Why Do Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing’s Have Yokes? - Aviation for Aviators
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Why Do Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing’s Have Yokes?



Many similarities can be found in any plane’s cockpit, including an array of switches, information screens, and more. However, depending on the manufacturer, you may notice the presence of a yoke or a side stick. While Airbus planes have side sticks, Boeing planes have yokes to steer the plane. But why is this the case? Does it make a difference in how the aircraft operates? Let’s figure out!


The Beginnings

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - Airbus A300's cockpit
Airbus A300’s cockpit
Image Source: Bill Wilt

Before the introduction of the A320 family, all aircraft in the cockpit had a central yoke. The yoke was the primary tool for controlling the aircraft’s functions, giving pilots manual control. The yoke was the industry standard for a long time, being used on every type of aircraft, from the turboprop to the 747.

But in 1985, Airbus made the decision to transform commercial aviation by switching the A320’s central yoke out for a side stick. Up until that point, fighter jets like the F-16 or Rafale were the only ones with side sticks. Along with the new “fly-by-wire” system, which replaced manual flight controls with computer-based controls, Airbus decided to introduce the side stick.


There was a business reason for the change. Airbus was looking for a way to break the 737’s stranglehold on the narrowbody market. Airbus differentiated its planes by introducing the side stick, giving airlines a fundamentally different aircraft to the 737: the A320.

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The side stick

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - Side stick of an Airbus Aircraft
Side stick of an Airbus Aircraft
Image source: iStock

Airbus was able to recreate the cockpit configuration and simplify controls thanks to the new computer-based controls. The single-handed side stick made flying more comfortable and gave pilots more room to interact with new information systems.

Airbus continued to use the side stick on all subsequent aircraft, so nearly all Airbus aircraft in the sky now have this design. The lack of a larger yoke means more space, which Airbus has used to design a new cockpit centered on computers and displays. Recently, the company has moved to implement a touchscreen cockpit, eliminating the need for manual switches entirely. Actually, Boeing considered incorporating a side stick into the first 737 aircraft as early as 1967. However, due to design considerations and concerns that the change would be too drastic for existing pilots, it chose not to.


The yoke

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - The yoke of a Boeing Aircraft
The yoke of a Boeing Aircraft
Image Source: Jon Ostrower

With the success of the 737 and 747, it was logical for Boeing to stick with a similar cockpit design. This is not to say that Boeing has not adopted the newer ‘fly-by-wire’ systems. The 777 was the first aircraft to use the new system, with subsequent 787 and 747-8s improving on it.


Boeing clearly does not see any reason to abandon the yoke. There is little reason to make fundamental design changes as long as the company can continue to innovate. Its most recent aircraft, the 777X, retains the yoke while incorporating a futuristic, touchscreen flight deck.

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - B777X's Cockpit
B777X’s Cockpit
Image Source: Sam Chui

Because of its design for minimal conversion training, the 777x fight deck shares many similarities with the 777 and 787. The fully configurable dual pilots displays and heads-up displays are among the notable differences. Nonetheless, at least one switch is new – the wingtip controls. This feature is located on the upper panel and resembles a wingtip.

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - B777X's Wingtip folding
B777X’s Wingtip folding
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So now, which is better?

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - Flugzeug Qatar Airways, Airbus A350-900, A7-ALI, re. Swiss Airbus A330-300, HB-JHE, Zürich Kloten, Schweiz, 24.09.2020 *** Aircraft Qatar Airways, Airbus A350 900, A7 ALI, re Swiss Airbus A330 300, HB JHE, Zurich Kloten, Switzerland, 24 09 2020 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxSUI
Image credit: Pius Koller

The first question you may have while reading this is, which of these systems is better compared? Airbus and Boeing provide compelling and logical reasons for their systems’ superiority. However, the real answer is complicated (and differs depending on who you ask).


The pro-Airbus camp claims that the side stick makes flying more comfortable for pilots and ensures they stay within safe limits. With more space and one free hand, the side stick also makes operating the array of computers and systems much more effortless. The side stick is also the next step in flight development, laying the groundwork for future innovations.

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - Airbus A350's Cockpit
Airbus A350’s Cockpit
Image Source: private jet charter – the asa group

The pro-Boeing camp claims that a yoke is an essential tool for emergency flight operations, allowing for an override in emergency scenarios. The opposing party also claims that the yoke design preserves more general flying skills and coordination between the pilot and co-pilot. Finally, the yoke is an integral part of the flying tradition, and there is little reason to change it because technology can evolve around it instead.

Airbus Planes Have Side Sticks While Boeing's Have Yokes - Boeing 787's Cockpit
Boeing 787’s Cockpit
Image Source: Premium Wall Art

The same opinion is expressed when speaking with pilots. Depending on the aircraft, some claim the yoke provides more control, while others claim the side stick’s comfort is unmatched. ‘Which is better?’ is difficult to answer because, clearly, Airbus and Boeing have different design philosophies.

Finally, Boeing and Airbus have opposing views on the level of automation in the flight deck. This, in turn, translates to the amount of flight experience pilots have on board the aircraft, both of which have advantages and disadvantages. While it’s unlikely that Airbus will ever return to the yoke, could Boeing? We’ll find out in the coming decades.

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Youssef is the president and founder of Aviation for Aviators; in addition to his role as Chief-in-Editor of the platform's website, Youssef is currently pursuing an engineering degree at Nile University in Egypt. With his unique blend of passion, expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit, Youssef is passionate about combining these traits with aviation to provide a unique resource for aviation enthusiasts and professionals alike.


Are you dreaming of becoming a pilot? Aer Lingus & British Airways Cadet Program Paves the Way to a Flying Career



Embarking on an aviation career has always been a dream for countless individuals who are passionate about flying. The Aer Lingus Cadet and British Airways Cadet Program are remarkable opportunity that transforms these dreams into reality, offering aspiring pilots a structured and comprehensive pathway to becoming esteemed aviation professionals.

This article dives into the details of the Aer Lingus and BA Cadet Programs, highlighting its distinctive features, benefits, and the exciting journey it offers those who aspire to navigate the vast expanse of the sky.

Aer Lingus Cadet Program

The first and most important thing: Hurry up! The deadline approaches: you can send your application till the 16/08/2023 by 17:00 GMT.


The cadet program offers intense and structured training (around 14 months) that covers all aspects of piloting. From theoretical classroom instruction to hands-on flight experience, cadets undergo a thorough training regimen that prepares them for the challenges of the aviation industry. The training is held at the famous FTE Jerez, in southern Spain. Successful candidates will be offered a Type Rating (which lasts about 12 weeks) on the most used plane in Europe: Airbus A320, and the base will be obviously Dublin.

The minimum and educational criteria are listed in the offer. There is also a comprehensive Q&A that answers the most asked question and a friendly welcome video about the airline’s new livery. According to the cadet website, the ideal cadet “will need to possess excellent communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as an appreciation of the service our customers expect.” The course is totally bonded from the airline, which means there will be a bond to cover the cost of the training and other associated costs, and for a period after the cadet commences as a First Officer.

BA Cadet Program: The Speedbird Pilot Academy

Unlikely the Aer Lingus one, for this cadet program, you do not need to be in a rush since the applications are currently still closed and will open in September 2023. It’s anyway worth having a look at the conditions and requirements; as September approaches, British is setting the maximum number of cadets: 60. If you wanna be part of the lucky (and skilled) “60”, have a look at the minimum requirements and don’t miss the deadline application. The strictest requirement of British Airways is the language: the airline is asking the candidate to obtain an ICAO 6 in the English language.

The ICAO Aviation Language certificate can be obtained directly with the CAA or through a recognized and authorized language school. The ICAO 6 certificate is particularly useful since it has no expiration date (unlikely ICAO4 and 5, which last respectively 4 and 5 years).


The training with BA will last about 18 months, and exactly as for the Aer Lingus Cadet Program, it’s fully funded by the airline. For more questions, on the 22nd of August, BA will be running a live Q&A session between 12 and 13 (UK Time). More info and the link to join the call are here: Come and Meet us (ba.com)

Are you dreaming of becoming a pilot, but you never had a chance due to economic problems or lack of motivation? Well, this is your chance! Apply and give your best to realize your dream!

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Flag Carriers as a Symbol of Honor: Between Past and Present



Most of the world’s countries have their flag carriers for financial and national duties. A flag carrier is considered an international representative of a country as it stands as a symbol of pride. Therefore, some passengers are keen to ride the flag carrier of their countries as it reflects their identity. However, what is the history of flag carriers?

History of Flag Carriers:

The term “flag carrier” emerged when countries established state-owned airline companies. However, because of the high cost of running such companies, the governments took the initiative to support these companies financially. At this time, there were many airline companies entirely owned by governments. However, a flag carrier can be subsidized or owned by the country, and it has preferential rights or privileges by the government for international operations. In the innovation industry, flag carriers have both financial and symbolic importance. Thus, most countries of the world have their flag carriers.

Countries have Flag Carriers:

British Airways

Most countries have their flag carriers representing their identity and nationalism worldwide. Examples of these flag carriers are:

  • Air France
  • Egyptair
  • Oman Air
  • Qatar Airways

However, nowadays, it is not conditionally an airline owned or subsidized by a country. The literal meaning of a flag carrier is an airline carrying its country’s flag worldwide. Now, it can be an airline the country supports to be its flag carrier. For example, the British Kingdom does not own British Airways, but it carries the British flag all over the world. The people recognize it as the British flag carrier. However, some countries do not have a flag carrier but have two, like the United Arab Emirates, but why?

The UAE Has Two Flag Carriers:

If a flag carrier is a symbol of identity and pride, does having two change the equation? The answer to this question is that it does not change the equation this much, but it is more like meeting the country’s needs. Having a two-flag carrier is normal for a country, such as the UAE, in this geopolitical situation. The two Flag carriers are Emirates, the first flag carrier based in Dubai, and Etihad Airways, the second flag carrier based in Abu Dhabi. The royal family established both airlines. Though the UAE has two flag carriers, some of the countries do not have any, such as the US, but why?

The US has no Flag Carrier:

It is true that now the United States of America has no flag carrier, but this has not been the case in the past. In the past, the US had Pan Am, the unofficial US flag carrier in the 20th century. However, running an airline costs a lot. Pan Am could not stand the market and went bankrupt in 1991. Since then, the US has not had a flag carrier, though it has major international airlines, such as American Airlines. Regardless of the current situation of the flag carriers, what are the expectations for their future?

The Future of Flag Carriers:

As we live in the era of technology, predicting the future of something is not a wise move. However, the competition in the aviation market is so fierce, and running an airline company is not a joke. Seeking honor and pride in running an airline is great. However, the competition in the market knows nothing about honor and pride. Maybe, some of the flag carriers will prosper, and some of them will vanish. This thing only time can tell.

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Flying Cars: The Future of Transportation?



Flying cars have been a dream of science fiction writers for decades, but they are now becoming a reality. Many companies are working on developing these cars, and some of them are already making significant progress.

What are flying cars?

Flying cars are vehicles that can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. They are also capable of flying horizontally, like an airplane. This makes them a versatile form of transportation that can be used for both personal and commercial purposes.

There are two main types of these cars: eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles) and tilt rotors. eVTOLs use electric motors to power their rotors, while tilt rotors use a combination of electric motors and propellers.


The different types of flying cars

There are many different types of flying cars being developed, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Here are a few examples:

PAL-V Liberty: The PAL-V Liberty is a tilt-rotor that is currently in development. It has a top speed of 160 mph and a range of 100 miles.

AeroMobil 3.0: AeroMobil 3.0 is another tilt rotor that is currently in development. It has a top speed of 200 mph and a range of 435 miles.

eVTOL Volocopter: The eVTOL Volocopter is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) that is currently in development. It has a top speed of 62 mph and a range of 22 miles.


SkyDrive SD-03: The SkyDrive SD-03 is an eVTOL that is currently in development. It has a top speed of 50 mph and a range of 62 miles.

The challenges of the developing

There are a number of challenges that need to be overcome before these cars become mainstream. One challenge is safety. Flying cars need to be extremely safe in order to be approved for public use. Another challenge is regulation. Governments must develop new regulations for flying cars before they can be flown in our airspace.

The Potential Impact

If successful, flying cars could revolutionize commuting, travel, and logistics by making those activities faster, easier, and more flexible. Their future impact depends on overcoming hurdles related to safety, cost, and regulations. With progress in those areas, flying cars could become commonplace in the next few decades, fundamentally changing transportation.

The Future of Flying Cars

The transition to flying vehicles holds great potential for improving mobility. While still a developing technology, continued progress by companies working on these cars indicates they may ultimately transform how we move about and deliver goods.


“Flying cars are the future of transportation. They’re faster, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly than cars or airplanes.” – Elon Musk

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