tokolosh
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 7:02 pm

Airbus Sidesticks

Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:37 pm

Perhaps there are pilots or others who can explain the Airbus sidestick system. For example, if the captain is right-handed and the f/o is left handed, they are both using their "wrong" hands to control the plane. Or is the whole system so computer controlled that any clumsy movements are compensated for? That's just one thought, there are many more. What about others on this forum?

Greetings
Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
 
Scorpio
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:47 pm

This is a non-issue. Even on classic, 'yoke-equipped' jets the captain flies left-handed. Left hand on the yoke, right hand on the throttles. I've never heard a single pilot complain about this.
 
Rick767
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:59 pm

Not an issue as described above, Captain flies left handed with a conventional yoke.

I had a play in the Airbus sim not long ago and was right at home after about 15 minutes manual handling with the sidestick (am used to Boeing yokes!).

Great plane to fly, can't wait form my conversion onto them. The tray table will mean lunch in comfort at last!!!
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
propjock04
Posts: 71
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:03 am

Someone I know that flies for HP once told me that the only difference between yoke flying and sidestick flying is the wrist action. With the sidestick you are using pretty much only your wrist to make control inputs in contrast to the yoke where it is your entire arm.

In regards to left-handed and right-handed people flying the buses...when you get your private pilot's license you learn to only fly with your left hand on the yoke (right hand near the throttle). A lot of commercial airline pilots were also flight instructors at one time. While being a flight instructor a pilot has to fly with the exact opposite hand...the right with the left on or near the throttle. So, by the time an experienced pilot gets to flying Airbuses they are already prepared for either side of the cockpit. Not to mention they probably already worked themselves up the ranks of a regional already where they were FO and then Capt.

Just my two cents...

Michael
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:53 am

I agree with the above posts. Handedness pretty well goes away by the point in your career when you are flying Airbus aircraft. Probably along with it, any discomfort you ever had about flying from the "wrong" seat. Part of learning to fly is re-wiring the brain so that some very subtle cues tell you big important things.

A bigger difference with the Airbus sidestick is what it does. Hand-flying an ILS (something you really only do in the sim) you will mostly leave the stick centered with your hand loosely around it. If you are getting high on the glideslope you will nudge it forward a moment, then release it or even give it a brief aft-stick. Then sit still and watch it work. Put in a little correction, release the stick and watch it work.

If you try constantly flying the thing down the path you get into a mode the instructors call "stirring the paint" Visualize that motion with your stick-hand. It is pretty descriptive.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sat Dec 13, 2003 1:37 pm

Keep in mind too, that the F-16 used a sidestick before the A-320 sported one and I can't recall incidents of left-handed pilots augering their fighters into the ground.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sat Dec 13, 2003 3:33 pm

Gotta add my two cents...I hold the steering wheel of a car with alternating hands pretty much....left as much as right. Though I'm not a pilot, seems that holding the stick or yolk wouldn't be much different.
~Vik
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sat Dec 13, 2003 3:57 pm

No matter what, in any bird (except a fighter) the FO is gonna fly with his/her right hand on the stick and left hand on the thrust levers...captain will have his left hand on the stick and right hand on the thrust levers. If you can do one, with a little practice you can do the other.
Chicks dig winglets.
 
rendezvous
Posts: 531
Joined: Sun May 20, 2001 9:14 pm

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:48 am

Well, I'm left handed. I drive the car prodominently with my right hand, and I fly with my left hand (otherwise the instructor gets angry 'cause I take my hand off the throttle!). At first it was a little weird, but you soon get used to it.
 
liamksa
Posts: 301
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sun Dec 14, 2003 2:50 pm

I have a question not regarding the laterality issues but about sidestick operation. After the crash of GF-072 (August 23, 2000) it was determined that had the F/O depressed the priority button and initiated a recovery following the first GPWS warning (see below) the aircraft could have recovered with about 400' height loss (~600' AGL).



Questions are re: the priority button...

Is the priority button the red button in the photo below? Or are they the buttons either side of the second photo? (the article specifically states the priority button ON his side stick)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © AirNikon
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Florian Sindermann


How exactly does it work? If the priority button is pressed are the other pilot's controls useless, severely limited, something else?

Cheers, Rob.
 
lyzzard
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Sun Dec 14, 2003 3:37 pm

The Takeover Button is the red one located on each sidestick. The indicator on the glareshield annunciates the side which priority is latched unto. Here is an excerpt from the A340-500 manual on the sidestick priority logic... the language is written with a European flair... can be a bit hard to comprehend.

==============================
SIDESTICKS
Sidesticks, one on each lateral console, are used for manual pitch and roll control.They are springloaded to neutral.When the autopilot is engaged a solenoid operated detent locks both sidesticks in the neutral position. If the pilot applies a force above a given threshold (5daN in pitch, 3.5 daN in roll) the autopilot disengages and the stick becomes unlocked and the deflection is sent as command to the computers. The hand grip includes 2 pushbuttons :

Sidestick priority logic

When only one pilot operates the sidestick his demand is sent to the computers.

When the other pilot operates his sidestick in the same or opposite direction both pilots inputs are algebrically added. The addition is limited to single stick maximum deflection.

A pilot can deactivate the other stick and take full control by pressing and keeping pressed his takeover pushbutton.

For latching the priority condition, it is recommended to press the takeover push button for more than 30 seconds. The takeover pushbutton can then be released without losing priority.

However at any time, a deactivated stick can be reactivated by momentarily pressing either takeover pushbutton.

If both pilots press their takeover pushbuttons, the last pilot to press will get the priority.

Note : If an autopilot is engaged, the first action on a take over pushbutton will disengage it.

In a priority situation (annuciations on the glareshield):

A red light will come on in front of the pilot whose stick is deactivated

A green light will come on in front of the pilot who has taken control, if the other stick is not in the neutral position (to indicate a potential and unwanted control demand).

Note : If, on ground at takeoff thrust application, one stick is deactivated, the takeoff «CONFIG» warning is triggered.

 
eg777er
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 3:55 am

It's quite an interesting feature this:

When the other pilot operates his sidestick in the same or opposite direction both pilots inputs are algebrically added. The addition is limited to single stick maximum deflection.

because it seems that it takes the opportunity to exploit instinctive reactions. So, if both pilots see an obstruction and instictively move their sidesticks to avoid the obstacle, then the computer will assess this as being an emergency manouever and double the rate of movement.

Or have I got this completely wrong!?
 
aloges
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:24 am

Since you've started talking about the buttons on the side sticks, I'd like to ask one rather "newbie" question: What's the "trigger" button for? When I had the chance to enter an A319 cockpit at LHR, the pilots told me I could do everything with the side stick except pulling that trigger-like button. So what's its use?
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:31 am

The trigger is the press-to-talk switch for the radios. There is another on the audio control panel.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
aloges
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 7:06 am

Thanks! Now I know why they didn't want me to pull it!  Laugh out loud By the way, are you really a "slam-clicker"? Considering that you live in a paradise for those, it would seem odd.  Smile
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
liamksa
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:29 am

So, if both pilots see an obstruction and instictively move their sidesticks to avoid the obstacle, then the computer will assess this as being an emergency manouever and double the rate of movement.

Or have I got this completely wrong!?


Where it says the addition is limited to single stick maximum deflection I interpret as meaning both sticks fully aft is the same as one fully aft (with the other neutral or partially aft - the old addition of ordinates). You'd like to think that with only one PF (as it should be) the maximum performance of the aircraft can still be obtained. Or maybe i've got this completely wrong?  Big grin
 
lyzzard
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:48 am

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:48 am

Liamksa and Eg777er:

One of you got it right. Should one pilot deflect his sidestick to command a 10 degree roll to the left, and the other should do the same... the aircraft will roll to 20 degrees. Likewise if the other pilot deflects the stick for a 10 degree roll to the right, the aircaft will remain straight and level. Same thing goes for pitch commands.

It takes a bit of getting used to, especially so since the sticks do not move in unision like conventional yokes do. Of course flight envelope protection is available and features like alpha floor, bank angle protection, and overspeed protection will still kick in if the aircraft feels it is exceeding its programmed limits.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 11:36 am

Airbus first officers take note: Before you cancel out the captain's sidestick input, please check your seniority list. Because the airplane does not care.

Aloges: Not I am not a slam-clicker, though I am seriously considering having "leave me alone" carved on my tombstone. No, I am more of an urban hiker on the layovers.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
lyzzard
Posts: 401
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:04 pm

Airbus first officers take note: Before you cancel out the captain's sidestick input, please check your seniority list. Because the airplane does not care.

I understand it's not a problem at Singapore Airlines as they are thinking of disabling the priority takeover on the FO's side.  Smile
 
GE
Posts: 312
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2000 5:01 pm

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 16, 2003 2:46 am

Lyzzard:
Why would SQ want to do that? Shouldn't it be best to leave the priority takeover button on the FO's side as well but train them not to use it unnecessarily or override the Captain?
After all we never know when the FO might actually need to use it.

Regards,
Russell
 
Sabenaboy
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 5:31 pm

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:35 am

Hi,
Slamclick said in reply 4; "Hand-flying an ILS (something you really only do in the sim) you will mostly leave the stick centered..."

Well slamclick, I don't know what airline you fly for, but in "my" airline, weather and traffic density permitting, we fly most ILS app's manually, A/P, A/T and FD's off in A320. (And yes, we have an excellent safety record  Smile )

GE, I'm pretty sure that Lyzzard was just joking in reply 19.

Regards,
Sabenaboy

Oh, BTW, lateral stick inputs command a certain roll-RATE. So if both pilots slightly move their joystick in the same direction, the resulting rollrate will be the sum of the two inputs. The resulting rollrate, however, will never be bigger then the rollrate for a single joystick full lateral movement.

 
SlamClick
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 22, 2003 1:31 am

Sabenaboy: Regarding hand-flying an ILS, I was not really stating an absolute rule here, but being a bit facetious. The weather is very mild over most of the routes I fly and an ILS to minimums is a pretty rare event. We have the option, weather permitting of letting the very good autopilot system do it or doing it "Rambo" style. In any event, other than a Cat III we would always take over manually at DH.

In visual conditions, US regs require that if a glideslope, electronic or visual, is available we will use it. Typically we will make a visual approach and landing but we will have briefed the full ILS and have it all set up. The initial approach will usually be on A/P to free us up to watch for traffic et cetera. Upon intercept of the final approach most of us will click the red button twice and hand-fly a visual, keeping the ILS command bars centered.

Twice a year, though, we can be sure of getting to hand-fly a full Cat I ILS to minimums in a maximum crosswind.

BTW the spell checker here made a couple of suggestions. When I typed "glideslope" it thought I might mean "clothesline" and for "crosswind" it offered "crescendo." Oh, I hope not!
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
buckfifty
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 22, 2003 5:31 am

Wow. You only take over at DH? That's cheating.  Big grin
 
NJT916
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 6:26 am

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 22, 2003 7:14 am

I may be new, but these are my 2 cents.

I still fly Cessna's (and I can safely assume most airline pilots did/do at some point in their career) and I am right handed. From a students perspective in a Cessna, I am always sitting in the left seat (Captains seat on an airline), and train using my left hand on the yoke. With my left hand on the yoke, my right hand is used to control all other instruments and controls (i.e.. throttle, flaps, etc..). I find this right hand/left hand configuration to be the norm thus far. I have yet to sit in the right seat, but imagine it will be a challenge.

In other words, I'm training to be Airbus Captains.  Nuts

Happy Holidays,
Nick
 
A330
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Dec 22, 2003 8:16 am

Slamclick,

Being ex-Sabenien as well, now flying for a major ME carrier, I can attest that at SN, we normally flew manually from the FAP, and weather permitting, no Autothrust nor flight-director.
Manual imputs on the thrust selector are better in gusty conditions, as the automatic system is rather slow to react in my opinion.
At my present airline, manual flying is let say, "more restricted", which is a shame actually.

ps. Stick inputs are translated in the computer and are seen as algebraïc sums. Like Sabenaboy said. It is anyhow not a yoke, nor a joystick but an Attitude/Roll selector.
Shiek!
 
saab2000
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 23, 2003 8:36 am

I flew for 2+ years at a mid-sized European airline before being laid off a couple months ago. I am now training in the US with the hope of getting an airline job here. Yes, I can work in the US or in Europe.

Anyway, reading the comments here I am curious about how it will be if I get a job with regards to the working atmosphere in the flight deck. At my company we almost never flew by hand in IMC or flew a whole approach by hand. Normally I disconnected the autopilot (we did not have autothrottle) about 2-3 miles out. Just curious. The philosophy was that using the autopilot was "best use of available" equipment and increased mental capacity. I agree with this idea.

I am also curious about the comment by Slamclick about the F/O checking his seniority before overriding the captain. Maybe the F/O sees something the captain does not. I know a guy who did just that and avoided a probable collision with traffic (no transponder - VFR) near London. The captain was not at fault, he simply did not see it and the F/O was able to prevent a possible tragedy.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the intent of Slamclick's remark. If so I apologise. But it seems like an override control (sorry for the terminology - I do not fly Airbus) is there for one pilot or the other to be able to intervene if the situation became critical quickly and the flying pilot either did not react quickly enough or did not become aware of the situation. People make mistakes and that is why there are two of us up there instead of one.

Anyway, sorry if I misunderstood. Don't mean to be a pain in the a$$!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
smrtrthnu
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 23, 2003 9:30 am

Saab2000

I'm sure you will get along fine here in the US, and welcome. No, I was really kidding. I have seen many events over the years where the guy on one side of the pedestal saw something that the guy on the other side did not - and did something about it. How many times does something have to save your life before you learn to appreciate it.

Most airlines here seem to have a policy of selecting an appropriate level of automation. The level of automation, including autopilot flying the airplane, may become a problem. Many times in my career I have punched off the a/p and hand-flown my way from where I was to where I wanted to be, then put it back on. Just as many times I've put the autopilot on to give myself a bit of room to think about how I wanted to do the task at hand. The appropriate level of automation may be more or less than you are currently using.

Personally, I like to hand-fly and always make a point of doing some IMC hand flying whenever I can. Those skills are too hard-won to let them go away. Besides it is a selfish moment of personal satisfaction to do it well.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
saab2000
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 23, 2003 10:40 pm

Slamclick,

Thanks for the answer!

At my company I flew what would be called a "regional" aircraft. I hate that term because we were flying to all the big "mainline" airports, just at some hours where there might be a bit less traffic. We also flew to smaller, more challenging airports where the larger planes (Airbus, Boeing) rarely went.

I bring this up because the "regional" aircraft do have a bit less automation than the larger ones. For example, we had 1 FMS instead of 2, thus limiting approval for flying approaches with the FMS. We had no autothrottle, meaning no autoland. What we did have, though, was a very good autopilot and Flight Control Computer.

But the most important thing we had were well trained pilots who knew how to make the most of what we had. We were Cat IIIa approved and never had to divert because of "no contact".

The best equipment or automation we had were good pilots.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Slamclick, I value your comments and those of all other pilots who want to be better pilots. We can all always learn more and we can always learn from each other. Thanks!
smrtrthnu
 
Mr.BA
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Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2000 12:26 pm

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Tue Dec 23, 2003 10:43 pm

I've spoke to many pilots regarding this issue too and many of them prefer to hand fly the aircraft from time to time without using the autopilot and autothrottle. And when conditions permit they would also take out the Flight Director and fly.. I think it's a good idea. The FD can fail anytime you'll never know, relying too much on it it's not a good thing.
Boeing747 万岁!
 
Tiger119
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Wed Dec 31, 2003 1:50 pm

To many of you, this is going to be a stupid question and yes, I probably could spend hours on many web sites looking for the answer, but I have always wondered if all Airbus equipment had the side sticks? I have had the privilege of sitting in an Airbus 319 cockpit once but that is the only Airbus aircraft I have been in or even around. I thought that they probably all do have the side sticks but never was sure and always just wanted to know. Thanks.
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
Posts: 3961
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2000 1:18 am

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Wed Dec 31, 2003 2:30 pm

The A300 and A310 don't have the sidesticks.....
Chicks dig winglets.
 
captjetblast
Posts: 286
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 5:59 am

RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:15 pm

May be this is a stupid question. In yoke equipped planes, for example, if the captain pushes the yoke, the F/O feels his yoke pushed. They work "in parallel", don't they?

What happens with sticks? Even if they are fly by wire tech, do they simulate yoke behavior?

 
UTA_flyinghigh
Posts: 6304
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RE: Airbus Sidesticks

Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:38 pm

No mechanical link whatsoever between the two sidesticks, if one pilot does something, the other pilot doesn't feel it. Except if it's the Captain slapping the F/O's hand if he/she is too high/too fast/whatever on finals lol...
UTA
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