Flight Control Systems
In recently created aircraft flight control systems, it has been the airframers responsibility to fully define the system prior to it being put out to tender. However in later flight control system developments, there has been a move towards an open time of system definition, where the system provider has liaised intimately with the client to jointly develop the system definition. This has generally been driven by the decrease so as to market for new aircraft.
Improved by adopting a collaborative systems approach to engineering, there is presently less duplication of effort.
Advantages of this approach include all the requirements being understood by both client and provider; a cleaner client/provider interface; optimised system components, all leading to technologically advanced, but cost effective arrangement being engineered.
A number of lessons have also been gained from this project, mainly in the areas of customer/supplier management and in dealing with the difficulties in managing such a complex system In future projects, powerful necessities the board will be instrumental in controlling systems which are becoming ever more complex.
Generally, the arrangement of flight control systems has undergone a slow but steady development over the years. In the early days systems were perpetually mechanical. The pilot was directly linked to the control surfaces such that he could feel what was happening, this brought about basic systems. The aircraft manufacturer took responsibility for the design and manufacture of all the systems within the aircraft allowing an optimised and highly integrated design against their own requirements.
During the 1950's to 1960's, the increase in aircraft speeds and size resulted in the requirement for power flying controls. The force flying controls were complex, repetition was needed to achieve safety, hydraulic power sources had to be provided and artificial feel systems needed to give the pilot tactile feedback he was used to. The huge increase in both complexity and technology forced a change of approach. Normally the aircraft manufacturer continued to be responsible for the system configuration and developed expertise in all areas of system design allowing them to characterize the arrangement required and the major features of the component units.
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