An engineering advancement in aeronautics which replaces mechanical flight controls with an electronic flight control system.

In the first few decades of flight, pilots controlled aircraft through direct force -- moving control sticks and rudder pedals linked to cables and pushrods that pivoted control surfaces on the wings and tails.

As engine power and speeds increased, more force was needed and hydraulically-boosted controls emerged. Soon, all high-performance and large aircraft had hydraulic-mechanical flight control systems. These conventional flight control systems restricted designers in the configuration and design of aircraft because of the need for flight stability.

As the electronic era grew in the 1960's, so did the idea of aircraft with electronic flight control systems. Wires replacing cables and pushrods would give designers greater flexibility in configuration and in the size and placement of components such as tail surfaces and wings. A fly-by-wire system would be smaller, more reliable, and in military aircraft the systems would be much less vulnerable to battle damage. A fly-by-wire aircraft would also be much more responsive to pilot control inputs. The result would be more efficient, safer aircraft with improved performance and design.

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