What Is Aircraft Flight Control System?

A plane’s ability to take off, descend, turn and steer are all movements made possible by a variety of components, the aircraft flight control system being an essential one of them. The flight control system can be defined as a group of aerodynamic devices that enable a pilot to manipulate the plane’s altitude. The aircraft flight control system includes but is not limited to the aileron, the elevators, and the rudder. In this article, you can read more about how the components that are involved.

One essential component of the flight control system is the cockpit controls. The primary controls that are involved in this section are the control yoke, the rudder pedals, and the throttle controls. The control yoke, sometimes known as the center stick, controls the aircraft’s roll (the banked angle on any fixed wing aircraft) and pitch (rotation around the plane’s side-to-side axis). The rudder controls the yaw (movements caused by the deflection of the rudder) and the throttle controls manipulate the thrust, or the control engine speed for powered aircraft. These controls can differ in how roll, yaw, and pitch are manipulated but the results are the same. If the pilot wants to control the roll, some mechanisms have them do so by rotating the yoke clockwise or counterclockwise depending on how the control is designed. Other yoke devices have the pilot slide the yoke left to right in order to control the roll, but to our point, the resulting roll movement is the same.

There are different types of control systems used by commercial, private, and military aircraft. Some aircraft use mechanical flight control systems, while others use a hydraulic system. A hydraulic system, sometimes known as a hydro-mechanical system is made into two parts. The first part links the cockpit controls with the hydraulic circuits, while the second part, the hydraulic circuit, controls the movement of the actuators. In regards to the hydraulic circuit, this part has hydraulic pumps, filters, reservoirs, pipes, and valves. The actuators convert the hydraulic pressure into control system movements. While there are various other control systems available, such as the Fly-by-wire control system that utilizes fiber optic cables, the hydraulic system has proven to be a favorite among commercial aircraft.

The wings are controlled by the aircraft control system as they are some of the biggest players in how the aircraft is able to achieve flight. As mentioned previously, the pitch and yaw are controlled by the flight control system, which in turn determines the bank angle of the plane. To elaborate more on this and on how the wings play a part, the plane’s center of gravity is known as the pitch, roll, and yaw. The control systems of the aircraft are set in place to control the orientation of the vessel, which includes controlling these three. The ailerons that are located on the wing control the roll of the plane. That is, by moving in opposite directions, the ailerons can increase lift in one wing, while decreasing it in the other. In turn, this causes the plane to roll to the left or right. Meanwhile, the elevator can lift or decrease lift on the tail by tilting up and down. Lastly, the rudder controls yaw by swiveling side to side, causing the tail to turn in a left or right direction and helping the aircraft turn.

If you have any questions on the flight control system devices, give the team at ASAP Aviation Unlimited a call and we can help! As a leading online distributor of aircraft parts, we’re knowledgeable on the parts and experts on delivering them to our customers.

At ASAP Aviation Unlimited, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaviationunlimited.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.


June 1, 2020


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