Side stick yoke

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by AKBill, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    I have never flown a plane with a side stick yoke. I have flown standard stick and standard yoke but never a side control yoke.

    There are lots of planes from a commercial airliner to experimental with a side control yoke. I can't see the side yoke being comfortable hand flying for hours at a time.

    With a standard stick or yoke I can use either hand, side control yoke it's a one handed deal. Please fill in the blanks for me. Might be OK if you fly by auto pilot and only fly manually for a short period, but not hours on end.
     
  2. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff

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    The front seat of an AH-1 was a small side stick Cyclic (Yoke) and so much better than the front seat of any tandem helicopter I flew. Just felt good and wish I could replicate that some how. Maybe right seat of a Cirrus I just don't know. No auto pilot either...but force trim.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    After a few hours, you won’t notice the difference IMO.
     
  4. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Thanks, I guess to change my opinion I would have to fly something with a side yoke and figure if it would work for me.
     
  5. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    My first few hundred hours were in C172/PA28 .. last few in various Cirrus. No TTX or Diamond time.. so grain of salt. But I find the sidestick very comfortable, mainly because it's naturally angled to align with your hand when you hand is resting on the left armrest. Even when I'm on AP for hours I usually rest my hand on the armrest and it just naturally goes around the stick. It's also a relatively small range of motion (compared to a yoke) so you don't need big inputs, light hand movements and the plane reacts

    In the Piper and Cessna I couldn't comfortable rest my hand on the yoke without needing some muscle power. In the Cirrus it kind of just rests there

    At this point, it honestly feels more naturally as it gives the illusion (not a real joystick) of full 3D control vs forcing 2D control that a yoke does. I still occasionally fly a yoked plane and it feels awkward

    Mind you, growing up I thought "joysticks" were the stupidest things outside jet fighters
     
  6. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I haven't flown the sidestick, but I can't see it being much of an issue. Like Tantalum said, it's usually aligned with the armrest so that your arm lays there naturally anyway. Most of the aircraft that have sidesticks aren't going to be hand-flown for hours anyway since they'd likely have the A/P on within 20 minutes of wheels-up. Wonder what the Falcon/Raptor drivers have to say in the military side.
     
  7. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    It is absolutely no issue.
     
  8. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    Interesting tidbit. The Air Force Falcons use F-16's with side stick and wear a g-suit. The Blue Angles fly the F-18 with conventional stick and rest their forearms on their legs. Since inflation of a g-suit would impact their flying they don't wear one. Yet the Blues do all the same maneuvers as the Falcons.
     
  9. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    i haven't flown one
    but seems to me that sometimes with a standard yoke I like to switch hands.... maybe the hand in use is tired, or an itch pops up, gotta adjust the headset and the hand on the yoke is one the better side for it, etc....
    with the side yoke switching hands doesn't seem practical. I suppose lean on the AP more maybe ?
     
  10. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have no time, but am curious about one thing.

    For those of of you who have time and say no issue, are you left-handed or right-handed?
     
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

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    I've flown sidestick (left seat) with left hand, and I'm right handed. No problems. I've also got a little time flying right seat with the stick to the right, again, no noticeable difference.
     
  12. RudyP

    RudyP Line Up and Wait

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    I’m right handed but literally no one has an issue with it. There are thousands and thousands of pilots, both left and right handed who have transitioned to flying side stick/yoke planes and you just never hear of anyone having an issue with it.

    For reasons that tantalum mentioned, it’s actually more comfortable for long periods of time because the weight of your arm is evenly carried by the armrest and the angle is very natural. A traditional yoke is tiring to hold for hours at a time because you support your arm’s weight at two points (hand on yoke and shoulder) and have to have some muscular tension at all times to support the angle of your elbow. Sure, you can switch hands to give yourself a rest but you wouldn’t need the rest with a side stick/yoke and there’s always autopilot if you need to scratch your nose.

    It is truly a non issue at worse and (I would argue) a substantial improvement at best.

    In fact, going back to a traditional yoke is one of the two downsides holding me back from upgrading to a Citation Mustang (the other, and admittedly bigger downside is cost)
     
  13. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I have probably just over 1,000 hours flying side sticks, between my prior plane, a Cirrus, and my current Sky Arrow. The Cirrus has the stick on the left, the Sky Arrow on the right.

    I’m right-handed, and both are fine. “Conventional” sticks are basically ambidextrous, and are also fine.

    One would think a right-handed person would prefer the sidestick on the right, but in practice it makes very little difference given the relatively gross motor movements involved in most flying.

    However, the fly in the ointment is how poor most of us are writing with our “off” hand. So, in the absence of an autopilot, a sidestick occupying your right hand, let’s say, can make writing stuff down with your left a bit awkward, sometimes necessitating reaching over with the left hand to fly while writing - doable, but as I say, awkward.

    But sidesticks are great, and given a choice would be my preference. I like they way they free up the pilot’s lap and the area directly in front of them. But honestly, I’ve never met a mode of flight control input I didn’t like, including the odd “stokel” on the 162 - it seems to take just a few minutes to adjust to any of them and they become natural in short order.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  14. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Its something you worry about, then after a few minutes of flying, you have forgotten it and are working on other things.
    <------ sidestick airplane, my first
     
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  15. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think it's a better way to fly. As long as you have that stick or yoke in front of me, I am somewhat conscious of maneuvering that control to where I want to go - similar to driving a car.

    With a side stick the concept of putting the stick/yoke where i want to go isn't there. I find myself just "thinking" where I want to go - and the plane goes there. In my mind its much more intuitive or automatic.
     
  16. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Good point.

    My first exposure to aerobatics was in a 150 Aerobatic. Then I bought a Citabria.

    For the gross movements involved in aerobatics, a stick is much more intuitive. Think of a snap roll, where you may want to pull the stick all the way back and to one side or the other in one smooth motion. With a yoke, there’s a lot more “monkey motion” as you have to pull and twist at the same time. Either works, but a stick is far more natural.
     
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  17. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I'm left handed but have flown airplanes with primary right and primary left hand stick and primary left and primary right hand yoke. After an hour or so the 'handedness' is irrelevant. ~99% of my (low) sidestick time is right hand but the 1% with left hand tells me they're the same too.

    FWIW my preference (least time to adapt) is right hand stick (side or center) or left hand yoke.

    Nauga,
    adaptive and reconfigurable
     
  18. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    There are sidesticks and then there are sidesticks :D. I feel the same way as you about those mechanical <insert non-PC term here> sidestick 'stokes' that have the long stroke for pitch and short rotation for roll, but a real sidestick with balanced controls and good control harmony is much more like a center stick, just with shorter throw and lower forces. I dislike them for other reasons, but that's not what we're talking about here :cool:

    Nauga,
    stoking the fire
     
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  19. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Filing Flight Plan

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    There's a difference between a side stick (Columbia, Lancair) and side yoke (Cirrus). After flying one for a bit, it's no different than flying anything else. I love the side stick in the Columbia. It's very natural feeling. It's nice having that real estate in front of you and not worrying about a lapboard or ipad getting in the way of the yoke.