Sidestick control vs control yoke vs panel-mounted control wheel

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cluttonfred

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I have flown (and would be happy to fly but don't own) a Mignet HM.1000 Balerit with a central control column with left and right yokes for pitch and yaw (not roll) and no pedals, of course. That's as close as I can come to answering yes to your question.

hm1000.jpg
hm1000 yoke.jpg

Lots of talk in this thread about what is “better”.

Is anyone who advocates something different from standard actually flying with what they advocate?


BJC
 
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jedi

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Lots of talk in this thread about what is “better”.

Is anyone who advocates something different from standard actually flying with what they advocate?


BJC
Not me!

I have flown non standard controls. I did not like them and therefore limited my time flown with them. I converted my Mitchel B 10 to a right side up stick and would like to get another chance to try the top mounted stick on a gyro, provided it also had the conventional stick as a backup. I expect my trike experience may make that transition somewhat easier. I approach with caution and try to avoid flying two axis aircraft that use a stick to control the rudder.

I have flown the Kasperwing Ultralight. I would not consider the controls offensive but do consider the "non standard mixture" of weight shift and aerodynamic controls to be undesirable. I note that it has a yoke to control yaw/roll in a two axis aircraft. The Lazair is a wonderful Ultralight but I also deduct a few points for its control system design, lift up on the wheel to pitch nose up IIRC.

I do know what it is like to be up in the air in an aircraft that you do not know how to fly. I know of more than one pilot that has died trying to fly with an unfamiliar control system. I have also seen the results of the ones that did not die in the learning process. As noted in the press, many pilots, even airline pilots, have difficulty with conventional controls. Reference the 737 Max and Airbus planes.

I now consider WSC standard controls for a trike or a hang glider. Others probably disagree unless they are WSC pilots. The "Thing" in the picture has no defined standard and has not been built so no one has flown it. I am assuming that the pilot is semi ridgely attached to the airframe so WSC is not technically correct even though it closely resembles a hang glider configuration.

I note that the Wright Brothers did their control system all wrong in spite of aircraft control being their greatest achievement.

Point of interest: The "thing" in the picture (post #229) is what mankind has been trying to build for thousands of years not the hundreds of years mankind has actually been able to fly. One would think that a species that has gone to the moon and flown in space for eight decades could at least define and agree on a control concept for that "thing".
 
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Doran Jaffas

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My earlier VW powered Sonex had the original drum brakes with the pull handle next to the flaps. When getting used to the plane before first flight I was high speeding down the runway, came to the end, grabbed the handle, and pulled 30º of flaps while running off the end of the pavement into the grass ... 😬

Original setup looks like this:

View attachment 108583
Years ago when I had my Sonerai ll I had split lever drum brakes by the throttle on the left side. It was a simple transition to remove my hand from the throttle and go to the brakes and steer with my fingers on the brakes. The brakes were enough to slow it down but we're not enough to put it on his nose which I really liked. I truthfully prefer that type of setup to toe or heel breaks but I'm not about to change it in the Tailwind.
 

Doran Jaffas

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I have flown (and would be happy to fly but don't own) a Mignet HM.1000 Balerit with a central control column with left and right yokes for pitch and yaw (not roll). That's as close as I can come to answering yes to your question.

View attachment 108790
View attachment 108791
I fly with a stick and rudder pedals. The flap and trim handles between the seats and the centralized throttle system. Been flying that way for over 36 years and though it may not be intuitive it is second nature to me by now. I'm open to someone coming up with actual intuitive controls but let's not mistake that there's something that would still not have to be learned. Any aircraft no matter what it is or what style it is still must be learned rather the pilot must take his or her time learning to fly the airplane. My granddaughter put it very succinctly to me and really shut down all of my experience by telling me this and I quote " Grandpa you do not really fly the airplane. The airplane does the flying you just operate the systems that make it fly." She is only 10 years old but hit it right on the head.
 

Jerry Lytle

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Or just good driving technique, it's how you match revs when downshifting and braking at the same time, makes for less wear on the clutch and synchros.

Kinda like making a perfect 3 point landing, it's a pleasure when you get it just right. I suspect most tailwheel pilots prefer manual transmissions in their cars.
From a stick shifter and tailwheel pilot: I dove a VW Bug for about 3 weeks without a clutch, broken clutch cable. I had to choose my routes closely. On a flat, kill the engine for a red light, engage starter on the green and I was good to go. Through poor planning I once took a route with a light at the top of a grade, bad timing, I waved traffic around until I could rollback and turn 90 and rolled down hill started the engine and chose a different route.

"As needs must when the devil drives"
 

PredragVasic

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In a sailplane, you PULL to activate spoilers. Just as you pull the reins on a horse to slow it down. Logical and Legacy.
We were taught to treat spoilers like throttle, as we turn to final for a landing. You pull throttle to idle (=extend spoilers to full), and if you need a bit of altitude, you simply add a bit of throttle (retract the spoilers a bit). The motion (aft to extend, forward to retract) was exactly the same as throttle in a fighter plane (or any other, for that matter), so for a minute or so, in a trainer glider (Blaník L-13) we could fell like we're flying an actual plane, with an engine...
 

Pilot-34

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I was probably 5 or 6 years old the first time I remember handling a steering wheel. My uncles were picking up hay bales and loading them on a flat bed truck. They put the truck in granny and got it pointed down the field. My job was to hold the steering wheel straight. At the end of the field, uncle would get in the truck, turn around and get it pointed straight. Then he would get out and I would hold the wheel while it idled down the field.
Myself my son and my granddaughters Have all done that.
 

cluttonfred

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Unless you were French…France and some Eastern European countries had throttles that were pull on, push off before and during WWII. That made transition training “exciting” when the Brits or the Americans took on former French contract aircraft.

We were taught to treat spoilers like throttle, as we turn to final for a landing. You pull throttle to idle (=extend spoilers to full), and if you need a bit of altitude, you simply add a bit of throttle (retract the spoilers a bit). The motion (aft to extend, forward to retract) was exactly the same as throttle in a fighter plane (or any other, for that matter), so for a minute or so, in a trainer glider (Blaník L-13) we could fell like we're flying an actual plane, with an engine...
 

rotax618

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My vote is for centre stick, its great to be able to grab the stick with the other hand to free up the right/left hand to write/draw/adjust stuff.
 

Jay Kempf

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Still think double side sticks is a viable idea. You can use both hands, put your knee against either side to switch hands. I built a mock up of this and it felt so comfy and intuitive. Two seat planes already went there. For a single seat cockpit is just makes sense. Tiny weight penalty if the mechanism is behind the seat, just two light torque tubes.
 

cluttonfred

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In the world of the Flying Flea/Pou du Ciel and related types, such a system is used with Cosandey flaps on the rear wing. Use them together for pitch trim, use them differentially to "dial in" a fixed aileron setting for crosswind operations. You can see them here (white knobs) in the cockpit of the wonderfully quirky Croses EC-9 Paras Cargo above the panel-mounted single throttle below the compass.

1631600940311.png

How about a totally different configuration.
This was somewhat inspired by a bulldozer.
Imagine two overhead sticks near each other but not Coupled each controlling a full length a aileron/flap on its side of the plane .
 

gtae07

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Unless you were French…France and some Eastern European countries had throttles that were pull on, push off before and during WWII. That made transition training “exciting” when the Brits or the Americans took on former French contract aircraft.
Remember that pull-on, push-off is a general control convention in much of the rest of the industrial world... e.g. the throttle for a fire engine (when pumping, not driving). I've read about the "non-standard" convention in aircraft (that of "forward for more power" regardless of method of actuation) confusing new students who came from other backgrounds.
 

DaveK

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My Dad said that on tractors they had pull on push off so if you hit something you’d naturally push throttle closed if your hand was on the throttle. Airplanes are sort of the opposite, many instances where you want to open throttle in emergency situations.
 

Pops

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One of my neighbors has a couple of dozers and his son landed on the farm with his Piper Colt. They started mowing with the farm tractors and he got off the tractor and climbed in the colt to move it. He shoved the throttle to the firewall and then back out about 1/4" like he would do with the dozers. Started the engine and it went to almost full power. He didn't know what to do, but he knew from riding in the colt with his son that you steered with your feet. So he shoved a rudder pedal to the floor and the airplane started going in circles. He finally shoved the throttle the opposite direction and all became good without hitting anything.
 

Dan Thomas

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My Dad said that on tractors they had pull on push off so if you hit something you’d naturally push throttle closed if your hand was on the throttle. Airplanes are sort of the opposite, many instances where you want to open throttle in emergency situations.
FAR 23.779:

1631647051593.png

1631647078571.png

This applies to aircraft built under FAR 23. Since most of us learned to fly in FAR 23 airplanes, building something that doesn't fit this pattern is asking for an accident. Primacy, again: The things first learned are the most unshakeable.

A friend and I had a go-kart many years ago. Insane fun. The steering was the usual thing, with a control wheel (yoke) on a shaft that had a bellcrank at the business end that worked a shaft that went to one of the wheels, and a tie rod between the wheels. We found that we could turn that control yoke 180 degrees, putting the bellcrank down instead of up. and have the thing steer opposite to normal. We tried driving it like that. Nope. No matter how hard we tried, Primacy made it impossible. Nearly killed ourselves.
 

N804RV

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I like the traditional stick between the legs, throttle on the left set up.

However, in my little Sonerai, I only have a handheld radio that is clipped to the canopy cross brace just in front of me on the right side. At first, it felt awkward to control pitch/roll with left hand while pressing the txmt key with the right. But, I got used to it very quickly.

The thing I wonder about with side-stick controllers is the effect that the length of the stick above the pivot point has on flight control feel. I've flow in a couple of airplanes that had to have the control stick cut shorter to clear the instrument panel with big, fancy stick grips installed. It felt to me like they were overly pitch sensitive in normal flight. And, the stick-force-per-G was quite a bit higher than I'm used to.
 

Dan Thomas

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I like the traditional stick between the legs, throttle on the left set up.

However, in my little Sonerai, I only have a handheld radio that is clipped to the canopy cross brace just in front of me on the right side. At first, it felt awkward to control pitch/roll with left hand while pressing the txmt key with the right. But, I got used to it very quickly.

The thing I wonder about with side-stick controllers is the effect that the length of the stick above the pivot point has on flight control feel. I've flow in a couple of airplanes that had to have the control stick cut shorter to clear the instrument panel with big, fancy stick grips installed. It felt to me like they were overly pitch sensitive in normal flight. And, the stick-force-per-G was quite a bit higher than I'm used to.
I instructed in both the Champ/Citabria/SuperCub with the throttle on the left, stick in the right hand, and in the 150s, 172s and 180, throttle right and control wheel left. And even in the Cessnas you changed hands when you shifted from the left seat to the right. After a few minutes it sorts itself out, though I did have one student push the stick forward in the Citabria on short final instead of opening the throttle to flatten the glide. His first hour in the airplane, I think it was. He didn't do THAT again.

Those side-sticks are more of a fashion statement to sell airplanes to wannabe fighter jocks, IMO. They don't make mechanical sense in GA airplanes with unboosted controls. They are a nightmare of shafts and bearings and interconnects and bellcranks. High parts count, more cost, sensitive controls and large control forces because the control surface displacement is larger for a given stick movement. It's a bit like the T-tail fad of the 1970s, everyone trying to make their airplanes look like DC-9s or 727s. Those airplanes had (still have) problems with fin attach hardware and horizontal stab problems. That fin has to take all the horizontal stab's forces in addition to its own, including drag and resistance to the prop's spiralling slipstream torquing it, and the narrow connection of the stab spars to the fin puts a lot more load on those points.
 
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