Airbus Side Stick or Boeing Yoke?

25 September 2020, 18:30

Airbus and Boring are leading the civil aviation industry in 21st. century as we know. Both companies have different design languages while performing their art. If we need to talk about, Boeings are designed more pointed noses unlike Airbus curved noses.

When you check out the windows you can clearly see Airbus cockpit side windows run in a straight line along the bottom whereas Boeing side windows run in a V shape along the bottom. These features can be observed on some airplanes and they can be inreased by substances.

Today’s topic about a more spesific feature which applied all types of Airbus and Boeing airplanes on production line. Have you ever think about why Airbus have side sticks while Boeing have yokes? Fasten your seatbelts, lets find out!

Airbus’s Side Stick

From the propeller to modern jets, yokes have presence in cockpits alongside one of the most indispensable control unit. In this deep history, yokes have been used by Airbus too before. Predecessors of A320 family, the aircraft controlled by a central yoke in the cockpit. At these days the yoke was one and only control unit in the industry.

In 1985, Airbus started to use ”fly-by-wire” system in aircrafts which replaced manual flight controls with computer base controls. With the use of fly-by-wire system, the side stick started its life in Airbus cockpits. Before the date, the side stick were only common on fighter jets just as F-16 or Dassault Rafale.

As a consequence of using fly-by-wire system, Airbus redesign the cockpit configuration and simplify controls. New designed cockpit and side stick were very innovative for the industry. Alsı pilots have one hand free to reach other controls by using side stick. The feature provides pilots more confortable experience in flights. In addition by introducing side stick Airbus went one step further over Boeing in narrowbody market.

After the A320, Airbus applied the side stick on all its subsequent aircrafts. Without yoke, Airbus, that have more space in cockpits, recover the design of cockpit with computers and displays.

The yoke lives on Boeing

Before 1985, Boeing actually worked on introducing a side stick as early as 1967 with the first 737. However, the company did not apply this feature on their airplane because of pilots. The reason is, the dramatic change could affect existing pilots in a bad way.

After introducing the side stick by Airbus, Boeing’s 737 and 747 sales did not decrase. Even they got sale success with these airplanes in the market. However, absence of the side stick does not mean Boeing has also not implemented fly-by-wire system. The 777 is the worlds first airliner that uses fly-by-wire system in history.

On the Boeing side, there is no reason to move away from yoke. Even in the 777-9, the latest airplane of the company, the yoke lives on the cockpit while featuring a futuristic, touchscreen flight deck.

So, which is better?

The pro-Airbus side stands on that side stick makes pilots more comfortable in flights and the design keeps pilots in safe limits. The side stick also gives more freedom to operate computers and touchscreens with one free hand.

The pro-Boeing side stands on that the yoke is an important tool to operate the aircraft in emergencies, allowing for an override in emergency scenarios. The side also insists that the yoke design retains more general flying skills, as well as coordination between the pilot and co-pilot.

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