Fly by wire is a control concept used in military aircraft as we as on some civilian vessels.
Due to increasing speeds and therefore increase of forces that act on the control-surfaces of the modern planes,
flying a sophisticated jet became a titanīs job, as the pilots had to use lots of force to control the plane propperly
when flying high G manouvers.
As the control of the flight surfaces of the aircraft was achieved by direct leavers or cables, the force transduction
to the flight stick was directly proportional to the force that acted on the control surface. Of course after some time,
the pilot got tired and the reactions were slower, which meant greater danger for the jet-jockey.
Some relief was given by using hydraulics, that supported the pilotīs control movements, but these were still too
big and therefore took longer time before the desired reaction of the plane was achieved.
The fly by wire concept reduces or even suppresses these movements, giving a faster reaction and a better accuracy
during the maneuvers.
The idea of having very small movement-ranges or even no movement at all on the controls by transducing the applied
forces to a surface movement, gave the pilot a leading edge during dogfights, approaches and all other manouvers.
The F-16 uses this fly by wire concept, and all of you that had the chance to hold the real FLCS in your hands, might
have noticed that the stick is allmost rigid and only very small movements can be made (just 1 to 2 milimeters in each
Of course you have to get used to the fact, that the stick doesnīt move, but the action is still taking place. Normally
after some short time you get the feeling for it and you will start to make profit out of the advantages this system
Of course this is a feature that is a must when building a high fidelity F-16 simulator, and for a long time no
adecuate solution was available to obtain this fly by wire feature.
Thanks again to my Spanish friends (RealSimulator)
, we now
have the capability to duplicate this feature due to a FLCS modification kit which gives the TM Cougar FLCS these
A detailed descrition how to modify your stick is also available, and you will see that after about 45 minutes of
uncomplicated work, you will have your stick modified and the fly by wire feature is ready to be used.
Here some pictures of the kit, that fits perfectly into the housing of the Cougar FLCS.
As you can see, the device is well protected for the transport and all required parts for the modification are
delivered as well, so that all you need is your FLCS and some tools.
As mentioned before, installing the new electronics is not complicated, but it still requires some close attention
as connecting the cables again might lead to a very stunning experience, specially if you have "crossed controls"
and your plane is getting into a steep dive instead of climbing and making an opposite roll.
Therefore take your time and you will not have this surprise on your first flight with the modified stick.
The device fits perfectly and the first calibration allows a precise centering. Once this has been done, just have fun.
Force Sensoring Electronics
FSS Top View
FSS Bottom View
FSS with FLCS
At the bottom of the base you can see two DIP switches, that allow the selection of the desired force. This means that
you can select how much pressure you have to apply to obtain a movement. You can select between 6 Lbs up to 18 for each axis.
The real F-16 uses about 16 to 22 Lbs of force, and of course you can do also, but I would recommend that you start
using less pressure.
I also thought that I could use "full power" right from the first time, but it did not take too long before I had to
accept the fact, that it would require some muscle work-up before I could use 18 Lbs on my stick. - BTW -, I am working on
that right now ;-)
Even if I could write much more about this new feature, I just want to keep it brief:
I would not like to miss it for another second. Now the real feeling of flying a Viper got even closer!