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All About Aircraft Yokes

When flying an aircraft, pilots are often provided with a number of cockpit controls for the means of controlling the aircraft and its various systems. Of these various controls, the yoke is one of the more important devices as it permits a user to pilot many types of fixed-wing aircraft. Also referred to as control wheels or control columns, yokes enable pilots to manage the aircraft’s attitude, and it can be adjusted in various ways to execute pitches and rolls alike. In this blog, we will discuss the yoke aircraft control in more detail, allowing you to better understand its functionality, as well as how it compares to alternative devices that are present in other aircraft models.

The design of a control yoke may vary by aircraft model, though most follow a “U” or “W” shape design. In other instances, a “ram’s horn” design may be used, that of which has the appearance of the letter “M.” Regardless of design, they are generally either placed on a post vertically rising from the cockpit floor or are mounted on a tube present on the instrument panel. If the yoke is placed on the vertical post, it is often referred to as a control column.

Alongside coming in various designs and shapes, the functions of the yoke aircraft control itself may depend on varying systems. For instance, mechanical and fly-by-wire yoke designs are both common, each differing in how they operate. Mechanical yokes are controlled through mechanical methods, while fly-by-wire yokes utilize digital computers for operation. While most early aircraft had mechanical yokes as a result of technological limitation, most modern aircraft are implementing fly-by-wire toke systems so that a computer can convert the movements of the yoke into executable commands.

When purchasing a yoke, one may notice that they often come in pairs. This is because many aircraft feature separate yoke controls for both the pilot and the co-pilot, each of which is situated in front of their respective seat. Both yokes serve the same exact function, allowing for the flight surfaces situated across the aircraft to be manipulated as needed for managing attitude. However, only yoke should be operated at a time for safety, and as such, the co-pilot will generally refrain from touching the yoke while the pilot is operating theirs.

Control Yoke vs. Side Sticks

While yokes are very commonplace in today’s aircraft, they are not the only form of control that may be present. Some aircraft feature what is known as a side-stick or sidestick controller, that of which is a control column or joystick that is situated on the side console next to the pilot. It is important to understand the difference between the two devices as the side-stick may be used for much of the same functions as the control yoke. Instead of requiring a pilot to have both hands on the control, they only need one hand to manage the side stick. This frees up a hand to deal with other things, such as jotting down flight log notes. Additionally, removing the presence of the center control yoke makes it easier to have an unobstructed view of the center control panel, benefiting certain applications or aircraft designs. While side sticks are indeed useful in certain regards, they are only in a handful of aircraft types. For example, the most common models that feature a side stick are the Airbus A320 and the General Dynamics F-16.


Whether you are interested in procuring yoke cockpit seat parts, side-stick products, or other various aerospace components for your operations, the experts at Stacked Purchasing can always fulfill your operational needs with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. Explore our website at your leisure, and all listed items are readily available for purchase at any time. As you find items of interest, please take advantage of our online RFQ service in order to request quotes for your comparisons. With information such as your target price and expected shipping time frame, we can best customize a solution that accommodates your needs as closely as possible. If you would like to speak with one of our representatives, you may always give us a call, and we would be happy to assist you however we can! Get started today and see why countless customers choose to fulfill their needs with Stacked Purchasing.


November 29, 2022
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