Fly-By-Wireless; The Future?


Fly-by-wireless concept via ResearchGate

Recently, I have been looking into some emerging technology trends within the aviation industry. I stumbled upon a research paper from scientists at the “Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE)” on the Fly-by-wireless concept. Founded in 1909, it was the world’s first dedicated Aerospace engineering school and is currently one of the best in the world.

Currently, in its research & development stage, fly-by-wireless is a new aircraft control concept that relies on a wireless avionics network to control aircraft control surfaces. While providing tangible benefits, there are also significant security concerns and questions that arise as a result of this under-development control method. Is it the future?

Although currently not feasible as a complete replacement of commands sent to actuators in the aircraft, Fly-by-wireless (FBWL) has numerous tangible benefits even in a hybrid configuration when in cooperation with a Fly-by-wire (FBW) or Fly-by-light (fiber optic) system. Currently, many Airbus aircraft are equipped with an AFDX (Avionics Full Duplex Switched Ethernet) system, commonly known as Fly-by-wire. This system provides critical connections to aircraft control surfaces using physical wired connections. However, AFDX is problematic due to the large amount of wiring that it requires in the aircraft.

Airbus A350 Electrical Skeleton Via Texas A&M

With Fly-by-wireless, this can mitigate the significant costs incurred as a result of FBW systems. The cost of a kilogram manufacturing and installation of aircraft wire is estimated at $2000, which can add up to a significant amount, around $14 million for an aircraft the size of an A320 to around $50 million for an aircraft the size of a B748. Aircraft wiring was also a major factor in contributing to cost overruns and delays within the A380 program, amounting to over $2 billion for the program. Wired avionics are also susceptible to structural failure and a fire hazard which leads to needing extensive maintenance. The added weight reduction, with up to 2-3% of an aircraft weight being removed, would amount to considerable fuel savings.

But issues arise in regards to a lack of redundancy that may be present within a FBWL system. Many current FBW systems are backed up 3 fold to account for possible failures in the system, would adding some sort of redundancies be possible in a FBWL system? Many propositions for this technology argue in favor of a hybrid model, where wireless systems take over tasks that are not as critical, for example, In-Flight-Entertainment. There is also the question of Cybersecurity and the potential of hacking these systems to take control of an aircraft. Wireless technologies are out of my scope of understanding, but I will leave references below for those interested to learn more.

What do you think, is Fly-by-wireless a viable technology for the future?

Additional Resources

About WAIC

Gulfstream Tests 'Fly-by-Wireless' System - Aviation Today

Fly-By-Wireless for next generation aircraft: Challenges and potential solutions - IEEE Conference Publication


fly-by-telekinesis when


Me reading first time: of course fly-by-wire is the future

2nd read: Fly-by-WIRELESS WTH?!?

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This is cool! But, it ruins the fun of flying. Like captain Joe says “In a Boeing you can feel the plane in your hands” I like fly by cable , but I understand the benefits. I would not prefer this would come though

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I’m also a fly-by-cable fan

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Me after I connect to the planes Bluetooth and am playing my EDM playlist

Real talk though, I think this is a good alternative, but there will have to be a LOT of blockages from different users. I remember a Criminal minds episode when someone remotely connected to planes, causing them to crash. Very much a fictional story, but with this, that may seem more a reality than a possibility


Not flying anything equipped with this 👎

Garbage idea tbh. What if it loses connection? The plane goes down?


@ClassicAirlinerLover @Butter_Boi waiting for u to rant lol


It’ll be a cold day in hell before I get on a fly-by-wireless plane.

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But you can’t, because you can’t hack a PHYSICAL WIRE.

The computers just help, and can be disengaged.

Ah yes, that FAA President or smth of the 60s but adapted quote

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It’s a good quote 👀

No, it’s perfect

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buys time machine and goes to the 1950 when every plane was fly-by-cable and had screaming smokey engines

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Well a plane is very isolated in terms of digital accessibility, (as far as i’m aware) flight computers only contact satellites to exchange data,

I doubt there’s going to be a way to successfully hijack a plane remotely, although an EMP should be enough to take it out of the sky, if that’s what you want.

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Flies DC-3

See why I prefer the good ol’ stuff?

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Not sure anyone commenting thus far actually read into what this is @Aceorbit - interesting topic.

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I mean, I read the whole topic and all but just replied to an earlier comment regarding the potential of a remote hijacking.

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Pshhh, my unicorn does fly-by-magic. Get on my level, tech companies!

(Honestly, wireless things could be more prone to hacking or jamming than just fly-by-wire. I’d be real careful around those things.)

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I prefer to fly my plane instead of a wireless computer that’s prone to hacking thank you very much.

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