Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2010 Contents Avionics
his movements are converted into electrical signals
that are interpreted by a flight-control computer and
transmitted through wires to actuators (these can be
electric or hydraulic) that move the aircraft’s c o n t r o l
Such systems save weight and improve reliability.
Furthermore, the flight control computer’s envelope
protection feature actively prevents the aircraft from
entering a dang erous flight condition. Thus, for example,
an extreme backward motion on the control column will
raise the nose of the aircraft, but it will not stall.
As many as four independent levels of redundancy
can be built into such systems without a severe weight
penalty. Further weight saving s arise from the fact that,
since the flight control computer can automatically
compensate for small disturbances in the aircraft’s
attitude, the airframe can be built with smaller, lighter
Airbus was the first company to introduce full-
authority fly-by-wire into its airliners, starting with
the A320 single-aisle family – the first jetliners ever to
be controlled by a side-stick instead of a yoke. Boeing
then followed suit with the introduction of its 777
wideb ody twinjet.
The side-stick has proved somewhat divisive. The
controller is lighter and mechanically simpler than
a yoke, but some pilots complained about the feel of
it and the lack of visual feedback. As a result, Boeing
stuck to yokes in the 777 and in the new 787.
Another advantag e of fly-by-wire is its reduced
maintenance requirement. Mechanical and hydraulic
systems need regular lubrication, cable-tension
adjustments, leak checks, fluid changes and so on.
Boeing ’s unveiling of the flight deck of the new
787 in 2005 offered a first look at the most advanced
cockpit ever, with its next-generation avionics systems.
Rockwell Collins is the supplier and systems
integrator of the flight-deck display system and crew
alerting system, pilot controls, communication and
sur veillance systems, the aircraft’s common data
network, and the core network cabinet.
“ The Dreamliner flight deck ... represents our
next generation of avionics systems,” Kelly Ortberg ,
Rockwell Collins’ executive vice-president and chief
operating officer for commercial systems, said at the
time. “ The integrated system provides new capabilities
to enhance safety, performance and growth to
address future requirements, and offers operational
commonality with other Boeing flight decks.”
Integrated display system
The 787’s integrated display system includes five 15.1 -
inch diag onal LCD displays - four across the flight
deck and one in the control stand for emulation of the
control display units (CDU). Also included are dual
The flight deck also features Rockwell Collins’
latest generation of pilot controls. The company has
developed the aircraft’s control stand, including auto
throttles, pitch, roll, yaw and primary flight controls,
as well as their interfaces to the aircraft’s fl y-by-wire
The modular design of the pilot controls simplifies
installation and maintenance, the manufacturer said.
This new system is designed to meet Boeing’s objective
of providing op erators with a look and feel similar to the
Boeing 777, while achieving significant weight saving s.
Rockwell Collins also provides the integrated
sur veillance system (ISS) for the 787. This includes
functions such as weather detection, traffic alert and
collision avoidance, Mode-S surveillance, and terrain
awareness and warning capabilities.
The 787’s communication system includes Rockwell
Collins’ VH F-2100, SAT-2100 and HFS 900D. The
lighter weight, highly reliable, VHF-2100 is VDL
Mode 2 capable with future growth to VDL 3 and 4.
The new, smaller and more reliable, SAT-
2100 supports the International Civil Aviation
Organization’s (ICAO’s) safety ser vices, three channels
of voice communications and offers growth to future
Inmarsat Swift high-speed data capabilities. As part
of the communications packag e, Rockwell Collins
is also providing a state-of-the-art digital flight deck
audio system, and the cockpit voice and flight data
The Core Network, offered as basic on the 787,
taps Rockwell Collins’ experience and investment
in information-management products. This next
generation of the Core Network plays a key role in
Boeing’s objective to ‘e-enable’ the entire aircraft.
Utilizing commercial open standards, Core Network
hosts a wide range of third-party applications, and
mana g es on-board information flow, to improve airline
Common Data Network
Rockwell Collins’ Common Data Network (CDN) is
a key component of the 787’s Smiths Common Core
System. The CDN is a high integrity, bi-directional,
fibre-optic or copper network that uses ARINC 664
protocols and standards to manage information flow
betweentheaircraft’s on-board systems.
Based on commercial ethernet technolog y, adapted
to the avionics environment, the integrity and
deterministic characteristics of Rockwell Collins’
CDN allows systems integrators to utilize this network
for systems requiring a high level of data criticality. The
full duplex, 100 Base-T, the CDN off ers significant
improvements over current generation data buses
including , expanding connectivity, higher data rates
and significant reductions in aircraft weight when
compared with point-to -point topologies.
When Airbus came to rethink its original, A330-
derived concept for the new A350 twinjet and turned
it into the A350XWB, one of the major design changes
the manufacturer made was in the cockpit. Instead of
basing the flight deck on that of the A380 as originally
intended, the Toulouse-based company decided to go
with an all-new configuration with technology to rival
As a result, Airbus shifted to larger displays, opting
for six LCDs measuring 15 inches diag onally –
compared with the A380’s eight-screen layout.
A far cry, indeed, from the mass of dials pilots once
had to deal with – and certainly one of the many
reasons why commercial air transport is now safer and
more efficient than ever. ●
The days when pilots had to monitor a mass of dials while flying are long gone.
24 Asia nAviation | MARCH 2010
7/03/10 12:10 PM
7/03/10 12:10 PM
Links Archive AAV April 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page