View Full Version : Control Wheels v Ram's Horns

20th Dec 2012, 09:43
I was watching the "jets" on bbc4 last night (again:ok:) and it showed the Britannia cockpit with "rams horns" instead of the normal? control wheel.
Now I know that other aircraft had the rams horns, Concorde and Trident spring to mind, but would any ex crews like to air their views on which was better, or which they preferred?
Regards, Den.

Lightning Mate
20th Dec 2012, 09:56
Unable to help you - I've only ever flown with a stick.

Agaricus bisporus
20th Dec 2012, 10:01
I've only ever flown with a stick.

True to form LM remains unsusceptible to carrots.

20th Dec 2012, 10:06
I've only ever flown with a stick.

The Vulcan had a stick:E

John Farley
20th Dec 2012, 11:42
The Vulcan had a stick

So it did


20th Dec 2012, 11:45
I flew the Britannia for ten years and found the "rams horn" control natural and intuitive to use. It took up less space than a standard control wheel, which gave a less cluttered view of the instrument panel. I suppose it was a bit like riding a motor cycle - but much heavier.

20th Dec 2012, 14:26
I absolutely loved the rams horns in the Belfast. Very comfortable. I've also flown Islanders with rams horns.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
20th Dec 2012, 15:12
For some reason the Chinese specified standard 'steering wheel' yokes on the Tridents they ordered. Steering wheels are for cars!

I've never flown a rams horn-equipped aeroplane (mostly stick!) but have spent hundreds of hours on the ground in a Concorde P2 seat where the rams horn seems a very comfortable device that I'd imagine is a much more pleasant to handle than a half-steering wheel yoke..

20th Dec 2012, 16:06
I must admit that I thought that the rams horn would be friendlier.
Now all we want is Tony Blackman (or anyone else who flew both) to compare the Vulcan stick to a Victor wheel.
(Just a little thread creep :p)
Regards, Den.

Double Hydco
20th Dec 2012, 18:14
Flew the Belfast for a few years, and found the Rams Horn's a very natural and comfortable way to rest you hands whilst hand flying.

Flew the A300 & B737 subsequently, and found the control wheel "got in the way" a bit, compared to the RH's.


20th Dec 2012, 19:21
Was/is the choice of stick/horns/wheels etc. made by test pilots by designer? Do RH make a more 'sporty' approach to the job, with a conventional half-wheel being more laid back?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
20th Dec 2012, 20:22
Most agile aircraft have sticks, as it enables a quick and large control input to be made in both roll and pitch simultaneously as for aerobatics or just spirited manouvering.

If you want to cruise straight and level and make occasional gentle turns as an airliner does, the half-wheel yoke is perhaps more appropriate.

I'd imagine the RH would simply be an improvement in natural handling feel over the half-wheel in generally transport-type aircraft.

It's interesting and perhaps instructive that dH fitted the fighter version of the Mosquito with a stick and the bomber version with a yoke. And the Vulcan, perhaps the more agile of the V bombers, as has as has already been stated, uniquely had a stick.

20th Dec 2012, 20:47
What I have always found surprising is that stick, yoke, 'ram's horn', sidestick or the odd split stick arrangement where side-by-side pilots almost hold hands all feel natural after a very short time and the aircraft response (sedate or twitchy) is a much more important factor in how comfortable the aircraft feels to fly.

Agreed, a proper stick is needed for serious aerobatics.

20th Dec 2012, 21:23
Would have thought it was harder to rest the elbows/forearms on the arm rests with Rams Horns? Only ever flown with RH on the HS125 sim. once and really can't remember much about it!

(My 'research' in this respect only amounts to me holding my arms in front as if holding a Boeing control wheel and then rotating them inwards as if holding Ram's Horns! Hardly scientific!)

20th Dec 2012, 22:16
Unlike a car, flying a large aircraft manually is not condusive to resting ones arms on the armrests, regardless of what type of control is fitted. I remember the Britannia's unpowered controls needed quite a bit of muscle from the shoulders down to initiate turns at even modest speeds. The powered controls in the DC8, B737/757/767 were relatively heavy and needed more than wrist action to fly for any length of time. I'm sure I didn't rest my elbows on the armrests when holding control wheels during hand flying. The geometry just wasn't right.