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Aircraft Control Systems


What is an Aircraft Control System?

A control system is a collection of mechanical and electronic equipment

that allows an aircraft to be flown with exceptional precision and

A control system consists of cockpit controls, sensors, actuators

(hydraulic, mechanical or electrical) and computers.
Aircraft flight control systems consist of flight control surfaces, the

respective cockpit controls, connecting linkages and the necessary

operating mechanisms to control an aircraft's direction in flight. Aircraft

engine controls are also considered as flight controls as they change

speed. They can be divided into three main groups:

- Primary flight control

- Secondary flight control

- Auxilliary flight control

Primary controls; Ailerons control the rolling
moment, Elevators control the pitching moment and the Rudder
controls the yawing moment of an aircraft.

Secondary controls; trim tabs and spring tabs are used to assist the
pilot in controlling the surfaces

Auxiliary controls; flaps, spoilers and slot are used as lift augmenting
or destroying controls.
Secondary Flight Control
Aircraft Components

Vertical Stabilizer
Empennage Rudder
Horizontal Stabilizer


Fuselage Power Plant Wing

Flight control surfaces on an modern advanced aircraft
Aircraft Components




Power Plant Wing

Aircraft Control Surfaces

 Ailerons
 Control roll about

longitudinal axis
 Elevator
 Control pitch about lateral
 Rudder
 Control yaw about vertical

Conventional Flight Control System Components

Push Pull Rods


A turnbuckle, stretching screw or bottle screw is a device for

adjusting the tension or length of ropes, cables, tie rods and other
tensioning systems.
Torque Tube
A tube in an aircraft control system that transmits a torsional force from
the operating control to the control surface. Torque tubes are often used
to actuate ailerons and flaps.
Bell Crank

A double lever in an aircraft control system used to change the direction

of motion. Bell cranks are normally used in aileron controls and in the
steering system of nose wheels.
A fairlead is a device to guide a line, rope or cable around an object,
out of the way or to stop it from moving laterally. Typically a fairlead will
be a ring or hook. The fairlead may be a separate piece of hardware, or
it could be a hole in the structure.
Types of Flight Control Systems

 Mechanical
 Hydraulic-Mechanical
 Fly-by-wire
 Other
Mechanical Flight Control System

Basic method of controlling an aircraft.

Used in early aircrafts and currently in small aircrafts where the

aerodynamic forces are not excessive.

It uses a collection of mechanical parts such as rods, tension cables,

pulleys, counterweights, and sometimes chains to transmit the forces
applied from the cockpit controls direc.tly to the control surfaces.
This type of control system is common on General Aviation Aircraft.

Gives pilot a lot of “feel” as he is directly connected to the control

surfaces on the aircraft.

Generally is made up of cables, pulleys, rods, and sometimes even


Routing these kind of systems throughout the aircraft requires a lot of

thought and creativity at times.

Generally not very good when there are large stick forces. The pilots
strength becomes the limiting factor.
Push Pull Rod System for Elevator Control
Cables & Pulleys System for Elevator Control
Servo Tabs

In large aircrafts the control surfaces are operated by power operated

hydraulic actuators controlled by valves moved by control yoke and
rudder pedals. An artificial feel system gives the pilot resistance that is
proportional to the flight loads on the surfaces.

In the event of hydraulic system failure , the control surfaces are

controlled by servo tabs in a process known as manual reversion.

In the manual mode the flight control column moves the tab on the
c/surface and the aerodynamic forces caused by the deflected tab
moves the main control surface.
Elevator Trim Tab System

Elevator trim balances the control force necessary to maintain the aerodynamic
down force on the tail. When aircraft is flying, a lot of trim could be required to
maintain the desired angle of attack. This mainly applies to slow flight, where
maintaining a nose-up attitude requires a lot of trim. An important design
parameter for aircraft is the stability of the aircraft when trimmed for level flight.
Any disturbances such as turbulence will be damped over a short period of time
and the aircraft will return to its level flight with trimmed airspeed.
Rudder and Aileron Trim Tab System

Trim doesn't only apply to the elevator, as there is also trim for the rudder and
ailerons. The use of this is to counter the effects of slip stream, or to counter the
effects of the centre of gravity being to one side. This can be caused by a larger
weight on one side of the aircraft compared to the other, such as when one fuel
tank has a lot more fuel in it than the other, or when there are heavier people on
one side of the aircraft than the other.
A Rudder Trim Tab System
Flap Control System

Flaps are hinged surfaces on the trailing edge of the wings of a fixed-wing
aircraft. As flaps are extended, the stalling speed of the aircraft is reduced.
Flaps are also used on the leading edge of the wings of some high-speed
jet aircraft, where they may be called Krueger flaps. Flaps increase the
camber of the wing airfoil, thus raising the lift coefficient. This increase in
lift coefficient allows the aircraft to generate a given amount of lift with a
slower speed. Therefore, extending the flaps will reduce the stalling speed
of an aircraft. They also increase drag which helps to slow the aircraft.
Types of flap systems:

Krueger flap: hinged flap on the leading edge.

Plain flap: rotates on a simple hinge.
Split flap: upper and lower surfaces are separate, the lower surface
operates like a plain flap, but the upper surface stays immobile or moves
only slightly.
Fowler flap: slides backwards before hinging downwards, thereby
increasing both camber and chord, creating a larger wing surface better
tuned for lower speeds.
Slotted flap: a slot (or gap) between the flap and the wing enables high
pressure air from below the wing to re-energize the boundary layer over the
flap. This helps the airflow to stay attached to the flap, delaying the stall.
Blown flaps: systems that blow engine air over the upper surface of the
flap at certain angles to improve lift characteristics.
High Lift Devices

On low drag aircraft like sailplanes,
spoilers are used to disrupt airflow over the
wing and greatly increase the amount of
drag. This allows a glider pilot to lose
altitude without gaining excessive
airspeed. Spoilers are sometimes called
"lift dumpers". Spoilers that can be used
asymmetrically are called spoilerons and
are able to affect an aircraft's roll.
Slats, also known as Leading Edge Devices, are extensions to the
front of a wing for lift augmentation, and are intended to reduce the
stalling speed by altering the airflow over the wing. Slats may be
fixed or retractable - fixed slats give excellent slow speed and STOL
capabilities, but compromise higher speed performance. Retractable
slats, as seen on most airliners, provide reduced stalling speed for
take-off and landing, but are retracted for cruising.
Need for Powered Control System

The Complexity and Weight of the system (Mechanical) increases with

Size and Performance of the aircraft.

When the pilot’s action is not directly sufficient for the control, the main
option is a powered system that assists the pilot.

The hydraulic system has demonstrated to be a more suitable solution

for actuation in terms of reliability, safety, weight per unit power and
flexibility, with respect to the electrical system.
Powered Assisted Control System

The pilot, via the cabin components, sends a signal, or demand, to a

valve that opens ports through which high pressure hydraulic fluid flows
and operates one or more actuators.

The valve, that is located near the actuators can be signaled in two
different ways: mechanically or electrically

Mechanical signaling is obtained by push-pull rods, or more commonly

by cables and pulleys

Electrical signaling is a solution of more modern and sophisticated

The basic principle of the hydraulic control is simple, but two aspects must be
noticed when a powered control is introduced.

The system must control the surface in a proportional way, i.e. the surface
response (deflection) must be function to the pilot’s demand (stick deflection,
for instance)

The pilot that with little effort acts on a control valve must have a feedback on
the maneuver intensity.

The first problem is solved by using (hydraulic) servo-mechanisms, where the

components are linked in such a way to introduce an actuator stroke
proportional to the pilot’s demand.
FBW – Introduction
The FBW architecture was developed in 1970’s

Initially starting as an analogue technique and later on transformed into

It was first developed for military aviation, where it is now a common
The supersonic Concorde can be considered a first and isolated civil
aircraft equipped with a (analogue) fly-by-wire system. In the 80’s the
digital technique was imported from military into civil aviation by Airbus,
first with the A320, then followed by A319, A321, A330, A340, Boeing
777 and A380 (scheduled for 2005).
This architecture is based on computer signal processing.
A fly-by-wire (FBW) system is a computer-based flight control system
that replaces the mechanical link between the pilot’s cockpit controls
and the moving surfaces by much lighter electrical wires also replaces
the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic

 Mechanical and hydro-mechanical flight control systems are

relatively heavy and require careful routing of flight control cables
through the aircraft by systems of pulleys, cranks, tension cables
and hydraulic pipes.

 Both systems often require redundant backup to deal with failures,

which increases weight. Both have limited ability to compensate for
changing aerodynamic conditions.
Fly –By –Wire System (FBW)

The term "fly-by-wire" implies a purely electrically-signaled control


It is a computer-configured controls, where a computer system is

interposed between the operator and the final control actuators or

It modifies the manual inputs of the pilot in accordance with control


These are carefully developed and validated in order to produce

maximum operational effect without compromising safety.
Fly By Wire

Really more of a subset of Hydraulic Controls.

Commonly uses a hydraulic control circuit to physically move the

control surfaces and a computer controlled (digital) circuit that takes
pilot input and actuates the hydraulic system.

Common on newer commercial and military aircraft.

Computer “interpretation” of pilot input allows for better stability of the

aircraft allowing much more “on the edge” designs to be capable of

Has to be redundant because the computer is the only path between

the pilot and the controls
A fly-by-wire (FBW) system replaces manual flight control of an aircraft
with an electronic interface.

The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals

transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control
computers determine how to move the actuators at each control
surface to provide the expected response.

Commands from the computers are also input without the pilot's
knowledge to stabilize the aircraft and perform other tasks. Electronics
for aircraft flight control systems are part of the field known as avionics.

Fly-by-optics, also known as fly-by-light, is a further development

using fiber optic cables. This has an added advantage when sensitive
electro-magnetic sensors will be operating aboard the aircraft.
Aerospace Fly-by-Wire Perspective
Definition: A flight control system wherein vehicle control is
transmitted completely by electrical means.

Vehicles with fly-by-wire (FBW) are:

 Safer because of better reliability, potential control redundancies,

and degraded operating modes
 More maneuverable because computers can anticipate and
command more frequent adjustments than humans
 More efficient because electrical systems are lighter and take less
space than mechanical or hydraulic systems
 More versatile because digital FBW enables the human operation
of high-performance vehicles that are otherwise marginally stable
(fighter aircraft) or unstable (Space Shuttle)
Aerospace Fly-by-Wire History

The first aircraft, and most current aero vehicles have mechanical
linkages between the pilot and control surfaces.
 WW II Era - B-17 bombing stabilization system using gyros and
servo-actuators driving mechanical linkages.

 1950s - Analog autopilots using gyros and servo-actuators

 1950s/60s - Missile control; hydraulic control augmentation systems

 1972 - First digital FBW in research aircraft: NASA F-8 Crusader

 Late 1970s - First FBW in military aircraft: F-16 and F/A-18

 1981 - First Space Shuttle flight, quad-redundant DFBW

 1988 - First FBW in commercial airliner: Airbus A320, then B777

 1999 - First fly-by-light (fiber optics) in research aircraft

Fly-by-Wire Trends

 New aerospace vehicle designs employ FBW

 Advancing high-speed digital processing and sensor technology
is making digital FBW even more capable
 Complementary advances in flight simulation allow precise
modeling, design, and tuning of FBW systems prior to flight
 Adaptive control systems are getting more sophisticated
 Change vehicle response based on mission and flight regimes

 Compensate for missing human pilot adaptation

 Build-in compensation for sub-optimal, non-linear aerodynamics

 Stealth airframe design: Tail-less B-2 and UCAV

 Space Planes

 Fiber optics employed for high-speed networks: Fly-by-light

Fly-by-Wire R&D
 Survivability
 Automatic system reconfiguration (self-repair) inspired by:

 F-15 returned safely after losing wing in midair collision

 DC-10 crash landed after engine failure and hydraulics

 Maneuvering
 Improvements from tighter integration of control and

 Thrust vectoring

 Control using elastic aerostructures rather than dedicated

 “Wing warp” (similar to the Wright Flyer)

 Human/Machine Interface
 Sensing and prevention of pilot induced oscillation (PIO)

and loss of control

 Wireless vehicles
The pilot’s demand is first of all transduced into electrical signal in the
cabin and sent to a group of independent computers (Airbus
architecture substitute the cabin control column with a side stick)
The computers sample also data concerning the flight conditions and
servo-valves and actuators positions.
The pilot’s demand is then processed and sent to the actuator, properly
tailored to the actual flight status.
The flight data used by the system mainly depend on the aircraft
category; in general the following data are sampled and processed:

– Pitch, roll, yaw rate and linear accelerations

– Angle of attack and sideslip
–Airspeed/Mach number, Pressure, Altitude and radio altimeter
– Stick and pedal demands
– Other cabin commands such as landing gear condition, thrust lever
position, etc.
The full system has high redundancy to restore the level of reliability of
a mechanical or hydraulic system, in the form of multiple (triplex or
quadruplex) parallel and independent lanes to generate and transmit
the signals, and independent computers that process them.
When a pilot moves the control, a signal is sent to a computer, this is
analogous to moving a game controller, the signal is sent through
multiple wires (channels) to ensure that the signal reaches the
When there are three channels being used this is known as 'Triplex'.
The computer receives the signals, performs a calculation (adds the
signal voltages and divides by the number of signals received to find
the mean average voltage) and adds another channel.
These signals are then sent to the control surface actuator and the
surface begins to move.
Potentiometers in the actuator send a signal back to the computer
(usually a negative voltage) reporting the position of the actuator.
When the actuator reaches the desired position the two signals
(incoming and outgoing) cancel each other out and the actuator stops
moving (completing a feedback loop).
FBW – Basic Operation
Three gyroscopes fitted with sensors are fitted in the aircraft to sense
movement changes in the pitch, roll and yaw axes.

Any movement (from straight and level flight for example) results in
signals being sent to the computer which again moves the relevant
control actuators, however, the input is done without the pilot's
knowledge; the cockpit controls do not move.
FBW – Safety and Redundancy
Aircraft systems may be quadrupled (four independent channels) in
order to prevent loss of signals in the case of failure of one or even two

High performance aircraft that have FBW controls (also called CCVs or
Control Configured Vehicles) may be deliberately designed to have low
or even negative aerodynamic stability in some flight regimes, the
rapid-reacting CCV controls compensating for the lack of natural

Pre-flight safety checks of a fly-by-wire system are often performed

using Built-In Test Equipment (BITE).

On programming the system, either by the pilot or ground crew, a

number of control movement steps are automatically performed.

Any failure will be indicated to the crews.

 Flight envelope protection (the computers will reject and tune pilot’s
demands that might exceed the airframe load factors).
 Increase of stability and handling qualities across the full flight
envelope, including the possibility of flying unstable vehicles
 Turbulence suppression and consequent decrease of fatigue loads
and increase of passenger comfort.
 Use of thrust vectoring to augment or replace lift aerodynamic
control, then extending the aircraft flight envelope
 Drag reduction by an optimized trim setting
 Higher stability during release of tanks and weapons
 Easier interfacing to auto-pilot and other automatic flight control
 Weight reduction (mechanical linkages are substituted by wirings)
Maintenance reduction
 Reduction of airlines’ pilot training costs (flight handling becomes
very similar in an whole aircraft family)
Auto Pilot System

 An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic system used

to guide an aeroplane without assistance from the pilot.

 The pilot is relieved by most of the physical & mental assistance of

controlling an aircraft and is free to devote his attention to the
management and direction of progress of the flight.

 On newer aircrafts today, the Autopilot has evolved into a complex

feature encompassing microprocessors and decision making
systems which take over the complete control of an aircraft from
take-off to landing.
 Autopilots do not replace a human operator, but assist them in
controlling the vehicle, allowing them to focus on broader aspects of
operation, such as monitoring the trajectory, weather and systems.

 Autopilot systems were designed to automate some of the pilot’s

tasks and make flying easier.

 An autopilot is often an integral component of a Flight Management


 Modern autopilots use computer software to control the aircraft. The

software reads the aircraft's current position, and then controls a
Flight Control System to guide the aircraft. In such a system,
besides classic flight controls, many autopilots incorporate thrust
control capabilities that can control throttles to optimize the airspeed,
and move fuel to different tanks to balance the aircraft.
Autopilot panel of an older Boeing 747 aircraft

A basic autopilot system can mechanize control of pitch, yaw, and roll
based on parameters given by a pilot.
Because a pilot must give commands to the autopilot, it’s better to think
of autopilot as an automatic flight control system (AFCS).
A simple single-axis ACFS will only control one dimension of the
plane’s movement. In this case, it’s usually roll, which would be used to
level the wings at cruising heights.
Two-axis AFCS would control pitch and roll, Three-axis controls pitch,
yaw, and roll.
Although there is great diversity in autopilot systems, most can be
classified according to the number of parts, or surfaces, they control. To
understand this discussion, it helps to be familiar with the three basic
control surfaces that affect an airplane's attitude.

There are three levels of control in autopilots for smaller aircraft.

A single-axis autopilot controls an aircraft in the roll axis only, such

autopilots are also known as "wing levelers".

A two-axis autopilot controls an aircraft in the pitch axis as well as roll, A

three-axis autopilot adds control in the yaw axis and is not required in
many small aircrafts.

Autopilots in modern complex aircraft are three-axis and generally

divide a flight into taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise (level flight), descent,
approach, and landing phases.
In the world of aircraft, the autopilot is more accurately described as
the automatic flight control system (AFCS).
The feedback system for keeping the wings level would go something
like this:-
 The plane is at cruising height keeping a specific heading. The pilot
wants to keep the wings perfectly level so he tells the AFCS to make
corrections if the wings deflect.
 Eventually the plane will start to roll in one direction or the other.
Position sensors constantly send data to the AFCS, if the computer
detects a deflection, it acts.
 The AFCS calculates the proper correction and sends the result to
servo motors controlling the planes ailerons.
 Position sensors are still streaming data to the AFCS. When the
computer sees the wings are back to level, it tells the servos to
disengage and return the ailerons to a resting state.
 When the wings drift again, the process repeats.
Autopilot Parts
The heart of a modern automatic flight control system is a computer
with several high-speed processors. To gather the intelligence required
to control the plane, the processors communicate with sensors located
on the major control surfaces. They can also collect data from other
airplane systems and equipment, including gyroscopes,
accelerometers, altimeters, compasses and airspeed indicators.
The processors in the AFCS then take the input data and, using
complex calculations, compare it to a set of control modes. A control
mode is a setting entered by the pilot that defines a specific detail of the
flight. For example, there is a control mode that defines how an
aircraft's altitude will be maintained. There are also control modes that
maintain airspeed, heading and flight path.
These calculations determine if the plane is obeying the commands set
up in the control modes. The processors then send signals to
various servomechanism units. A servomechanism, or servo for short,
is a device that provides mechanical control at a distance. One servo
exists for each control surface included in the autopilot system. The
servos take the computer's instructions and use motors or hydraulics to
move the aircraft's control surfaces, making sure the plane maintains its
proper course and attitude.
Principle of Operation

(Horizontal Situtation Indiocator)

Autopilot Control Systems
An autopilot is an example of a control system. Control systems apply
an action based on a measurement and almost always have an impact
on the value they are measuring.
Let's consider the example of a pilot who has activated a single-axis
1.The pilot sets a control mode to maintain the wings in a level position.
2.Gyroscopes (or other position sensors) on the wing detect this
deflection and send a signal to the autopilot computer.
3.The autopilot computer processes the input data and determines that
the wings position.
4.The autopilot computer sends a signal to the servos that control
the aircraft's ailerons.
The signal is a very specific command telling the servo to make a
precise adjustment.
5.Each servo has a small electric motor fitted with a slip clutch that,
through a bridle cables, When the cable moves, the control surfaces
move accordingly.
6. As the ailerons are adjusted based on the input data, the wings move
back toward level.

7. The autopilot computer removes the command when the position

sensor on the wing detects that the wings are once again level.

This loop, shown above in the block diagram, works continuously, many
times a second, much more quickly and smoothly than a human pilot
Two- and three-axis autopilots obey the same principles, employing
multiple processors that control multiple surfaces.
Some airplanes even have auto thrust computers to control engine
thrust. Autopilot and auto thrust systems can work together to perform
very complex maneuvers.
Computer system

The hardware of an autopilot varies from implementation to

implementation, but is generally designed with redundancy and
reliability as foremost considerations.

For example, the Rockwell Collins AFDS-770 Autopilot Flight Director

System used on the Boeing 777 uses triplicated FCP-2002
microprocessors which have been formally verified and are fabricated
in a radiation resistant process.

Software and hardware in an autopilot is tightly controlled, and

extensive test procedures are put in place.
Autopilot Failure

Autopilots can and do fail. A common problem is some kind of servo

failure, either because of a bad motor or a bad connection.

A position sensor can also fail, resulting in a loss of input data to the
autopilot computer.

Fortunately, autopilots for manned aircraft are designed as a failsafe.

To override the autopilot, a crew member simply has to disengage the

system, either by flipping a power switch or, if that doesn't work, by
pulling the autopilot circuit breaker.
Modern Autopilot Systems

Many modern autopilots can receive data from a Global Positioning

System (GPS) receiver installed on the aircraft.
A GPS receiver can determine a plane's position in space by
calculating its distance from three or more satellites in the GPS
Armed with such positioning information, an autopilot can do more than
keep a plane straight and level. It can execute a flight plan.
An AFCS is part of an aircraft's avionics -- the electronic systems,
equipment and devices used to control key systems of the plane and its
flight. In addition to flight control systems, avionics include electronics
for communications, navigation, collision avoidance and weather. The
original use of an AFCS was to provide pilot relief during tedious stages
of flight, such as high-altitude cruising. Advanced autopilots can do
much more, carrying out even highly precise maneuvers, such as
landing an aircraft in conditions of zero visibility.

Even in manual landings, an instrument landing system (ILS) is often

used to guide the plane into a safe landing. The ILS uses a
combination of radio signals and visible markers to determine the
proper path for a plane to take and greatly simplifies the process. But
even with ILS, the pilot remains in control. Many airports don’t have ILS
systems in place requiring pilots to land using a completely manual
visual approach.
Autopilot system manufacturers

 Garmin

 Thales

 Rockwell Collins

 Honeywell

 Auto pilot system reduce the work strain of pilot.

 Auto pilot roll controlling reduces the fatigue of controlling the

aircraft in flight by the pilot.


 It is used in the auto missiles to control the roll angle.

 It can be used in almost every aircraft for auto pilot controlling.

Communication and Navigation systems







Positioning, the ability to accurately and precisely determine one's
location and orientation two dimensionally (or three dimensionally
when required) referenced to a standard geodetic system (such as
World Geodetic System 1984, or WGS84).

Navigation, the ability to determine current and desired position

(relative or absolute) and apply corrections to course, orientation,
and speed to attain a desired position anywhere around the world,
from sub-surface to surface and from surface to space.

Timing, the ability to acquire and maintain accurate and precise time
from a standard (Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC), anywhere in
the world and within user-defined timeliness parameters.
Navigation Services Vision

Provide safe and cost effective position, navigation, and timing services
(PNT) to meet the operational needs of aviation customers.

Efficient, Flexible Routing

Departures All -Weather
Frequency Bands
Instrument Landing System (ILS)
ILS is stand for Instrument Landing System.

It has been existence for over 60 years, But today, it is still the most
accurate approach and landing aid that is used by the airliners.

Why need ILS?

 To guide the pilot during the approach and landing.

 It is very helpful when visibility is limited and the pilot cannot see the
airport and runway.
 To provide an aircraft with a precision final approach.
 To help the aircraft to a runway touchdown point.
 To provide an aircraft guidance to the runway both in the horizontal
and vertical planes.
 To increase safety and situational awareness.
Poor Visibility Landings
ILS Components

ILS consists of Ground Installations and Airborne Equipments

There are 3 equipments for Ground Installations, which are:

1. Ground Localizer (LLZ) Antenna – To provide horizontal navigation
2. Ground Glide path (GP) Antenna – To provide vertical navigation
3. Marker Beacons – To enable the pilot cross check the aircraft’s

There are 2 equipments for Airborne Equipments, which are:

1. LLZ and GP antennas located on the aircraft nose.
2. ILS indicator inside the cockpit
How ILS works ?
Ground localizer antenna transmit VHF signal in direction opposite of
runway to horizontally guide aircraft to the runway center line.

Ground Glide Path antenna transmit UHF signal in vertical direction to

vertically guide aircraft to the touchdown point.

Localizer and Glide Path antenna located at aircraft nose receives both
signals and sends it to ILS indicator in the cockpit.

These signals activate the vertical and horizontal needles inside the ILS
indicator to tell the pilot either go left/right or go up/down.

By keeping both needles centered, the pilot can guide his aircraft down
to end of landing runway aligned with the runway center line and aiming
the touch down.
Operates in the VHF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum

System consists of a runaway localizer, a glide slope signal and marker

beacons for position location

Localizer equipment produces a radio course aligned with the Centre of

an airport runaway. The on course signals result from the equal
reception of two signals, Blue sector(150 Hz) and yellow sector(90 Hz)
Advantages of ILS

The most accurate approach and landing aid that is used by the

Disadvantages of ILS

Interference due to large reflecting objects, other vehicles or moving

This interference can reduce the strength of the directional signals.
VOR: VHF Omnidirectional Range
VOR provide MAGNETIC BEARING information to and from the

“Omni-” means all and an Omni-directional range means VOR station

transmits signal in all directions.
VOR, short for VHF Omni-directional Range, is a type of radio
navigation system for aircraft.

VOR navigation system is one of the most significant aviation


With it, a pilot can simply, accurately, and without ambiguity navigate
from Point A to Point B.

Electronic navigation system.

It produces 360 usable radials or courses ,any one of which is radial

path connected to the station.

Operation is in the vhf portion of the radio spectrum.

Frequency range 108 MHz-117.95 MHz

“Omni-” means all and an Omnidirectional range means VOR station
transmits signal in all directions.
VOR Equipments

VOR equipments can be divided into three equipments:

Aerial / Antenna

As for aircraft, VOR consist of VOR antenna, at vertical tail and VOR
receiver and indicator inside cockpit.

As for ground station (also known as VOR beacon) consist of antenna

(transmitter and receiver).
VOR Equipments
How VOR works
VOR receiver in the cockpit is tuning to the specific frequencies
assigned for that VOR ‘s airport.
It is VHF frequency which is between 108-117.95 MHz.
After entering the frequency, the volume control should be turned up in
order to confirm that the three letter identification code (Morse Code) is
For example, KLIA airport has a VOR known as VKL-Victor Kilo Lima.
The VOR station on the ground transmits two signals at the same time;
one signal is constant in all directions, while the other signal is rotated
about a point.
One from stationary antenna, while the other from rotating antenna.
When aircraft receives these two signals, an aircraft VOR receiver
electronically measures the phase angle different between these two
This phase angle different is translated as the MAGNETIC BEARING
which tell the pilot the aircraft angle direction to the VOR station.
This bearing angle also known as RADIALS.

To-from indicator presents the direction to or from the station along the omni

When the localizer signals are selected on the receiver the indicator shows
the position of the localizer beam relative to the aircraft and the direction the
aircraft must be turned to intercept the localizer.

During VOR operation the VOR radial to be used is selected by rotating the
OBS (omni-bearing selector).

OBS is graduated in degrees from 0 to 360.

Info from the VOR receiver is displayed on the CDI (Course Deviation

The vertical needle is used as the course indicator.

Vertical needle also indicates when the aircraft deviates from the course and

The direction of the aircraft must be turned to attain the desired course
A Display
A Rotating Course Card, calibrated from 0 to 360°, whichindicates the
VOR bearing chosen as the reference to fly TO or FROM. Here, the
345° radial has been set into the display.
This VOR gauge also digitally displays the VOR bearing, which
simplifies setting the desired navigation track

B Display
The Omni Bearing Selector, or OBS knob, used to manually rotate the
course card.

C Display
The CDI, or Course Deviation Indicator. This needle swings left or right
indicating the direction to turn to return to course. When the needle is to
the left, turn left and when the needle is to the right, turn right, When
centered, the aircraft is on course. Each dot in the arc under the needle
represents a 2° deviation from the desired course.
D Display
The TO-FROM indicator. This arrow will point up, or towards the nose
of the aircraft, when flying TO the VOR station.
The arrow reverses direction, points downward, when flying away
FROM the VOR station.
A red flag replaces these TO-FROM arrows when the VOR is beyond
reception range, has not been properly tuned in, or the VOR receiver is
turned off. Similarly, the flag appears if the VOR station itself is
inoperative, or down for maintenance.
VOR receiving systems consist of




More accurate & precise flying:

The accuracy of course alignment of the VOR is excellent, being generally
plus or minus 1 degree.

Can be used day and night.

Multiple number of route :

Provide multiple number of route ‘towards’ or away from each station.

These routes are like invisible highways , which the pilot can navigate to @
away from any location.

Navigation info is visually displayed on an instrument in cockpit

called the CDI (course deviation indicator.)
Disadvantages of VOR

Signals cannot be received at low altitudes (below 1000ft)

VORs are sensitive to the interference of terrain. The nearest

mountains and buildings cause the VOR bearings to be stopped and

Other disadvantages is VOR equipments are costly to maintain.

Questions / Comments