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Airbus Aircraft

Wed Jul 04, 2001 3:05 pm

I have noticed of Air Bus aircraft with the EIFS flightdeck, there is no yoke, as the airplane has a side stick like a fighter. For the Captain, his is on the left side. Do pilot's have any trouble adjusting to left hand only flying?
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Wed Jul 04, 2001 7:29 pm

As you are new to airliners.net (according to your profile) you might not have seen the many discussions over this subject...Some feel that it is idiotic some think it's practical...There have been many posts on this subject...Either about the stick alone and wether or not this is a problem or not...

To sum some of the arguements for and against this side stick thing...

There were alot of pilots flying or just upgraded to the airbus planes who joined the discussions...They all said that the side stick makes the cockpit more spacious and says that you get used to flying the side stick...Even though it is on the left side...

People have arguemented with pure stubburnly and blindly pro Boeing comments, while other simply raised some issues that put the idea of a side stick in a bad situation...

Personally (that had to come eh?) I feel uneased with the fact that the stick is at the left...The majority of pilots are right handed...In a car experienced drivers sometimes drive with one hand on the wheel, but if something should happen they would instinctivly grab the steering wheel with both hands...Same in an airplane...I think that the pilot would feel un safe or less in control if an emergency occured...

I know that pilots have one hand on the throttles and one hand in the yoke at takeoff...And that might contradict the relevans for the yoke, but if something happened I think the pilot would want to stear with both hands...

Also in the airbus planes everything is picked up obtically...Every info the plane is giving about it's performance is only witnessed on the PFD...Or artificial horizon...The glass cockpits holds many amazing features and can solve problems and show the crew how to deal with them (the screens holds much more info..I just don't want to mention them all) the screens in the cockpit is just about the most important introduction or upgrade ever in aviation history....But if the pilot has to deviate from the screens i.e talk to a f/a or someone else, in the boeing planes...the pilot is still in center of design so he just places his hands on the yoke to "feel" what his/her airplane is doing...In the airbus family that "touch" is lost or missing...Everything is obtical therefor the number of inputs from the plane and screens to the pilots awareness is lower....

The airbus cockpits are beloved for the sense or feeling of free space...But comfort must not cost efficiancy!!!!!

I hate to sound sceptical towards technology progress, cuz that's just too future frightened...I just have some minor issues that I feel insecure of....

I hope I have answered your question...And perhaps introduced you to the issues of discussion over this subject..........Windshear.............
"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 1:01 am

"But if the pilot has to deviate from the screens i.e talk to a f/a or someone else, in the boeing planes...the pilot is still in center of design so he just places his hands on the yoke to "feel" what his/her airplane is doing..."

You are assuming that there is only one pilot on the flight deck!

In all the jumpseating I have done with British Airways, the PNF has been talking to me (usually the Captain) with his hands on his knees.

The PF (in most cases the FO) is looking at the EFIS system. Not handling the yoke.

This is with the 777 aircraft.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:55 am

There are no inherint problems with the stick mounting on AIRBUS aircraft with the joystick. As with a conventional yoke control one hand is always on the thrust levers and the other is on the yoke or joystick as with the AIRBUS.

The fact being both planes are flown the same way. There is no difference between a conventional yoke or AIRBUS joystick.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 3:46 am

Maybe a generation thing, the objections to the Airbus yoke? Started operations with the A320 in 1988, so as more younger pilots come on line, many knowning nothing else, objections may decline.
Off topic a bit, but F-16 pilots have used a similar system for 20 years now.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 5:39 am

My uncle is an A340 captain with Virgin Atlantic and after spending over 200 hours in the jumpseat with him and talking at great length with him and other Virgin pilots I can tell you that they all feel that the sidestick is defineately the better way to fly. It leaves the cockpit feeling much more spacious and relaxed and the general feeling is that this spacious feeling combined with the easy to use systems reduces the feeling of fatigue on long sectors.

As to the issue of having both hands on the controls - the pilots I spoke to felt that the only reason a pilot would need both hands on the controls would be because he would need all his strength to operate the controls - on a fly by wire aircraft this is not necessary since the resistance on the controls is minimal and consistent.

As far as the comments that windshear made about the pilot not being able to feel what his aircraft is doing - according to my uncle that is virtually a word for word carbon copy of the blatantly well rehearsed speech (lecture) given to senior pilots of Virgin Atlantic by the former chief safety pilot of lufthansa who tried to tell a group of about 10 senior long-haul pilots that the majority of commercial pilots spent the entire flight with one hand on the control yoke of their airplane and was surprised when the entire room told him he was talking a load of rubbish.

I hope this helps quash any fears.

Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:19 am

I was talking to the HP pilots of their A320 during a cockpit visit, and they said they loved the side stick because of the space, and being able to have their maps and charts out on the table. It makes sense to me. I get disorganized when I run out of room on my desk at work, and I'll bet the extra space in the airbus cockpit helps them to stay organized, especially during the tricky approaches etc.

Maybe this is way far out, but it makes sense to me.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:59 am

as a small plane pilot, I usaualy use my left hand to caontrol the yoke, and my right for throttle/flaps/maps/whatever, even though I'm right handed, so I see the position of the sidestick on the left for the captain as a good thing.

My $0.02
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 12:33 pm

I have no bias toward Boeing, Airbus or MDD as I enjoy working them all, each having their own operating philosophy and system architecture.

That being said. In aviation, especially airline flying, faults, flaws and unexpected and unforeseen failures will occur over time.

For this reason, the Boeing FBW system (777, conventional yoke) allowing roll control via 2 cable controlled spoilers has an advantage over the sidestick which has no manual roll capability in a worst case scenario.
You're only as good as your last departure.
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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Thu Jul 05, 2001 1:04 pm

The times that I have been in the jump seat (B767 or A320 mainly), I have never seen a pilot touch the controls other than during takeoff and landing.

Even landing in Sydney one stormy Friday afternoon in a B767, the pilot did not take manual control of the aircraft until we were on final. Mind you, it was like watching the WWF as he wrestled the aircraft down.

Taking the point raised initially in this thread, it would be interesting seeing how the A320 and its pilot would handle the exact same condition with the side-stick?

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RE: Airbus Aircraft

Sat Jul 07, 2001 11:16 am

B727-200, it's a far bit easier, physically anyway - some pilots will hold the sidestick around the base, forming a ring around it with his fingers and making slight 'jiggly' movements.

You can't afford to make big movements of the stick in the A320, because it does have a very good roll rate - move the sidestick left by an inch is going to get a hellava lot more action than doing so with the yoke of a 767!

The sidestick is incredibly sensitive, having flown the AN320 simulator at MEL.



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