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Aerion SBJ Will Have Fly-By-Wire Controls

The Aerion supersonic business jet will have a state-of-the-art fly-by-wire control system, reducing aircraft weight, improving performance, enhancing safety, increasing reliability and augmenting stability across a transonic speed range.

"Fly-by-wire technology employing mild stability augmentation allows us to tune handling qualities over a wide range of operating speeds," notes Aerion Chief Technology Officer Richard Tracy. The flight envelope of the supersonic aircraft varies from below 120 knots in full-flaps landing configuration to Mach 1.6 at high speed cruise.

Fly-by-wire also permits designers to relax some natural stability requirements, allowing the aircraft design to be optimized for cruise flight.

Fly-by-wire technology can reduce pilot workload during rapid transitions from supersonic flight to subsonic flight, as the aerodynamic center of pressure shifts. A fuel transfer system, which is also planned for the Aerion jet to reduce trim drag, will also adequately compensate for this shift, but fly-by-wire with stability augmentation ensures excellent handling qualities during such speed changes.

Aerion calculates that a fly-by-wire system will reduce aircraft weight. Of more importance, it will eliminate the needs for complex mechanical and hydraulic systems with high maintenance and difficult certification requirements.

Fly-by-wire provides pilots with more precise handling characteristics and the ability to extract maximum performance from the aircraft when necessary without concern for stalling or overstressing the airframe. Aerion concluded that the benefits of fly-by-wire technology for a supersonic aircraft easily justified the cost to design such a system.

FMI: www.aerioncorp.com

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