The paper presents the results of an ongoing research project where the objectives are to evaluate medium access control (MAC) protocols in view of the requirements for distributed digital flight control systems (DDFCS) of advanced aircraft and to recommend a specific protocol for their prototype development. The selection of an appropriate MAC protocol is critical for the dynamic performance of an aircraft because the DDFCS, in addition to the sampling time delay, is subject to time-varying transport delays due to data latency of messages at different terminals of the control loop. The SAE linear token bus, SAE token ring and the conventional MIL-STD-1553B protocols have been analyzed using combined discrete-event and continuous-time simulation techniques. The impact of data latency on the dynamic performance of an advanced aircraft is illustrated by simulation of the closed loop DDFCS.

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