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Max Q
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F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:46 pm

Fighters of its vintage and since have nearly all used sidestick controllers


It’s ancestral competitor in the YF17 vs F16
contest used one


Curious as to why MD made that design choice
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
texl1649
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:06 pm

I believe the early YF-16 in particular had experienced issues with soft movements, and the Navy wanted to stick with basically commonality vs. the larger F-4/F-14 fleets. This was also their first foray back into single seaters...
 
texl1649
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:18 pm

Just fyi some good history here;

http://www.airvectors.net/avhorn_1.html
 
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Dutchy
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:57 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I believe the early YF-16 in particular had experienced issues with soft movements, and the Navy wanted to stick with basically commonality vs. the larger F-4/F-14 fleets. This was also their first foray back into single seaters...


They had A-4's and A-7's in the early '80-ish, didn't they?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:33 pm

A-4 (TA-4) we’re retired in 2003-ish in a VC squadron. A-7s we’re gone after
Desert Storm in 92-ish. The Scooter was earlier than the F-4 and the A-7 was introduced mid-Vietnam era.
 
meecrob
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:49 pm

Max Q wrote:
Fighters of its vintage and since have nearly all used sidestick controllers


What other fighters of this vintage have a sidestick?

As I understand it, the F-16 was a testbed for new generation ergonomics, such as the seat reclined 30* for improved pilot ability to handle Gs, and of course the sidestick (that operates with pressure, not deflection) and this technology was passed on to 5th gen fighters. When the Air Force/Navy put out a request for fighter aircraft, they asked for a plane that can hit certain performance targets, like speed, range, payload, etc. they didn't ask for the stick to be in a certain spot. Northrop/MDD gave them a plane with the stick in the (what was thought at the time) correct spot.
 
Max Q
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:57 pm

meecrob wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Fighters of its vintage and since have nearly all used sidestick controllers


What other fighters of this vintage have a sidestick?

As I understand it, the F-16 was a testbed for new generation ergonomics, such as the seat reclined 30* for improved pilot ability to handle Gs, and of course the sidestick (that operates with pressure, not deflection) and this technology was passed on to 5th gen fighters. When the Air Force/Navy put out a request for fighter aircraft, they asked for a plane that can hit certain performance targets, like speed, range, payload, etc. they didn't ask for the stick to be in a certain spot. Northrop/MDD gave them a plane with the stick in the (what was thought at the time) correct spot.




As stated, the F16 has a sidestick and it was developed simultaneously with the YF17 which became the F18 Hornet


Since then, the F22 / F35 / Typhoon / Rafale all use sidesticks
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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Dutchy
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:29 pm

Max Q wrote:
meecrob wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Fighters of its vintage and since have nearly all used sidestick controllers


What other fighters of this vintage have a sidestick?

As I understand it, the F-16 was a testbed for new generation ergonomics, such as the seat reclined 30* for improved pilot ability to handle Gs, and of course the sidestick (that operates with pressure, not deflection) and this technology was passed on to 5th gen fighters. When the Air Force/Navy put out a request for fighter aircraft, they asked for a plane that can hit certain performance targets, like speed, range, payload, etc. they didn't ask for the stick to be in a certain spot. Northrop/MDD gave them a plane with the stick in the (what was thought at the time) correct spot.




As stated, the F16 has a sidestick and it was developed simultaneously with the YF17 which became the F18 Hornet


Since then, the F22 / F35 / Typhoon / Rafale all use sidesticks


The Eurofighter Typhoon does not have a sidestick, but a traditional one:

Image

Neither had the Griphen of the same vintage:

Image

Source for both foto's
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Max Q
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:23 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Max Q wrote:
meecrob wrote:

What other fighters of this vintage have a sidestick?

As I understand it, the F-16 was a testbed for new generation ergonomics, such as the seat reclined 30* for improved pilot ability to handle Gs, and of course the sidestick (that operates with pressure, not deflection) and this technology was passed on to 5th gen fighters. When the Air Force/Navy put out a request for fighter aircraft, they asked for a plane that can hit certain performance targets, like speed, range, payload, etc. they didn't ask for the stick to be in a certain spot. Northrop/MDD gave them a plane with the stick in the (what was thought at the time) correct spot.




As stated, the F16 has a sidestick and it was developed simultaneously with the YF17 which became the F18 Hornet


Since then, the F22 / F35 / Typhoon / Rafale all use sidesticks


The Eurofighter Typhoon does not have a sidestick, but a traditional one:

Image

Neither had the Griphen of the same vintage:

Image

Source for both foto's



My mistake on the Typhoon
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
texl1649
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:29 pm

Per my above link, McD basically redesigned the YF-17 cockpit configuration from scratch, and in so doing opted to eliminate the sidestick. F-16A block 15 models had a comparatively outdated cockpit vs. the F/A-18 (some differences due to the development timeline.) I don't know why specifically they went away from the sidestick, my theory was always that they wanted to demonstrate as much commonality with other naval aircraft predecessors (fighters in particular) as they could to differentiate vs. the ACF-program loser tarnish on the basic frame (not that this was really fair).

The F-18 was to be built for reliability, maintainability, and a long service lifetime.

All these added requirements meant more weight, which meant a bigger wing and more powerful engines. GE received a contract on 21 November 1975 for a developed and uprated version of the YJ-101 engine, the "F404". Since the F-18 was expected to perform a wide range of missions, pilot workload was a concern, and MDD engineers opted to develop a state-of-the-art cockpit to make the aircraft easier to manage.


I think most would conclude the early Hornet had the more advanced displays/cockpit overall vs. the early F-16's. If again anyone is interested in the comparison of alternatives, and early studies that might have lead to the Lavi/Japanese F-2 etc., here is another interesting link.

https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/sto ... hat-wasnt/
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:00 pm

C-17 has a central stick, too. I don’t see where it makes a difference, either Shipboard Ops, standardize is controls may have been a factor. Has there ever been a modern shipboard plane with yokes..
 
LMP737
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:24 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
C-17 has a central stick, too. I don’t see where it makes a difference, either Shipboard Ops, standardize is controls may have been a factor. Has there ever been a modern shipboard plane with yokes..


The E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound.
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aumaverick
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:00 pm

meecrob wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Fighters of its vintage and since have nearly all used sidestick controllers


What other fighters of this vintage have a sidestick?

As I understand it, the F-16 was a testbed for new generation ergonomics, such as the seat reclined 30* for improved pilot ability to handle Gs, and of course the sidestick (that operates with pressure, not deflection) and this technology was passed on to 5th gen fighters. When the Air Force/Navy put out a request for fighter aircraft, they asked for a plane that can hit certain performance targets, like speed, range, payload, etc. they didn't ask for the stick to be in a certain spot. Northrop/MDD gave them a plane with the stick in the (what was thought at the time) correct spot.



This has me wondering...in addition to the sidestick now found in some fighters, has the 30* angle also proliferated to any other fighters?
I'm just here so I won't get fined. - Marshawn Lynch
 
Max Q
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:08 pm

One of the rationale’s I’ve seen for retaining a conventional center stick is it allows fairly easy operation by either hand

Perhaps this was in the Navy’s thinking
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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889091
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:21 pm

Max Q wrote:
One of the rationale’s I’ve seen for retaining a conventional center stick is it allows fairly easy operation by either hand

Perhaps this was in the Navy’s thinking


Yeah but most modern fighters with a centre stick - it is moulded for the right hand (grip, thumb switches/buttons).

With the P51, it was basically a metal rod with a button on top:
Image
Picture taken from this site
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/190910471681016454/

The Spitfire had a 'doughnut' thingy at the top with a thumb switch to operate the guns:
Image
Picture taken from this site
https://twitter.com/LongestFlight/statu ... 64/photo/1
 
Max Q
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:25 pm

True

My point is a sidestick is difficult at best to operate with the opposite hand cross cockpit


Despite being optimized for the pilots right hand, left handed operation is not difficult with a centrally located stick
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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LyleLanley
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 7:41 pm

Design tradeoffs based off your design philosophy for flight.

FBW based off a center stick usually measures proportional displacement off of neutral stick position, so (very simply) the further off neutral you move the stick the more the computers will move the control surfaces. A side stick has transducers to measure force applied to the stick, (again, very simply) the more force you apply to the stick the more the computers will move the control surfaces*. As many already know, the initial F-16s stick didn't move at all. It now moves 1/4 inch in pitch and roll to give the pilot a warm fuzzy.

A center stick also means you can have a mechanical backup in case the Flight Control System fails (MECH mode in the F-18), which isn't possible with a side stick.

*Obviously ignoring cruise gains vs. takeoff/landing gains*
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
889091
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:41 pm

Max Q wrote:
True

My point is a sidestick is difficult at best to operate with the opposite hand cross cockpit


Despite being optimized for the pilots right hand, left handed operation is not difficult with a centrally located stick


Ah, I see where you are coming from. Also true. If somehow your right arm becomes incapacitated (shrapnel from enemy fire, etc), you'd stand a better chance of limping home to base with a centrally located stick compared to a sidestick.

I suppose with the F-22 and F-35 having sidesticks, the DoD would have pored over actual data from the F-16 to get the stats of that scenario ever occurring.
 
texl1649
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:26 am

I still think it was just as simple as McD saying “we’ve made this a navy plane” vs. the Northrop design. Re-doing the whole cockpit but keeping the side stick wouldn’t help in the “this was built for USAF” politics of the day.

Interesting corollary might be ‘what might Grumman engineers have done?” If they were in charge (and somehow not worried about competing with the F-14). Grumman and Douglas were after all the long time rivals for Navy tacair funds, and their teams definitely considered the opposing views.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:17 am

Grumman was way too conservative a company to incorporate FBW without having the mechanical redundancies possible only with a center stick.

I don't think anyone is referring to flying with their left hand because of shrapnel, but rather because your arm gets tired and/or you need to write things down with your dominant hand.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
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smithbs
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Re: F18, why not a side stick ?

Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:10 am

LyleLanley wrote:
As many already know, the initial F-16s stick didn't move at all. It now moves 1/4 inch in pitch and roll to give the pilot a warm fuzzy.


I think the initial F-16 fixed side stick was a bit of a controversy at the time, and the Grumman design team might have felt that taking on a fresh controversy was not in their interest at the time.

Also, the F-18A was quite a bit more sophisticated and generally a different animal than the F-16A (in return, the F-18 was a heck of a lot more expensive). Design philosophies didn't have to be shared if they didn't need to be.

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