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Forget fly-by-wire, USAF develops fly-by-light

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posted on Sep, 20 2005 @ 02:34 AM
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AFRL is developing fly-by-light technology flight control systems to be lighter and smaller, require less maintenance, and be more resistant to electromagnetic impulses than conventional fly-by-wire systems. AFRL’s fly-by-light technology does not employ wires and is naturally resistant to electromagnetic interference, providing the same flight control capabilities as fly-by-wire systems without the necessity for shielding.

AFRL teamed with Northrop Grumman; BAE Systems; and Dynamic Controls, Inc., to validate a fly-by-light, photonic-controlled actuation system (PCAS). The PCAS consists of a modified electromechanical actuator (EMA) and an optical controller that provides actuator commands to the optical EMA. These commands are similar to the commands that a flight control computer provides. Engineers modified the EMA’s motor power devices to receive and react to command signals sent via light from the optical controller.

In addition, they replaced the EMA’s conventional sensors with optical sensors that measure actuator position, motor position, and current. Fiber-optic cables transmit information to the optical controller. Engineers collected EMA performance data during a series of test runs. Data analysis verified that the modified PCAS performed as designed, with no adverse effects to performance stemming from the fly-by-light components or technology.


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I'm glad my taxes help fund stuff like this.


[edit on 20-9-2005 by NWguy83]




posted on Sep, 20 2005 @ 03:42 AM
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Yeah, this is a very cool system. When I was at Edwards in 95, we went on the NASA tour, and they had an F-18 they were rebuilding with a FBL system in it. They had done FBW tests on it and were converting it over to a partial FBL system to start testing it. I never heard anything about it after that though. Glad to see it didn't take them as long as it usually does to start USAF testing with it.

www.nasa.gov...
[edit on 20-9-2005 by Zaphod58]

[edit on 20-9-2005 by Zaphod58]



posted on Sep, 20 2005 @ 12:17 PM
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I first heard about this in 1987 from an engineer with Boeing Military Aerospace. He said that one of the goals was to have all of the information routed to each point be redundent. He said that they were working on a web like system so that there could be more than one route to a given point. Each sensor or actuator would get all of the information for all of the components and sort out its own signal. This would allow for the rerouting of signals in the event of damage.



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