Is Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) the same as Fly-by-wire?

If not what's the difference?

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has carried out the first flight of a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) using an indigenously developed Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), the state-owned aerospace and defence company announced in a statement on 31 January.




1 Answer 1


AFCS is just a fancy word for autopilot. Autopilots for helicopters are a bigger deal than on fixed wing airplanes, due to the difficulty in flying them, so it's no small thing to develop one. In the end however it's still just a computer than can operate servos attached to the controls to move the mechanical controls in place of the pilot when it's turned on.

Fly By Wire is a whole different universe, where there is a computer(s) between the pilot and the flight controls, with no mechanical interface at all, and the pilot makes inputs that tell the computer what the pilot wants to do, and the computer decides how to move the surfaces.


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