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The first Airbus had yokes but they changed to the sidesticks after a while But Boeing is still stuck with yokes even with 777-300ER decades later.

The sole purpose of the yokes are seemingly for the Cessna students to stick their charts and for some instructions on the airliners which I think isnt worth blocking the screenes.

One more thing. Is it true that its impossible to manual reversion an sidestick aircraft?

Why though? Boeing simply wants to keep R&D low or there are some other reasons? They are known for using the same design to keep costs down but didn't they ever tried to innovate the mechanics?

Perhaps just another example of design philosophy between the west and the east?

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe we all can take a look at the Sud Aviation Caravelle's 20 degree swept 8 AR wing and modest 24,000 lbs of thrust (from both engines). This is a public "bus". $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Jul 20 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ Are you under the impression that Airbus came out of the eastern bloc? Airbus is mostly based in France, with main manufacturing bases in Spain, Germany, France, UK. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jul 20 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanIrons I didn't suggest you were; I'm just trying to understand your remarks that this has anything to do with east/west or the US/USSR. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jul 20 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanIrons I still don't understand what you mean. Airbus is from western Europe, which is "the west". $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jul 20 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanIrons No, the west refers to western Europe, north America and (usually) Australia and New Zealand, i.e. the modern political civilisations whose origins lie in the ancient cities of Greece and Rome. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jul 20 at 19:12
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Boeing had evaluated a sidestick controller as early as the 737's development, and concluded it was too much of a change, all at once, from older airliners. The 737 with its high-bypass engines and design that almost stood up to this day was a revolution as it was. The year was 1967.

Airbus was entering its A320 into the market in 1987, a full 20 years later. By that time, if you wanted the most advanced large narrow-body, it was - well, it actually was the 757, but since you didn't want to pay the cost and weight premium it commanded, and narrowbodies mostly serve shorter routes, it was the 737.

This meant Airbus needed a disruptive design with killer features to have any shot at the market. So they gave the A320 the most sophisticated fly-by-wire, convenient sidestick control, and a ULD-supporting cargo hold.

Both got what they wanted. Boeing got an airplane that was easier to retrain 707 pilots for, Airbus got from zero to equal footing with Boeing by differentiating their offering.

As time went on, both kept playing to their strengths. Boeing wanted to keep retraining pilots between their models easier, so they kept the yoke. Keeping innovation in the background, reducing the pilot-perceived change when possible. Airbus kept developing their glass cockpit with reduced pilot effort.

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  • $\begingroup$ Boeing also has a different basic philosophy with respect to the pilot's place in the airplane, tending to keep the pilot deeper in the control loop you might say, with a bit more authority over everything, than Airbus, and their pilots had more design influence within development programs. And they tended to dislike side sticks. $\endgroup$ – John K Jul 20 at 14:21
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There are very good reasons to implement coupled column/yokes for aeroplane control: they are right in front of you, you can apply force with both hands, and you can feel immediately what input the other crew member is giving. The force sensors in our hands are very precise feedback instruments that should and can be fully utilised.

The upside of the side stick for passenger aircraft is...actually, what was the problem that needed to be solved? More room for the lunch table?

The F16 used side sticks because of the 9g accelerations that accelerate arms all over the place and can be the source of Pilot Induced Oscillations - best to support the arm with the armrest and control the aircraft by wrist movement. Not a lot of movement because the sticks are almost fixed, and use the force sensors in the hands for pilot feedback.

Column/yoke combinations provide the clearest feedback on what the condition of the aeroplane is: hydraulics ON, autopilot ON, trim position. The 737 is about the largest plane that can handle manual reversion, and one requires a column/yoke or a centre stick for that.

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  • $\begingroup$ Boeing continues to use columns on their full FBW designs because that's what their flight ops contingent, and a lot of pilots generally prefer, and they feel strongly enough about it to live with the 150lb or so weight penalty of the columns, torque tube, etc, even though there are no control cables. On the C series program there was a long debate over whether to go in the Airbus or Boeing direction, and the decision was made to use side sticks for the weight saving. $\endgroup$ – John K Jul 20 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Not only can you use a yoke with both hands, you can use it with either hand. If you use a sidestick, you'd have to have one on either side of the pilot to get the same capability. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 20 at 18:20

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