The methods or mechanisms used to control an aircraft's movement in roll, pitch, and yaw.

Flight controls systems vary in complexity and technology according to the aircraft's mission. Examples include:

  • Wing warping, weight shift - Lifting surfaces are twisted manually in flight to change the lift forces and distribution, used in early aircraft, hang gliders, and parachutes
  • Mechanical Linkages - Pushrods, pulleys, torsion bars and other mechanical members that deflect control surfaces, used in early aircraft, and modern light GA aircraft
  • Fly by wire - Pilot input is translated into electrical signals sent to actuators that move control surfaces, used primarily in large commercial and military transports
  • Fly by light - Similar to fly by wire, but signals are sent via fiber optic cables instead of electrical wires, not widely used (yet) but will have similar applications to fly by wire
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