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HOTAS, an initialism for Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle stick and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing the pilot to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove his hands from the throttle and flight controls. Application of the concept was pioneered with the Ferranti AIRPASS radar and gunsight control system used by the English Electric Lightning[1] and is widely used on all modern fighter aircraft such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

HOTAS is a shorthand term which refers to the pattern of controls in the modern fighter aircraft cockpit. Having all switches on the stick and throttle allows the pilot to keep his "hands on throttle-and-stick", thus allowing him to remain focused on more important duties than looking for controls in the cockpit. The goal is to improve the pilot's situational awareness, his ability to manipulate switch and button controls in turbulence, under stress, or during high G-force maneuvers, to improve his reaction time, to minimize instances when he must remove his hands from one or the other of the aircraft's controls to use another aircraft system, and total time spent doing so.

The concept has also been applied to the steering wheels of modern open-wheel racecars, like those used in Formula One and the Indy Racing League. HOTAS has been adapted for game controllers used for flight simulators (most such controllers are based on the F-16 Fighting Falcon's) and in cars equipped with radio controls on the steering wheel. In the modern military aircraft cockpit the HOTAS concept is sometimes enhanced by the use of Direct Voice Input to produce the so-called "V-TAS" concept, and augmented with helmet mounted display systems such as the "Schlem" used in the MiG-29 and Su-27, which allow the pilot to control various systems using his line of sight, and to guide missiles by simply looking at the target.


  1. ^ "English Electric Lightning -Supersonic Interceptor". YouTube. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 


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