Gulfstream says it will continue testing a fly-by-wireless system on its G550 advanced flight controls aircraft until mid-2009, but is optimistic that the control systems and architecture could become a "feasible" back-up control system. The company in September began testing wireless in parallel with other more traditional control methods for spoiler control, using fly-by-light for the inner spoilers and fly-by-wire for the outboard spoilers.
The fly-by-wireless architecture includes an internal wireless bus transmitter and external receiver at the interface for the GE Aviation-built electromechanical linear actuator for the mid-inboard flight spoilers on the aircraft. The units communicate using "direct sequence spread spectrum modulation and coding technology", says Gulfstream. The technology has its origins on the International Space Station. NASA is using the Invocon system to characterise the mechanical motion of the station while coupled to the Space Shuttle. The information, measured by external units and transmitted wirelessly to internal units, is to be used to develop orbit boosting and control manoeuvres for when the two are connected.
Gulfstream says US Federal Aviation Administration rules for using wireless control are likely to have to be developed in parallel with the new control system as no regulations exist.