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Pilot Positions Helicopter Vs Fixed Wing  
User currently offlineNORTHSEATIGER From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 432 posts, RR: 5
Posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12787 times:

Does anyone know why P1 fixed wing is on the left and P1 rotary wing is on the right ?. Is it to make the pilots access to cockpit easier i.e no collective to climb over ? or was it due to pilot training and scince l/h = captain the traing pilot sat in r/h then became P1 as he was handling pilot ??.


T's And P's look good....Rotate
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 12741 times:

Helicopter pilots have two controls, the collective and cyclic. The collective can be released for short periods of time, but unless the copter has an autopilot, they should never let go of the cyclic. Also, at some point the helicopter pilot will need to touch other things - radios, switches, etc. Therefore it is best to use the hand that controlls the collective to also do the other switches. Since most helicopters have the radios in the center, the collective should also be in the center. Most pilots prefer using the right hand for the cyclic which ends up putting the pilot position in helicopters in the right seat. Because of all this most helicopter companies have put the primary pilot instruments on the right side, making it the de-facto pilot position.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineLimaFoxTango From Antigua and Barbuda, joined Jun 2004, 791 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 12724 times:

i believe (and i stand to be corrected) that the reason why captains sit it left seats in fixed wing aircraft is that in the early days, most pilots were right handed. the right hand is used to move the throttles, switches and soo forth. i have also heard that the reason captains sit in left seats is because of the old way sea captains were situated in ships. as said above, i stand to be corrected.

the reasoning that HAL gave seems like a common sense reason.



You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.
User currently offlineNORTHSEATIGER From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 432 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 12677 times:

cheers !! Iam a helicopter engineer so know the ins and outs of the controls, I have heard so many tales of why P1 is on the right I was looking for a definitave answer. Cheers too those who replied


T's And P's look good....Rotate
User currently offlineNycfuturepilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 791 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 12666 times:

I went on Liberty Helecopters new Eurocopter and the Captain (only pilot on board) sat on the left.


Father, Son, HOYA spirit
User currently offlineWrenchBender From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1779 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 12515 times:

The reason given in Canadian Military Tech School is - if Tail Rotor authority is lost the Helicopter will spin to the right therefore the pilot (P1) sits in the right seat so he can try and spot a place to land as he spins in. Also as most Helo's have the Hoist on the right he has visibility of hoisting evolutions as well.

WrenchBender



Silly Pilot, Tricks are for kids.......
User currently offlineNORTHSEATIGER From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 432 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 12500 times:

The direction the helicopter would spin would depend on the direction of the main rotor, American helicopters tend to be anti-clockwise whilst european are clockwise, so american would spin to right, european to left.


T's And P's look good....Rotate
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 12501 times:

I am going to weigh in with HAL on this one. That is what the US Army was teaching mechanics and pilots alike at Fort Rucker during the years that I was there. It exactly matches my experience in flying early model Bell-47 and Hiller-12 helicopters. It was less critical in the Huey which had electric force trim, and properly rigged, did not even need that. You could let go of the cyclic on a well-rigged Huey for five or ten seconds needed to change a radio channel or something.

Some small helicopters had lateral weight and balance issues and need the pilot, when alone, to sit on the left.

As for fixed-wing, I just don't know. Not tradition. Captain of a ship claimed the windward side of the quarterdeck. Position of honor in western military is on the right. Stagecoach driver sat on the right, with the brake pedal. Shotgun rode on the left. Fighter pilots belong on centerline! Just don't know.





Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCitation501sp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 12480 times:

An old tale in aviation goes something like this.

The first group of Us Army Helio pilots ( Sikorsky R-4 days, early 1940's) learned to fly in the Left seat just as in fixed wing aircraft. Since this is all they knew and the military demanded pilots, These piltos became the first instructors so they naturally taught the students to fly from the right seat.

Don't know how much truth there is to this but I have heard it form many "Experienced" Egg beater pilots.



Smoke and Thunder! Stage 2 FOREVER!!!
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2116 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 12472 times:

SlamClick,

What years were you at Ft.Rucker, if you don't mind me asking? When my dad came back from Nam, he was an instructer pilot there. 1969-1972, and I was born there, on base, in 1971. Just curious if maybe you guys were there at the same time.

As a fixed wing pilot I've often wondered why the left for us and the right for helo's. HAL's explanation is the first one I've ever seen that made sense. I like it  Smile



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 12448 times:

Hey HaveBlue I was at Rucker off and on from summer of 1965 through spring of 1970. In between, tours in Vietnam, Central America, left active duty, joined National Guard went back for RWQC (rotary wing qual) Lots of memories make Fort Rucker an important place in my life. Not all the memories were good.

Last time at Rucker in 1997 for a 30-year reunion of my flight school class. One of my friends at this airline was in that class with me, in fact we were friends before we got into pilot training.

You were lucky, if that is the word, to have been born on base. I heard in the late '60s from married friends that the maternity waiting list at the base hospital was ten months. Talk about planned parenthood!

I check eBay from time to time for vietnam vintage postcards from Fort Rucker. I was in one of them, standing on the engine deck of a Huey.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 12427 times:

In regards to the pilot location for helicopters, this sheds some light on the matter. Still, there are many theories and a definite explanation probably doesn't exist...

Cheers,
QantasA332


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2116 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 12411 times:

SlamClick, you didn't happen to know one Ken Biggs, formerly of the 335th AHB Cowboys did you?

Very interesting flying history from what little I know of you. Of the choppers you flew, I'd be curious as to what your favorite was. My father of course loves the Huey, thought the R-22 was very squirrely, always admired the Hughes 500/OH-6/Loach for its manueverability though he never flew it. He currently still works part time for a company doing maintance test flights and miscellaneous duties as a UH-1/Bell 204,205 pilot, and logging in Sikorsky S-61's in the NorthWest.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineBuzz From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 697 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 12387 times:

Hi Northseatiger, Buzz here. I'm going to take Wrench Bender's story. Dad spent quite a few years with the US Navy flying Helos (SH-34's and SH-3's) and his explaination was similar to Wrench Bender's: If you have to auto-rotate to a landing (in the days before turbine power helicopters), you get a noticable amount more lift making Right turns to land than Left turns. And if you're already sitting on the right side of the cockpit, you don't have to look outside as far - across the cockpit.
g'nite


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (10 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 12376 times:

Okay, I read the explanation linked by QantasA332 in Reply 11, and it poses an interesting point.

If, on early helicopters there was one collective between the pilot seats it is easy to see why the right seat quickly became favored.

The collective has a twistgrip throttle, similar to a motorcycle throttle at the top end. If you hold the collective in the left hand and "pull pitch" you perform a motion similar to picking up a heavy bucket. This is natural. As you lift you rotate your knuckles inward toward the body. On an older, underpowered helicopter this is needed to make it take off. Pulling upward on the collective lever increases pitch in all main rotor blades (collectively) loading them up and making the helo struggle skyward. Rotating the twistgrip throttle in that direction adds power to the engine which will be needed to keep the rotor RPM from bleeding off as the load increases.

Performing this simple action with the right hand would be very uncomfortable and awkward. Try it. Sitting in your chair, pretend you are lifting a heavy bucket with your right hand. But as you lift you must also roll on throttle and that requires that you bend your hand backwards - very uncomfortable.

Could it be that simple - that an early prototype helicopter just had one collective lever between the seats and that it was easier and more comfortable to operate the collective from the right seat?

I just do not believe that the design criteria was biased to tailrotor failure. That is an event so unlikely that of the hundreds of helicopter pilots I have known, having hundreds of years experience between them, only one has experienced it, and he wound up in a wheelchair because under the circumstances he had so little control over the aircraft that he was not even able to arrest the descent, much less pick a place to land. That is just a fairy tale.

As for the winch being on that side; just does not make sense. We install the secondary accessories to make them convenient, we do not design the whole vehicle around some accessory that you use occasionally.

My opinion. Can't prove a thing.

One last wild theory. American helicopters have main rotors that rotate counter-clockwise as viewed from above. If the rotor RPM and diameter are such that the blade tip speed is 300 knots, and you are doing 50 knots forward, then the advancing blade (on the right side) is doing 350K and the retreating blade is only doing 250 knots. Indeed, on the left side, from the hub out to a certain point, the airflow over the blade is from trailing edge to leading edge - backwards. Thus the right side of the rotor disc is automatically producing more lift at any time in forward flight. If you have the pilot seated on that side you have less roll tendency to damp out with the blade pitch control linkage/swashplate rigging. Since the helo always has at least a pilot aboard, put him on the right side.

HaveBlue no, sorry I did not. Knew flight surgeon Biggs, and Biggs AAF.
Favorite: The Huey. Taught crewchief/doorgunners in it. Then later flew UH-1D and H. Wonderful machine. Lots of power. Light, smooth, accurate flight controls. Grateful that I had the opportunity to fly it. It is a classic aircraft to be compared seriously with the DC-3 or the P-51 or the Cub or the Spitfire. Classic!





Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
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