Feeds

Wireless links to be trialled in Gulfstream flight controls

Fly-by-wireWiFi not just sky-pie?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.