Computers Take Flight: A History of NASA's Pioneering by James E. Tomayko

By James E. Tomayko

Relates the method in which electronic fly-by-wire was once constructed at NASA's Dryden Flight learn heart in California from 1971 to 1985. Discusses fly-by-wire's contributions to the distance go back and forth and the method during which the know-how used to be reworked to different organizations and undefined.

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Extra info for Computers Take Flight: A History of NASA's Pioneering Digital Fly-By-Wire Project

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C. Ettinger, “The Implications of Current Flight Control System Integration,” in Society of Experimental Test Pilots, 15, no. 2 (24-27 Sept. 1980): 19. 6 J. Morisset, “Fly-By-Wire Controls are on the Way,” in Telonde (Dec. 1983): 8. 5 23 movement of the air outside the aircraft, the airspeed indicated on a gauge is not the ground speed. This is because it has no way of allowing for the effects of wind. An aircraft with a direct 20 knot-per-hour tailwind would actually be moving relative to the ground at the indicated airspeed plus 20 knots.

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution). 14 righted. This sort of test depended on a lot of components working correctly at one time. The problems mounted when the live-fire tests ended in catastrophic engine failure before the control system could be tested, or if the control system itself ruined the test in some way. The engineers on the project thus sought a way of isolating the work on the control system. 39 Hoelzer designed an electronic version that was much more effective. Many of the components in this simulator modeled those that the A-4 needed for lateral guidance and attitude control.

Despite these early studies of digital systems, the Air Force at WrightPatterson chose to focus on flight-control systems using analog computers. As research on using digital computers for aircraft experienced a hiatus in the early 1960s, NASA adopted them for piloted spacecraft. In doing so, it James E. S. Air Force, 1997), p. 167. 6 J. J. Fleck and D. M. Merz, “Research and Feasibility Study to Achieve Reliability in Automatic Flight Control Systems,” General Electric Company, TR-61-264, Mar.

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