As many current and prospective pilots may know, aircraft will often vary in their cockpit controls, instruments, and other features based on the manufacturer of the vehicle, when it was made, and other such factors. Although many modern aircraft now feature advanced glass cockpits with similar technology, there is still a big divide in controls when it comes down to Airbus and Boeing aircraft. While Boeing aircraft feature a yoke for pilots to use, Airbus aircraft feature a control stick. While both of these controls ultimately perform the same exact duty, they vary in their design and placement, making it essential that pilots learn how to use both if they intend to operate aircraft from both manufacturers.
The stick controller is often considered a fairly simplistic option to both install and use, and it is most commonly found in aircraft models that feature fly-by-wire control systems. When an aircraft features a two-seater flight deck to accommodate a pilot and co-pilot, the control stick will be situated in a central location. As a mechanical assembly accompanied by a number of fails, buttons, and switches, pilots can govern the aircraft with ample precision to ensure efficiency and safety.
As the stick controller is considered the most sensitive in terms of function, it is often a popular choice for trainees and pilots with its ability to offer rapid and independent movements that are commanded by the onboard computer. While commonly found on Airbus models, such flight control system features are often common on military fighter jets, light aircraft, and various civil aircraft models alike.
On the other hand, yokes are fairly easy to recognize with their control wheel appearance. As a more traditional type of joystick, yokes allow for the attitude of a plane to be managed through its mechanical-driven system that is attached to control surfaces through a series of cables and rods. Larger than stick controllers, yokes may demand more arm movement when operating. While control sticks provide more independent instructions to an aircraft, yokes have the benefit of offering instantaneous control inputs as yokes are coupled together. Additionally, they also provide visual feedback for control positions while being less sensitive to maneuvers. Yokes can be found on many aircraft like stick controllers, finding implementation in general aircraft like the Cessna 172 and commercial airliners like the Boeing 787.
As both side stick and yokes provide the same general function for piloting aircraft, the decision often comes down to factors such as ergonomics and adaptability. As flight operations may be long, ergonomics can quickly become a concern or issue. Additionally, some may even just have personal preference, choosing to rely on one control system more than another as it suits them better. Nevertheless, for pilots who operate a variety of planes, it is essential that proper training is carried out on how to use each, as both control systems will vary. If you find yourself in need of any particular parts and components for your operations, look no further than ASAP Aviation Unlimited for all your various needs.
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