Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: Advances in Aircraft Flight Control

Mark B. Tischler, Editor
Advances in Aircraft Flight Control
London, UK:  Taylor & Francis, 1996
Category: Aerospace Engineering

Rating: 4-Stars

This volume contains a unique portrait taken across a number of aircraft programs, both civil and military, providing insight into the oft neglected world of aircraft flight control.  Fly-by-wire control systems have become the expected norm today, making it easy to forget that this was not always the case - as well as disguising just how complex this discipline really is.  There are a host of phenomena, not all of which can be predicted analytically in advance, which must be fine tuned and learned-out in flight test.

Featuring articles written by a variety of corporate and government sponsors, this volume features a survey ranging from commercial airlines, such as the Airbus A320, to helicopters, to fighters and fighter prototypes - including the X-29, X-31, Europe's Experimental Aircraft Program (EAP), and Israel's Lavi.

None of the manufacturers care to release their many trade secrets into the public domain, but this volume does provide a cross section of the aircraft flight control discipline that is otherwise forgotten by many, even in the aviation industry.  Featuring a smattering of the basic mathematics of flight control, as well as graphs illustrating the differences between pre-flight predictions and flight test experiment, this collection offers a taste for what goes into making these marvelous flying machines flight-worthy.  This is not a book for the casual aviation reader.  But for those of us with the engineering background to appreciate it, this collection is a rare treat, even if flight controls don't happen to be our own particular area of concentration.

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