In the previous publication A330 Normal Law: Putting Fly-by-wire into Perspective, I gave a brief history of fly by wire technology (older than you think) and the details of Airbus’ implementation of fly-by-wire to make a safe, intuitive, and well behaved flight control system a reality: Normal law. Included are the handling characteristics and how they differ from a conventional airplane, the protections provided by the system, even an example of the unexpected effects of the protections.
This newest release, Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws explains what happens when Normal law can no longer function with a review on aircraft handling, stability, and how each of these different operating laws operate. Covered are Alternate, Direct, and Abnormal Attitude laws, and a condition when there are no laws at all: backup control. Also introduced in this edition are differences between the different Airbus families (A320, 330/340, and 350) for each of these situations. While there are many similarities, the capabilities of the protections and autopilot functions for the various models have expanded over time as each new model was introduced.
The focus is from the pilot’s perspective, with emphasis on handling characteristics and their implications and not on the mechanical and computer architecture that each model uses to carry them out. It is written so that even seasoned Airbus veterans will gain new insights something about their airplane, yet it remains accessible to any aviation enthusiast.
You’ve read the Airbus vs. Boeing discussions, but can you spot the errors in their arguments? If you want to know what all the fuss is about, this will get you well on your way to being literate on the subject.