Feeds

Wireless links to be trialled in Gulfstream flight controls

Fly-by-wireWiFi not just sky-pie?

High performance access to file storage

Future generations of jet aircraft might use short-range wireless technology to connect cockpit controls to ailerons, elevators or rudders.

Flight International reports that the new fly-by-wireless concept will soon be trialled by biz-jet maker Gulfstream, using an unspecified radio technology to control a spoiler on a company testbed plane.

Traditional aeroplane controls still maintain a mechanical linkage directly from the pilot's hands and feet to the the various surfaces used to manoeuvre the aircraft in flight. As larger aircraft and power-assisted controls have developed, in many cases the direct link no longer exists - leading to so-called "fly-by-wire" control systems, nowadays commonplace.

In turn, as aircraft wiring has become more complex, use is being made of fibre-optic cables to carry more information around the airframe, which is sometimes called "fly-by-light". Gulfstream are also working on this.

However, Pres Henne, engineering chief at Gulfstream, told Flight that in some cases wireless - commonly perceived as flaky and unreliable compared to any kind of hard link - could be better for his purposes.

In particular, it seems that Gulfstream engineers are plagued by the need to deal with a particular scenario in designing their controls, where a rotor bursts in one of the plane's jets. This could theoretically throw high-velocity debris through most parts of the tail, potentially cutting multiple control cables.

Henne and Gulfstream are looking at a wireless system as an emergency mode which could cope with such as situation, rather than as the primary link - "at least in the near term", according to Flight.

We may be waiting a while yet to see fly-by-WiFi, however. Quite apart from all the obvious issues, it seems that powering the receivers, transmitters and actuators is something of an issue in the lost-engine-power scenarios that Gulfstream are looking at. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.