

Methinks being recent programs A220 or E2 should have better architecture. Am I completely wrong?

A320 was the FBW pioneer, is it still relevant or legacy/dated.

Where does 787 and A350 fit in this picture?
 
unimproved
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:18 pm

The A320 is still very much relevant as one of the most used A/C. A simple system with no hidden issues is better than a more advanced system that's still new to the market.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:33 am

unimproved wrote:
The A320 is still very much relevant as one of the most used A/C. A simple system with no hidden issues is better than a more advanced system that's still new to the market.

In that case, wouldn't the 737 also be on that list?
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:57 am

dtw2hyd wrote:
Among Boeing 787, 737, Airbus A350, A32X, Airbus/BBD A220, Boeing/Embraer E2 families which one has the most modern/future proof flight control/FBW architecture.

Is there any paradigm shift in FBW architecture since A320.

Methinks being recent programs A220 or E2 should have better architecture. Am I completely wrong?

A320 was the FBW pioneer, is it still relevant or legacy/dated.

Where does 787 and A350 fit in this picture?


While there have been advances in hardware, there has been no paradigm shift in philosophy from A320 to A350. The basic principles, protections and presentation are all alive and well. You could go from an A350 to an A320 and understand what the PFD and FMA were telling you. The fact that some jurisdictions allow common ratings for A330/A350, aircraft with EIS almost a quarter century apart, shows how much they are fundamentally based on the same flight control principles.

Big things have changed "under the hood", such as the A350 is distributed computer architecture, but this isn't something that the pilots really "see". Also more redundancy in flight control architecture, but again, not something pilots see (in normal ops).

Airbus has incorporated many flight control improvements over the years, such as LCD screens, BTV (Brake to Vacate), ROW/ROP (Runway Overrun Warning/Protection), AP available in alpha prot, so the architecture has expanded features-wise, but the basic principles are still there. E.g. alpha protection is still alpha protection on the A350, but now the autopilot stays in instead of disconnecting.

I'd say the A350 seems pretty future proof. But maybe I'm biased. The 787 yokes just seem retro to me. :)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Jonne1184
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:11 am

With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:36 pm

Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".
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Jonne1184
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:58 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


If we measure modern by years in operation, well so the winner is to be rods and wires. No improvement needed from that point. And the Airbus FBW actually showed some flaws already with uncommanded dives in both the A320 and A330, luckily with enough altitude for corrective action.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:33 pm

Jonne1184 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


If we measure modern by years in operation, well so the winner is to be rods and wires. No improvement needed from that point. And the Airbus FBW actually showed some flaws already with uncommanded dives in both the A320 and A330, luckily with enough altitude for corrective action.


Given the clear trend towards FBW, the industry seems to disagree with you about the rods and wires.

The uncommanded dives would have happened with rods and wires as well. It wasn't FBW per se that was the problem, but a faulty ADIRU giving bad data, which was then processed by the flight control computers. These were extremely rare and unlikely events, and that "logic loophole" has since been corrected.

No system is perfect, but it is easier to enhance capabilities and correct issues when using a FBW architecture.
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Jungleneer
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:06 pm

The modern FBW systems allows for several performance improvements, like flying with a very aft CG, allowing reduction of control surfaces sizes, reduction of structural weights and performance margins. The newest FBW aircraft (i.e. A350, 787, A220 and E2) are almost full digital, allowing easy integration of several on board systems, improving fault detection and maintenance, etc. I really doubt that any new aircraft in the future with hydraulic/electric powered control surfaces won't be FBW.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:34 pm

Jungleneer wrote:
The modern FBW systems allows for several performance improvements, like flying with a very aft CG, allowing reduction of control surfaces sizes, reduction of structural weights and performance margins. The newest FBW aircraft (i.e. A350, 787, A220 and E2) are almost full digital, allowing easy integration of several on board systems, improving fault detection and maintenance, etc. I really doubt that any new aircraft in the future with hydraulic/electric powered control surfaces won't be FBW.


If by "full digital" you mean no mechanical connection between flight controls and surfaces, that was already the case with the A330.
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Jungleneer
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:41 am

What I mean by full digital is regarding all controllers and interfaces driven by microprocessors, including actuator control loops. I know that this is the case for A220 and E2. I am not sure for the others.
 
Nicoeddf
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:38 am

Jonne1184 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


If we measure modern by years in operation, well so the winner is to be rods and wires. No improvement needed from that point. And the Airbus FBW actually showed some flaws already with uncommanded dives in both the A320 and A330, luckily with enough altitude for corrective action.


And wires and rods showed multiple times, how mechanical complexity and their potential failures causes lead to uncontrollability up to crashes. So I wouldn't open that can of worms, really.

As Starlionblue said: nothing is perfect I am happy to fly both different architectures. But FBW with sidestick is the future way to go, feedback or not, interconnected or not.
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FlyHossD
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:21 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


Perhaps "digital feedback" would have improved the conflicting control inputs on the AF447 accident?
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Jonne1184
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:29 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


Perhaps "digital feedback" would have improved the conflicting control inputs on the AF447 accident?


It for sure would have in that case and propably others too.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:38 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Jonne1184 wrote:
With the MS-21 introducing feedback to the side stick on airliners, I would say it is going to be that one.


32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


Perhaps "digital feedback" would have improved the conflicting control inputs on the AF447 accident?


Maybe. But IMHO that those guys were in trouble from the very beginning. The industry has learned a lot from AF447. The lessons learned are heavily emphasised where I work, in large part because a) the conditions were like many cruise phases for many airlines and b) it was not a difficult issue to deal with if you understand it.

The problem with AF447 was not the systems architecture. It was the lack of understanding of the conditions experienced, the lack of CRM, and the lack of understanding of the aircraft.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:55 pm

Jonne1184 wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

32 years of safe operation by the Airbus sidestick say hello. Artificial feel in a sidestick is not an improvement "just because".


Perhaps "digital feedback" would have improved the conflicting control inputs on the AF447 accident?


It for sure would have in that case and propably others too.


Was adding feedback a safety recommendation from the BEA report? Is there any evidence of stick back loading making any difference? I’m dubious feedback would have made any difference in AF447, yokes, possibly but feedback of perhaps 2” cross-cockpit, in the dark, out of sight, no.

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B777LRF
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:52 am

Cirrus Jet or Piper M600. Both are fitted with ALS (automatic landing system) which, when activated, will run an algorithm finding the closest suitable airport taking into account terrain, traffic and whether. It'll slow down, position itself for the approach, deploy gear and flaps, land and come to a complete stop on the runway all by itself.

No airliner can do this.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:23 pm

B777LRF wrote:
Cirrus Jet or Piper M600. Both are fitted with ALS (automatic landing system) which, when activated, will run an algorithm finding the closest suitable airport taking into account terrain, traffic and whether. It'll slow down, position itself for the approach, deploy gear and flaps, land and come to a complete stop on the runway all by itself.

No airliner can do this.


While true, this isn't due to any technical limitation. No airliner can do this because in a multi-crew aircraft the need for such functionality is basically zero. In a single-crew aircraft, if the pilot is incapacitated, the use case for such automatics is more apparent.
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strfyr51
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:31 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
unimproved wrote:
The A320 is still very much relevant as one of the most used A/C. A simple system with no hidden issues is better than a more advanced system that's still new to the market.

In that case, wouldn't the 737 also be on that list?


Unfortunately not, While the 737 has a lot of new digital features installed? It is NOT a FBW airplane to the extent of the A320 series
Boeing would need to re-design the 737.757,767 to be in that realm though the 787 is totally digital along with the 777 series.
 
Weatherwatcher1
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:58 am

The big shift sine the A320 has been with navigation and communication, not flight controls. Original A320s didn’t even have GPS. We have come a long way since then with GPS, HUDs, ILS CAT III, RNAV, Controller Pilot Datalink, Etc. Fortunately those features are all retrofit-able. Flying a new A320 is quite different from what it was like 30 years ago.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:02 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
The big shift sine the A320 has been with navigation and communication, not flight controls. Original A320s didn’t even have GPS. We have come a long way since then with GPS, HUDs, ILS CAT III, RNAV, Controller Pilot Datalink, Etc. Fortunately those features are all retrofit-able. Flying a new A320 is quite different from what it was like 30 years ago.


Nitpick: ILS Cat III is significantly older than the A320. The Trident and VC-10 could do zero viz landings, and the capability was used operationally as early as the 1960s.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Which Aircraft family has the modern flight control system

Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:34 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
The big shift sine the A320 has been with navigation and communication, not flight controls. Original A320s didn’t even have GPS. We have come a long way since then with GPS, HUDs, ILS CAT III, RNAV, Controller Pilot Datalink, Etc. Fortunately those features are all retrofit-able. Flying a new A320 is quite different from what it was like 30 years ago.


Thirty years ago, no plane had GPS, so not an A320 limitation.

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