titanmiller
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Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:52 am

Why are modern aircraft designs still using floor mounted control columns? A column and yoke is about the worst ergonomic design that I can imagine especially with a fly by wire aircraft where a side-stick is feasible. You have to look and reach around the yoke to see and manipulate the instruments. Even worse than that, the yoke typically hits your knees or those of the other pilot so that you have to fly with your legs spread out sideways just so the controls don't bind. Before I started flying I had no idea how horrible yokes are from an ergonomic standpoint.

Floor mounted control sticks aren't much better especially with how your thighs restrict the range of movement of the stick.

Does anyone else have similar opinions or are my body proportions just weird?
 
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golfradio
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:40 am

Bring back the old site.
 
mmo
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:31 am

titanmiller wrote:
Why are modern aircraft designs still using floor mounted control columns? A column and yoke is about the worst ergonomic design that I can imagine especially with a fly by wire aircraft where a side-stick is feasible. You have to look and reach around the yoke to see and manipulate the instruments. Even worse than that, the yoke typically hits your knees or those of the other pilot so that you have to fly with your legs spread out sideways just so the controls don't bind. Before I started flying I had no idea how horrible yokes are from an ergonomic standpoint.

Floor mounted control sticks aren't much better especially with how your thighs restrict the range of movement of the stick.

Does anyone else have similar opinions or are my body proportions just weird?


I don't know what aircraft you are flying, but Id suggest your seat is in the wrong position. I have flown both conventional yokes and sidestick aircraft and have had no problems at all. That applies to both civil and military aircraft.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
VSMUT
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:06 am

mmo wrote:
titanmiller wrote:
Why are modern aircraft designs still using floor mounted control columns? A column and yoke is about the worst ergonomic design that I can imagine especially with a fly by wire aircraft where a side-stick is feasible. You have to look and reach around the yoke to see and manipulate the instruments. Even worse than that, the yoke typically hits your knees or those of the other pilot so that you have to fly with your legs spread out sideways just so the controls don't bind. Before I started flying I had no idea how horrible yokes are from an ergonomic standpoint.

Floor mounted control sticks aren't much better especially with how your thighs restrict the range of movement of the stick.

Does anyone else have similar opinions or are my body proportions just weird?


I don't know what aircraft you are flying, but Id suggest your seat is in the wrong position. I have flown both conventional yokes and sidestick aircraft and have had no problems at all. That applies to both civil and military aircraft.


For short people, the positioning of the yoke can be a bit bothersome if you place the seat correctly according the the balls. I have to move my seat in the ATR one notch back from the correct position in order to get full movement of the yoke.
 
titanmiller
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:36 pm

I do have a short torso and long legs so that might be some of the trouble. I have to put the seat all the way up which also leads to my shins touching the instrument panel when I'm on the brakes.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:35 pm

Haven't we been down this road before?
 
bhill
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:05 pm

How can ergonomics be the issue? With all the automation on the flight deck, how much time is really spent hand flying the airliner?
Carpe Pices
 
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thewizbizman
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:19 pm

Pilots appreciate and are more used to the Yoke.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:47 pm

bhill wrote:
How can ergonomics be the issue? With all the automation on the flight deck, how much time is really spent hand flying the airliner?


You still need to be able to fly the plane if the autopilot kicks out for whatever reason. I had 2x 3 hour flights last month without the A/P because it was broken.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:26 pm

thewizbizman wrote:
Pilots appreciate and are more used to the Yoke.


Some of us are more used to a sidestick. ;)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:04 pm

Yea but real pilots use a yoke.....just feeding the troll.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:20 am

BravoOne wrote:
Yea but real pilots use a yoke.....just feeding the troll.


Yeah but then how do you eat your meals? Feeding the troll some more. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
benbeny
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:03 pm

Unless we're talking about backdriven sidestick like what can we see on G500 and G600, I think yoke gives more sensory feedback. Does it matter? Not very much during normal ops. BUT it may increase safety, especially for those who are used to click-set-and-forget :D
 
Andre3K
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:07 pm

Best of both worlds is the centerstick that the C-17's have.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:04 am

benbeny wrote:
Unless we're talking about backdriven sidestick like what can we see on G500 and G600, I think yoke gives more sensory feedback. Does it matter? Not very much during normal ops. BUT it may increase safety, especially for those who are used to click-set-and-forget :D


The surfaces aren't necessarily following the stick/yoke in a FBW aircraft. For example on Airbus sideways stick pressure commands a roll rate, while fore and after commands a load factor. A mechanical stick backdrive dependent on aerodynamic forces acting on control would not be an accurate indication of what is happening.

Do I need to feel turbulence through the stick in a FBW aircraft? Personally I don't think so. We're not flying by the seat of our pants like in a light piston. We use the instruments. Even in direct law we use the instruments.

The spring loading on the Airbus stick does the job fine.

Andre3K wrote:
Best of both worlds is the centerstick that the C-17's have.


It's in the way of the tray though. ;) A sidestick is out of the way when you're not using it and works just fine in its position. Also it seems more natural for my arm to be at the side than in the middle.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Andre3K
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:03 am

Starlionblue wrote:
benbeny wrote:
Unless we're talking about backdriven sidestick like what can we see on G500 and G600, I think yoke gives more sensory feedback. Does it matter? Not very much during normal ops. BUT it may increase safety, especially for those who are used to click-set-and-forget :D


The surfaces aren't necessarily following the stick/yoke in a FBW aircraft. For example on Airbus sideways stick pressure commands a roll rate, while fore and after commands a load factor. A mechanical stick backdrive dependent on aerodynamic forces acting on control would not be an accurate indication of what is happening.

Do I need to feel turbulence through the stick in a FBW aircraft? Personally I don't think so. We're not flying by the seat of our pants like in a light piston. We use the instruments. Even in direct law we use the instruments.

The spring loading on the Airbus stick does the job fine.

Andre3K wrote:
Best of both worlds is the centerstick that the C-17's have.


It's in the way of the tray though. ;) A sidestick is out of the way when you're not using it and works just fine in its position. Also it seems more natural for my arm to be at the side than in the middle.


Maybe if it's on the right side, but on the left it feels funny. At my desk for my flightsim I only fly right handed with my stick, but fly left handed with my yoke.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:36 am

Andre3K wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
benbeny wrote:
Unless we're talking about backdriven sidestick like what can we see on G500 and G600, I think yoke gives more sensory feedback. Does it matter? Not very much during normal ops. BUT it may increase safety, especially for those who are used to click-set-and-forget :D


The surfaces aren't necessarily following the stick/yoke in a FBW aircraft. For example on Airbus sideways stick pressure commands a roll rate, while fore and after commands a load factor. A mechanical stick backdrive dependent on aerodynamic forces acting on control would not be an accurate indication of what is happening.

Do I need to feel turbulence through the stick in a FBW aircraft? Personally I don't think so. We're not flying by the seat of our pants like in a light piston. We use the instruments. Even in direct law we use the instruments.

The spring loading on the Airbus stick does the job fine.

Andre3K wrote:
Best of both worlds is the centerstick that the C-17's have.


It's in the way of the tray though. ;) A sidestick is out of the way when you're not using it and works just fine in its position. Also it seems more natural for my arm to be at the side than in the middle.


Maybe if it's on the right side, but on the left it feels funny. At my desk for my flightsim I only fly right handed with my stick, but fly left handed with my yoke.


It's just a matter of habit. When you're in the left seat you fly with the left hand even with a yoke.

If your sim stick is "right handed" it will feel weird, but in the "bus" the left hand stick is "left handed" so it is not an issue.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:02 am

Moving side sticks will be a minor "improvement" in tactile feel. The pilots have a poor visual view of the opposite stick and the movement isn't near as great as the yoke. Overall, a "solution" to a non-problem or, if you feel the need to see/feel the flight controls, use a yoke. Best was the thru panel yokes in the Sabreliner and Jetstar.

GF
 
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thewizbizman
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:11 pm

BravoOne wrote:
Yea but real pilots use a yoke.....just feeding the troll.



Yeah, only real pilots use a yoke, and as far as eating, do it like they did in the 80s.
 
axmiha
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:20 am

So no one single pilot is uncomfortable with the notion that, if the digital system breaks (and do they ever?), you have no cables and physical gear to fly the plane? I'm not a pilot, but I am a driver, so if I got a "drive by wire" car, my first question would not be "how is the ergonomics?", but rather "what happens if the computer dies and I'm in the middle of a "sierrra" full of curves at about 60mh? No one seems to be bothered by this, I wonder why. No problem filling the plane with digital paraphernalia, but please leave the stick, the cables and all those basic old stuff just in case - I would think. AND a real pilot, by the way.
 
rbretas
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:39 am

axmiha wrote:
So no one single pilot is uncomfortable with the notion that, if the digital system breaks (and do they ever?), you have no cables and physical gear to fly the plane? I'm not a pilot, but I am a driver, so if I got a "drive by wire" car, my first question would not be "how is the ergonomics?", but rather "what happens if the computer dies and I'm in the middle of a "sierrra" full of curves at about 60mh? No one seems to be bothered by this, I wonder why. No problem filling the plane with digital paraphernalia, but please leave the stick, the cables and all those basic old stuff just in case - I would think. AND a real pilot, by the way.


Now imagine your car weights 80.000kg and, unlike other cars, the faster your are the heavier the steering become. If you lost your hydraulic steering on the "sierra" you would be dead, better have 2 or 3 redundant systems than direct control.
 
skyhawkmatthew
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:40 am

axmiha wrote:
So no one single pilot is uncomfortable with the notion that, if the digital system breaks (and do they ever?), you have no cables and physical gear to fly the plane? I'm not a pilot, but I am a driver, so if I got a "drive by wire" car, my first question would not be "how is the ergonomics?", but rather "what happens if the computer dies and I'm in the middle of a "sierrra" full of curves at about 60mh? No one seems to be bothered by this, I wonder why. No problem filling the plane with digital paraphernalia, but please leave the stick, the cables and all those basic old stuff just in case - I would think. AND a real pilot, by the way.


We do have physical gear to partially control the plane if everything quits. On the 777, that is cable linkages to the actuators for the 4 & 11 spoilers, and the stabiliser. Airbuses I believe are similar with manual stabiliser and a cable linkage to the rudder (at least on older-build aircraft until they realised such a catastrophic failure never happens!).

Fly-by-wire aircraft have enormous redundancy. The 777 has four ACE (Actuator Control Electronics) units, supplemented by three Primary Flight Computers. It's possible to still fly the aircraft with only one ACE unit still functioning, out of all seven computers—such a remote possibility that it's not even worth worrying about. If the electrical system completely fails (also unbelievably unlikely with three primary and two backup generators), the RAT will deploy within seconds and restore the power supply.
Qantas - The Spirit of Australia.
 
mmo
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:44 am

axmiha wrote:
So no one single pilot is uncomfortable with the notion that, if the digital system breaks (and do they ever?), you have no cables and physical gear to fly the plane? I'm not a pilot, but I am a driver, so if I got a "drive by wire" car, my first question would not be "how is the ergonomics?", but rather "what happens if the computer dies and I'm in the middle of a "sierrra" full of curves at about 60mh? No one seems to be bothered by this, I wonder why. No problem filling the plane with digital paraphernalia, but please leave the stick, the cables and all those basic old stuff just in case - I would think. AND a real pilot, by the way.


Let me try to put this in perspective. You seem to be somewhat concerned about FBW and not having the "basic old stuff". If you look at the 744, not FBW, but normal cables and pullies, so that meets your perspective. Even in that aircraft, should have a catastrophic failure of all 4 hydraulic systems or lose all 4 engines, granted that is very unlikely to occur, you would be in a position of having no controls. The 744 has hydraulic powered flight controls, with NO manual reversion.

If you look at the 777/787, as been pointed out, there are plenty of redundant systems that would allow control to be maintained. So unless you want to find a 737/727 to fly around in, you are pretty much SOL.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
Andre3K
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:11 pm

Has anyone ever considered a Permanent topic for this question that has come up probably 20 times on this site? And maybe with some kind of system where if you put keywords in your topic it will kick it back to the Permanent topic?
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:47 am

FBW systems have to be proven as reliable as any other system. And in modern planes FBW and other systems are ridiculously reliable. Way more reliable than cable and pulley systems were 30 years ago.

Example: Air data on the 350. 3 independent systems, plus ISIS, plus the FADEC's air data system. All automatically and transparently switching over in case of malfunctions. Likelihood of ever completely losing air data? Insignificant.

As mentioned if we lose all hydraulics, we're done. Is that ever likely to happen? Out of the things I worry about when flying, it is very very far down the list.

Andre3K wrote:
Has anyone ever considered a Permanent topic for this question that has come up probably 20 times on this site? And maybe with some kind of system where if you put keywords in your topic it will kick it back to the Permanent topic?


No fun. We like arguing the same thing over and over. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
tommy1808
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:06 pm

axmiha wrote:
I'm not a pilot, but I am a driver, so if I got a "drive by wire" car, my first question would not be "how is the ergonomics?", but rather "what happens if the computer dies and I'm in the middle of a "sierrra" full of curves at about 60mh? No one seems to be bothered by this, I wonder why.


Because and certified by wire system is wastly more reliable than the human driver will ever be. And the highest car ASIL level D is an order of magnitude less reliable than DAL-A in aviation or SIL-4 in Railways/workplace safety related equipment. SIL3 is usually enough even in applications that will kill someone almost definitely if it fails.

Best regards
Thomad
Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
axmiha
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:35 pm

Replying to all at once, thank you guys. You completely took away my worries. Nothing like having people who really know explaining things, so thank you again. There were some accidents involving Airbuses recently and there are people (even pilots) pointing the finger at the plane (I imagine you know about this far more than I do). I saw a documentary where pilots actually asked to be transferred (I don't know how this works) in order not to fly Airbuses anymore. And the AA 587 (the one that lost the vertical stabilizer) was quite weird. I asked a friend, who is the son of a pilot, and he never heard of a stabilizer falling off because of the pilot stepping hard on the rudder, specially at takeoff speeds. So these things start to accumulate and we start looking at the Airbus with suspicions. And when even Boeing changes (didn't it merge with MD?) and you see something like the film "Broken Dreams", you begin to see that technical aspects are only a small part of the problem - maybe the least. Maybe it's not the problem at all. At the end when something happens like JAL 123, even a UFO would crash. Thank you once more, you guys are fantastic. If there's a discussion about this you can point me too, it would be great so I can shut up and read more.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:49 am

axmiha wrote:
.And the AA 587 (the one that lost the vertical stabilizer) was quite weird. I asked a friend, who is the son of a pilot, and he never heard of a stabilizer falling off because of the pilot stepping hard on the rudder, specially at takeoff speeds. So these things start to accumulate and we start looking at the Airbus with suspicions.


AA587 was neither an fly by wire aircraft, nor is the rudder controlled by the yoke, which the Airbus A300 also had since side sticks haven't found their way in Airbus cockpits.

And for parts breaking off, just like you can get almost any car to flip if you do the right steering inputs with the right frequency, you can disintegrate any aircraft by hitting the same "sweet spot". In both cases electronics can prevent that.

Best regards
Thomas
Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:30 am

tommy1808 wrote:
axmiha wrote:
.And the AA 587 (the one that lost the vertical stabilizer) was quite weird. I asked a friend, who is the son of a pilot, and he never heard of a stabilizer falling off because of the pilot stepping hard on the rudder, specially at takeoff speeds. So these things start to accumulate and we start looking at the Airbus with suspicions.


AA587 was neither an fly by wire aircraft, nor is the rudder controlled by the yoke, which the Airbus A300 also had since side sticks haven't found their way in Airbus cockpits.

And for parts breaking off, just like you can get almost any car to flip if you do the right steering inputs with the right frequency, you can disintegrate any aircraft by hitting the same "sweet spot". In both cases electronics can prevent that.

Best regards
Thomas


Well put. The rudder didn't snap off because of full input one way. It snapped because of repeated sharp inputs in opposite directions. The rudder is only certified for full input one way, then back. It is not certified for flapping it back and forth like the wing of a panicked pigeon. Bear in mind the rudder is by far the most powerful control surface.

Even in the FBW Airbi, the manuals state that repeated strong rudder inputs in opposite directions are not permitted. If the AA587 plane had been a 767, the fin/rudder would most likely still have broken off. FWIW, investigation showed that it failed at higher than certified loads.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
titanmiller
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:05 pm

This wasn't intended to be a FBW sidestick vs mechanical yoke discussion (which it has come down to), but rather a acknowledgement that a yoke is a horrible control interface considering that it blocks the instrument panel and hits your/the other pilot's knees.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:56 pm

titanmiller wrote:
This wasn't intended to be a FBW sidestick vs mechanical yoke discussion (which it has come down to), but rather a acknowledgement that a yoke is a horrible control interface considering that it blocks the instrument panel and hits your/the other pilot's knees.


If you're sitting correctly, neither of those things happens, at least in an airliner. The yoke in the 172 might sometimes hit my leg, but only because I was wearing a kneeboard.

I wouldn't call modern yokes a nightmare. They seem to do the job fine. The reasons I prefer the stick is that it is out of the way when you don't need it, and that (at least with an Airbus sidestick), the whole lower arm is supported, meaning you can make very fine control inputs with ease.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
axmiha
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:49 am

Once again, thank you. If I could, I'd ask you guys a billion questions. I don't know how much habit - and how hard it is to change it - is an issue in these matters. I had to change from analog to digital in my profession (music) and I hated it. I like the old ways better, but I couldn't prove beyond any doubt that it is the best way, or the music came out better. It actually did, for other reasons, but it's not provable, and to many kids it would mean nothing. Or like learning another software, once you're used to one that already took you years to learn. A pain. At the end you learn, adapt and go on. My only question now would be, for you pilots, did flying get really better? I ask because in these examples I gave there wasn't a real change for the better, it was just change. Softwares love to do this, change from 6 to half-a-dozen (as we say here) just to be cooler or look different, some stupid commercial reason like that, and you have to learn all over again just to continue doing the same thing in the same way. Anything like that in aviation?...like....changing to a joystick after years with a yoke column? (I hope this re-connects to the main discussion. Sorry about that, titanmiller).
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Aircraft yokes are an ergonomic disaster

Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:15 am

I learned to fly with a yoke. I fly commercially with a side stick. I even fly commercially with a side stick from either seat. Going back and forth is a non-event. It's using the rest of the pushbuttons with the "correct" hand for the seat you're sitting in that is harder to ingrain in muscle memory. :)

Yoke or stick, back is still pitch up, forward is still pitch down, side to side is still roll. Going from one to the other doesn't change very much. Different aircraft yokes and sticks even work differently. A 172 yoke goes back and forward in one plane for pitch, while a Boeing yoke is hinged lower down so there's a an actual pitching motion. A Cessna 162 stick works the same in pitch as a 172 yoke, but side to side is in one plane with no rolling motion. Take a minute to get used to any of them, mostly at a subconscious level.

There is no "cooler solution" about it. The change to a stick makes sense because there is no need in a modern airliner for the leverage afforded by a yoke. We're not manually actuating the controls. A heavy yoke that is almost always in the way is somewhat nonsensical compared to a stick that is out of the way when you don't need it. But again, ergonomically, WHEN IN USE, a yoke is fine as well. It's not like you can fly more precisely with one of the other.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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