Firstly, congratulations on a great Russian aircraft website! As a big
fan of Russian iron (and having even been there for tours of the space
facilities and launch of Mir-18), I find your website great!!!!!
I noticed, however, that on the T-4 page, it is mentioned that way back
in 1967 it was the first aircraft in the world to fly with a
I may just be making an issue of nothing, but I wonder if you have ever
heard of the Avro CF-105 Arrow? As a brief bit of background, the Arrow
was developed in the late fifties to fulfil an Royal Canadian Air Force
requirement for a high speed interceptor. Unfortunately, the aircraft
was cancelled (the reasons are many) but not before five prototypes
amassed a total of 66 flights and just over that number in hours of
flight time. It was a very advanced aircraft designed by people that
were cream-of-the-crop at the time and who went on to illustrious
careers afterwards with other companies including NASA. Unfortunately,
the aircraft is shrowded in a lot of mystic and fanaticism to the point
of almost being a cult icon whose attributes have grown out of the realm
of the possible.
Cutting away the chaff, however, this aircraft was spectacular! Which
FINALLY brings me to the point of my email! I'll include the reference
at the end, but in short, the Arrow possessed a fly-by-wire system.
The control stick contained transducers that measured the force being
applied by the pilot. The autopilot then moved the control surfaces
according to data from the stick, sensors, and other inputs, to maneuver
the aircraft in the desired manner. The autopilot then moved the
control stick in the direction the controls were moved giving the pilot
feedback. Granted, this system did not have the pilot entirely
disconnected from the feedback loop like in an Airbus, for instance, but
the fact remains that except in emergency operation, the aircraft was
flown by the autopilot and not the pilot. The autopilot could also take
input from the automatic fire control system and/or ground control
guidance. In theory, the pilot could line an Arrow up for take-off and
the entire mission could then be flown - take-off, intercept, attack,
and landing - all automatically.
The only argument against this being a true fly-by-wire system that I
can think of is that there was a mechanical backup in case of
emergency. Other than that, it sure seems to fulfill the criteria.
Often, the chase-plane observers would report the control surfaces
moving to compensate for engine-out flight, changes in trim with gear
extension, or whatever, with not noticeable difference to the pilot in
the control characteristics. The reference supplied below also gives a
basic schematic of the system.
Even without the hype and the extravagant claims, the Arrow remains one
of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever built, certainly in
its time. And to top it off, the entire aircraft, engines included,
I'm not really suggesting you change your webpage (and I would hope you
didn't until you found other supporting sources and made up your own
mind to the validity of my argument), I hope you enjoyed at least
hearing about the Arrow as much as I have enjoyed zooming through your
website!! Thanks for your time and energy! Rest assured, it is MOST
|Subj:||First fly-by-wire aircraft.|
Ref: The Avro Arrow, authors: "The Arrowheads", pub: 1980, The Bostin
Mills Press. ISBN: 0-919822-35-5
Thank you very much for your input. I consider my site a
hobby (non-pro) effort and so open for any serious (and friendly!)
critics. So you no way offend me with your comments. Moreover,
I'll try to check my sources and figure out what is right.
Of course, mechanical backup does not mean that fly-by-wire is
not a real fly-by-wire. Few months ago I saw a large article about T-4
in one of aviation magazines ('over-the-shoulder') but still can not
Yes, I did read about Avro Arrow. And you are right, certain political
and other mysteries are all over the aviation history all over the world.
My Best Regards, Alexandre.
P.S. If you'll find any other 'bug', please, let me know.
In next update I'll include (somehow) your comment next to
my statement about T-4 being first.
WHO THE HECK DO U THINK U ARE CRITIQUING RUSSIAN AIR CRAFT! EVERY BODY KNOWS
THAT MADE IN RUSSIA IS BETTER THAN MADE IN THE US!
Who are you, Sir, to talk to me this way?
If you do not like something on my site - please be more specific. Plain barking is not a way to settle things.
'Every Body' do not know that 'MADE IN RUSSIA IS BETTER THAN MADE IN THE US'. There are many 'bodies' who DO
write absolutely opposite. Go get them on aviation newsgroups and on the WEB.
I considered KGB quite a professional organization (no matter like I it or not). Such a chicken-style writing
do not fit to this image.
With Little Respect, Alexandre.