login   |    register
Rotary Wing
Discuss helicopters and other rotary wing aircraft from any era.
Helicopter Pilot/Co-pilot postion question?
Grauwolf
#084
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Member Since: September 14, 2005
entire network: 2,155 Posts
KitMaker Network: 407 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 09:05 AM UTC
Hi all, Hope you are having nice holidays.

It seems that in all the references that I have seen, in a helicopter, the pilot sits on the right of the cockpit and the co-pilot to his left,whereas in an aircraft, it is the opposite.

Any official reason for this set up?

Cheers,
Joe
HeavyArty
Visit this Community
Florida, United States
Member Since: May 16, 2002
entire network: 15,972 Posts
KitMaker Network: 1,836 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 05:30 AM UTC
It is due to the arrangement of the cockpit. The pilot needs to keep constant control of the cyclic control stick which is between his legs, so the hand on it stays there. The other hand is on the collective which is to his left on the floor and can be released when set. The hand on the collective can then be used to flip switches and turn knobs on the center console and IP. If the pilot was in left seat, he would have to cross his left hand over himself (or switch hands on the cyclic) to reach the IP and center console to turn knobs and flip switches. If the PIC is in the right seat, his left hand can be free while his right hand stays on the cyclic without contorting himself to reach buttons and knobs.

Grauwolf
#084
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Member Since: September 14, 2005
entire network: 2,155 Posts
KitMaker Network: 407 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 07:19 AM UTC
Thanks for the info Gino. I understand the part about the
contortion free operation because of the cockpit design but
why was the helicopter designed with main controls on the
right as opposed to the aircraft left side, in a side by side
cockpit.
Any official reason for this.

Cheers,
rdt1953
Visit this Community
New Jersey, United States
Member Since: February 06, 2015
entire network: 893 Posts
KitMaker Network: 39 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 07:51 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks for the info Gino. I understand the part about the
contortion free operation because of the cockpit design but
why was the helicopter designed with main controls on the
right as opposed to the aircraft left side, in a side by side
cockpit.
Any official reason for this.

Cheers,



I believe the reason may be historical in that Sikorsky 's R 4 which many regard as the first true production helicopter had only one collective pitch control as a weight saving measure . Sikorsky knew the R 4 would have to do duty as a trainer as well
so he put the collective pitch lever in the center where it could be used by either pilot.
Hope this helps - Richard
HeavyArty
Visit this Community
Florida, United States
Member Since: May 16, 2002
entire network: 15,972 Posts
KitMaker Network: 1,836 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 08:05 AM UTC
I think it has to do more with most people being right-handed. The controls are the same on either side of the helicopter. The cyclic is the more important control stick and the designers assumed pilots would naturally hold it in their right hand. Hence the PIC is on the right side.
Grauwolf
#084
Visit this Community
Quebec, Canada
Member Since: September 14, 2005
entire network: 2,155 Posts
KitMaker Network: 407 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 09:40 AM UTC
Thanks to you both!

Now that makes a lot of sense and understand why it was done that way.

Thanks again and happy modeling in 2018!

Joe
Winnie
Visit this Community
Manitoba, Canada
Member Since: January 26, 2014
entire network: 6 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 05:21 PM UTC
A little slow in replying. As a helicopter pilot I can say that sitting on the right gives easy access to use systems in the aircraft with the left hand while holding on with the right. As the machines gets more sophisticated you can let go, but the tradition remains.

Most aircraft commanders will assign seating position as to what suits them most, and the First Officer or copilot or whatever the pilot designation is, as long as qualified in either seat, can sit where ever.

In our operation (EMS) we switch out daily, so both get experience flying and making radio calls etc.

A couple helicopters have the captain or pilot in command sit left, such as the MD500, since you can eliminate the centre controls, and use that for a seat.
hawg53
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: March 26, 2016
entire network: 2 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2018 - 03:52 AM UTC
When Sikorsky was designing the H-19, they went to the pilots flying helicopters and asked which side they would prefer. At that time there were no trim system on any helicopter to include the “new” H-19. The pilots said they had to keep their hand on the cyclic to keep it from flopping around but they could friction down the collective lever and change radio frequencies or cockpit switch positions with their left hand. So Sikorsky made the pilot position on the right side.