rvA340
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Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 6:54 pm

Hi everybody, Im not a pilot and probably I might be a bit ignorant obout this subject, but I was wondering, how efficient or how good idea is to control big commercial airplanes with joysticks.

I was Reading a report about af447 accident and at one crucial point, both, Captain an First Oficer where flying the A330 at the same time at opposite directions, with no visual reference between them of who was acctually flying the plane and in what direction, leading to confussion and no control. Something that I believe might not happened on a Boeing(Flying Wheel).
On other subject I imagine flying the A380 with only one hand.. really..? I cant even imagine myself driving on the freeway at 180Km/h with a joystick..instead of a driving wheel.. so, lately when im starting to preffer flying on a Boeing jet rather tan on an Airbus jet.. Waht do you think.

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BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 7:43 pm

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
Hi everybody, Im not a pilot and probably I might be a bit ignorant obout this subject, but I was wondering, how efficient or how good idea is to control big commercial airplanes with joysticks.

I was Reading a report about af447 accident and at one crucial point, both, Captain an First Oficer where flying the A330 at the same time at opposite directions, with no visual reference between them of who was acctually flying the plane and in what direction, leading to confussion and no control. Something that I believe might not happened on a Boeing(Flying Wheel).
On other subject I imagine flying the A380 with only one hand.. really..? I cant even imagine myself driving on the freeway at 180Km/h with a joystick..instead of a driving wheel.. so, lately when im starting to preffer flying on a Boeing jet rather tan on an Airbus jet.. Waht do you think.

Oh boy! This one opens a big can of worms.

Actually, quite frequently the pilot of a Boeing airplane will only have one hand on the control wheel also, especially if the autothrottle is off. So the argument for only having one hand flying an A380 is not valid. You hand fly a 747-8 or 777-300ER with one hand frequently also.

Bottom line is that Airbus and Boeing have many different flight deck philosophies, of which many of us could probably describe in detail. Both have good points. There are valid arguments for preferring either. Obviously each manufacturer thinks theirs are superior, but recognizes the other guys make excellent airplanes too.
 
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SOBHI51
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 7:54 pm

I once asked an American pilot friend that same question his respond was (if i don't have a long driving wheel between my legs i will never fly that plane) Those are his words.   
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 8:06 pm

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):
I once asked an American pilot friend that same question his respond was (if i don't have a long driving wheel between my legs i will never fly that plane) Those are his words.

Yep, a former US Air pilot told me the same thing. Likes having a nice big long thing between his legs when he flies.

That person clearly had a strong preference for which type of airplane he preferred, having flown both A and B.  
 
cbphoto
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 8:09 pm

It honestly depends on who you ask! To address the flying with one hand part, every pilot flies their airplane with one hand, as to always keep one hand on the throttle/power levers, regardless of the control wheel in front of them.

Many pilots prefer the control wheel, because generally speaking, while the airplane in on autopilot the pilot can get feedback through the control wheel. A joystick generally however cannot get feedback of what the airplane is doing and many pilots don't like that. However, from an ergonomics point of view, the joystick frees up a lot of much needed space in the flight deck and makes those long flights that much more enjoyable for the pilot. I have talked to many pilots who say they will never bid off of a Boeing aircraft, to guys who absolutely love the Airbus. So it really depends on the pilot and their preference. Is the control wheel safer then the joystick? Absolutely not, they just require slightly different techniques that all the pilots will get in training!

Boeing even explored the idea of putting a joystick in the 777 when they were designing it, but United said keep the control wheel in, as they were the launch customer of it. Who knows what Boeings line would be like today if United had said yes to the joystick??

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):
I once asked an American pilot friend that same question his respond was (if i don't have a long driving wheel between my legs i will never fly that plane) Those are his words.



Well, wish your American pilot friend the best of luck making it to the major airlines. What is he going to tell United or American if they put him in the Airbus? Thanks for the job offer at my dream airline, but I don't fly planes with joysticks??    
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BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 8:46 pm

Quoting cbphoto (Reply 4):
every pilot flies their airplane with one hand, as to always keep one hand on the throttle/power levers, regardless of the control wheel in front of them.

This isn't entirely true. A lot of pilots take their hands off the throttles at V1 and put both on the yoke for rotation and climbout, until the engage the autopilot. That's with the autothrottle engaged, of course. Likewise, if the F/O is the pilot flying a takeoff, they'll usually have both hands on the yoke the entire time because the Captain's hand is on the throttle until V1.
 
cbphoto
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 9:58 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 5):
This isn't entirely true. A lot of pilots take their hands off the throttles at V1 and put both on the yoke for rotation and climbout, until the engage the autopilot. That's with the autothrottle engaged, of course. Likewise, if the F/O is the pilot flying a takeoff, they'll usually have both hands on the yoke the entire time because the Captain's hand is on the throttle until V1.

You are correct and I should have emphasized during the arrival and landing phase, the pilot flying's hand is always on the throttle, that's where I was going with that comment! Most Airbus drivers I have observed during the takeoff, instead of putting their other hand on the yoke (which of course there is non) end up putting their other hand on there lap or knee after V1. I guess there really is no other use for that hand until the autopilot is engaged!
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N766UA
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Fri May 17, 2013 10:16 pm

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
n other subject I imagine flying the A380 with only one hand.. really..? I cant even imagine myself driving on the freeway at 180Km/h with a joystick..instead of a driving wheel.. so, lately when im starting to preffer flying on a Boeing jet rather tan on an Airbus jet.. Waht do you think.

You often only fly a traditional yoke with 1 hand (the other's on the throttles), so a sidestick isn't REALLY a big difference, and I don't have a problem with it, per se. My issue is, as you mentioned, that Airbus' physical cockpit controls, the stick, the throttles, etc, don't react commensurately with the operation of a system. If the autothrottle changes throttle setting, the throttle levers don't move, for example. Or, as you stated, the Captain and F/O have essentially completely independent sidesticks. This is an issue for me, because I think you should have as much tactile, easily-discernable information available to you as possible, especially in an emergency when you're not thinking straight. If you reach for the throttle levers, and they're full forward, the airplane SHOULD be at 100%+ power. On an Airbus, that may not be so, and so you're required to verify with your eyes and the instruments, and that's a very "heads-down" philosophy that a LOT of pilots have a problem with, myself included.

In a Boeing, you can close your eyes and put your hands on any button, switch, or knob and know what it's doing. On an Airbus, you generally have to look at something. Boeing uses a lot more toggle/rocker switches, Airbus uses those push-in switches that feel the same regardless of the setting. Other manufacturers are somewhere in between. I think the better choice is obvious, but that's just my opinion. Boeing tends to build pilot's airplanes, Airbus tends to build engineer's airplanes. It's all about philosophy.
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pilotpip
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 1:12 am

Nothing is being said about the bicycle yoke. What about those?  

I have way too much time in Embraer products.

[Edited 2013-05-17 18:13:42]
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pilotpip
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 1:14 am

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
I cant even imagine myself driving on the freeway at 180Km/h with a joystick..instead of a driving wheel

Bet you wouldn't imagine steering at that speed with your feet, either. But that's what you're doing in an airplane regardless of the manufacturer.
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freeze3192
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 2:24 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 5):

This isn't entirely true. A lot of pilots take their hands off the throttles at V1 and put both on the yoke for rotation and climbout, until the engage the autopilot. That's with the autothrottle engaged, of course.

That's a company required item. At V1 you're committed to going flying no matter what happens so you remove your hands from the throttles to remove the itch to abort if an abnormal situation develops.

Some airplanes are so heavy on the controls (especially at higher speeds) that you almost need two hands on the yoke to put the airplane where you want it.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 5):

Likewise, if the F/O is the pilot flying a takeoff, they'll usually have both hands on the yoke the entire time because the Captain's hand is on the throttle until V1.

That's not entirely true either. It's company specific. At my company the FO keeps their hand on the power levers throughout the takeoff until V1. If there's an abort, they're expected to execute after the CA calls for it.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 2:30 am

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
On other subject I imagine flying the A380 with only one hand.. really..? I cant even imagine myself driving on the freeway at 180Km/h with a joystick..instead of a driving wheel.

Flying a plane and driving a car are very different when it comes to the feel and response of the controls. Just like most cars, airliners have augmented controls, meaning you're not using muscle force to move the surfaces. Muscles are used to move the yoke or stick, and these inputs are either carried via cables and rods, but hydraulically augmented, or transmitted electronically. So the amount of force required is limited and you can be very subtle. It is actually more physical work to fly a light twin than a 747 because in a light twin your muscles are moving the surfaces without augmentation. Anyone who has done a multi checkride will remember how much muscle it takes to keep the thing going straight with an engine out.

Another big difference is that in a car, especially in traffic, you are continually changing direction and often making quite large inputs. In an airplane, it is much more about gentle manipulation. The King Private Pilot course says in one of the first lessons that "flying is a series of small corrections". Seldom do you make large inputs, and if you do they should be smooth. You can be remarkably subtle with one hand, even the off-hand. Making corrections of a degree or two to a heading, or ten feet to your altitude, takes practice but it is something which all pilots must be able to do if they expect to pass their instrument checkride.

Finally, unlike cars, planes want to go straight ahead very badly. In a car, especially one not built for high speeds, you get a lot of instability as you go faster and a small input can lead to loss of control. In a plane, if you make even a large input, the plane will want to go back to where it was. This resistance to input makes fine control easier.

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 9):
Bet you wouldn't imagine steering at that speed with your feet, either. But that's what you're doing in an airplane regardless of the manufacturer.

:D Then again planes aren't the most agile on the ground.
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PGNCS
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 3:56 am

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):
I once asked an American pilot friend that same question his respond was (if i don't have a long driving wheel between my legs i will never fly that plane) Those are his words.

Is his nationality or airline American? If he is an American Airlines pilot I am sure he prefers the yoke because I feel confident he has no experience operating a FBW Airbus. (Very few current AMR pilots have time in the FBW Airbus.)

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 3):
Yep, a former US Air pilot told me the same thing. Likes having a nice big long thing between his legs when he flies.

That person clearly had a strong preference for which type of airplane he preferred, having flown both A and B

Fine. I've flown both extensively (Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, and McD products) and would never fly with a yoke again given the choice.

Quoting cbphoto (Reply 4):
It honestly depends on who you ask!

Exactly. It's normally (not always) the people who have never flown the FBW Airbus products that feel most strongly about the yoke I find.

Quoting cbphoto (Reply 4):
To address the flying with one hand part, every pilot flies their airplane with one hand, as to always keep one hand on the throttle/power levers, regardless of the control wheel in front of them.

Exactly. While sometimes pilots end up with both hands on the yoke, there are times when we all must fly with one hand on the yoke of SSC. It's irrelevant to discuss that skill.
 
bueb0g
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 9:22 am

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
Captain an First Oficer where flying the A330 at the same time at opposite directions

This is actually a very overblown fact and not quite true. A lot of people act as if the person in the RHS on AF 447 was pulling all the way back, while the person in the LHS was pushing all the way forward and the aircraft therefore took the median and stayed in the stall. This isn't true - the entire crew was confused, none of them realised they were stalled until it was too late.

There were one or two simultaneous inputs but these were mainly with relation to roll, rather than pitch. Indeed, for much of the descent, the other pilots were calling for the PF to "go up!", so I think the contribution of the sidesticks has been massively overstated by a lot of people when it comes to AF 447.

If they had been in a 777 it's quite possible that the capt and the PM would still have thought that the PF was doing the right thing. I mean it's not as if a Boeing has never stalled before...
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airmagnac
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 2:51 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
If you reach for the throttle levers, and they're full forward, the airplane SHOULD be at 100%+ power.

And the Airbus will, as IIRC the autothrust will be disconnected if one lever is beyond MCT detent or both beyond CLIMB. So if both levers are full forward, there is no ambiguity on what thrust is being commanded.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
In a Boeing, you can close your eyes and put your hands on any button, switch, or knob


Apart from not being too sure about the difference between comparable A and B aircraft (say, 777 and A330), I kind of wonder how you can reliably "feel" the position of a knob or switch which is significantly smaller than your hand (and thus does not require much muscular movement to hold and move), and which is positioned on the overhead panel (so you have to extend your arm in a not-very-comfortable position to reach). But as a non-pilot, I'll take your word for it !  



Anyway the crux of the matter is, the position of the switches/knobs/throttle levers/yoke/side-stick only gives you information on what commands are being sent to the various aircraft systems, in particular the flight controls (yoke/SSC) and engines (thrust levers). They do not indicate what the actual setting is. And therein lies the issue.

A decision loop should be something on the lines of
1) Gathering information on your current, real situation, and establish an assessment of said situation
2) Compare the situation to what you want it to be, and determine whether a correction is required
3) Decide on the best strategy to make that correction
4) Compute the necessary command(s) and sent them to the machine
5) Verify that real situation evolves as expected in response to the command, and start loop again

Note the emphasis on "real situation" not "commanded situation" in step 1). If all is well, both should be the same. But in case of a problem with the system (engine failure for example), they will diverge. Actually that is how you would detect the problem, by noticing a divergence between command and actual behaviour.

So what's important is to asses what the plane is actually doing ; if you base your decisions on what you asked it to do, you may be lured into a false sense of security. Because even though you can "feel" that everything is positioned properly, there may be an issue that prevents the machine from answering properly.
Obviously, no one makes decisions based only on throttle position/yoke position ; it may be subconscious, but I'm pretty sure you work on real data, even if you do "augment" it with lever/yoke/switch positions. The Airbus layout just forces you to make your decisions based on the real situation, and not based on the commands, and this eliminates the potential ambiguities.
As an illustration, in the case of the flight controls on FBW aircraft, what is important is not what attitude your colleague is commanding with his yoke/side-stick, but what is the current actual attitude of the airplane. Which you obtain by looking outside, or by checking the big screen that is staring you in the face, otherwise known as a PFD.
[which the PNF of AF447 was obviously looking at between 2:10'25'' and 2:10'40'', as he reacted 3 times to improper control inputs by his colleague. So he did know what was going on IMO. Why he remained passive afterwards remains a mystery, but I will not elaborate here. The point is, the thesis that he did not know what PF was doing because of the Airbus layout does not hold ]

Now, there is a valid objection to all this. In my explanation above, I completely separated the "commands" from the "situational feedback". Actually, it is arguable that the commands are also useful "feedback" when making a decision. Knowing what commands are being sent to the airplane would allow you to predict how the plane will react, and thus predict the future situation and prevent a possible future problem.
Thus it might be interesting to have linked yokes/side-sticks to know what attitude is being commanded by the other pilot, and if he is making a mistake you can react much sooner than if you waited for the situation to evolve and be displayed on the PFD. Same for knowledge of what is being commanded by the AP (moving yoke/stick) or by the ATHR (moving levers)
Except that in the case of the attitude control loop (pilot/AP + control-augmented flight controls + feedback via PFD or Mk1 eyeball) or the thrust control loop (pilot/ATHR + FADEC + feedback via the engine display), the time constant of the loops (= the time it takes to complete one full decision loop) is very short, on the order of a few tenths of a second. At the most, maybe a couple of seconds. The worst case is the full change from IDLE to TOGA thrust in 5 to 8 seconds, as seen at Habsheim, but that is a relatively exceptional case.
In parallel, you need time to notice a movement of your yoke or thrust levers, compute what the reaction will be and understand that something will go wrong. The human brain is a wonderful thing, but it still needs a couple seconds accomplish all that. Which is the same order of time as the control loop.
So by the time you are ready to take action based on your predicitons, the situation might have already evolved and you could have just reacted to the observed evolution. Which would be much more reliable than acting based on quick predictions. Therefore, the predictive loop is kind of useless, and in particular, all the moving parts and engineering required to provide that feedback are useless.
Then again, as I said, the time constants are just about the same, so you could also consider that in some cases it will be useful to have the predictive capacity. And therefore install means to provide feedback of the commands.

So what I'm saying is : there is no clear-cut best solution, we're at a limit. Both Airbus and Boeing ways are acceptable.
And no, the better choice is not obvious at all  

And I now realize what a long, abstract post I just wrote...



Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
Boeing tends to build pilot's airplanes, Airbus tends to build engineer's airplanes

Could be, it all depends on how you define "pilot" and engineer". Using typical Hollywood stereotypes, am I to understand that people flying a Boeing will always be wearing Ray-Bans, a silk scarf and a beautiful uniform and have a stewardess sitting on their lap the whole flight (i.e. "pilots"), while Airbus requires slobs with an open shirt, sandals, a bushy beard and curly hair, who play World of Warcraft whenever they have a spare minute (i.e. "engineers") ?     
My goal as an engineer is to fill my soul with coffee and become immortal
 
Pihero
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 2:56 pm

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 2):

I once asked an American pilot friend that same question his respond was (if i don't have a long driving wheel between my legs i will never fly that plane)

Another proof that being an airline pilot is not proof of intelligence...   

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 3):
Yep, a former US Air pilot told me the same thing. Likes having a nice big long thing between his legs when he flies.

... or sexual happiness in one's life ...   

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
If you reach for the throttle levers, and they're full forward, the airplane SHOULD be at 100%+ power.

...and with one or more failed engine in this case, where is your famous tactile feedback ?
If your statement was always true, why did - Kegworth comes to mind, but there plenty more axamples - some crews shut down the wrong engine ?
And, BTW, if you push the T/Ls fully forward, you have full TOGA thrust on an Airbus.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
In a Boeing, you can close your eyes and put your hands on any button, switch, or knob and know what it's doing.

That's one of the best ways to fail a check ride : Standard practice demands that one always checks the result - generally on the forward instrument panel - of one's action on *any* switch, button, knob... whatever.
BTW, the "Dark Cockpit" concept, with switchlights does partly away with the above requirement : Depressing one switchlight causes its illumination into the status it has gone into : *OFF* / *ON* / *ARMED* etc...

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
Boeing tends to build pilot's airplanes, Airbus tends to build engineer's airplanes. It's all about philosophy

Ah ! The big hairy American pilot concept, flying big American areoplanes tailored to his ego !.. Another falsity... See below.

Quoting rvA340 (Thread starter):
On other subject I imagine flying the A380 with only one hand.. really..?

Yes, really and it's quite easy and natural.
As a matter of fact, pilots have been flying all sorts of jets with only their fingers. People seem to have forgotten that, starting with the Boeing 707, nearly sixty years ago, with A/P on, they had on the pedestal a set of two little wheels each dide of a big knob : the wheels for pitch control, the knob for roll ( actually it was for VS and HDG change, but it amounts to the same )... you wouldn't be driving your car with those controls either, I bet, but all pilots on the 707 /727 did and later generations still did, with even smaller wheels and buttons.
See here on the pedestal :


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Braccini Riccardo - Aviopress



and on the A/P panel :


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Robert Domandl



[Edited 2013-05-18 07:57:28]

[Edited 2013-05-18 08:37:24]
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David L
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sat May 18, 2013 5:22 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
Boeing tends to build pilot's airplanes, Airbus tends to build engineer's airplanes. It's all about philosophy.

That one always irks me. It's a nice catch-phrase but, just once, I'd like to see it backed up by some credible evidence. Everything I've seen, read and heard about the way Airbus designs its aircraft indicates that there's just as much input from pilots than with any other manufacturer.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 7):
If the autothrottle changes throttle setting, the throttle levers don't move

But if you want to compare commanded thrust to actual thrust, and any other engine parameter, you only need to look in one place.

If no-one moved the boundaries, we'd still be living in caves and walking everywhere and there would be no A.net where we could discuss such matters.  
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 12):
It's normally (not always) the people who have never flown the FBW Airbus products that feel most strongly about the yoke I find.

   Without a doubt.
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 1:45 am

Quoting freeze3192 (Reply 10):
That's not entirely true either. It's company specific. At my company the FO keeps their hand on the power levers throughout the takeoff until V1. If there's an abort, they're expected to execute after the CA calls for it.

Really? I knew that it varies with who sets power for takeoff - at some airlines the Captain always does it and the F/O never touches TO/GA or the throttles; at others the F/O sets takeoff power and then the captain reaches over and puts his/her hands on the throttles.

Quoting freeze3192 (Reply 10):


That's a company required item. At V1 you're committed to going flying no matter what happens so you remove your hands from the throttles to remove the itch to abort if an abnormal situation develops.

Yep. There's one exception though. The Captain is allowed to abort above V1 if in his/her opinion the airplane simply is not capable of safe flight.
 
cobra27
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 9:16 am

I think you can get accustomed really quickly, if it is classic Yoke, Embraer yoke or Joystick, fighter yoke.

I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating
 
bueb0g
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 9:28 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 17):
Really? I knew that it varies with who sets power for takeoff - at some airlines the Captain always does it and the F/O never touches TO/GA or the throttles; at others the F/O sets takeoff power and then the captain reaches over and puts his/her hands on the throttles.

As at yet others, the Capt sets the throttles and then the FO takes them once thrust is set. There are a select few however that allow FO's to have the throttle throughout the whole takeoff, although I think there are many more that mandate some kind of Captain's input.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 17):
Yep. There's one exception though. The Captain is allowed to abort above V1 if in his/her opinion the airplane simply is not capable of safe flight

  

Or if he/she deems there is enough runway remaining, such as if you're flying a small aircraft on a big runway, or are a positioning flight and can easily stop/land on the runway remaining.

There was a BMI Baby 737 that rejected a takeoff in the UK a few years back, at about 20 knots over V1. The FO was flying and couldn't get the nose off the ground with normal back pressure, the Capt took control and found he couldn't either and judging that they had sufficient runway remaining, rejected and stopped the a/c safety, making some weaving S-turns down the runway as they decelerated. AAIB later concluded that it was a trim problem that they could have overcome with enough pressure on the yoke but, at the time, the crew considered it unflybable.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 11:06 am

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 18):

I think you can get accustomed really quickly, if it is classic Yoke, Embraer yoke or Joystick, fighter yoke.

I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating

Same on Embraer, Boeing, Cessna or Piper. You fly with your left hand in the left seat, right hand in the right seat.

This is only a big deal for people who have not tried it.
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9VSIO
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 12:22 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
You fly with your left hand in the left seat, right hand in the right seat.

That leaves you no hands to fly with! :P
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Pihero
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 2:07 pm

I find it amusing, more than 25 years after the A320, people still bashing the *Airbus* sidestick.
Fact is that there is a definite trend away from the yoke which will be soon a solution for the minority : Except Boeing and Embraer, all new designs incorporate sidesticks : Bombardier, Dassault, COMAC, Sukhoi... have gone to the sidestick.

American hairy pilots and their aéroplanes will be soon in the minority.

How about that ?

I for one think that the era of the Ford Trimotor and the Junkers G-38 is long time passed.

After all, in most parts of the world, we are in the year 2013 in flight control design.   
Contrail designer
 
mandala499
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 2:21 pm

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 12):
Exactly. It's normally (not always) the people who have never flown the FBW Airbus products that feel most strongly about the yoke I find.

I guess they'll just go nuts when they meet pilots here who moved from the yoke to the sidestick...

And interestingly, sidestick aircraft here have a much lower accident or incident rate per 10,000 departures than yoke equipped aircraft (limited to part 121 airlines only).

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 18):
I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating

But you don't fly it... so how do you know what it's like? It's just your prejudice right?
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
pilotpip
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 2:38 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
Except Boeing and Embraer, all new designs incorporate sidesticks

Embraer's bizjets have gone to a side stick as well. The Legacy 450 will incorporate one.
DMI
 
Pihero
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 3:35 pm

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 24):
Embraer's bizjets have gone to a side stick as well. The Legacy 450 will incorporate one.

Didn't know that.

Thanks for the info,Pp.

Cheers !

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 18):
I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating

So, of course, when you're a captain and right handed, you fly the aircraft with your right hand and operate the throttles with your left hand, right ?
Contrail designer
 
bueb0g
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 4:55 pm

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 21):
That leaves you no hands to fly with! :P

Huh?

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
Except Boeing and Embraer, all new designs incorporate sidesticks : Bombardier, Dassault, COMAC, Sukhoi... have gone to the sidestick.

Not true, Mitsubishi's MRJ has a yoke.



Quoting mandala499 (Reply 23):
And interestingly, sidestick aircraft here have a much lower accident or incident rate per 10,000 departures than yoke equipped aircraft (limited to part 121 airlines only).

That's a fallacious point and you know it. There's much more at play than the control column, which has next to no impact on flight safety. Due to the almost ubiquitous adoption of FBW in airliners, your average sidestick equipped aircraft is likely to be newer and more advanced than your average yoke equipped aircraft (which is not to say that yoke equipped aircraft can not be new and advanced, obviously). The fact that the 727 has a higher accident rate than the A320 is not an indictment or an endorsement of the yoke or sidestick, it is an irrelevancy. If you take a *comparable* yoke and side-stick aircraft, ie 777 and the A330 / A340, you know full well that there is not a difference.

We can argue pilot preference, practicalities and cleanliness of design... But safety wise, the design of the control column (yoke or stick) is not important.
Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Sun May 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 26):
Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 21):
That leaves you no hands to fly with! :P

Huh?

He was making a joke based on what I said.

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 21):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
You fly with your left hand in the left seat, right hand in the right seat.

That leaves you no hands to fly with! :P

If you take what I said literally, the left hand would be IN the left seat and the right hand IN the right seat. Thus no hand on the controls.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 1:44 am

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 18):
I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating

And your point is? All yoke driven aircraft are exactly the same. You know which of A vs. B I favor, but your argument is incorrect. Airbus joystick or yoke airplanes (A300 or A310) are no different than Boeing or any other airplanes in this regard. On the 787 if you're in the left seat you fly with your left hand and use your right hand for throttles when hand flying. That's basically the same as on an Airbus joystick airplane.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 23):
And interestingly, sidestick aircraft here have a much lower accident or incident rate per 10,000 departures than yoke equipped aircraft (limited to part 121 airlines only).

That's a ludicrous point and you know it. Older generation airplanes statistically have a higher accident rate, and they were all yoke driven. The world of aviation have all gotten a lot smarter in the last 30 years so there a thankfully far fewer accidents all the way around. All airplanes are statistically safer in the last 30 years, but that includes the only joystick airplanes out there.

Tell me about how the 777, 767 and 757 yoke equipped airplanes are less safe. How many passengers have ever died on board a 777 in 19 years? A big fat ZERO. The over 1000 757s in 31 years have NEVER had a fatal accident that was the fault of the airplane (they were all maintenance errors, pilot errors or 9/11); and the 767 has only ever had one (BKK) in which the technical issue was immediately fixed and never reoccurred. The rest were sabotage, hijackings, CFITs or 9/11.

Bottom line is that I'd venture to say that no-one at A or B who is intelligent about airplanes thinks the other guys' airplanes aren't safe. Sure, everyone has their preferred philosophies, but I've never met anyone who is well educated about airplanes who doesn't respect that an A32x, A330 or A340 is also a very safe good airplane. An certainly no-one from either company enjoys it when the other brand has a bad a day and there is an accident. Kind of like AS and WN having a healthy respect for each other. That's the way it should be.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 23):
I guess they'll just go nuts when they meet pilots here who moved from the yoke to the sidestick...

I know pilots who regularly go back and forth between the C-17 which is stick equipped (in front of the pilot,not sidestick) equipped and Boeing airplanes with a yoke. They could fly a C-17 for the USAF Reserves one day (or a Boeing ferry flight) and fly say a 787 the next. They tell me it's no biggie. An airplane is an airplane.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 1:52 am

Ok...I'm going to add my two cents in here. I've flown piston singles with yokes and gliders with sticks and the monkey part of the human brain, (at least in my case), doesn't seem to know or care about the difference. I find it a lot like going from a car to a motorcycle to a plane. Once you know how to drive them, their controls are pretty much automatic. If you have to be thinking about what action it takes on your part for a certain action by the vehicle, you probably should be walking.

As for the Boeing/Airbus/engineer/pilot thing...all I can add is; it seems to me that engineers design and build aircraft for pilots to fly...no matter the name on the door.


Some pilots prefer Airbus, some Boeing, but I'll bet anybody that their absolutely favourite plane is the one they get paid the most to fly.
What the...?
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 2:00 am

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 29):
Some pilots prefer Airbus, some Boeing, but I'll bet anybody that their absolutely favourite plane is the one they get paid the most to fly.

Or people prefer the manufacturer's philosophies that help pay our mortgage and grocery bills.  
 
smittyone
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 25):
So, of course, when you're a captain and right handed, you fly the aircraft with your right hand and operate the throttles with your left hand, right ?

I would like to see that!
 
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airmagnac
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 3:38 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 26):
Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
Except Boeing and Embraer, all new designs incorporate sidesticks : Bombardier, Dassault, COMAC, Sukhoi... have gone to the sidestick.

Not true, Mitsubishi's MRJ has a yoke.

I had done some research last year on control device choices for FBW aircraft, for a small project. Here's what I found at the time (I can't guarantee the links are still active)
[I think I had posted this in a thread back then, but I'm too lazy to do a search...]


------------
AIRBUS
sidesticks

------------
BOEING
yokes

------------
BOMBARDIER

- Bombardier CSeries : sidesticks
http://www.flycseries.com/deck.asp

- Bombardier Global 7000/8000 : yokes,
chosen more for commonality with Global 5000/6000 rather than ergonomics (sidesticks were considered, as used on the CSeries)
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...-new-bombardier-global-duo-354669/
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...biggest-bombardier-globals-363207/

------------
EMBRAER

- Embraer E-Jets : yokes

- Embraer Legacy : sidesticks
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...fly-by-wire-executive-jets-348254/

------------
DASSAULT

- Dassault Falcon 7X : sidesticks
http://www.dassaultfalcon.com/aircraft/7x/avionics.jsp

------------
SUKHOI

- Sukhoi Superjet 100 : sidesticks
http://sukhoi.org/eng/planes/projects/ssj100/
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Sukho...d=247f1dd28849e0097f709af896940bb3

------------
MITSUBISHI

- Mitsubishi MRJ : yokes
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...mrj-cockpit-and-structures-225636/

------------
GULFSTREAM

- Gulfstream 650 : yokes
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...es/g650-as-good-as-it-gets-316577/
"so that pilots would be aware of control inputs being made by the autopilot."
Yet the wiki article suggests that the yokes are preserved for commonality with the G550

------------
COMAC

- COMAC 919 : sidesticks (actually the cockpit should be shared with the CSeries)
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...-cseries-c919-co-operation-369766/
------------


I left the Antonov 148 out, even though it is FBW + yokes, because the design process took 20 years following the end of the USSR so I am not sure the design choices are really representative.)


===> So apart from A&B, only 2 out of 7 companies (Gulfstream and Mitsubishi) choose to go with a column instead of sticks. Embraer and Bombardier currently use yokes, but they are moving towards side-sticks on their newer designs.
My goal as an engineer is to fill my soul with coffee and become immortal
 
mandala499
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 26):
That's a fallacious point and you know it. There's much more at play than the control column, which has next to no impact on flight safety. Due to the almost ubiquitous adoption of FBW in airliners, your average sidestick equipped aircraft is likely to be newer and more advanced than your average yoke equipped aircraft (which is not to say that yoke equipped aircraft can not be new and advanced, obviously).
Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 28):
That's a ludicrous point and you know it.

Let me put another one then... All sidestick aircraft vs all the 737NGs in the Indonesian register... still, the sidestick has lower accident and incident rates.

Is it ludicrous? OF COURSE IT IS! Same with a lot of talk on why sidestick isn't safe.
Is it a sidestick vs yoke issue? No... it's a training and company safety policy issue. I know that you guys know that I know that...

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 28):
They tell me it's no biggie. An airplane is an airplane.

Exactly! No biggie...
I wonder why some make it into a biggie... (not you...)
An airplane is an airplane... as long as it makes money for the airline... I dun care if it's yoke, sidestick, joystick, reversible, non-reversible, FBW, FBL, or mind-controlled flight control system...   

And the references to AF447... well, the history of pulling the nose high despite hearing the stall warning isn't limited to sidestick aircraft.
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 4:16 pm

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 33):
Let me put another one then... All sidestick aircraft vs all the 737NGs in the Indonesian register... still, the sidestick has lower accident and incident rates.

Again, that wasn't my point. Newer airplanes, with newer training methods and newer safety equipment have better safety records. All airplanes prior to about the last 30 years were yoke airplanes. Those times and airplanes have a higher accident rate. That is going to statistically make yoke driven airplanes have a higher accident and incident rate.

If you look airplanes manufactured during the time when sidestick airplanes have actually existed, I don't believe that sidestick airplanes have a higher accident rate (not counting hijacking and sabotage).

The 757, 767 and 777 have about 3000 total airplanes out there and each have an almost flawless safety record (not counting 9/11 and other hijakings) given the number of years of service (the 777 does have a flawless fatal accident record over 19 years) - all yoke airplanes. But yeah, the 737 data can be skewed by the number of less experienced operators and the sheer number of airplanes out there, and the fact that jillions of older 737s were manufactured since 1967, long before the A32x was even a glean in someone's eye.

All this skews the data, making your sidestick vs yoke accident rate like comparing apple to oranges (or beer to wine).
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 5:21 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 3):
Likes having a nice big long thing between his legs when he flies.

  

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 29):
Once you know how to drive them, their controls are pretty much automatic. If you have to be thinking about what action it takes on your part for a certain action by the vehicle, you probably should be walking.

Hmmm. I probably shouldn't drive automatic transmission cars then. I always end up slamming my left foot into the floorboard!  
Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 31):
Quoting Pihero (Reply 25):
So, of course, when you're a captain and right handed, you fly the aircraft with your right hand and operate the throttles with your left hand, right ?

I would like to see that!

This reminds me of a friend of mine who drives a stick shift. I've seen him sometimes answer his phone while driving (shouldn't do that, but anyway...). He'd hold the phone with his right hand, which meant he had to reach over with his left hand to shift gears. Never made sense to me....
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Mon May 20, 2013 11:48 pm

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 33):
Is it ludicrous? OF COURSE IT IS! Same with a lot of talk on why sidestick isn't safe.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
What the...?
 
PGNCS
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 3:29 am

Quoting cobra27 (Reply 18):
I don't like the Airbus yoke because you fly right or left handed depending where you are seating

Just like in an aircraft with a yoke...

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 28):
Quoting mandala499 (Reply 23):I guess they'll just go nuts when they meet pilots here who moved from the yoke to the sidestick...I know pilots who regularly go back and forth between the C-17 which is stick equipped (in front of the pilot,not sidestick) equipped and Boeing airplanes with a yoke. They could fly a C-17 for the USAF Reserves one day (or a Boeing ferry flight) and fly say a 787 the next. They tell me it's no biggie. An airplane is an airplane.

Correct, BoeingGuy. I was for a while current on both the DC-9 and A-320 at the same time, and would sometimes fly both in a single day. I was extremely familiar with them both, and never had a problem flying either. Later on I was current on both the B-757/767 and B-747-400 at the same time and actually found that more difficult as much of the automation was very similar but not identical.

Bottom line: if you are well trained it's an airplane and neither concept is especially difficult. I don't mind anyone who has preferences about any airplane as long as their opinions are informed by fact (and for pilots, experience in type.)
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 4:03 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 37):
Later on I was current on both the B-757/767 and B-747-400 at the same time and actually found that more difficult as much of the automation was very similar but not identical.

Yep, I relate to that. Even though the functionality is mostly the same for the autothrottle and autopilots, the 757/767 mode annunciations are somewhat different than on the 747/777/787. Like FLCH is annunciated as an autothrottle mode on the 757/767 but a pitch mode on the 747/767/777.

It's EPR or N1 mode on the 757/767 and THR REF on the newer airplanes......etc.

I assume this is what you are referring to.

BTW, I can guess what airline you flew for, given your listings of airplanes you flew - before and after the merger.  
 
mandala499
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 4:43 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 34):
Again, that wasn't my point. Newer airplanes, with newer training methods and newer safety equipment have better safety records.

The A320 entered our registry some 10 yrs ago temporarily, and only came back in 2005...
The NG entered our registry in 2005, and in much larger numbers...

I was merely pointing out to the "I hate sidesticks coz I think yokes are safer" gang that the accident/incident rate per 10,000 flights, are lower on the 32X than on the NG, and that the key issue here is not whether it's a yoke or not, but in the training and the degree of safety culture embedded in the operators...

On a lighter note, the fact that one now closed operator didn't have a fatal accident on the 32X is actually a miracle given how badly the safety culture (flying 150hrs a month regularly), training (hey, they weren't even given charts OK!) and maintenance was (single IRS flight on a 320 on IFR and carrying passengers anyone?), and how on earth did the EU gave that airline an exemption to its ban really baffles everyone!

So I by all means agree with a plane is a plane... as long as one gets trained on it... doesn't matter if sidestick or yoke...

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 38):
BTW, I can guess what airline you flew for, given your listings of airplanes you flew - before and after the merger.

I spent a few years wondering where he flies... now I figured it out too... Thanks !   
*ducks and hides*
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
PGNCS
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 3:58 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 38):
BTW, I can guess what airline you flew for, given your listings of airplanes you flew - before and after the merger.
Quoting mandala499 (Reply 39):
Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 38):BTW, I can guess what airline you flew for, given your listings of airplanes you flew - before and after the merger.
I spent a few years wondering where he flies... now I figured it out too... Thanks !
*ducks and hides*

Oh I never say, but I have been on multiple certificates for multiple operators...I like to keep the mystery alive!  

My best always you two!  
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 5:01 pm

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 40):
Oh I never say, but I have been on multiple certificates for multiple operators...I like to keep the mystery alive!

Hmmm, when I think of a carrier who flew DC-9s and A320s in recent past, one comes to mind. The 757/767 and 747-400 wouldn't be the same carrier since that DC9/A320 operator never flew 767s, but the carrier who took them over sure does fly a large fleet of 757/767s and inherited 747-400s from the DC-9/A320 operator (cough cough...widgets).   Am I getting warm?
 
PGNCS
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Tue May 21, 2013 5:08 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 41):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 40):Oh I never say, but I have been on multiple certificates for multiple operators...I like to keep the mystery alive! Hmmm, when I think of a carrier who flew DC-9s and A320s in recent past, one comes to mind. The 757/767 and 747-400 wouldn't be the same carrier since that DC9/A320 operator never flew 767s, but the carrier who took them over sure does fly a large fleet of 757/767s and inherited 747-400s from the DC-9/A320 operator (cough cough...widgets). Am I getting warm?

I doubt you are considering that my DC-9 experience was years ago and my A-320 experience started in the early 1990s; you also seem to have forgotten I have L-1011 time from over a decade ago as well.

Like I said, I have been on multiple certificates with multiple airlines...
 
rcair1
Crew
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Wed May 22, 2013 1:05 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 14):
Actually, it is arguable that the commands are also useful "feedback" when making a decision.

I don't think it is arguable at all. The sense of touch and tactile feedback is a useful sense.

I think most of the posters here are missing the point entirely - and the point is not about sidesticks versus yokes - but lack or presence of feedback - specifically haptic feedback as an input to the 'control loop'.

What would be a more interesting study than the # of aircraft with sticks versus yokes but the # of aircraft which incorporate haptic feedback versus not. BTW - a standard rate spring is not haptic feedback.

By ignoring the tactile sensation we are requiring the pilot to utilize only visual cues as to performance. It is a valid question that should looked at, not dismissed.

Other 'industries" are utilizing haptic feedback extensively to improve interaction with machines. Why should aviation be so dismissive of that factor. Heck - my cell phone uses it. It 'vibrates' when I 'touch' a button on the touch screen to simulate a physical button press. Games use it. Robotic surgery uses it.

It is not about the physical location or structure of the control - but the behavior of the control and whether or not that behavior can be useful to the pilot (or misleading - and it can be both).

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 14):
So what I'm saying is : there is no clear-cut best solution, we're at a limit. Both Airbus and Boeing ways are acceptable.
And no, the better choice is not obvious at all

Obviously. And obviously neither is inherently safe or unsafe. Both have advocates and detractors.

Quoting David L (Reply 16):
That one always irks me. It's a nice catch-phrase but, just once, I'd like to see it backed up by some credible evidence. Everything I've seen, read and heard about the way Airbus designs its aircraft indicates that there's just as much input from pilots than with any other manufacturer.

As a pilot, and an engineer, I can see both arguments in play. While I've never designed aircraft, I've worked extensively in user interface design and have had many a heated argument with both users and engineers about that design.

Quoting David L (Reply 16):
If no-one moved the boundaries, we'd still be living in caves and walking everywhere and there would be no A.net where we could discuss such matters.  

What are you talking about? Are you stating that any aircraft that uses a yoke cannot be a step forward or have any advancement.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 29):
As for the Boeing/Airbus/engineer/pilot thing...all I can add is; it seems to me that engineers design and build aircraft for pilots to fly...no matter the name on the door.

Yes. Sometimes with more success, sometimes with less.
rcair1
 
David L
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Wed May 22, 2013 1:54 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 43):
What are you talking about? Are you stating that any aircraft that uses a yoke cannot be a step forward or have any advancement.

No and, to be honest, I'm not sure how you inferred that from what I said. I'm saying you can't take a particular methodology at a particular point in time and expect all future aircraft to be designed in the same way.
 
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airmagnac
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Wed May 22, 2013 8:24 pm

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 43):
I don't think it is arguable at all. The sense of touch and tactile feedback is a useful sense.

I think most of the posters here are missing the point entirely - and the point is not about sidesticks versus yokes - but lack or presence of feedback - specifically haptic feedback as an input to the 'control loop'.

What would be a more interesting study than the # of aircraft with sticks versus yokes but the # of aircraft which incorporate haptic feedback versus not


You make it sound like haptic feedback must always be provided, even if it's just for the heck of it, because it's a good thing. I do not disagree with tactile clues being a good thing - and I'd bet no one here does either. But the question is, what should it be used for ? Or more exactly, what information should be provided via haptic feedback ?

The usual argument, that David was refering to, is something like : "there has always been haptic feedback via the yoke, that's how it's always been done and that's how it always should be done on a proper airplane"
The problem with that argument is that it implies that the yoke on a 737 or a 767 and the yoke/sidestick on FBW aircraft serve exactly the same purpose, and therefore should be used the same way. But they are in fact fundamentally different devices. They may look the same, but what's going on behind them is not even remotely similar.

On the mechanically-linked aircraft, the yoke controls the deflection of flight-control-surfaces. On most FBW aircraft, the flight control computers are in charge of converting the attitude command into a surface deflection, a task carried out by more or less consciously by the pilot in classic designs. Ths is called a control-augmentation system. As a result, the yoke or sidestick oon such machines is an attitude control device.
(to complicate matters a bit, the 777 yoke remains a pure surface deflection controller in lateral, and even in longitudinal is not quite an attitude controller due to the airspeed feedback in C*u. So although it is FBW, it does not really have control-augmentation. It's somewhere in between mechanical aircraft and "fully developed" FBW aircraft, for want of a better expression)

On the mechanical aircraft, necessary information regarding the situation of flight control surfaces must be provided to the pilot, so that he can control them properly. Tactile clues given via the yoke are very convenient for this ; it was even a natural feedback on earlier planes (the haptic feedback was artificially generated on later fast & heavy machines). It was much better than giving a visual presentation of the deflection angles, as that would be difficult to generate and exploit (the F/CTL page on ECAM or the equivelent on EICAS are such visual displays, but I doubt anyone would want to use those to fly a plane).
On the FBW planes, the pilot is no longer in charge of the control surface loop, as the computers do that for him. So the surface deflection data is redundant. But he is still in charge of the attitude control, and for that he needs attitude feedback. Which is easy to generate, display and exploit visually with a gyro-based instrument or on a PFD, and not so much via haptic means.

That's for straight feedback from the aircraft. There are however 2 pieces of information that can be conveyed by tactile clues. The first is the attitude order being sent by the AP or the other pilot, which could be transmitted to "verify" that it makes sense. As I have said before, the usefulness of such data is debatable.
The second item is envelope limits. And as you very well know, on an Airbus the actual limit itself is taken care of by the flight control computers. Unless of course they don't work properly for some reason, but in most of those abnormal cases I believe the artifical haptic feedback would not be functional either

So again, I don't think the issue is so much that Airbus "dismisses" haptic feedback ; I just think that there is no data to be beneficially fed back by such means. But all this is theoretical engineering hocus-pocus from a mere PPL-level dude ; I'll admit I lack the perspective of the "human user" (airline pilot) side of the human/machine interface.
My goal as an engineer is to fill my soul with coffee and become immortal
 
smittyone
Posts: 1336
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:55 am

RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Wed May 22, 2013 8:35 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 45):
But all this is theoretical engineering hocus-pocus from a mere PPL-level dude ; I'll admit I lack the perspective of the "human user" (airline pilot) side of the human/machine interface.

Even so, well written post!

What interests me is the relative level of difficulty/workload presented by "hand flying" say a 757 vs. an A320. Seems to me that the A320 would impose less strain on the pilot by maintaining attitude automatically but maybe it doesn't matter much?

Likewise, what is it like to hand-fly the A320 with the yoke in the most basic mode?

Happy to hear from Airbus jockeys about that (explained at the level that a Cessna 172 wannabe would understand)!
 
rcair1
Crew
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Thu May 23, 2013 12:05 am

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 45):
You make it sound like haptic feedback must always be provided, even if it's just for the heck of it, because it's a good thing. I do not disagree with tactile clues being a good thing - and I'd bet no one here does either. But the question is, what should it be used for ? Or more exactly, what information should be provided via haptic feedback ?

I think haptic feedback should be provided. Obviously not must - since there are many aircraft flying that don't have it. As for what info - there are lots of cases where the 'feel' of the aircraft can cue the pilot into something is different - and actual cause them to look at the instruments.

Again - feedback is utilized regularly in our society. Most cars have a variable power steering - specifically to preserve the "feel" of the steering as speed and conditions change. One of the most common complaints of early power steering systems is that they lacked that.

My opinion - using all of our senses in an intelligent way to decrease workload and focus attention is good, not bad. It is easy to dismiss because there are plenty of a/c that do not have it, but that does not make it the best option.

In fact, that can turn into confirmation bias - we've got airplanes working just fine without it - so we don't need it. It is certainly cheaper and simpler to not have it. To take it to the extreme, both Columbia and Challenger failures had aspects of "success bias" - where we had gotten away with it before so it must be okay. And don't insult us by assuming I'm comparing those clear failures to aircraft that don't have haptic feedback. I'm simply using extremes to make a point. (too bad you have to explain that kind of stuff at a.net.)
rcair1
 
PITrules
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Thu May 23, 2013 12:57 am

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 43):
Quoting airmagnac (Reply 14):
Actually, it is arguable that the commands are also useful "feedback" when making a decision.

I don't think it is arguable at all. The sense of touch and tactile feedback is a useful sense.

I think most of the posters here are missing the point entirely - and the point is not about sidesticks versus yokes - but lack or presence of feedback - specifically haptic feedback as an input to the 'control loop'.

What would be a more interesting study than the # of aircraft with sticks versus yokes but the # of aircraft which incorporate haptic feedback versus not. BTW - a standard rate spring is not haptic feedback.

By ignoring the tactile sensation we are requiring the pilot to utilize only visual cues as to performance.

I think what airmagnac is saying is that tactile feedback is fine, but should not be relied upon as a final confirmation of a commanded change; and I agree with that.

There was a 727 freighter that was approaching ORD at night several years ago. It was on initial descent (thrust levers at idle) when the cockpit lost most of its lighting and other electrical components went unpowered. The crew suspected complete electrical failure, other than battery backup. The crew ran electrical system checklists to no avail. After several minutes the Flight Engineer leaned forward and said something to the affect of "this might be a dumb question, but are the engines running?" Turns out all 3 engines had flamed out, which is what caused all 3 generators to pop offline.

Point being, just because the switch (or thrust levers in the above situation) are in the expected position does not mean the system is operating as expected or as commanded.

Tactile sensation is fine, but should not be the only cue to verify performance.

When a switch is moved (including the illuminating or extinguishing its switch light), the configuration change is only rumor. It is confirmed by the EICAS (or ECAM). So requiring a pilot to utilize visual cues is only a good thing IMHO.


Another factor not yet mentioned in this debate is the ability to move your legs to improve blood circulation. While you can still stretch your legs straight ahead in a Boeing, you have much more range of movement (such as being able to cross your legs) in an Airbus because you don't have this big clumsy control column in your way. Ideally you want to get up and move around to prevent blood clots but its not always possible. Some cockpits have very little room to get up and move around, such as the 737 which is now routinely doing long flights.

Having flown both Airbus and Boeing, the increased comfort alone that the Airbus affords makes it preferable to me.


So if an airline has both Boeing and Airbus, which do pilots prefer?

The correct answer is the one that has better pay, schedules, layovers, and bases considering your relative seniority.

[Edited 2013-05-22 18:55:22]
FLYi
 
rcair1
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RE: Cockpits: Flying Wheel VS Joystick..

Thu May 23, 2013 2:08 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 48):
I think what airmagnac is saying is that tactile feedback is fine, but should not be relied upon as a final confirmation of a commanded change; and I agree with that.

And so would I. However, the fact that it is not the only cue does not mean it is not a valuable cue.

Try assembling something small and fine with tape on your fingers. Can you? Yes. It is optimal? No.
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