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79 votes

What is the motivation behind designing a control stick that does not move?

The stick does not need to move in order for the pilots to sense their inputs! Humans have very accurate force sensors in their fingers, and no direct position sensors. Proprioception provides ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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71 votes
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How dissimilar are redundant flight control computers?

As far as Airbus is concerned: Each unit is composed of two dissimilar boards, one driving the output and the other checking it. Dissimilar means both different CPUs and chipsets (A320 uses i386 (...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
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69 votes
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What control inputs to make if a wing falls off?

This one: Yes, an F-15 has once landed with a lost wing. However, the landing was a close call - 20 more feet and the plane would've overrun the runway. That landing took both skill and luck, as well ...
Therac's user avatar
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64 votes
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Why force the nose of 737 Max down in the first place?

The main thing to avoid in aeroplane stability & control, is an aerodynamic nose up moment that is not commanded by the pilot. The uncommanded nose-up moment would not auto-stabilise, but rapidly ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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53 votes
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How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

I grew up in a family hot air ballooning business, and while I haven't been involved in a few years, I can answer your question in two words: They don't! Taking Off As far as collisions go, the other ...
N. P.'s user avatar
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51 votes

Why do flight control cables not slacken during the cold temperatures at cruise?

If you look closely at your drawing you will see the cables are not really simple pull cables but really act like steel belts. That is, there is a pulley at each end and when you actuate the control ...
Trevor_G's user avatar
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47 votes
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Why is the UH-60 tail rotor canted?

John K and Koyovis's answers are both correct. However, as a former pilot of the UH-60 and a mechanical engineer here is a simpler version. A helicopter must be balanced. If the front is much ...
Philip's user avatar
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45 votes
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How and why can multiple people control the Boeing B-29?

In aircraft of this vintage, all the controls are mechanically interconnected. If the left-hand pilot's control yoke/ wheel moves, so does the right-hand pilot's. Likewise for the rudder pedals. ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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43 votes

Can airliners land with auto pilot in gusty wind conditions?

To the first part of your question, the airplane is not moving BECAUSE his yoke movements are "strong and fast". Experienced pilots can feel a gust and respond with a control input to ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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41 votes
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Why are the controls of transport category aircraft much heavier than light aircraft?

The control forces are there by design. All airliners have artificial force feel from springs, dampers etc. A B747 flies through the skies a lot faster than a Cessna 172 and bad things could happen ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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41 votes

How dissimilar are redundant flight control computers?

Redundancy is not only achieved by multiplying the computers, but also by diversifying them. On Airbus airliners, two different computers are used (one with Intel chips, the other with Motorola chips ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
40 votes
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Is it possible to stall a plane so badly that the nose refuses to go down due to lack of airspeed?

Yes it's called a Deep Stall, and is mostly a problem with T Tail aircraft, especially jets with Supercritical Airfoil wings (like the CRJ Regional Jet line). Such wings stall from the leading edge ...
John K's user avatar
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38 votes
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Can a plane bank without turning?

Yes it can. The steady-heading sideslip (SHSS) maneuver is used in flight testing to demonstrate static lateral/directional stability (similar maneuvers exist as sideslip approach in crosswind, or ...
JZYL's user avatar
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36 votes
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Is it possible to sail a seaplane?

You can sail a seaplane, but there are a lot of considerations. For starters, it makes a big difference as to whether you're talking about a seaplane where the hull is in the water or a floatplane. A ...
Terry's user avatar
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36 votes

In the early days of flight, were there any cockpit control schemes other than the modern one?

The Dunne D.8 used a pair of levers, each controlling one elevon.
Pilothead's user avatar
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35 votes

How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

The perspective on that photo makes it hard to tell, but it looks like many of the balloons are still on the ground. So it's not quite as chaotic as it appears. There is no direct horizontal control....
BowlOfRed's user avatar
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34 votes
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Would a wireless fly by wire system be practical?

The fly-by-wire is absolutely vital for control of the aircraft, and the three dominating factors here are safety, safety and safety. Weight is not one of them. The fly-by-wire system is triple or ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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34 votes
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Why not use the yoke to control yaw, as well as pitch and roll?

The modern control yoke is directly derived from the "joystick" control that became standard on aircraft in the days when Glenn Curtiss personally ran the company that was the main competitor to the ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
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34 votes
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Are helicopters easier to fly nowadays due to computers?

Yes, a lot of helicopters are easier to fly today due to automation. Modern (higher-price) helicopters are equipped with autpilot modules which typically range from pilot assistance to full-fledged ...
U_flow's user avatar
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33 votes
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Are helicopters aerodynamically stable?

It's complicated ;) There are two types of stability; dynamic and static. If an aircraft is disturbed by, say, a gust of wind, it will deviate from its attitude but then will immediately and without ...
Simon's user avatar
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33 votes
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How much physical strength is required to control a Cessna 172?

I will take this from a more general perspective. A Cessna 172 is part of the CS-23 category (in EASA land, see the equivalent Part 23 for FAA land). In the relevant document, point CS 23.143, we ...
Federico's user avatar
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32 votes
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Identification of this control panel for a four-engine plane

This is almost definitely the cockpit of a Short Stirling of unknown mark, a 4-engine British heavy bomber from World War II. The RAF Museum's website has an (admittedly low-resolution) photo that ...
egid's user avatar
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32 votes

Without wind, would a plane go straight if the pilot let go of the controls?

If the airplane is properly trimmed, the airmass is smooth, and the aircraft is inherently stable in its design, then yes - many airplanes are capable of flying straight with only very light and ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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31 votes
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Was the miracle on the Hudson saved exclusively by the APU?

Yes, the solution to start APU was important. The ditching procedure directs the use of maximum available slats and flaps for the final approach and touchdown (source, chapter 10.3). This is not ...
h22's user avatar
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31 votes

How do hot air balloon pilots avoid collisions?

The balloons just float, there is no thrust so no wake etc. If there is a constant wind, all balloons have exactly the same speed. Only local phenomena can create differences in horizontal relative ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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30 votes
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What happens to Cessna electric flaps that are moving when power is lost?

Stays where it is. The mechanism is a leadscrew and like most leadscrews it's "self-locking", which means that it's held in position by frictional forces whenever the motor isn't turning and it can't ...
pericynthion's user avatar
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30 votes
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Why does Boeing use a trim wheel in the 737 and not their other products?

Trim pitch "wheels" as you describe date back to the time when turning that wheel actually pulled on steel cables that were connected to the hinge mechanism for the control surface itself. This ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
29 votes
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What is the exact meaning of "attitude", does it include translational movement?

Your assumption is correct, attitude is orientation in space and it excludes translation. Object orientation in space can be defined using multiple systems. The one used in aviation uses three angles:...
mins's user avatar
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28 votes
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How do planes maintain constant speeds at cruise altitudes?

The autopilot pitches to hold the flight level when it captures the level at the top of the climb, so later on as the aircraft gets lighter and wants to climb further, the A/P will lower the nose as ...
John K's user avatar
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27 votes
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How do elevons work to roll a flying wing?

Good question! There's a bit of a misconception: when the elevon moves up, it actually decreases lift. It pushes air up which pushes the wing down. This explains the roll behaviour, but how does ...
Sanchises's user avatar
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