Aircraft Digital Electronic and Computer Systems

July 24, 2021
Aircraft digital electronic

This Month in NASA History: Digital Electronic Engine Control System10 years ago this month, NASA came to the conclusion digital Electronic Engine Control research program, which made significant contributions to aircraft exhaust.

In June 1981, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, together with Pratt and Whitney, the U.S. Air Pressure, and NASA’s Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center), started an investigation program on the in a commercial sense developed system known as Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC). The DEEC system was put on Pratt and Whitney’s F100 turbofan engine to be able to transition F-15 aircraft from hydro mechanical space control to digital.

The DEEC system has its own roots within an earlier Dryden-developed integrated flight and engine control system that is built to improve performance from the YF-12C Blackbird. Coded in the seventies, the plane was utilized for top speed and altitude aeronautical research that led to the introduction of the SR-71 Blackbird fleet. The prosperity of the machine using the Blackbird aircraft inspired Pratt and Whitney to build up a production-quality DEEC system for F-15 and F-16 aircraft.

The DEEC research program emerged throughout the final 1 / 2 of Dryden’s F-8 Digital Fly-by-Wire research program, which went from May 25, 1972 through December 16, 1985. Digital Fly-By-Wire changed the bulky cables, pushrods, and hydraulics of aircraft with wires that contains control sensors and computer systems to handle control surfaces from the aircraft. The end result enhanced fuel efficiency and reliability, and therefore decreased cost. DEEC along with a follow-on research program known as the Highly Integrated Digital Control System (HIDEC), which the DEEC system would be a component, “did for engine controls exactly what the F-8 project did for flight controls.”1

This program shown dramatic savings in procedures and maintenance. The machine permitted for faster throttle reactions, enhanced air-start capacity (or even the engine’s capability to start mid-air), an altitude increase well over 10Thousand ft in afterburner procedures, and the opportunity to provide stall-free procedures through the aircraft’s flight envelope.

While initially produced for the F100 engine, DEEC was later integrated into the F100-PW-220 and F100-PW-229 engines, which energy F-15 and F-16 aircraft. The DEEC system seemed to be integrated into the 757 commercial jetliners’ PW2037 engine.

1 Computer systems Fly: Past NASA’s Pioneering Digital Fly-By-Wire Project, James E. Tomayko. Utilized Feb 19, 2013.

Digital Electronic Engine Control F-15A #287 flying over California City, CA. Note wing deflection measurement system on right wing.

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