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Old 23rd Aug 2010, 17:49
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: UK
Age: 53
Posts: 124
yoke feedback


Yep, there was feedback. In this respect, the implementation of FBW had a rather different philosophy to FBW Airbus'.

Below 200kts it was basically a spring feedback, above that speed it was achieved throught the feel system, not entirely unlike conventional aircraft.

Of course, the feel was tempered also by the autostab system, which didn't feedback through the yoke, but did make control surface inputs. A basic analogy is to imagine a yaw damper, but on all three axes. (It was of course rather more sophisticated, especially in pitch).

During airtests we would fly portions of the supersonic accel without autostabs and it was then very obvious exactly how much input was being made - great care was needed to remain within sensible bank angles in the low supersonic regime.

Also - watch a video of the control surfaces in the latter stages of the approach and landing - all those rapid deflections are the autostabs overlaid on the pilot's inputs. One has to remember that the aircraft is effectively statically unstable in pitch at approach speeds, so a pilot up-elevator input would soon be followed by a countering autostab elevon-down to contain the tendency to keep pitching up, and vice-versa. Gusts affecting the IAS would also create an input.

All of which means the basic spring feel below 200kts is not as basic as it sounds.....and in normal signalling modes (ie FBW and autostab active) the amazing thing is that the aircraft handled beautifully through an 1100kt speed range.

If you look at a picture of the flightdeck you will see a row of 14 white switches full width of the fwd edge of the overhead panel. These were autostab pitch/roll/yaw, feel pitch/roll/yaw left and right systems and the two pitch trim switches (which played a big part in the low-speed protection).

If any of them dropped out you could be sure that the first thing the nearest pilot would do would be to try to re-engage them, as it made for a vastly more pleasant life.
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