Throttle quadrant position

Discussion in 'Engines' started by Geedee, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know...which is not a lot !...all single seat, single engined fighters had the throttle quadrant on the left hand side of the cockpit, while generally, multi engined jobbies had them centrally placed (and I wont even go into why some-one decided to hang the throttles from the roof in seaplanes !.)

    Were there any single seaters built with throttle on the RHS of the pilot ?.

    Being a Right Handed dude myself, I find it natural to have my left hand on the throttle...on the rare occassions when I get the opportunity to do the driving that is, leaving my right hand to do the genral direction pointing.

    How did...do ?... left handed peeps get on during combat ?...was it just a simple question of fire-walling the loud lever and using both hands on the stick (as some Aces preffered) or was it simply a matter of 'just get on with it !'

    Any thoughts ?
     
  2. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    I've wondered the same thing before, so I'm glad you asked Gary. In real flight, and especially combat flight, how frequently would the pilot be adjusting the throttle? That would seem to be a factor.

    Thinking of what the control column handgrips looked like, they often seem to be oriented for right-handers. The British ring with its fire buttons and brake lever on the Hurricane and Spitfire seemed to be better suited to a Rightie. Also the German grip, KG13 I believe, was oriented to a right handed grip.
    but photos I've seen of some of the American control grips looked like either hand could be used for primary control and still access the fire buttons easily.

    Similar to this, I've always wanted to drive a car with the controls on the Right side just for this reason. When I shift the gears with my right hand (my primary hand) I always want to place my right hand back on the wheel for better control. I've thought if I could sit in a Jag scooting down a English country road it would seem more natural to be able to keep my right hand on the wheel while I'm grinding the gears with my left hand on the shifter.
    But then in a Zero, the MG and Cannon fire buttons were on the throttle grip if i remember correctly. That may have given a left-handed IJN pilot a slight edge over his dexter opponent.

    Anyway, ramblings from a mildly informed but hopelessly curious history nut.
    Regards, Derek
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #3 drgondog, Sep 25, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
    definitely for a right hand pilot. Most gear and all throttle/trim on left side for fighter, center for bomber (so co-pilot could have access)

    In combat, throttle control (and in case of most high performance ships) both throttle and trim needed to be 'off hand' exercises.
     
  4. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    I've assumed this,
    In a fighter your left had is on the trim wheels most of the time during flight changes (during combat too to get the best out of your plane), and you do need constant throttle, pitch and ram air changes.
    In a car you use the gears/throttle/brakes to change vehicle trim, so in racing your left hand (right hand drive, I'm in Oz) is on the shift lever (and brake bias and boost regulator controls) most of the time, although the definitely preferred position at all times is both hands on the wheel as much as possible.
    Right or left handed makes no difference, you're playing at flight engineer and it doesn't matter if you turn a knob with your toe, or read an instrument with either eye, so long as it gets done. That said most right handers are stronger in that arm which may help with old rod/wire controls but then again I find no difficulties when racing right or left hand drive cars, it doesn't change anything, doesn't throw me and I barely even notice, in fact it's actually nice to let my off hand do most of the work for a change, makes me feel more symmetrical as a person.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That still makes no difference as in many aircraft there are tension limits within the rigging that may be checked at the control in question. I've worked on aircraft where such items as power levers (turbine aircraft), fire extinguisher handles, mixture controls and throttles were checked with a "fish scale" after rigging. For the most part the tensions within these controls aren't very high and can easily be done with the right or left hand.

    I've flown aircraft where the throttle, mixture and propeller control would have to be manipulated by my left hand, I am right-handed (Piper Cherokee 6, 260 - 300 models) and had little problem with this. As a flight instructor I also have to fly from the right seat where I would be manipulating the throttle and mixture with my left hand, again, little problem and something you get used to through training.
     
  6. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    I'm not a very experienced pilot (one flight at the controls of a Piper) but was referring to the anecdotes I've read where controls are heavy in high speed dives and such, and both hands on the stick was required. Since most combat a/c have the throttle quadrant on the left side and leave the stronger arm of right-handers for the stick maybe that's a factor. But I shouldn't think most of the time.
    By "rod and wire controls" of course I mean elevator/aileron control in older warbirds, though Focke Wulfs and some US types had electric motor boosters. A MkI Spit for example I understand could get pretty hand heavy on the stick at times, Spitfire Performance website goes into comparative resistance in pounds during certain manoeuvres.

    I do thankyou sincerely for the address, but I fear I may have been unclear in my post and thus confusing :D
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I thought we were talking about the throttle quadrant only, but one normally doesn't "double grip" the stick. You may real a lot of stories about this but it is more the exception than the rule. Again for left handers, this is something that training allows you to get used to with regard to high stick forces. I know many folks who do aerobatics who are left-handers and they just get used to the situation that the quadrant is on the left side of the cockpit.
     
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