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What's up with the yoke?

whymeworry?

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Looking at the B787 cockpit mockup, I noticed Boeing decided to keep the traditional yoke. No surprise here, really, but come on, what's the point? It's all FBW these days. Why do we even need a yoke anymore? 98% of our time in the cockpit is spent pushing buttons and managing systems anyway. Do you need a yoke to make you feel that you're "in-control" of this big bad airliner? At this point, it seems to me the airbus concept of a joystick is better. Get the yoke out of the way, since it isn't really doing anything anyway, so we can focus more monitoring the flight deck. Most airline pilots seem to let the A/P do the work unti final anyway these day. Seems like a waste of space to me. Wonder when Boeing will move on from this 20th century concept.

I know, I know... now all the Boeing old-schoolers are going to get on here and flame away at me for daring to suggest we get rid of the beloved yoke. Come on, it's not any safer than a joystick. The airbus js has been on line now for nearly 20 years and they aren't showing any more accidents than boeings are.
 
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erj-145mech

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I guess that Boeing pilots are accustomed to a conventional control wheel. They're not designing an Airbus or an Embraer, so they don't need a joystick, Embraer has their funky control wheel, and the Boeing design engineers have heard the ERJ drivers complain about that, so they know that they don't want that, so they stick with what they know. Why re-invent the wheel?
 

radarlove

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erj-145mech said:
Why re-invent the wheel?
Because maybe you don't need the wheel any more?

Boeing is beginning to remind me more and more of Detroit in the 1970s--"This is the way we've always made cars, why change it?"

The Airbus has its flaws (non-moving autothrottles being the biggest) but Boeing is still producing aircraft with systems that were designed in the 1950s--like the temperature control panel, yech. Airbus has a thermostat, Boeing has "warmer" and "cooler". Duh.

I could go on. I think Boeing got its a$$ handed to them by the Frenchies in the 1990s and maybe they're waking up.
 

SuperFLUF

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Maybe they do it because control columns can be linked together easier so that you know what the other pilot and autopilot are doing.

Any 777 drivers out there? Does the control column sit at a neutral postition when the A/P is on or does it move with the control surfaces like a conventional airplane?

I recall some airbus incidents that were compounded by the pilots applying opposite inputs and not knowing what the other was doing or attempting to do.
 

FastCargo

Is that the tanker?
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This is not a trival problem.

SuperFLUF said:
Maybe they do it because control columns can be linked together easier so that you know what the other pilot and autopilot are doing.

Any 777 drivers out there? Does the control column sit at a neutral postition when the A/P is on or does it move with the control surfaces like a conventional airplane?

I recall some airbus incidents that were compounded by the pilots applying opposite inputs and not knowing what the other was doing or attempting to do.
This is not a small issue. In multi place aircraft where you can't immediately determine what the other person is doing with control inputs by looking, it has to be VERY clear who has control of the aircraft. There have been incidents in the T-38 (pilots sit in tandem) where either both people were trying to fly the aircraft or no one was flying the aircraft. Some of those incidents resulted in fatalities.

Personally, I think the yoke is a relic. However, side sticks aren't necessarily the best option either. I think a center stick is best. One of the things the B-1B did right in ergonomics was design the front seats so that the majority of functions were identical. Each pilot had their own stick, throttles, and wing sweep. The instrumentation was the same layout as well. The only things that weren't duplicated were the systems instruments and secondary flight controls (flaps/slats/spoilers/gear). Also, the nosewheel steering wasn't a tiller, but instead you engaged a button on the stick which tied the nosewheel steering to the rudder petals.

This allowed a couple of things. One, the front seaters (both AC and CP - Capt and F/O for you civilian types) could fly in either seat. Two, because the sweep, throttles, and sticks were all interconnected, there was immediate visual and tactile feedback for control inputs.

I know the C-17 also uses a center stick layout. I'm not sure if the seats are 'handed' though. But, I have to admit, after getting a ride in an F-16 with the side stick, its REALLY nice...armchair flying! Any C-17, B-1B, or newer Airbus drivers want to chime in with the advantages/disadvantages of the layout?

There are some nice things about the Airbus from what I've seen (using 'arcs' instead of numbers for some quantities and pressures...makes sense)! But there are certain things that concern me. Non-moving autothrottles? I'm not sure that I like the lack of visual feedback of that setup. Hard 'G' limits? Not sure I like that one either...I'd rather have a jet that would give me lots of warnings, maybe take out some of my input, but if I need the 10/10ths performance to stay out of the weeds, then I'm the final word and I can over G the aircraft if I need to.

We now return you to Boeing/Airbus bashing...

FastCargo
 
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erj-145mech

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radarlove said:
I think Boeing got its a$$ handed to them by the Frenchies in the 1990s and maybe they're waking up.

I don't ever remember seeing a Boeing crash into the trees at the end of the runway during a demonstration for a go around. By the way, I work on Boeing, Douglas, Embraer and Airbus products, and they all have their idiocrincricies, so I'm neutral on the manufacturer debate.
 

Steve 737

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erj-145mech said:
I don't ever remember seeing a Boeing crash into the trees at the end of the runway during a demonstration for a go around. By the way, I work on Boeing, Douglas, Embraer and Airbus products, and they all have their idiocrincricies, so I'm neutral on the manufacturer debate.
Correct me if i'm wrong, but if that had been any other aircraft, it would have done a nose first, after stalling, into the runway most likely killing everyone aboard. The fault in that accident was not with the Airbus, but rather the pilot getting way behind the power curve at a very low altitude.
 

LearLove

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the embraer yoke in the 170 stinks. I don't mind the hand position but the way it pivots (half way down the pedestal, instead of where the yoke meets the top of the pedestal) is really awkward.
 

radarlove

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Steve 737 said:
The fault in that accident was not with the Airbus, but rather the pilot getting way behind the power curve at a very low altitude.

No, you're most likely incorrect. It was likely caused by a flaw in the throttle system, but we'll never know the truth, since Airbus switched data recorders and successfully blamed the pilot.

For a fascinating read:

http://www.airdisaster.com/investigations/af296/af296.shtml
 

FastCargo

Is that the tanker?
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Steve 737 said:
Correct me if i'm wrong, but if that had been any other aircraft, it would have done a nose first, after stalling, into the runway most likely killing everyone aboard. The fault in that accident was not with the Airbus, but rather the pilot getting way behind the power curve at a very low altitude.

Apparently, that is the case. However, I didn't know that there was some controversy surrounding the FDCs:

http://www.airdisaster.com/investigations/af296/af296.shtml

I found this on several sites about the accident. Now, from what I can tell, this also involves the Captain trying to clear his name, so take that for what's it's worth.

Also, while doing research about the crash (and coming up with very little official documentation about it) I just came across this:

http://www.eaawatch.net/

Now, this site is very high on the drama...so take it with a big grain of salt. Interesting reading though...

FastCargo
 

FastCargo

Is that the tanker?
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Hey, radarlove beat me to it!

FastCargo
 

RJP

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FastCargo said:
. I think a center stick is best.rudder petals.
Right on! Center stick, throttles on the left and a HUD. The only way to fly.
 

TWA Dude

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There's no doubt that in an airliner a control wheel gives the most positive control, however, the sidestick is far more comfortable on any flight longer than an hour. I wonder if the pilots who chose the yoke have ever flown the sidestick.
 

m80drvr

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Gotta say that I had reservations about the bus, and still do but you can't beat the sidestick and the power seats. Lean back, cross your legs, and watch the country go by. I dont miss a yoke.
 

FL420

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I've flown at least a thousand hours each behind a panel-mounted yoke, a floor-mounted yoke, a floor-mounted center stick and a side-mounted FBW stick. Throw in a few hours behind a Beechcraft throwover yoke. And the winner is........May we have the envelope please? The winner is........

The tray!!!!!!!

Gotta love the tray. We spend a lot more time doing paperwork in the cockpit than we do handflying these days. In most flying jobs, that is. Some companies practically require it. Sad, but true.

Trying to eat a meal off a tray across your lap with the seat pushed back so as not to interfere with the floor-mounted yoke cannot be conducive to safety. I defy anyone to get much throw on a rudder pedal if an engine craps out while you have a tray on your lap.

Plenty of inevitable spills on shirt, pants, seat, floor, etc. eating off your lap. What a mess. I actually found a live maggot wiggling across the cockpit floor a couple of months back. Don't have nearly the problem in the Bus with the sidestick and the tray.

Another advantage of the FBW sidestick is you can put the airplane wherever you want it to go with a very small wrist movement. You do have to have your armrest on your seat set up the same way every time to brace your arm for consistent wrist angles for consistent feel.

Another problem with the Boeing yoke is the clipboard blocks my view of the bottom half of the ND unless I lean way forward when my seat is in the optimum position for me.

Two advantages of a floor-mounted center stick are you can fly with either hand and if you find you are over controlling for some reason or feel you need finer control(an ILS to mins. in strong wind and turbulence?) you can lower your seat and grab the stick down lower for a lesser mechanical advantage.

A disadvantage of floor mounted mechanical controls is the possibility of jammed flight controls due to interference from FOD on the floor of the cockpit. I found out about this one the hard way and almost had to jettison an airplane and mess up my landing to takeoff ratio of 1.0.

In my ideal transport airplane, I would like to see a FBW stick mounted on a swing arm coming out between your knees that could be locked in 1 of 3 positions: in the center or over your left knee or over your right knee. That way you could fly with either hand. Of course it would have a small tray that could be deployed when the stick was locked to one side or the other.

Re: fixed vs. moving autothrottles. The throttle design in the Bus is simple and elegant but until you get a couple of hundred hours on the line in the Bus, some of the reversion modes can catch you by surprise. Depending on what is going on you may be late in recognizing the visual and aural cues that tell you the thrust is coming back. If you don't hear it, feel it or see it on the ECAM, you may be slow in recognizing it. I guess that's why the put in speed protection but it sure can be embarrassing. Not that it's happened to me. 'course not. The Boeing doesn't have so many surprise reversions as the Bus and when it happens, it is nice to be able to see the throttles moving out of the corner of your eye.
 

chazman

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I agree on getting rid of the Yoke. I fly both the 737 and A320 currently. Those cockpits are my office space. Just because I use a stapler at work doesn't mean I have to leave it the the middle of my desk all day long. Move it over to the side and make my office more ergonomic and COMFORTABLE. I spend up to 8 hours a day in that darn seat, the last thing I need in the way is a control stick I use for about 4 mintues a leg.

My $0.02,

Chaz
 

canyonblue737

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TWA Dude said:
There's no doubt that in an airliner a control wheel gives the most positive control, however, the sidestick is far more comfortable on any flight longer than an hour. I wonder if the pilots who chose the yoke have ever flown the sidestick.

More comfortable as in not in the way, because I certainly let old George fly her after a bit...?

BTW: Hope all is well as TWA/USAir, just too former C8 guys livin' the dream.
 
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