How does FLY-BY-WIRE work? The future of flight controls! Explained by CAPTAIN JOE

Captain Joe

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    Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel!
    .... So the best-known feature of the Airbus fly-by-wire system is the sidestick. I did a whole video on the sidestick, which you might wanna checkout right here. So by moving the sidestick, you actually move mechanical levers and dampers which sit below the sidestick and this movement gets converted into a digital signal. Okay, let's say we were to make a left turn. Our left turn digital signal then runs by wire to a set of seven Flight control computers. The first one is ELAC 1. Which stands for Elevator and Aileron Computer. ELAC 2 acts as a backup in case ELAC 1 fails. So the ELAC 1 checks the received digital signal, before sending it off to the flight control surface. What I mean by "checking the signal" you'll see in a minute. So from ELAC our left turn digital signal then yet again runs through a wire/electric cable to one of the hydraulic actuators on the left-hand aileron and on the right-hand aileron, where our digital signal is then converted into a mechanical force moving the left-hand aileron upwards and the right-hand aileron downwards. Does that make sense so far?
    I hope you enjoy the video and it’s been helpful to you!
    Thank you very much for your time!
    Wishing you all the best!
    Your "Captain" Joe
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    1. diecicatorce

      Once again, Airbus beats Boeing :)

    2. SamiK

      Suggestion: Get a good quality mic. Maybe you are just using the camera mic? The audio quality isn't really that great. Sounds really low fidelity.

    3. Srishti Mondal

      It will be FBW 1:52

    4. robert damico

      Amazing video!

    5. Hans Magnusson

      This was quite useful. I admit to not have been in either an Airbus or a Boeing with a flyby wire (in the cockpit that is :) ) But I can relate to the "feeling where the plane wants to go". We learned (in flight school) that we should use all or sensors i.e. eyes, ears, etc to understand what was going on. A simplified example would be in a small GA aircraft, you listened to the sound of the engine and you learned the "normal" sound in that phase of flight. This means that you could put in the correct throttle and mixture and then use the instruments to check that you were spot on. This lets you focus on "other stuff" that needs to be attended to and you also were able to detect anomalies before instruments "telling you".

    6. Vinay Pradhan

      Excellent intro to FBW. Please do a video on 787/777 FBW and comparing them to traditional A3x0 family. Thank you.

    7. danmaardeze

      I understand from this video that if you lose FAC1 and FAC2 you are FACked trifold.

    8. danmaardeze

      @1:47 Is Fly-By-Wire acronomised with FWB? Or is it an honest mistake? Must be or else it seems to me, an unknowing enthousiast, that it would be very confusing.

      1. danmaardeze

        @Ethan's Aviation Thought so but wanted to make sure, thanks.

      2. Ethan's Aviation

        It's a mistake

    9. Oliver Gaskell

      How can a £200 Sim racing wheel have force feedback but not a multi-million pound jetplane xD

    10. Outlawflyer78

      So if there is a system were the pilot tries to turn the plane to hard the flight computer knows it's too much and won't let the pilot over steer the plane. So, on some cars, they have the "avoidance system" which keeps the vehicle from pretty much running over a kid or crashing into the back of another vehicle. Is there such a system now on aircraft if it were to be highjacked. That the planes computer would keep the plane away from objects if it's being intentionally flown? Now they have systems on smaller jets that if there is an emergency they push a button and the plane will land itself to the nearest airport. has this been put into play on any airliners that you know of.

    11. Philippa L

      Addictive.... but my essay is due in

    12. Harrison

      How much do you get paid, if too personal, how much do pilots who do a similar role too you averagely get paid (long haul, cargo pilot, 474)

    13. Anirudh

      What if the computer crashes?

    14. Ishan Panchal

      Hey Captain Joe, can you explain what is Dead Reckoning??

    15. Joseph Hatfield

      This video is ridiculously quiet.

    16. iamgeese


    17. Da vid

      Must be a weird feeling flying with no force feedback. I had the force feedfeed back of my Race Room sim rig fail once, that was weird enough, but do be driving a real car with having no feedback at all seems totally off for mei.

    18. Baba Dusa

      Flight by wireless will it be the future ?

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        Maybe but then that leaves it vulnerable to hackers

    19. mahmoud raheel

      Wow the magic of knowledge Thanks cap Joe, first time I know about it 😅

    20. T V

      Is it the same principals as Drive by wire on a BMW?

    21. Sérgio Agostinho

      I always see Cargo Lux flying across Africa, have you ever been there, especially in Angola, Luanda?

    22. Saket Kamtikar

      So what if the fly by wire fails and doesn't take the pilot inputs like on the 737 max... Do the airbus pilots have an option to shut off the computer over ride in the fly by wire system...???

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        You can’t override the FBW system but you can force the aircraft to disable most of the protections and it will obey the pilots commands no matter what they ask. But the aircraft is always FBW unless all 5 main computers fail. Then you have mechanical backup

    23. Chris Basson

      Boeing 737-200 advanced (1967) had control wheel steering in its autopilot which in effect was fly by wire. Still is today in the NG.

      1. Chris Basson

        @Thomas Mortimore yep I do agree, it's intended use was not as a primary flight control system but its design is very similar to a fly by wire aircraft. Pilot command went to force transducers then electrical to the Flight Control Computers then electrical to the autopilot actuators which moved the surface. Very basic in design with none of the advanced protection the 320 gave but it still was there.

      2. Thomas Mortimore

        Not really the same. CWS is a function of the autopilot and the way I understand it is the commands were just sent to the autopilot and then the autopilot did the work. I’ve never seen pilots use the CWS much. On the airbus the commands are sent to separate flight control computers. This is the standard way of flying and isn’t turned off unless there is a fault.

    24. terastarship2

      Captain Joe, Captain on the left side so does one's master hand of left or right hand affects flying especially Airbus wired stick fixed on the left side?

    25. logicalfundy

      I'm quite surprised force feedback isn't a standard feature, you'd think that getting feedback from the controls would be an important part of flying aircraft.

    26. julienj80

      B777 is not 100% FBW correct?

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        Yes it is except for the mechanical backup. But A320 also has mechanical backup

    27. Siya Aviation

      Car Me:I thought this was an aviation channel 🤣

    28. knightlypopeye

      Hey Joe , I know a guy from Bethel Alaska that has Tundra tires. And does some pretty cool 😎 landings on mountains. You asked in one of your videos. Get hold of me and I’ll see if he’s down to take you on a flighfz

    29. yee cheung Tse

      1:51 it should be "How does FBW work?" not FWB.

    30. Pro Boeing 737

      Thank you Joe very cool videos you have, and very clearly explain.

    31. ali ibrahim

      we are always enjoying with your clarification . Many thanks capt. Joe

    32. Everythingman

      The first military aircraft with fly-by-wire was the F-16. The Avro Arrow did not technically have fly-by-wire and I couldn't find any sources saying it was controllable from the ground. The Arrows FLCS had a mechanical backup and did not use a computer or any kind of augmentation system, it's basically just a passive direct wire-to-servo system.

    33. Gooner 72

      A question for CJ or any other pilots......... Does using a joystick in the Airbus aircraft and the more modern Boeings make pilots feel totally disconnected from the aircraft?? I'm sure the yokes in aircraft make the pilots feel like they're part of the machine, in my opinion, a side stick would feel sterile.

      1. ZK-APA

        Thing is, yes you can say that an airbus sidestick feels totally different from a generic aircraft. But then again in an airliner, which is designed to be flown mainly on Autopilot, and by people who're operating the aircraft as a job, the priorities of what an aircraft should have changes. But yes, the norm is for pure flying, a yoke feels more natural

    34. Damien Drouart

      And now cars are drive-by-wire. First mechanical thing that was dropped (like, 20 years ago) was indeed the accelerator cable.

    35. Ivo Poelma

      What flight sim do you have?

    36. David Zang

      It’s not an airplane it’s a legendary 964

    37. fatiba_

      for the boeing : Aircraft helps to pilot for flying for the airbus : Pilot helps to aircraft for flying said a pilot friend of mine who has 10+ year experinence on Airbus A320 Family

    38. Aviation World

      How does the boeing 747-100 kinda aircraft has been controlled? through hydraulics +wire or with any other mechanism.

    39. ArtisticTad

      1:50 Shouldn't it be FBW?

    40. sparrowJLT

      the universal opinion i allways get from pilots: -Airbus: Nicer place to work, better "office" -Boeing: More fun to fly

    41. Glen M. Danielsen

      I love this pilot of pilots! He brings the depths of aviation right to your eyes. 💛🙏🏼

    42. VK PC

      What is the Force feel of the B777 controls (FBW / yoke) compared to the 747 (mech / yoke) ? Similar to the Airbus? Thank you for a great video.

      1. Ethan's Aviation

        No, the 777 has a artificial force feedback motor while airbus aircraft don't

    43. Peter Paul

      I relate it to the manual transmission and automatic transmission in cars. Is that right?!

      1. ZK-APA

        Not really. Best comparison would be driving an actual car vs driving with a USB racing wheel, which drove an actual car.

    44. Trigger 15

      I love it this video help me with telling the difference between aircraft nut there are con with FBW and simple mechanical yoke

    45. The RC Bat

      Always enjoy watching your videos!

    46. Ahmed Ilyas

      Hmmm i thought FBW was first on the B777 flights?

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        No it was just the first Boeing to have digital FBW

    47. Carl Gois

      Electric jet General Dynamics and the f-16. I thought this was the first fbw plane? Well at least now I know. Thanks captain Joe.

    48. Yanantin

      One question though... The 787 is supposed to be fly-by-wire as well so that means the yoke is like the Airbus sidestick, the input from the pilot by using the yoke gets converted to a digital signal? So does that mean the 787 doesn't have that feeling you speak of at 10:07? If the 787 doesn't have mechanical cables pulling on the control surfaces.. flying it should feel like an Airbus but with a yoke? Is that right?

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        The 787 and 777 do have an artificial force feedback motor. It would be harder to install on a sidestick as you only have 1 hand to move it

    49. Karmo Keevend

      I bet you're really pedantic when it comes to tying your tie.

    50. Lori Mendel

      greart to know all this.

    51. Emirates Collector

      Boeing is better than Airbus

      1. Sterlingjob

        Dream on

      2. Thomas Mortimore

        In what way?

    52. Art Per

      you meant potentiators like big ones there?

    53. benedictus aryasatya

      1:52 How does “FWB” work ?? I think it should be “FBW” (fly by wire). FWB is something else #ifyouknowwhatimean

    54. Srinivasan Thankasali


    55. Manfred Von Richtoffen

      I’d love to see a general description of avionics for the B 737 and then more in depth by system

    56. Battleship Nagato

      So, basically the same thing being fitted to cars for about 20 years?

    57. bernard bouzon

      Thanks for the video.

    58. Antonin Besse

      Really good video, thanks!

    59. Chris Szumiloski

      Brilliant explanation👍

    60. 최광복

      The used drain physiologically cheat because rod only decorate into a meek double. alert, sassy turnip

    61. Marlon Soro

      Interesting remember this airport was the very first airport that CLX flown to back in the 70'

    62. Matthias Hartge

      1:48 FWB, Fly Why Bayer? :P

    63. Zia Uddin

      excellent FBW ( fly by wire ) mechanical initiated messages transformed by flight controlling computers in to electronic messages which then converted in to hydraulic mechanical movement # but i have to deeply & clearly understand the ELAC & SEC functions in elevating , descending & slipping ( turning ) the aircraft #

    64. Joash Onyango

      I know this is an immature joke but I very young so I was like, Wut da 5:25

    65. Shreeja Madhu

      I thought it was mechanical af

      1. PotatoMaaan

        The amount of comments you have left on this video is truly remarkable

    66. Shreeja Madhu

      Wait a minute Concord had fly by wire

    67. Shreeja Madhu

      Wow now Americans use Russian tech well airbus is European so I'll let that slide

    68. Shreeja Madhu

      Boeing is the best period but doesnot mean I don't like airbus (my head :- yeah right) 😂

      1. Ethan's Aviation

        @Sterlingjob So your picked the max out of all the aircraft of course😂. Also the 787 ain't shit.

      2. Sterlingjob

        787 is shit. 737max is shit, airbus make a much better product

    69. Shreeja Madhu

      I hate when someone unterfiers in what I'm doing suppose u are doing a tough maneuver in which u have to pull some move in airbus and the system won't let u and u crash how can u override the fly by wire systems

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        Force the aircraft into Altn Law which disables the protections

    70. Shreeja Madhu

      But I do appreciate the effort that goes into making such incredible machines

    71. Shreeja Madhu

      Well as pilots say airbus are for babie (no offence to Joe) boeing for men and atr for legends

    72. Shreeja Madhu

      Joe I have big respect for u I learn all my aviation stuff from u but why are u addressing roll as a left turn that type of motion is known as yaw

      1. Sterlingjob

        So you know fuck all about aviation then?

    73. Shreeja Madhu

      Look the more perpendicular Ur wings get to the direction of the airflow which is horizontal ur wings stop producing lift in order to counter act that u juss make Ur wings level u and the way to know that is by visuals or artificial horizons

    74. Shreeja Madhu

      That car a Porche

    75. avram novorra

      I'm glad you made this video.. I used to think that FBW only needed 4 computers in a 4-channel system but man was I wrong.. I hope you get your hands on a Fly-by-optical Fibre jet soon though, I heard they give savings over FBW craft.. Nice work!

    76. Zack

      Whats your view on the 737 Max re-entry?

    77. VI M

      I guess the A300 and A310 didn't have FBW systems :o These days, I really appreciate the old models that I saw a lot during my younger years.

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        No they didn’t. Not to the same extent anyway

    78. R KBYS

      Your video helps not only pilots but also many of engineers

      1. Sterlingjob

        You don’t need to know this level for flying or engineering. If a box goes down another box takes over. In 10 years I’ve never seen an elac problem, usually it’s sec3

    79. the Wilson and nado channel

      I want to be a pilot like u

    80. the Wilson and nado channel

      I love you

    81. Shihab Alkitani

      Plz we want a video about auto pilot system

    82. Joan Diaz

      Captain, the space shuttle also used flight-by-wire system.

    83. lithiumdeuterid

      A REAL 11? Air cooled? Back in the late 80s, Porsche once tryed to compete AVCO Lycoming with an aviation version of its air cooled 6-cylinder boxer, which was first presented in a Mooney. Though performance and economy were superior to the old Lycoming boxer six, the Porsche engine was not successfull in the market. Porsche decided to retreat an to withdraw the aviation approval in the 90s. Because of that, Porsche had to buy back the engines and there is no spareparts supply.

    84. Gone To Earth

      great content on this channel! As a pilot, I would love to see more cockpit vids showing CRM during departures and arrivals with checklists run etc etc Thanks!!

    85. kevoramma

      So, are my inductrices fly by wire?

    86. JS_filming

      But..... Computers could be hacked...... What is the Datenschutzbeauftragte saying?? :D

      1. JS_filming

        @Thomas Mortimore I know. Its more for the German joke ;)

      2. Thomas Mortimore

        The computers aren’t connected to wifi or the internet. The only possibly way you could hack it is by plugging you computer directly into the avionics bay and I doubt you could do that

    87. Aerospace Rules

      why is the liveyr of the A320neo opposite? at 6:15

      1. ZK-APA

        Mirror image of a stock a320 photo

    88. Leo K


    89. fchanMSI

      FYI, many newer vehicles use “drive by wire” as the throttle is now is electronic so when press the throttle you actually pressing an electronic controller. Also some cars have electronic assisted steering to assist you with stating in middle of the road lane.

    90. D Lai

      Captain Joe , Thank you for inspiring us wanting to also be a pilot ..!

    91. Wal-Space

      You should do a checklist check gestures with your left hand and ticking away from your body so that in our screens it look natural and resemble the animated tick marks :D

    92. hemiaochn

      How about power by wire?

    93. Ambrose Twebaze

      Good explanation. I think I have learnt a lot about planes from you and the other leading channels.

    94. Drones-ON

      After years on 737, I was hired on A320. Transition was not as easy as when I came to the 737 from the Fokker100. 2 or 3 were years needed to become fully confortable with the Airbus. All was more about psychological than technical issues! ;)

    95. Brieuc Allain

      In thé future, this technology will be use or not in Boeing airplanes ?

      1. Brieuc Allain

        @Thomas Mortimore ok i didn't know.

      2. Thomas Mortimore

        The 777 and 787 are fully fly by wire aircraft

    96. dindog22

      nice car

    97. Stewart C

      Hey Captain Joe what happens if you lose power for some reason, like an electrical short? Does this mean you lose control of the flight surfaces since there are no cables?

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        @Sterlingjob the RAT powers the emergency generator, the emergency generator powers the AC ESS BUS which then powers the DC ESS BUS. If the AC ESS BUS is not working and both engines have failed then it can’t restore power and you’d have blanks screens and only the systems powers by the blue hydraulic system. However after some digging I did find out that ELAC 1 and SEC 1 in EMER ELEC CONFIG are actually powered by the Hot Battery Bus so you would actually retain control if the 6 main busses all failed but only until the batteries died. If you manually turned the computers off or they all failed then yes you’d use mechanical backup but only if you have the correct hydraulic systems working. THS uses Yellow and Green whilst rudder uses all 3

      2. Sterlingjob

        @Thomas Mortimore Incorrect, if you lose all power the aircraft will still fly via the rudder pedals and the trim wheel, that is your manual reversion. You also have the RAT that will power the blue system and emergency power.

      3. Thomas Mortimore

        It depends on the type of electrical failure. The aircraft has 3 main AC BUS Bar’s, 3 DC BUS Bars and the Battery that power all electrical systems. All the computers are split between these BUS’s so loosing one means you still have a back up. If you loose one then you’ll be making an emergency landing anyway. If the generator/engine fails then the other generator or APU can restore power to the BUS’s. The only way you’d loose total control is if all BUS’s failed but that has never happened

    98. Bones T

      Classic Car FLex...yes!

    99. Pineapple road

      I have heard of one incident where one of the sensors on an airbus had failed which resulted in incorrect data relating to the pitch being sent to the computers, and I think you can guess what happened next (I can't remember which way it was, but the incorrect data resulted in the computer pitching the plane either up or down (the plane was flying level when this happened) and the pilots tried to correct it, but the computers ignored the pilots input, and so the pilots had to override the system in order to save the plane)

      1. Thomas Mortimore

        You’re either thinking of QF72 or LH1829. QF72 was incorrect data being sent in spikes to the FCPC which rejected all but 2 of the spikes which caused the plane to think it was at a high pitch angle and lost 600ft before correcting LH1829 was frozen AOA sensors which made the aircraft think it was stalling and forced nose down. The pilots turned off the ADR’s forcing the aircraft into ALTN law which disabled the protections These faults have been fixed and action can now be taken if it ever happens again

    100. Nice Try Bro

      you should fly me by my wire