Why Do Helicopter Pilots Sit on the Right?

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Operating a helicopter is quite different when compared to an airplane. It requires constant direction changes and steering to stay in the air.

As a result, helicopters are designed so that the operator’s dominant hand can easily rest on the stick at all times.

Why do pilots sit on the left?

When it comes to any form of transport the operator of a motor vehicle usually sits on the left-hand side of the vehicle. Depending on the country of manufacture and operation it can change.

However, in air travel the standards are mostly focused on international operations. There is a higher uniformity regarding the position of the captain and they always sit on the left-hand side of the cockpit.

According to industry experts, it begins from the time of using rotary-driven aircraft like the ones used during the First World War. Turning these aircraft to the left was easier as it gave them the ability to follow the torque of the engine.

There were several operations and tendencies that further promoted the left-hand side placement of the captain seat. Airports also use traffic patterns to promote easy left-hand turns.

As these regulations have been predominantly left-handed, left-hand sitting of captains became the norm.

Also, captains get better visibility when making such kind of maneuvers. With the introduction of new engines, and technologies unbalanced turning tendencies have been eliminated.

However, the tradition remains today and the captain is still seated on the left side. Modern-day aircraft have similar controls on both sides. 

First officers have an equal tendency of controlling the airplane. It is interesting to note that the tradition of seating the operator on the left-hand side is different for helicopters. 

Helicopter pilots usually sit on the right-hand side. It gives more command to keep the right hand on the sensitive cyclic control stick.

Studies suggest that more than 90% of individual properties use the right hand. At the same time, it leaves the left hand free for operating the less sensitive controls of a helicopter.

Since airline pilots always sit on the left-hand side of the aircraft. Passengers also board aircraft from the left.

It is a type of operational quirk that results from combining a series of factors.

One of the notable factors is that airplanes stand parallel to the airport terminal during boarding. This requires the captain to sit closest to the building for completing such maneuvers. 

On the left, it becomes the side to pull up at the terminal.

Where does a helicopter pilot sit?

Typically helicopter pilots sit on the right side but it depends on the type of aircraft as well. Although there are certain benefits of sitting on the right there are some historical reasons as well.

Controls like the instrument knob, buttons, clutches, and rooted brakes are present on the center console in a side-by-side arrangement. The cyclic is present in a way to help the pilot use the right hand for control.

This arrangement leaves the left hand for controlling the collective lever. Therefore during flight, it becomes easier to let go of the collection and first buttons on the center console.

The task becomes easier to accomplish from the right seat. If the pilot sits on the left-hand side he will have to reach across to access the center console.

2 Pilots on helicopter cockpit

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Do helicopters have 2 pilots?

  • The helicopter cockpit features a central control unit for determining the different functions of the helicopter. Typically the pilot sits with a co-pilot for flying a helicopter.
  • It can vary depending on the type and capacity of the helicopter. If there is one pilot then another person can take the front seat.
  • Helicopters that are used in the army sit the co-pilot or gunner in the front. The pilot flies and maneuvers the helicopter.
  • The gunner is responsible for aiming and firing the weapon. Both sections of the cockpit have flight and firing control.

Why do helicopter pilots wear helmets?

Helicopter pilots specifically wear helmets for additional protection and the low-flying nature of the helicopter. It also offers hearing protection and the use of an oxygen mask when necessary.

Flight helmets also provide necessary impact protection to eliminate head injuries. The visor on the front protects flash, sunlight, and laser beams.

Where does the pilot sit in an apache helicopter?

The Apache helicopter is an important part of the heavy attack helicopter of the army. It comes loaded with a host of features to keep up with digitization enhancements.

It is designed to be on the frontline and operate at any time of the day in adverse weather conditions. It gets a suit of onboard sensors and avionics for an outright attack on the enemy.

The crew members maintain coordination with the pilot sitting and above the gunner or co-pilot. Both crews can fly the helicopter and execute weapon engagement independently.

The gunner forward sitting arrangement has been carried over from the previous gunship. The earlier version came with a forward seat that gave good disability to aim at the gun turret, rocket pods, and grenade.

Helicopter cockpit view

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What seat does the pilot in command sit in?

In earlier days when aviation comprised military and propeller aircraft, a single pilot was on board the aircraft. However, in the present time more advanced and large aircraft used two to four engines or even more depending on the application.

Based on the type there are two pilots. In every plane, the pilot in command sits on the left side which also raises many questions.

After the end of World War I, aircraft were equipped with left-turn rotary engines that followed the engine torque. As a result, the pilot considered a left turn as a more convenient maneuver.

The general practice was that the more experienced pilot will always sit on the left. According to modern flying techniques, all pilots should proceed in the right during a head-on collision.

Under such circumstances, the captain pilot gets a better view of the other aircraft.

It helps control the aircraft and prevent religion. Therefore captain pilot is always on the left side inside the cockpit.

Another advantage of sitting on the left is it makes aircraft taxing easier so that the door is just before the airport terminal. Passengers board the airplane from the left side in most airports around the globe.

The pilot gets a clear view of the terminal building sitting on the left.

When is about flying a helicopter the captain pilot usually sits on the right. It is because the pilot must use the right hand to control the cyclic.

This technique keeps the left hand free to control the collective lever. These are the reasons why aircraft pilots sit on the left and helicopter pilots sit on the right.

Where does the pilot sit in a plane?

The pilot in a plane sits in the cockpit situated on the front of the fuselage. Cargo and passengers are usually carried in the year section.

In some kinds of aircraft, the fuel is present in the fusion large whereas the fuel is carried in the wing.

The pilot in command seats in the left seed for easy operation of pedestal instruments and throttle with the right hand.

In a helicopter, the captain takes the right seat for easy handling of the cyclic control.

Helicopter pilots

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Pilot left or right seat

The pilot in command holding the rank of captain usually seats on the left side. Similarly, the first officer or other captains on the flight will sit in the right seat.

FAQ relating to why helicopter pilots sit on the right

Why does a helicopter pilot sit in the right seat?

The cyclic control in a helicopter is typically positioned between the knees of the pilot for easy handling. Also using the right hand keep the left hand free so that the pilot can easily access the control on the center console.

Why do pilots sit on the left?

The aircraft pilot sit on the left toward a collision with one coming aircraft. Also when taxing in the airport it has them understand the necessary clearance.

Passenger always boards an aircraft from the left side. The pilot on the left can easily fill up at the right spot in front of the terminal.

Does a helicopter pilot sit on the right or left?

Usually, helicopter pilots sit on the right side of the cockpit. It is to allow them to have the right hand on the cyclic control and the left hand for other knobs and switches.

However, in some cases, the position may change depending on the size and application of the helicopter.

Can the captain sit on the right side?

Airplane command pilots never sit on the right side because it helps them prevent a head-on collision. Also, when pulling up at the terminal gauging the right parents is easier from the left of the cockpit.

Helicopter pilots however sit on the right for easy access to the controls for flying the aircraft.

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