The Airbus A320 is one of the most popular and widely used aircraft in the world. It has revolutionized the aviation industry with its advanced technology and efficiency. One of the key components that makes the A320 so successful is the Elevator Aileron Computer, commonly known as ELAC. This computer system plays a crucial role in controlling the aircraft’s elevators and ailerons, ensuring a safe and smooth flight.
ELAC is an abbreviation for Elevator Aileron Computer, and it is responsible for processing and transmitting signals to control the elevator and aileron surfaces of the Airbus A320. The elevator surfaces are located at the rear of the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer and are used to control the pitch or the up-and-down movement of the aircraft. The aileron surfaces, on the other hand, are located on the trailing edge of the wing and are responsible for controlling the roll movement of the aircraft.
The Elevator Aileron Computer acts as the brain that translates the pilot’s inputs into movements of the elevator and aileron surfaces. It receives signals from the pilot’s control inputs through the sidestick, which is the primary flight control input device in Airbus aircraft. These signals are then processed and sent to the hydraulic actuators that move the elevator and aileron surfaces accordingly.
Functions of the Elevator Aileron Computer
The Elevator Aileron Computer on the Airbus A320 performs several crucial functions that contribute to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft. Let’s take a closer look at some of its key functions:
1. Flight Control Laws
The Elevator Aileron Computer is responsible for implementing the flight control laws on the Airbus A320. These flight control laws define how the aircraft responds to pilot inputs and react to different flight conditions. The computer processes these laws and ensures that the aircraft’s response is within safe and stable limits.
There are three main flight control laws on the A320:
– Normal Law: This is the primary flight control law that provides the pilot with normal flight control characteristics. It includes various protections such as bank angle protection, pitch protection, and load factor limitations. The ELAC ensures that the aircraft operates within the boundaries of this law, ensuring a safe and comfortable flight experience.
– Alternate Law: In the event of certain failures or abnormal conditions, the flight control system switches to Alternate Law. This law provides limited flight control protections and requires more skill from the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft. The ELAC continuously monitors the flight conditions and ensures that the aircraft operates within the limits of Alternate Law.
– Direct Law: When both ELACs fail or are inoperative, the flight controls switch to Direct Law. In this mode, the pilot has direct control over the flight control surfaces without any computer-mediated assistance. The ELAC monitors the system and takes control again if it detects a failure or abnormal condition.
2. Control Surface Movements
The Elevator Aileron Computer is responsible for sending precise signals to the hydraulic actuators that control the elevator and aileron surfaces. These signals determine the position and movement of the control surfaces based on the pilot’s inputs and the aircraft’s current flight conditions.
The ELAC calculates and adjusts the required deflection angles for the elevator and aileron surfaces to achieve the desired aircraft response. It takes into account factors such as airspeed, altitude, weight, and center of gravity to ensure optimal control and stability.
3. Fault Monitoring and Redundancy
The Elevator Aileron Computer plays a crucial role in monitoring the flight control system for any faults or abnormal conditions. It continuously checks the system’s sensors, actuators, and other components for proper functioning and alerts the pilots in case of any failures.
The Airbus A320 is equipped with redundant ELACs to ensure the highest level of safety and reliability. If one ELAC fails, the other takes over to maintain full control of the elevators and ailerons. This redundancy and fault monitoring system provide an extra layer of protection and contribute to the aircraft’s overall safety.
The Importance of the Elevator Aileron Computer in Airbus A320
The Elevator Aileron Computer, or ELAC, plays a crucial role in the safe and efficient operation of the Airbus A320. Its ability to process and translate pilot inputs into precise control surface movements ensures a smooth and predictable flight experience for both pilots and passengers.
Without the ELAC, pilots would have limited control over the elevator and aileron surfaces, making it challenging to handle various flight scenarios. The flight control laws implemented by the ELAC provide important protections and ensure that the aircraft operates within safe limits, even in critical situations.
The redundancy and fault monitoring capabilities of the Elevator Aileron Computer contribute to the A320’s overall safety. In the unlikely event of a failure, the backup ELAC takes over seamlessly, allowing pilots to maintain control of the aircraft.
Overall, the Elevator Aileron Computer is a vital component of the Airbus A320, enabling precise and reliable control of the elevators and ailerons. Its advanced technology and functionality make it an essential part of modern aviation.
For More: What is LVL on Airbus A320? (Level)