Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: So.West Indiana
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Most commercial jets still have some hydraulic amplification control over control surfaces,
While some of the military aircraft are of such unusual and extreme design that a human can't fly them without crashing them, so they are fully fly by wire.
F-16, F/A-18, Stealth 'Fighter' (which is actually a bomber) and the B-2 'Flying Wing' are examples of planes that can't be flown without computers to limit parameters.
The planes are simply too unstable for a human to control on anything but the most simple maneuvers.
The orignal 'Flying Wing' program was shelved because the planes kept flipping over backwards,
But the idea was kept around since the since the design is so efficient.. (All lift surfaces and no unused drag surfaces)
Boeing (and the rest of the US 'Jumbo' or 'Heavy' jet industry) still uses a Hydraulic over Hydraulic amplifier system that was first invented by Howard Hughes for his military lifter The HK-1 or the military designation, H-4 Hercules ('H' for 'Heavy),
(HK-1/H-4 known to most as the 'Spruce Goose')
Which laid the ground work for most 'Heavy Lifters' we use today.
I think Boeing has one 'Fly By Wire' plane, but that's the only one I know about from the US.
Airbus did fly by wire from the outset, which the fly by wire system held the plane up for over 5 years, and most agree it has 'Bugs' still...
And Airbus has the annoying habit of tails falling off for no apparent reason... About any old hard landing or tail drag will do it!
I know that one hasn't be resolved yet! They just had two cases in the last year!
There are several upgrades since then, but as demonstrated time and time again,
The pilots CAN FLY a commercial aircraft right into the ground...
They will get warnings, stick shakers, audio & visual warnings, and some will even attempt to correct the air craft, but in the end with commercial aircraft, the pilot still has the last word...
With military 'Fly By Wire' aircraft, unless they are switched to 'Combat' conditions, they CAN NOT fly the aircraft into the ground...
The computers will simply level and/or recover the aircraft from what ever dangerous situation it's in...
Now, if the guy flies into the tail of an aircraft carrier,
or flies into a mountain in an aircraft that isn't equipped with ground imaging radar, that's the pilot's fault, not the aircraft...
In the case of at least 3 different B-2 aircraft, they simply flipped over backwards, or nosed into the ground shortly after takeoff,
And a glitch was found in a sensor/computer interface, and according to the Air Farce, it's been fixed...
According to the Air Force, the B-2 can fly complete missions WITHOUT THE PILOTS...
Take off, refuel, drop payload, return and land with 'Hands Off' controls...
Pretty interesting since this is the strategic bomber that took the place of the B-52 for deliver of nuclear weapons...
Flight control computers...
It's like traction control on your car!
Good thing to keep control when you hydroplane or slide on the highway at speed,
Bad thing if you are trying to do a burnout or rock the vehicle out of a snow drift!
So Many Cats, So Few Recipes...
Last edited by TeamRush; 06-14-2009 at 05:22 PM.