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Most small single engine piston aircraft (C152, C172, C182, Pipers, etc) have panel-mount controls for throttle, mixture and prop, which sit quite far forward compared to where it would be comfortable to rest one’s hand, such that a centre-console quadrant would appear to be much more comfortable.

Why don’t more small aircraft place controls in this apparently superior position?

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That's where they fit! On both the original 172 and the Piper designs the "center console" area is where the flap bar is mounted, thus preventing the throttle from going there. The C172 has since moved to electric flaps but did not relocate the throttle in the process. Piper has retained that flap bar on its PA-28 series it still produces to this day. Many of the PA-28's also have their elevator trim wheel in that area (older ones have overhead trim)

It should be noted that new airframes designed in the last two decades like the SR-2X and the Diamonds do have throttles mounted as you discuss.

Piston Pipers also lack center consoles in general as they only have one door and the pilot would have to climb over a center console to get in if one were in place.

FWIW the Piper Cub (designed before the PA-28's and 172) have the throttle right where your left hand sits.

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  • $\begingroup$ On the panel would also seem cheaper to build and more reliable, given a shorter & straighter cable run. And really, what percent of the time do you want to rest your hand on throttle &c? Not having important stuff that can be knocked out of position when you move around also makes for more leg & seat room. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 9 at 5:07

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