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C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:24 am
by 889091
I have a question in relation to the C-17 centrally mounted joysticks.

In most military aircraft with side by side seating and centrally mounted joysticks, both joysticks are moulded for the right hand.

The C-17 is unique in the sense that it mimics Airbus' design of left seat/left hand, right seat/right hand. However, unlike the A-400M which has a side mounted joystick which you can rest your entire lower arm to 'control' (for lack of a better word) your tactile inputs to the joystick, the C-17 design seems to have just replaced the traditional yoke with a joystick, without anywhere to rest your wrist/elbow/lower arm. Any movement would either be too much, or too little.

How difficult is it for a right handed person to fly the C-17 from the left seat? Does it take a while to 'get a feel' of the centrally mounted joystick?

C-17 Globemaster
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B-1 Lancer
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F-111 Aardvark
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Su-34 Fullback
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Tu-160 White Swan
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A-400M Atlas
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Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:04 am
by GalaxyFlyer
I don’t see where it’d be any different that a right-handed person to fly in the left seat with a yoke—both cases you fly with your left hand, throttles with the right. Even in AR, it’s not tough.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:53 am
by flyingturtle
As somebody once said on a.nut, the sidestick (or the central stick) requires less precision than your computer mouse. Every right-handed pilot has flawlessly adapted to use the Airbus sidestick with his left hand.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:04 am
by T54A
I see no good reason for a central stick. All it does is get in the way of some or other instrument. The only logical reason the C17 doesn’t have a side stick is that they were scared they would be accused of admitting Airbus was correct.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:46 pm
by CRJockey
T54A wrote:
I see no good reason for a central stick. All it does is get in the way of some or other instrument. The only logical reason the C17 doesn’t have a side stick is that they were scared they would be accused of admitting Airbus was correct.


Seems like. And I agree.

On the other hand, any fighter pilots moving ship to the C17 in the process of the career? Is that a thing? Because then obviously the central stick would be just taken over from the fast jets.

To the OP: I guess you rest your arm in your lap? Just as in SEP aircraft with central stick? Flying with "your arm flying" seems annoyingly tiring for me.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:56 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
There’s an armrest. I doubt Airbus entered the discussion at all, it’s just taken from fighters as the C-17 was seen a a tactical plane. They wanted to be different.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:13 pm
by BestIntellect
flyingturtle wrote:
As somebody once said on a.nut, the sidestick (or the central stick) requires less precision than your computer mouse. Every right-handed pilot has flawlessly adapted to use the Airbus sidestick with his left hand.


All pilots (in the US at least, but likely globally) are taught to fly yoke with the left hand. As all the controls manipulated by both hands (namely throttle and prop speed for right) are equally important, (a lack of) ambidexterity isn't considered a significant detriment, but does become a learned skill.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:18 pm
by mxaxai
BestIntellect wrote:
All pilots (in the US at least, but likely globally) are taught to fly yoke with the left hand.

Plenty of pilots are taught on planes with a central stick, not all planes have yokes.

But yes, the student pilot on GA props usually sits in the left seat with the yoke (or stick) in their left hand and the throttle controls in their right hand. The instructor sits on the right.

On gliders and jet trainers where the instructor sits behind the pilot, it's usually reversed: Stick in the right hand, throttle / speedbrakes in the left hand. This is similar to the bombers in OP's post where both seats have their own set of thrust levers on the left.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:09 pm
by iRISH251
T54A wrote:
I see no good reason for a central stick. All it does is get in the way of some or other instrument. The only logical reason the C17 doesn’t have a side stick is that they were scared they would be accused of admitting Airbus was correct.


If you research the development of the C-17, it was already under way before the A320 was launched in 1984 so there wasn't an existing mainstream FBW sidestick-equipped aircraft, only one in development in the early/mid-1980s.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:16 pm
by T54A
iRISH251 wrote:
T54A wrote:
I see no good reason for a central stick. All it does is get in the way of some or other instrument. The only logical reason the C17 doesn’t have a side stick is that they were scared they would be accused of admitting Airbus was correct.


If you research the development of the C-17, it was already under way before the A320 was launched in 1984 so there wasn't an existing mainstream FBW sidestick-equipped aircraft, only one in development in the early/mid-1980s.


Fair enough. Makes sense

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:49 pm
by 889091
Wasn't the F-16 up and running by then?

Granted, it isn't/wasn't a cargo aircraft, but a FBW with a sidestick nonetheless.

Re: C-17 Globemaster Centrally Mounted Joystick

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:30 am
by LyleLanley
T54A wrote:
I see no good reason for a central stick. All it does is get in the way of some or other instrument. The only logical reason the C17 doesn’t have a side stick is that they were scared they would be accused of admitting Airbus was correct.


Or that there's still a manual flight control ability in case they lose all their FBW computers and a side stick installation would make that completely untenable... But yeah, being scared of admitting Airbus was correct (in the future) is surely the only logical reason...