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External Synchronization of Distributed Redundant Flight Control Computers

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published December 01, 2023 by SAE International in United States
External Synchronization of Distributed Redundant Flight Control
Citation: Khozin, M. and Holzapfel, F., "External Synchronization of Distributed Redundant Flight Control Computers," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 17(2):2024,
Language: English


This work introduces a practical approach to external synchronization for flight control computers (FCCs) deployed in a decentralized fashion. The internal synchronization among the FCCs in distributed flight control systems needs to be extended for specific applications, necessitating an urgent need for an external synchronization mechanism. For instance, when the air data and attitude reference system (ADAHRS) and the flight control computer (FCC) are not synchronized, a dead time or time offset occurs between the time the ADAHRS transmits data and the time the FCC begins executing its control functions, which can impair flight control system performance or even cause system instability, particularly for the system with incremental control approaches, such as incremental nonlinear dynamic inversion (INDI). Therefore, an external synchronization technique that does not rely on establishing a global view of time that is accurately synchronized with an external reference device has been proposed and implemented for distributed flight control systems. The findings of the implemented system demonstrate that the suggested approach can synchronize the distributed FCCs to an external reference device with high synchronization precision and deal with varying clock drift rates.