The F-8 Digital Fly-by-Wire (DFBW) flight test program intended to provide the technology for advanced control systems, giving aircraft enhanced performance and operational capability is addressed. A detailed analysis of the experimental system was performed to estimated the probabilities of two significant safety critical events: (1) loss of primary flight control function, causing reversion to the analog bypass system; and (2) loss of the aircraft due to failure of the electronic flight control system. The analysis covers appraisal of risks due to random equipment failure, generic faults in design of the system or its software, and induced failure due to external events. A unique diagrammatic technique was developed which details the combinatorial reliability equations for the entire system, promotes understanding of system failure characteristics, and identifies the most likely failure modes. The technique provides a systematic method of applying basic probability equations and is augmented by a computer program written in a modular fashion that duplicates the structure of these equations.
AIRCRAFT STABILITY AND CONTROL