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Why We board Planes From The left Hand Side.

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Dai Fledermaus01/12/2017 11:59:35
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I often wondered;-

**LINK**

Chris Walby01/12/2017 12:14:38
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...I was told its not starboard, but steer board (since corrupted) as very early ships had a paddle like steering board on the right hand side of the boat you would not want to dock and possibly damage your steering board (before the days of central rudders).

Hence all boats and ships adopted docking on the port side.

PS The steer board is probably best placed on the right hand side of the boat as most people are right handed ...

Geoff Sleath01/12/2017 12:49:25
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That's what I've always understood, too, Chris. I always use the terms port and starboard because they are absolute whereas left and right depend on which way you happen to facing.

Geoff

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator01/12/2017 13:17:14
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Mmm, interesting. But I have heard a different - and equally plausable! - explaination.

Early aircraft were of course single seaters. And early pilots were almost always accomplished horse-riders. Indeed the favoured recruiting ground for WW1 pilots was the calvalry - the theory being that the general althletism and sense of balance that mad a good horseman would also make a good pilot.

You always mount a horse from the left - various theories why including mounting whilst wearing a sword etc., but whatever the reason it is fact true to today that horses are always mounted from the left. And so, being horsemen, early pilots naturally "mounted" their single seat airctraft from the left. This has persisted. look at any photo of a pilot getting into fighter - WW1, WW2 or contemporary - and you'll almost always see they get in from the left.

By the time that aircraft grew in size to the point where several people were "mounting" the convention that you do so from the left was already well established.

BEB

onetenor01/12/2017 13:20:59
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Spot on but port was Larboard while starboard was as you say steerboard. as I was given to understand.

Max Z01/12/2017 13:40:20
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Posted by Geoff Sleath on 01/12/2017 12:49:25:

That's what I've always understood, too, Chris. I always use the terms port and starboard because they are absolute whereas left and right depend on which way you happen to facing.

Geoff

There is an interesting take on this. I work with a 3D design software package. And as all of these kind of packages have in common, there is a top view window, a front or back view window, and a right or left view window. Additionally there is usually a perspective or isometric view window. Now once you have your 3D model of an aircraft oriented properly, the top and front views will show what you would expect, but the right view will show the left side of your aircraft model! This is very confusing at first, made worse in my case since the button-icons to switch between views have a picture of a motorcar on them, for which the same enigma applies. This confusion is caused by the fact that the convention for vehicles is to name the sides based on the perspective of the driver/pilot/helmsman INSIDE the vehicle, facing forward, but for an archtitect the right and left sides of a building are conventionally named based on the viewer facing the front elevation standing OUTSIDE the building.

Unfortunately for me, I am not an archtiect but a model aircraft designer..sad. But you do get used to it very soon.

Btw, the explanation in the linked article that the convention for passenger acces on the left/port side is based on the pilot overviewing the wing nearest to the terminal building begs the question why the pilot is sitting in the LH seat in the first place..........

Max.

Edit: Reading BEB's story again would explain the pilot's LH seating position to some extent, which would also makes the pilot's field of view explanation for the passenger door more plausible. smiley

 

Edited By Max Z on 01/12/2017 13:41:10

Edited By Max Z on 01/12/2017 13:53:18

Eagle 89901/12/2017 14:06:13
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Posted by Max Z on 01/12/2017 13:40:20:
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 01/12/2017 12:49:25:

Btw, the explanation in the linked article that the convention for passenger acces on the left/port side is based on the pilot overviewing the wing nearest to the terminal building begs the question why the pilot is sitting in the LH seat in the first place..........

Or the RH seat in a chopper smiley

Martin Harris01/12/2017 15:52:22
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BEB's cavalry officers didn't have it all their own way - there were regular complaints during training that the rudder pedals worked the wrong way...horses respond to clues from the rider's position and turning involves moving the rider's body towards the turn - especially important while waving a sabre around with one hand. In other words, turning left involves the left leg retreating and the right leg going forward - the opposite of a rudder bar.

Martin Harris01/12/2017 16:03:14
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Posted by Eagle 899 on 01/12/2017 14:06:13:
Posted by Max Z on 01/12/2017 13:40:20:
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 01/12/2017 12:49:25:

Btw, the explanation in the linked article that the convention for passenger acces on the left/port side is based on the pilot overviewing the wing nearest to the terminal building begs the question why the pilot is sitting in the LH seat in the first place..........

Or the RH seat in a chopper smiley

I've always imagined that the commander's seat on the left stemmed from American and/or French influence from car practice. Although as a true born Brit, I may be biased, having the dominant hand (for the majority) controlling the primary control functions seems the obvious choice - a view born out to this day by single and tandem seat military aircraft, despite the majority being designed and operated by countries who drive on the wrong side of the road and fly their commercial/side by side from the left seat.

With the constant fine control corrections required by helicopters, perhaps the early designers simply opted to accommodate right handed pilots?

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator01/12/2017 16:13:05
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Posted by Martin Harris on 01/12/2017 15:52:22:

BEB's cavalry officers didn't have it all their own way - there were regular complaints during training that the rudder pedals worked the wrong way...horses respond to clues from the rider's position and turning involves moving the rider's body towards the turn - especially important while waving a sabre around with one hand. In other words, turning left involves the left leg retreating and the right leg going forward - the opposite of a rudder bar.

Yes, another interesting point. I suspect that was dictated purely by practical considerations of control cable runs from the ends of the rudder foot bar to the rudder control horns? To make it work "go-kart" style you'd have to cross the cables which adds to complexity (and probably weight).

BEB

john stones 101/12/2017 16:17:05
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No idea myself, always got on a bike or motor bike from the left though, bit dodgy mounting other than off the kerb.

Edited By john stones 1 on 01/12/2017 16:18:08

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator01/12/2017 16:34:36
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As a slight aside, but closely related, isn't it interesting that many of the things we assume to be (and have always been) "that way" are in fact only conventions with little real need to be done that particular way.

For example I think I'm right in saying that on German aircraft right up to, and including, WW2 the throttle lever worked in the opposite sense to what we see as "normal" - ie to open the throttle you pulled the lever back. So, had Germany won the second world war would that have become the convention adopted by all? Probably. So it would seem that not only does the victor get the benefit of writing the history, he also gets to decide all the conventions!

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:36:20

Kevin 21601/12/2017 16:56:35
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 13:17:14:

You always mount a horse from the left - various theories why including mounting whilst wearing a sword etc., but whatever the reason it is fact true to today that horses are always mounted from the left. And so, being horsemen, early pilots naturally "mounted" their single seat airctraft from the left. This has persisted. look at any photo of a pilot getting into fighter - WW1, WW2 or contemporary - and you'll almost always see they get in from the left.

By the time that aircraft grew in size to the point where several people were "mounting" the convention that you do so from the left was already well established.

BEB

BEB good theory and one I will not dispute, but the designers of the Lancaster Bomber and Canberra B1's & 2's had different ideas - as the aircrew entered these aircraft on the right.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator01/12/2017 17:13:25
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How true! Perhaps Petter and Chadwick weren't horsey types? smile

BEB

Geoff Sleath01/12/2017 17:25:30
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Horses are mounted from the left (usually) as are bicycles which means in the UK we mount from the side of the road. When we're cycling on the continent (or USA) we have to go into the road to get on. I used to ride (drive?) a motor cycle and sidecar combination quite a lot, including in competition; as the chair is fitted on the left in this country I had to mount from the right.

Geoff

Peter Jenkins01/12/2017 18:45:03
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Posted by Max Z on 01/12/2017 13:40:20:

Btw, the explanation in the linked article that the convention for passenger acces on the left/port side is based on the pilot overviewing the wing nearest to the terminal building begs the question why the pilot is sitting in the LH seat in the first place..........

My understanding of the Captain sitting on the LH side is that the rules of the air require you to "drive on the right" and as such the Captain sits where he gets the best view of any traffic to which he needs to give way. I have no idea why in helicopters the convention is different but it may be to do with the ease of evacuation with the direction of early rotor blades - but that's pure supposition. Helicopters still have to obey the rules of the air and give way to the aircraft on their left so how does the Captain cope when flying on his own?

Eagle 89901/12/2017 19:21:55
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Posted by Peter Jenkins on 01/12/2017 18:45:03:

My understanding of the Captain sitting on the LH side is that the rules of the air require you to "drive on the right" and as such the Captain sits where he gets the best view of any traffic to which he needs to give way. I have no idea why in helicopters the convention is different but it may be to do with the ease of evacuation with the direction of early rotor blades - but that's pure supposition. Helicopters still have to obey the rules of the air and give way to the aircraft on their left so how does the Captain cope when flying on his own?

Sorry Peter it's the opposite.........'On the right is in the right'.

When converging aircraft, of the same class, are closing the aircraft on the left must give way to the aircraft on it's right.

Tom Sharp 201/12/2017 23:11:42
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:34:36:

As a slight aside, but closely related, isn't it interesting that many of the things we assume to be (and have always been) "that way" are in fact only conventions with little real need to be done that particular way.

For example I think I'm right in saying that on German aircraft right up to, and including, WW2 the throttle lever worked in the opposite sense to what we see as "normal" - ie to open the throttle you pulled the lever back. So, had Germany won the second world war would that have become the convention adopted by all? Probably. So it would seem that not only does the victor get the benefit of writing the history, he also gets to decide all the conventions!

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:36:20

On farm tractors and construction vehicles, the throttle lever is pulled towards the operator to increase power.

Geoff Sleath01/12/2017 23:41:16
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Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 01/12/2017 23:11:42:
Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:34:36:

As a slight aside, but closely related, isn't it interesting that many of the things we assume to be (and have always been) "that way" are in fact only conventions with little real need to be done that particular way.

For example I think I'm right in saying that on German aircraft right up to, and including, WW2 the throttle lever worked in the opposite sense to what we see as "normal" - ie to open the throttle you pulled the lever back. So, had Germany won the second world war would that have become the convention adopted by all? Probably. So it would seem that not only does the victor get the benefit of writing the history, he also gets to decide all the conventions!

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:36:20

On farm tractors and construction vehicles, the throttle lever is pulled towards the operator to increase power.

It's the same on vintage motor cycles which have a lever pulling a Bowden cable to the carburretor - hence a twist grip on modern machines is rotated towards you to increase the throttle setting. It's not obvious as I recall when learning to ride in my uncle's field.

Geoff

Geoff Sleath01/12/2017 23:41:18
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Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 01/12/2017 23:11:42:
Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:34:36:

As a slight aside, but closely related, isn't it interesting that many of the things we assume to be (and have always been) "that way" are in fact only conventions with little real need to be done that particular way.

For example I think I'm right in saying that on German aircraft right up to, and including, WW2 the throttle lever worked in the opposite sense to what we see as "normal" - ie to open the throttle you pulled the lever back. So, had Germany won the second world war would that have become the convention adopted by all? Probably. So it would seem that not only does the victor get the benefit of writing the history, he also gets to decide all the conventions!

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 01/12/2017 16:36:20

On farm tractors and construction vehicles, the throttle lever is pulled towards the operator to increase power.

It's the same on vintage motor cycles which have a lever pulling a Bowden cable to the carburretor - hence a twist grip on modern machines is rotated towards you to increase the throttle setting. It's not obvious as I recall when learning to ride in my uncle's field.

Geoff

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