Has there ever been a plane which at least one of the primary flight controls is reversed?

For example, pulling back on the stick will cause a dive, or full throttle is achieved by moving the levers backwards towards the pilot.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes but I don't have the references at hand. $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Jun 29, 2017 at 13:38
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Do you mean by accident or by design? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ The Wright Flyer had a "normal' (but very sensitive) elevator, and you used your hips for roll. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the Pre-WW1 planes had reversed controls compared to modern aircraft. $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2017 at 14:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They are not airplanes, but overhead-stick gyrocopters work that way... $\endgroup$
    – xxavier
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ It may not be what you're asking, but a US pilot flying a Yak (for example) will have to 'reverse' the rudder input on takeoff: left instead of right rudder, because the prop rotates anticlockwise rather than the usual clockwise rotation in US aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Well into WWII, quite a few French aircraft had the throttle reversed- with full throttle to the rear. The French also customized the imported aircraft in WWII to this effect. From the book American Warplanes of WWII- Fighters, Bombers and Liaison by Col. John. D. Current:

... Officially designated Curtiss H75-C1, the aircraft ... had instruments calibrated for the metric system, ... a French style throttle which operated in reverse from U.S. and British aircraft (full throttle was to the rear rather than to the front)...

From joebaugher.com about the same aircraft:

The Hawk 75A-1 was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC-G engine, with an international rating of 900 hp at 12,000 feet and 950 hp for takeoff. ... A modified seat was fitted to accommodate the French Lemercier back parachute. The throttle operated in the "French fashion", i.e. in the reverse direction to the throttles of British or US aircraft.

Looks like the French modified the T-28 Trojans too (though I'm not absolutely sure about this):

... the French were looking for a replacement for their ground attack T-6s. ... The French did however acquire 148 A models that were in storage at Davis-Montham. They then changed the engines, (removed the R-1300 and installed the R-1820-76A), reversed the throttle operation, (forward is closed aft is open ?? why do this?) ... These planes were then used by the French in Algeria from the end of 1960 until the end of the war in July of 1962.

Not only the French, the Italians and Japanese also used reversed throttles, which caused quite a few problems in service, as the Wikipedia page on Macchi_C.205 notes:

In the brief German use, Veltros had at least five losses by accidents, often caused by the inverted throttle used on Italian aircraft (In German and Allied fighters the "open throttle" position was forward, not back, and this was the source of several errors).

The Italians too faced problems with this difference in controls. According to Oddone Colonna, an Italian pilot in 150 Gruppo CT at Gruppo Caccia:

In the summer of 1943 at Vicenza airport I made my first acquaintance with the "Gustavo", a Messerschmitt fighter of the G-6 version. I was among pilots from 23° and 150° Gruppo Caccia to get first flights in the German plane that had been entering service at the Regia Aeronautica for few months.

We had two main difficulties on test taxing at the Vicentine airport.

1) The gas throttle had an inverted movement compared to Italian vehicles. [The Italians like the French used a reversed throttle in their planes. TNi]

2) The Plane had hydraulic pedal brakes instead of pneumatic ones with differential command like on other Italian vehicles.


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