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-   -   Left hand seat (https://www.pprune.org/flying-instructors-examiners/632691-left-hand-seat.html)

white light 22nd May 2020 08:47

Left hand seat
Just out of curiosity, if you’re an instructor & you get to fly solo, would you switch to the left P1 seat, or stay in the right P2 one?

Quite relevant now, as I should imagine there are instructors who are also out of currency & need to do some solo circuits. A couple whom I know say they no longer feel comfortable in the left hand seat

TheOddOne 22nd May 2020 09:56

Unless the Pilot Operating Handbook/Flight Manual states otherwise, an aircraft equipped with dual controls certificated or Permitted for flight with one pilot, may be flown from either seat. Some aircraft are more awkward to fly from the right seat, getting to the fuel for instance, but any aircraft used for instruction should have all the controls, including the fuel, accessible from the right side.

It's entirely up to the pilot which seat they use. However, I would guard against flying solo from the right seat if you haven't done any dual from that seat. An instructor, of course, would have done an entire rigorous course of instruction whilst sat in the right seat (or left seat in a helicopter).

Generally, in the PA28 in which I've a four-figure sum of hours from the right seat, I find it more convenient to fly from the right - it's the first seat I happen upon when I get in! However, if I'm instrument flying for a protracted period solo, then I sometimes choose the left seat as it's less tiring and easier to be more accurate flying from the left. I recently flew our PA28 to maintenance and chose the left seat on a whim and found that the seat cushion was really uncomfortable, so that was an item for the menders to fix... I guess the students hadn't complained 'cos they didn't know any better. But I guess that's not what you meant by saying 'no longer comfortable in the left hand seat'.


Genghis the Engineer 22nd May 2020 10:02

I usually fly solo from the left, occasionally from the right if I want to practice something particular from that seat.

Most aeroplane cockpits are set up to be optimal from the left, and I like to enjoy my solo flying as much as possible, and if - say - practicing instrument flying, I'd massively rather have the 6-pack right in front of me.


white light 22nd May 2020 10:46

Thanks for the replies. What I was trying to get at is, as instructors who operate from P2, would you then feel not as competent in the P1 seat, (as you are no longer used to it), so elect to fly solo from P2?

i know that I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable if I ever had to fly from the P2 side, having done all my training so far, (as per normal), in the P1 seat.

Does the reverse apply to instructors?

Duchess_Driver 22nd May 2020 10:55

I used to fly from the right.... purely because that was usually the closest door and I’m lazy!!!

shorehamite 22nd May 2020 13:34

on my IMC renewal i landed it from the left , wasnt pretty! not sure if i would need solo circuits, students arent passengers.

Edward Hawkins 22nd May 2020 16:24

I flew last Tuesday, for the first time in nearly two months. I chose to fly from the left-hand seat to keep my hand in. I also do this when I take an aircraft for maintenance. I do find flying from the right seat much easier due to having flown many more hours in that seat.

BigEndBob 23rd May 2020 08:52

This is the farce we have going on at our field. Airport want us flying school to give them a safety plan of how we are going to get back to flying, yet private owners can now just jump in and go. I know a few who would like to fly with an instructor first but can't. This lay off is no different to a really bad winter.
I fly from either seat, left seat flying does make you think a little more as muscle memory not use to being in the left seat.
It's good to remind yourself what your student sees from that seat, some gauges are hard to read clearly from the left seat.
Also opportunity to check controls like brakes, which can vary from left and right side.
Perhaps i should be more conscientious when i go solo to fuel bay to taxi from the left seat, to check things out.

Big Pistons Forever 23rd May 2020 16:28

Depending on whether I am teaching or examining I will fly from either seat and frankly find I don't really notice any difference. Personally I like stick/wheel in my right hand and throttle in my left so if given a choice I will take the right seat,

Bergerie1 23rd May 2020 17:04

Big Pistons Forever,

I agree. Having had many years of airline instruction, I hardly noticed the difference - either seat would do!

portsharbourflyer 23rd May 2020 18:26

I will normally fly solo from the right hand side when I need to do a solo flight (quite rarely to be fair these days), though probably not a PA28 purely for the reason the fuel selector switch is extremely difficult to reach from the right seat.

I found the initial transition for 3 or 4 hours to the right hand seat on the FI course was quite strange, but I never had had any issue switching back to the left seat for IR renewals and such forth.

Jhieminga 25th May 2020 12:16

I've got way more hours in the right seat than in the left seat but will happily switch to whatever seat works for that particular flight. So when solo: left seat as that is the one normally used for that task. I know several instructors who are uncomfortable when in the left seat, but I see it as a part of your skillset to be able to fly from either seat and will take any opportunity to practice this.

condor17 2nd Jun 2020 20:47

Whilst training when in the airlines , would often be am in RH seat and pm in LH seat , and going from a 75 to a 76 . No probs .
11 years retired and instructing , most flights in RH seat . And when 't 'Boi comes home and we fly in share 'o plane together , he hogs LH seat . So when I rarely get to LH seat , it is a bit strange .. And like B.E.B. I try to jump in LH seat for taxi jobs .

rgds condor .

Meester proach 29th Jun 2020 09:03

Pretty much stayed in RHS. Considered it harder as the look across aspect.

Exception would be hard IMC, when I’d want the instruments right in front with no parallax

foxmoth 29th Jun 2020 20:02

With the aircraft I fly I go right/left/front and back - I can’t say I find the aircraft flies any different, with preference for seat it is more a case of which controls and switches you can reach, a good example being Pa28 fuel cock

Ascend Charlie 29th Jun 2020 23:04

In helicopters, the normal seat is the RHS, so the pilot can still control the cyclic with right hand and operate the centre console stuff like radios, GPS etc with left hand. Instructors in the LHS have to learn to change hands and fly left-handed to use the right hand on radios etc. which can be a real fiddle.
Most helicopters will specify the solo seat to be the RHS, but many long-liner machines have the LHS set up for flight from that side, moving throttle quadrants and placing spare torquemeters etc into the line of sight.

An instructor on a solo flight will follow the flight manual, and drive from RHS. For instructor training, though, there might be a "sandbag" in the RHS while the new instructor scares himself from the LHS for practice.

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