FADEC

From Academic Kids

FADEC is the acronym for Full Authority Digital Engine Control. It is a system consisting of a digital computer and its related accessories which control all aspects of aircraft engine performance. FADEC has been produced for both piston engines and jet engines, their primary difference due to the different ways of controlling the engines.

Electronics' superior accuracy led to early generation analogue electronic control first used in Concorde's Rolls-Royce Olympus 593 in the 1960s. Later in the 1970's NASA and Pratt and Whitney experimented with the first experimental FADEC, first flown on an F-111 fitted with a highly modified Pratt & Whitney TF-30 left engine. The experiments led to Pratt & Whitney F100 and Pratt & Whitney PW2000 being the first military and civil engines respectively fitted with FADEC.

The airplane's thrust lever sends electrical signals (pilot's command, may also be the autothrottle) to FADEC. The FADEC digitally calculates and precisely controls the fuel flow rate to the engines giving precise thrust. The inputs comes from various aircraft and engine sensors. Unlike older hydromechanical fuel controllers, the settings stay in place and do not drift.

FADEC today is employed by almost all current generation jet engines and increasingly in newer piston engines, on fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The summary of advantages are as below

  • better fuel efficiency
  • automatic engine protection against out-of-tolerance operations
  • safer as the multiple channel FADEC computer provides redundancy in case of failure
  • care-free engine handling, with guaranteed thrust settings
  • ability to use single engine type for wide thrust requirements by just reprogramming FADEC
  • provides semi-automatic engine starting
  • better integration with fly-by-wire aircraft control systems
  • provides engine long-term health monitorde:FADEC
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