# Has there ever been an aircraft with three sets of flight controls?

On every aircraft I know, there is either one set of flight controls if it is single-pilot operated, or two sets of flight controls allowing either the pilot or copilot full control.

Has there ever been an aircraft that has three or more sets of flight controls?

To clarify:

• "aircraft" includes fixed-wing, helicopter, powered lift etc.
• remotely operated aircraft do not count.
• A set of flight controls consists of yokes, pedals and/or sticks that allow the operator to manipulate the pitch, roll and yaw axes.
• You could say most WWII bombers had a third set of controls for the bombardier. On the bombing run control of the aircraft was turned over to the bomb sight. I don't know if it controlled all axes, though, or how much control authority it had, since it was intended for fine adjustments Feb 13 '18 at 18:28
• I'm not posting an answer because I don't know the details but the winch operator on some sea rescue helicopters has some control over the aircraft, I don't know how much.
– user29000
Feb 14 '18 at 14:40

Depends if you are asking about production or testbed stuff, NASA had at least one test bed aircraft that looks to have had at least 4 sets of controls (also covered in this question).

If you consider the space shuttle an aircraft, some of the thrusting capabilities (enough for pitch roll and yaw I belive) were operable from the arm control position.

• Rotation and translation were both available from the aft station on shuttle -- it was how they did docking, since the docking adapter was in the payload bay. Interestingly, the translational hand controllers didn't look like that diagram indicates. They looked like this (the far left of the front panel, the stick with the square head): collectspace.com/images/news-062611a/013.jpg Feb 13 '18 at 15:21

Dave's second reference (here) includes two helicopters with a third set of controls:

• a retractable gondola which was fitted within the helicopter's fuselage. This compartment was equipped with a set of flight controls and could be lowered down allowing a third pilot to fly the aircraft while facing towards the rear! Is that the rickety shed-cum-greenhouse hanging just forward of the front wheels? Everything about it, that it came from B&Q with a free tomato plant, the fact it'll be crushed if you land, the fact it faces backwards, is All Awesome. Feb 13 '18 at 15:47