For several years, the potential benefits of implementing a distributed-control system on an airborne gas-turbine engine have been discussed and analyzed. However, after many years of trade studies and lab demonstrations, it appears that the airborne gas-turbine community is no closer to implementing this type of distributed architecture. The NASA-sponsored Distributed Engine Control Working Group is attempting to unify the efforts of engine manufacturers, their system integrators, and sub-tier suppliers. In order to collectively move forward, it is necessary to understand the issues that have impeded the progress of this approach. In so doing, the industry can focus on the near-term work required to develop programs that would create the necessary infrastructure to make airborne turbine-engine-based distributed-control systems a reality. This paper will present some proposed distributed-control architectures, advantages and disadvantages of some of these approaches, and will discuss the major technical challenges that have, to date, prevented these architectures from becoming viable. Some of the architectural approaches range from a fully distributed system (one distributed-control module per actuator loop) to a “hybridized” system that has a data concentrator and a reduced FADEC. The technical challenges that will be discussed include: high-temperature electronics, robust serial-communication bus in a high-temperature environment, power distribution, and certification.

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