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Why The "wheel" On Landing Gear Levers?  
User currently offlineSlinker From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 16 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 13797 times:

I've always wondered why the levers for landing gear in commercial airliners usually have a wheel on the end of them (instead of just being a toggle switch or something like that). Anyone care to enlighten me?

Thanks!

41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13794 times:

As a visual and tactile cue to reduce the chance of pulling the wrong lever, I believe.

User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13793 times:

As said above....For the same reason a flap handle looks and feels like a flap.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineBphendri From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 13732 times:

Darn, I was going to say the same thing, but you guys beat me to it  Sad

User currently offlineSinlock From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1650 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 13694 times:

It's a carry over from the day when aircraft had more levers in the cockpit.

It was standard and in many cases an Federal Aviation Regulation that different controls ended with a different shape handle so during reduced visibility such as darkness or smoke that the pilots could determine the type of control by feel. Different manufactures used different shapes and color for Throttle, Prop Pitch, Mixture, Turbo/Supercharger. The same thing is done for Lights, Flaps and Trim.


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User currently offlineAogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 13680 times:

And it definitely works. After some time of being familiarized with the cockpit, you can close your eyes and find almost every lever, switch, handle, etc.

User currently offlineIlikeyyc From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1373 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 13548 times:

I believe the rule resulted from several crashes of Beech 18's which, at the time, had the flap and gear levers in close proximity to eachother and looked exactly alike.


Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 13503 times:

We covered some of this quite a few years ago...The 1950s really started some human factors input in to aircraft design. Boeing, for example, would even make switch position (off/on) on the overhead of the 727 airline specific...Later, standards started to develop...to include the Boeing philosophy of electrical on the left over head, fuel left center, lights above the glareshield, hydraulics/bleeds/pneumatics over the FO...

User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9153 posts, RR: 76
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 13460 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 1):
As a visual and tactile cue to reduce the chance of pulling the wrong lever, I believe.

Also for smoke in the cockpit, you may not be able to see it, but you can feel it.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineBuzz From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 697 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 13430 times:

Hi Slinker, Buzz here. Besides what the other guys have said about being a good human-factors idea, it's required in FAR 25.
I forget the sub part, but there's a page that shows what shape each control is supposed to be: Landing Gear, Throttle, Prop, Mixture.
The DC-3 was certified under CAR 3 (or was it CAR 4?) and it's been grandfathered so you don't have to replace the knobs. They're all round. But they come in different colors to help you grab the right one.
g'day


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8455 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 13414 times:
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Look at all these levers! And maybe a 747 should have one of these anti-gear up straps  Wink


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User currently offlineSlinker From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13398 times:

Thanks - you guys rock. I think it's great that I had a question pop into my head, posted it, and got terrific answers in a matter of hours.

Thanks again,
Seth


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13386 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 8):
Quoting David L (Reply 1):
As a visual and tactile cue to reduce the chance of pulling the wrong lever, I believe.

Also for smoke in the cockpit, you may not be able to see it, but you can feel it.

That would be the "tactile cue" part.  duck 


User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7108 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13383 times:

As mentioned above. Its a cockpit design/ergonomics/human factors thing as far as i know.

User currently offlineFr8Mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5490 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 13345 times:

Quoting Andz (Reply 10):
And maybe a 747 should have one of these anti-gear up straps

It does. It has a little gate that prevents handle movement while on the ground.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineArgonaut From UK - Scotland, joined Dec 2004, 422 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13289 times:

On a cockpit visit many years ago, a B727 F/E told me it had a wheel on it because pilots were not very intelligent.  rotfl 

His colleagues up front didn't appear to disagree with him.



'the rank is but the guinea stamp'
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2444 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13271 times:

Quoting Buzz (Reply 9):
it's required in FAR 25.
I forget the sub part, but there's a page that shows what shape each control is supposed to be: Landing Gear, Throttle, Prop, Mixture.

FAR 25.781 Cockpit Control Knob Shape

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/REGULATORY...2143585256672005114C3?OpenDocument

.



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User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 13242 times:

Completely irrelevant but... is the wheel free to spin? One could annoy the hell out of one's flight-deck colleague(s) if it is.  Smile

User currently offlineAmericanAirFan From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 408 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 13223 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 17):
Completely irrelevant but... is the wheel free to spin? One could annoy the hell out of one's flight-deck colleague(s) if it is. Smile

Nope it's just part of the lever at the end  Smile



"American 1881 Cleared For Takeoff One Seven Left"
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 13202 times:

Quoting AmericanAirFan (Reply 18):
Nope it's just part of the lever at the end

Oh well, I guess there's always the retractable ballpoint pen.  Smile


User currently offlineSATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 13103 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 19):
Oh well, I guess there's always the retractable ballpoint pen.

I think someone needs to design an actual inflatable spinning wheel for the end. You could spin it and let out the air and then move the flaccid tube around and then pump it up with air again and go back to spinning it.  Big grin



Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
User currently offlineAmtrosie From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 274 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 13081 times:

Quoting Argonaut (Reply 15):
because pilots were not very intelligent.

His colleagues up front didn't appear to disagree with him

Which is why I refer to our pilots as the "lumps in the right seat or left seat". Our f/o does not care for the characterization, but as "the boulder" (the unmovable source) I have the last say.

Quoting David L (Reply 19):
Quoting AmericanAirFan (Reply 18):
Nope it's just part of the lever at the end

Oh well, I guess there's always the retractable ballpoint pen.

On one of our planes we had a switch which was to NOTHING. We refer to it as the "diddle" switch. It's sole function is to allow the "lumps" to diddle with it as opposed to a real switch, thus not breaking something of importance when they are bored.


User currently offlineIFACN From Italy, joined Nov 2005, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 13054 times:

Quoting Amtrosie (Reply 21):
we had a switch which was to NOTHING. It's sole function is to allow the "lumps" to diddle with it as opposed to a real switch, thus not breaking something of importance when they are bored.

As per the current regulations, can it be operated under 10'000 ft or boredom is banned in a 'sterile cockpit' environment?  Silly

By the way, let me know which airline you work for so I'll book my future flight with someone else. See, I'd be very disappointed if the last things I hear in my life are "yawn - click click - yawn - click click - crash!" Big grin

Regards,
A.


User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2444 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 13045 times:

I have heard of a Gulfstream operator that added a buzzer to the cockpit instrument panel that goes off every so many minutes, and the pilot has to turn it off. The goal is to keep the crew awake and alert.


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User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 13037 times:

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 23):
I have heard of a Gulfstream operator that added a buzzer to the cockpit instrument panel that goes off every so many minutes, and the pilot has to turn it off. The goal is to keep the crew awake and alert.

I've know most modern locomotives have a deadman switch, but never heard of a Gulfstream. Usually there's enough interaction with ATC to preclude that need.


25 TEBguy : I take it this was a switch from something that was deactivated? what had it been for?
26 Post contains images David L : I like that... flicking the switch to and fro while thinking "I'm flying the plane!".
27 Post contains images Amtrosie : Not sure what its original function was, but it sure prevented them from breaking something that was needed. Sterile cockpit rules definately do appl
28 Post contains images HAWK21M : Symbolism......Resembles the Control used.Noticed the Flap lever at least on B737 & B757. regds MEL
29 StealthZ : Perfect for the multi modal transport conglomerate, cross qualify your EMD SD70M & GE AC4400 engineers to fly the G-V as well..!! Hope the Gulfstream
30 ThirtyEcho : Recip pilots have some real advantages, here. You can irritate others by constatantly fooling with mixture, synchrophaser, fuel flow, prop pitch, CHT,
31 Post contains links BAe146QT : Such things are not always harmless or benign however; I refer you to the following story; http://www.livingstonmontana.com/access/dan/191magicswitch
32 Post contains images DH106 : Just out of interest - how does that red strap attached to the overhead panel in the DC-4 prevent gear retraction? Doesn't look like the lower end is
33 HAWK21M : Anyone aware of the Answer. regds MEL
34 Post contains links and images Jetlagged : View Large View MediumPhoto © Julian Whitelaw The strap stops the big red lever on the left being moved aft, which I guess would release the down
35 737tdi : To add something to this, the original poster asked "why not just a toggle switch?" On the aircraft I have worked, the landing gear handle is consider
36 Jetlagged : The landing gear lever is considered to be a secondary flight control, as you say. Traditionally the gear lever is connected by cable to the selector
37 Viscount724 : On a somewhat related issue, I recall reading quite a few years ago that there was a difference of opinion whether toggle switches should be up (or fo
38 Jetlagged : Toggle switches are alive and well. As is the up/down for ON controversy! The down/forward for ON seems to be favoured in the USA, where ironically d
39 HAWK21M : I remember on the B737s some operators used to locate the Hyd pumps toggle sw posn as On on top & off below while some stuck to Off on top & on below.
40 CoolGuy : Just wondering, what happens if the lever is moved at an inappropriate time, i.e. pulled up on the ground or down at cruise speed/altitude?
41 Post contains images HAWK21M : The lever is in the off position in cruise.Its the Depressurised position where only the Mechanical uplocks with bungee springs assist in keeping the
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