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1 or 2 steering tillers?

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1 or 2 steering tillers?

Old 7th Oct 2015, 16:39
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1 or 2 steering tillers?

Rather than side track a thread on Rumours and News, I was wondering why some aircraft (mostly US reg.) have only one tiller and that being on the Captain's side?
In an airline I used to fly for many years ago, there were a couple of ex US registered aircraft that only had a single tiller. Though I never had a problem with this, I did find it strange.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 16:58
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Why would a lowly co-pilot need to taxi the a/c, rather than leaving that tricky chore to the captain? After all, taxiing expertise comes automatically with the fourth ring!

Combination of the one-man-band syndrome, and costs...
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 17:04
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Edit: Chris Scott, you beat me to it. My knee-jerk response would be to blame manufacturers for charging extra for a 2nd tiller. Arguably you don't need 2 tillers for the safe operation of an aircraft, and everything that isn't needed is a golden opportunity to charge more for an "option".
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 17:19
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Aaah but is it cost or just "tradition" that a single tiller is fitted to mostly US or ex US operated aircraft?
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 17:41
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It's not only a US tradition. Other airlines have only 1 tiller as well. Maybe US aircraft are more visible because there is a lot of them.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 17:42
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I seem to recall, albeit from brief encounters, that a "very large UK airline" had two tillers on their 767's.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 19:19
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There was a time when guidance systems to navigate into stand were calibrated for LHS, thus making RHS tiller operation essentially obsolete.
More modern systems show both of you the same information, thus enabling either to steer onto stand.
Traditionally the second tiller was a customer option, and moreover the legacy carriers have had them as experience in RHS was substantial, with limits imposed on experience prior to allowing its use from RHS.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 20:11
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Quote from Skyjob:
"Traditionally the second tiller was a customer option, and moreover the legacy carriers have had them as experience in RHS was substantial, with limits imposed on experience prior to allowing its use from RHS."

My impression is that this is a long tradition involving US carriers - large and small - and US airliner manufacturers. No doubt it has spilled out into the third-world carriers as well, and smaller European companies that are inclined to buy the basic product as offered.

In the UK that included Caledonian Airways when they bought their first B707-320Cs in the late 1960s, prior to taking over BUA - which had a very different policy for its co-pilots. But BUA had an all-British fleet of BAC 1-11s and VC10s, not to mention Viscounts and Dart-Heralds - all with 2 tillers, IIRC. The merged company, BCAL, continued to expand its B707 fleet through the 1970s, with a mixture of second-hand 320C models from all over the place. The only ones I can remember coming with two tillers were ex-Qantas a/c, and the R/H tillers were soon removed in the interests of standardisation. For take-off, co-pilots operating as PF had to take control from the captain (without the benefit of rudder-fine steering) as the a/c turned on to the runway at fairly high speed for the Boeing-standard, rolling take-off.

Fast-forwarding to the present, I can't speak for the US, but how many European airlines operating divers types of Airbus have them with only one tiller? Most western airlines have a policy of complete role-reversal for handling and routine cockpit management. Maybe not a bad idea for the US to adopt the same policy, particularly if their skippers are going to continue as in recent days to drop like flies at the controls.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 20:27
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747s have tillers on both sides. Our FOs even use the ones on the right side!
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 21:28
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My experience with single tillers has been on two F27s and one 737 many years ago. All the aircraft that I've flown since, BAC1-11s, 767s, 747 classics and 400s all had two tillers.
The only time the Captain took over taxying was when parking at the gate.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 21:32
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Doesn't the U.S. have more commercial pilots than the rest of the western world combined? If numbers are the final decider maybe the other western operators should get rid of their two tiller a/c?


I've seen U.S. based Airbus', 747's, 777's, and 787's with two tillers.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 21:48
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Hardly a mystery. Sometimes a right turn into a crowded taxiway, ramp is required. The airplanes come standard with two tillers. Most USA operators ordered the airplanes with "unnecessary" items like tillers, headrests, removed. Some puffed up individuals attempted to make a safety argument about why it's necessary to eliminate these hazards in the cockpit. Fortunately, those attitudes are fading away.
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Old 7th Oct 2015, 21:59
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I was rather amazed to see that Chinese F/Os are allowed to taxi the A380 as per this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xasimN2cXBE

Last edited by Proline21; 7th Oct 2015 at 21:59. Reason: link not work
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 07:29
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As far as i know the second tiller on a 737 for example is an option that is rather expensive, nearly nobody orders it. I thing KLM does, but i might be wrong.

On the A320, or probably all airbii it seems to be the standard equipment and a single tiller installation is the option. Which ties in with the OEM SOPs from airbus in which the FO does the taxying if he is pilot flying on that sector. Of course, if the guidance system into the parking stand is left hand only calibrated there has to be a transfer of control prior to taxying into that stand.

Working in an airline that works its way out of boeings into airbii we used to have company SOPs in which only the captain was allowed to taxi, except in case of role reversal for training purposes. Now that we adopt the full airbus SOPs (including the darn FMA callouts and those longwinded checklists) all FOs have to go through some taxi training in the simulator and two flights with a trainer before they will be allowed to taxi an aircraft, set take off power themselves and do the whole taxi in.
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 07:43
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set take off power themselves
Presumably if the F/O learned to fly on a Cessna or Warrior he was qualified to set take off power himself. Why not on bigger aircraft? It is not exactly rocket science to push one, two or four throttles forward...
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 11:02
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There are safety arguments both for and against allowing RHS co-pilots to taxi the a/c when it's their handling sector. But, if it is considered safe and desirable (essential, actually) to allow them to handle critical flight-phases such as take-off and landing, it is illogical to forbid them to perform the lower-risk task of taxiing, subject to the usual considerations when manoeuvering on or off a crowded parking stand.

Allowing full role-reversal for handling, except following an emergency, is an important aspect of pilot development, and was the norm in respected British airlines even before I was a rookie. I suspect the same applies in the airlines of most Anglophone countries, and probably in the main European airlines, but I stand to be corrected.

To repeat a point I suggested flippantly in my first post, you cannot expect a pilot suddenly to become a taxiing expert on large a/c during the short period of a command course, the non-revenue part of which will be conducted in a simulator. There are already enough pressures to be faced in the line training, particularly if it involves a type change.
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 11:27
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Chris

You were probably not on the BCal DC10 which, unless old age is catching up on me, only had one tiller.

I seem to recall the same on the ANZ DC10.

Did any DC10 operator have a 2 tillered version.

On the HS748, we had some with 2 tillers and some with 1.

I used to give all the sectors to the first officer if we had 2 and did them myself if 1.

IIRC there was one more a/c with 2 than with 1.
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 11:32
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Chris, To repeat a point I suggested flippantly in my first post, you cannot expect a pilot suddenly to become a taxiing expert on large a/c during the short period of a command course

You must be a victim of CRM indoctrination and propaganda. I wish 411A was still around, he would have stated clearly that

ANY Captain who allows a First Officer to taxi the aeroplane (when a nose steering tiller is located on the RH side) is just asking for trouble.

Co-pilots are there to do as they are TOLD...period.
Not taxi the aircraft.
on a serious note, Denti knows what he is talking about (about parking, price of optional tiller - boeing seems more expensive than airbus - and airbus suggested SOP's, if you follow airbus SOP's they let F/O's taxi. I don't want to turn this into an A vs B discussion, but it seemed RH tillers are more common on widebody Boeing than 737, presumably because seniority has taught F/O's to taxi? I'm not discounting that observing is helpful. Yet, some SOP's would rather ask for a tug/tractor than let an F/O taxi...maybe it's a way to outsource the cost of mistakes? Blame it on ground handling instead of training your own employees?)

Last edited by deptrai; 8th Oct 2015 at 11:59.
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 14:50
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Quotes from Denti:
(1) "Working in an airline that works its way out of boeings into airbii we used to have company SOPs in which only the captain was allowed to taxi, except in case of role reversal for training purposes."
What would be the training purposes? Unless you mean a command course?

(2) "Now that we adopt the full airbus SOPs [...] all FOs have to go through some taxi training in the simulator and two flights with a trainer before they will be allowed to taxi an aircraft, set take off power themselves and do the whole taxi in."
Would that training not happen automatically during the type-conversion from B737 to A320?

Hi finncapt,
On reflection I think you're right about the BCAL DC-10s having only one tiller. The management and philosophy of the operation were largely carried on from the B707 fleet: very much in line with the manufacturers' SOPs.

Hello deptrai:
Good old 411A! "...what a character!" (Quote from Back to the Future by Marty of Biff...) Many of us have flown with - and learned much from - semi-benevolent, paternalistic despots like 411A - mainly in our youth. I infer that you are no keener to share a cockpit with his ilk than I am? Now a few drinks and a leisurely chat in a bar on terra-firma would be another matter...

Am beginning to realise that this one-tiller philosophy is very much a feature of the US manufacturers, presumably with the tacit approval of the legacy US airlines. Except for a few British and other European types, smaller airlines worldwide have traditionally inherited most of their large aircraft second-hand from US manufacturers, if not US airlines. Until Airbus, that is.
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Old 8th Oct 2015, 16:26
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Presumably if the F/O learned to fly on a Cessna or Warrior he was qualified to set take off power himself. Why not on bigger aircraft? It is not exactly rocket science to push one, two or four throttles forward...
Not rocket science, the training focuses on take off aborts in the phase of changing hands since the captain is usually responsible for stops once the take off run has begun.

"Working in an airline that works its way out of boeings into airbii we used to have company SOPs in which only the captain was allowed to taxi, except in case of role reversal for training purposes."
What would be the training purposes? Unless you mean a command course?
FOs were hired and trained as captains in waiting, therefore they had to be able to take over if needed and role reversal was a legal way to do that. It used to be more common, nowadays its rarely done, could be that i'm just too lazy though after 15 years on the right side.

"Now that we adopt the full airbus SOPs [...] all FOs have to go through some taxi training in the simulator and two flights with a trainer before they will be allowed to taxi an aircraft, set take off power themselves and do the whole taxi in."
Would that training not happen automatically during the type-conversion from B737 to A320?
In the future it will, currently we still have company SOPs on the airbus which are centered around a silent cockpit concept. There's no FMA callouts and nearly no checklists (just before start, after start, parking and secure) as well as no normal FO taxying. The move to OEM SOPs is just a money saving venture, not because their SOPs are deemed better. And of course those of us who have flown the Airbus for the last 20 years have to be retrained to the new OEM SOPs as well, not only the newly airbus rated ex boeing guys.
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