Airbus A380 flight deck showing side sticks
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column (or joystick) that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck. Typically this is found in aircraft that are equipped with fly-by-wire control systems.
The throttle controls are typically located to the left of the pilot (or centrally on a two-seat flightdeck). Only one hand may thus be used for the stick, and both-hands operation is neither possible nor required.
The side-stick is used in many modern military fighter aircraft, such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mitsubishi F-2, Dassault Rafale, and F-22 Raptor, and also on civil aircraft, such as the Sukhoi Superjet 100, Airbus A320 and later Airbus aircraft, including the largest passenger jet in service, the Airbus A380.
This arrangement contrasts with the more conventional design where the stick is located in the centre of the cockpit between the pilot's legs, called a "centre stick".
In the centre stick design, both the pilot's and co-pilot's controls are mechanically connected together so that each pilot has a sense of the control inputs of the other. In typical Airbus side-stick implementations, the sticks are independent. The plane's computer either aggregates multiple inputs or a pilot can press a "priority button" to lock out inputs from the other side-stick.
- Crane, Dale: Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms, third edition, page 463. Aviation Supplies & Academics, 1997. ISBN 1-56027-287-2
- "Fly-by-wire - A CIVIL AVIATION FIRST". Airbus / Innovation / Proven concepts / In design / Fly-by-wire. Airbus. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Getline, Meryl (2005-11-21), "Ask the captain", USA Today
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