Poll: If You Had Your Choice In A New (Or Old) Airplane, Would It Be Center Stick, Yoke, Side Stick Or Side Controller?


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  1. I wish GA was in a place where automobile industry is, from various perspectives, particularly with regard to price point and variety for the purpose of this poll, so that my deciding factor was (or could be) the position (or type) of the control stick! :]

  2. It depends on the type of flying. A center stick is more intuitive when flying aerobatic aircraft. A side stick or side controller makes for easier access to the pilot’s seat, offers safety advantages in a crash, and is more comfortable to use. A yoke is comfortable to use with either hand. Different strokes for different folks and different types of aircraft.

    • Diamond engineered their stick to break off in a crash, and I talked to a very old crash victim who walked away with part of the stick still in his grip!

  3. Center stick provides for better feel and control, but the yoke does provide a convenient place to mount your tablet (besides your leg). Yoke also provides room for a lap desk when needed; but, in the end, I would still stick with a stick, thank you.

  4. After hours in the seat, both a center stick and a yoke become tiring. Also, there are ergonomic factors that make fine motor control asymmetric in both those designs, due to the multiple joints and muscle groups between the spine and the grip. There are similar factors present in a wrist grip, but they are much smaller and more balanced.

    Both sticks and yokes were designed for mechanical reasons, and pilots accommodated. If the pilot doesn’t have to use muscles to overcome mechanical disadvantages, a high-fidelity-feedback hand controller is the superior solution. Also, since most side controllers take up very little space, two can be used to accommodate pilot handedness.

  5. Side stick for space/ability to move legs during a longer cruise. If a side controller is a kind of one-grip yoke protruding from the panel that‘s probably equally convenient. With a center stick it depends whether you can grip it low enough to rest your forearm on your thigh.

  6. What’s the difference between a side stick and a side controller? I can’t find any literature which differentiates between the two.

    • I believe they mean what’s in the Cirrus. It looks like a stick, but actually operates like a yoke.

  7. Center stick, but I’ve only ever used the ones in the Diamonds, and they might be best in class. Cessna and Piper yokes are terrible in my experience, though acceptable when new or just serviced properly. Mooney is better (ailerons are on tubes, not pulleys), but it takes getting used to because it’s more sensitive in pitch more than roll. Cirrus was okay, but I’ve only flown one relatively new one.

    Overall, I think rod connections might make nearly as much difference as placement and type with center stick winning on intuitive feel.

  8. I would guess it would come down to the type of flying one does, long range cruise, boosted flight controls vrs short flights aerobic type flying.
    Side stick must have a fore arm rest so it reduces the over controlling aspect

    • I guess you’d want side stick for that “aerobic type flying” so that after every intersection course change you could tear off 25 squats or run in place 15 minutes.