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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Fly By Wire

A Total Understanding

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

Anyone who knows David Kern also knows that he enjoys both writing and reading books, especially books about aviation. We recently connected and I had the opportunity to read his book, Introduction to Fl-by-Wire Control Systems

David wrote this book because he wanted to improve aviation safety through a better understanding of  modern aircraft controls. He did just that in his book.  And you will benefit from his effort. It's an easy read, not a heavy book. It's fly-by-wire made simple. 

I wish I'd read this before my first
fly-by-wire type rating!

Flying modern aircraft equipped with fly-by-wire systems has become the norm in our industry. While these systems have many advantages, they also bring unique complexities that demand thorough understanding for safe and effective operations. 

This book was written for pilots, not engineers, and actually simplifies the intricacies of fly-by-wire flight control systems. Safety, professionalism, and integrity have always been my top priorities throughout my career. I also cannot overstate the importance of having a higher level of understanding. Understanding the nuances of fly-by-wire systems could help even the most experienced pilot make better-informed system management decisions. It could also prevent an accident. 

This week Ben Schlappig, on One Mile at A Time, brought to our attention that a United A320 had a tail strike and kept flying seven more flights. He questioned how they could keep flying. Answer... that's a culture issue. But what's most amazing is "how" those pilots turned a perfectly stable approach at 1000 feet into a tail strike. But it's not really surprising if the pilots lacked an understanding of the fly-by-wire technology. Clearly they did. I saw this coming the moment the FO pushed his nose down to "watch his speed" at 60 feet. I was cringing as I waited for impact. Why? How did I know? It's the technology of fly-by-wire. Had those pilots read this book, I do not believe they would have had a tail strike in the first place. 

My advice to United, and all airlines who fly any Airbus, you would be money ahead to require all your Airbus pilots to read this book. 

What I appreciate most about David Kern's writing was his ability to simplify and explain the technical information, making it understandable to pilots of all experience levels. He makes the concepts relatable with practical examples, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application. 

From control laws to envelope protection and system redundancies, Introduction to Fly-by- Wire Flight Control Systems covers a lot in a quick, easy read. This book provides valuable insights into how these systems function, and how they can interact with  decision-making and aircraft handling. 

David has a unique background as a USAF fighter pilot and test pilot, with flying stories from a wide and diverse fleet of aircraft. He had told me that he wrote the book simply because there wasn’t anything else available on the subject of fly-by-wire that’s been written for pilots, just complicated engineering textbooks that didn’t really explain why the systems are designed this way. 

Get your copy of Introduction to Fly-by-Wire Flight Control Systems on Amazon today.

He also teaches an online short course on fly-by-wire systems for pilots at DAEDALUS AEROSPACE

In our profession, knowledge is power, and deeper knowledge of our aircraft systems directly translates to safer flights. As we strive to maintain the highest standards of professionalism, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. As David say's 

"Fly safe, stay curious, 
and never stop learning!" 

Connect with David
on twitter (@David_Kern),

Fly Safe! Never Stop Learning! 
Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727

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