Fly-by-wire - Engine Digital Control

Engine Digital Control

The advent of FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) engines permits operation of the flight control systems and autothrottles for the engines to be fully integrated. On modern military aircraft other systems such as autostabilization, navigation, radar and weapons system are all integrated with the flight control systems. FADEC allows maximum performance to be extracted from the aircraft without fear of engine misoperation, aircraft damage or high pilot workloads.

In the civil field, the integration increases flight safety and economy. The Airbus A320 and its fly-by-wire brethren are protected from dangerous situations such as low-speed stall or overstressing by flight envelope protection. As a result, in such conditions, the flight control systems commands the engines to increase thrust without pilot intervention. In economy cruise modes, the flight control systems adjust the throttles and fuel tank selections more precisely than all but the most skillful pilots. FADEC reduces rudder drag needed to compensate for sideways flight from unbalanced engine thrust. On the A330/A340 family, fuel is transferred between the main (wing and center fuselage) tanks and a fuel tank in the horizontal stabilizer, to optimize the aircraft's center of gravity during cruise flight. The fuel management controls keep the aircraft's center of gravity accurately trimmed with fuel weight, rather than drag-inducing aerodynamic trims in the elevators.

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