The Electronic Flight Control System Rig (EFCS Rig)

The large-scale Electronic Flight Control System Rig (EFCS Rig) facility is based at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) Institute of Flight Systems in Braunschweig; it is designed to conduct efficient, results-oriented research into the complex and safety-critical area of flight control. The EFCS Rig makes it possible to investigate new subsystem solutions; it is also used to consider the interaction of new system concepts with other flight control components.

Simulating the functions of new flight control systems under real-world conditions

The research capabilities of the facility are based on linking an actuator test rig with a flight deck simulation environment to form an ‘Iron Bird’, which is operated from a central control station. This facilitates the implementation of closed-loop investigations of new system concepts, including the assessment of their impact on flight characteristics. By integrating hardware and software components of the flight control system, and due to the rig’s modular concept, new systems can be examined in great depth at an early stage of development.

These test rigs contain the hardware and software components of the entire flight control system, as well as a linked flight deck simulation; this allows them to perform as many tests as possible for the verification of new systems on the ground. In the past, it was not possible to complete such tests exclusively with computer simulations, since the complex and safety-critical flight control system has to be reproduced extremely accurately in order to be able to draw real-world conclusions.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Andreas Bierig

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Flight Systems
Safety Critical Systems & Systems Engineering
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig