What is Control Loading?

Control loading (CL) is the commercial machine simulator industry method of using variable forces to impart a realistic feel of the simulated machine’s primary control system to the operator. It also is used for remotely piloted aerial vehicles, submersibles, surgical robots, heavy equipment and military vehicles where precision control feel is required. An example of the existing use of Control Loading is the electric steering used in many new automobiles.

In 2015, Gulfstream introduced their ‘Active Control Sidestick’ into the new G500 and G600 business jets.  This represents the first use of Control Loading in General Aviation (GA).  The G500/600 use fly-by-wire technology for the control surfaces, so there is no direct connection between the control sticks and the flight surfaces.  Control Loading is used to impart a model of the real forces that the aircraft experiences in flight.