Aircraft and Fly-by-wire Technology

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  • Topic: Aircraft, Aviator, Autopilot
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  • Published : December 13, 2010
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Fly-by-Wire Technology or a Human Pilot?

Thomas Swartz
Technical Communication Instructor
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI

Scott Mason
IME 1020 Student

March 18, 2008
Table of Contents
Definitions and Background4
Purpose and Audience4
How Fly-By-Wire Technology Works5
Present Day and Future of Fly-By-Wire Technology6
Boeing Industries and Fly-By-Wire8
Humans vs. Computers9
Advantages and Disadvantages of Computer Pilot9
Advantages and Disadvantages of Human Pilot10
Interpretation of Findings11

Computer technology has become so advanced within the past few years that computers have more jobs now days then humans. What would you do if someday you came into work and found out you were being laid off due to new advanced technology? These days, pilots are being replaced by a new technology called Fly-by-Wire. Some military aircraft are completely controlled by computer. This means fewer jobs for the pilots who once controlled them. Most commercial aircraft have some kind of autopilot system to help the pilot perform everyday flight maneuvers. The way to help advance fly-by-wire technology is to advance the knowledge of those who create it. Even though autopilot technology has decreased the amount of aviation accidents within the past few years, we must remember that it is created by humans and is therefore susceptible to human error.

Definitions and Background
With every year that passes the age of technology in which we live advances. Many people would be happy to have a computer do their work rather than physically doing the work themselves. Fly-by-wire technology has made the pilots’ jobs easier and has reduced their workload significantly. This technology is becoming so advanced that it is believed that within the next few years a human pilot may not even be necessary in the cockpit. Purpose and Audience

The purpose of this research paper is to determine how valuable fly-by-wire technology is to the aviation industry. Will it someday take over the entire cockpit? The intended audience is present and future pilots and anyone else with little aviation background. Sources

My primary information came from technical journal articles and trade magazines pertaining to fly-by-wire technology. These articles were retrieved from either Waldo Library itself or from its website. By comparing these articles along with a possible survey I should be able to make conclusions about the pilot’s future in the aviation industry. Some secondary information came from reliable websites about computer technology in general. Limitations

The information contained in this paper will be limited to information pertaining strictly to fly-by-wire technology itself and how it works as well as how humans work side by side with this new innovation. Along with this information, I will discuss what the future has in store for human pilots with the advancement fly-by-wire technology. Scope

There are many sources pertaining to fly-by-wire technology. Due to the rapid advancements in computer technology in the past few years, certain jobs have been taken away from humans and given to computers. For this reason I would like to consider what technology is doing to the aviation industry. I would also like to consider the pros and cons of strictly a human pilot vs. Autopilot. COLLECTED DATA

How Fly-By-Wire Technology Works
Peninsula Avionics, Inc.
The first aircraft autopilot was developed by Sperry Corporation. It connected a gyroscopic attitude indicator and magnetic compass to a hydraulically operated rudder, elevator, and ailerons. It permitted the aircraft to fly straight and level on a compass course without a pilot's attention, thus covering more than 80% of the pilot's total workload on a...
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