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Old 24th Aug 2010, 22:33
  #103 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: FL 600. West of Mongolia
Posts: 462
My question, which is a bit of a tilt at windmills, is this; If you had to build Concorde all over again with the same airframe and engines, how much more room, how much lighter and how much more capable would the electronics be if they were made using the latest surface mount, Extremely High Density integrated circuits and microprocessors?
Wow, that's a very interesting question, do you mind if I give it a tiny slant of my own, namely system distribution?
Concorde had an ENORMOUS number of electronic control boxes, for example the powerplant alone used TWENTY SIX rather heavy computers and control units, all of which used conventional 1970's manufacturing technology. (Although the intake box was a work of art; rows and rows of double sided PCBs completely crammed with TTL chips). This whole entourage literally weighed a ton, and could be easily replaced by four modern relatively light units with multiple redundancy built in). Even the AFCS used a total of sixteen heavy boxes, again these could be reduced to three, for a modern triple channel system. The three INUs and two ADCs (Very heavy units all) could be replaced with a single ADIRU and SAARU. To complete the package two FMCs (which would also furnish autothrottle functions) could be added. A massive weight saving could be made on the FBW system, by removing the bulky mechanical components (the feel and relay jacks as well as all the mechanical control runs and the massive mixing unit under the rear floor). Careful design could easily provide a full authority triplex or quadraplex FBW system. The current controls could be replaced with either an Airbus or Boeing type system, using either a sidestick (Airbus) or retain a conventional control column system (B777/787) using electric backdrive. The pilots can decide this one. A modern databus system would also be required for providing communication and redundancy; ARINC 629 would be MY preferred choice). The wholesale replacement of the various control units and computers, not to forget miles of wiring, as well as some bulky mechanical hardware would in my view save around 3 tonnes or more in weight alone. A now far more accurate control of aircraft systems would also bring major efficiency savings. As far as saving space, that possibly free up a couple of seat rows, if it were all done properly.
We can all dream I suppose

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