From: (Mary Shafer)
Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Date:         01 Jul 95 02:24:42 
References:   1 2 3 4 5
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

On 30 Jun 95 03:47:16 , (Jean-Francois Mezei) said:

> A control column is that big heavy thing with the "Y" yoke on top,
> that is situated between each pilot's legs.
> A sidestick is a small handgrip situated on each sidewall of the airplane.

JF> I prefer the term "sidestick". I had visions of a "joystick" the
JF> size of a video game's in front of the pilot :-)

Just a note about terminology.  What we now call sidesticks, which is
to say a handgrip mounted at the pilot's side, were called "side arm
controllers" back in the X-15 days.  About when the YF-16 was selected
the terminology switched to "sidestick".  I have never heard the
controller that the pilot manipulates to control the pitch and roll of
the aircraft called a "joystick", but I have heard this term used to
refer to various controllers for lasing systems, cameras, etc.  These
are usually much smaller than sidesticks and aren't handgrips at all,
but usually little rods.

The Space Shuttle uses a Rotational Hand Controller (RHC), which is a
handgrip mounted on a column in front of the pilot.  The interesting
thing about the RHC is that the pitch pivot point is in the middle of
the pilot's palm, instead of at the base of the handgrip.  This makes
it feel very peculiar until you get used to it.  (I once hand-carried
an RHC from JSC to Dryden; the paperwork specified its replacement
cost as $1,000,000 but they told me that was on the low side and
suggested I not check it, as I'd signed for it.)

Surely I'm not the only person here who's flown both center and
sidesticks?  I like sticks that move and hate sticks that don't, no
matter which type.  It's quite amazing how much difference a little
motion (say a quarter of an inch on a sidestick and a half an inch on
a center stick) can make.  It moves the plane from a Cooper-Harper 9
or 10 up to a 4 or 5, even for an amateur like me.

Mary Shafer                                             DoD #362 KotFR
SR-71 Chief Engineer   NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA          Of course I don't speak for NASA