Sidestick Controls Rudder Inputs; Can Be Removed For
One reason the 40s-vintage Ercoupe remains a popular aircraft
today -- especially in the sport-pilot category -- is its lack of
rudder pedals. In addition to making flying simpler for all pilots,
the rudderless set-up allows disabled pilots, who don't have use of
their legs and feet, to operate the aircraft.
Pacific Aerosystem Inc. is keeping the needs of disabled pilots
in mind. On Monday, company representatives told ANN the company
will now offer its Disabled Pilot Option on its Sky Arrow 600 light
The SLSA-certified Sky Arrow, manufactured by Iniziative
Industriali Italiane (3I) in Italy, follows the FAA Part
23-certified Sky Arrow 650 TCNS in offering an option for pilots
who cannot operate rudder pedals with their feet.
Unlike an Ercoupe -- in which rudder inputs are connected to the
control wheel, intended to prevent pilots from cross-controlling
the airplane -- the Sky Arrow setup still gives disabled pilots
full rudder authority. The system uses a left-side control stick to
apply yaw input, and also incorporates a throttle control -- thus
giving pilots with only the use of their hands full control of the
The standard right side-stick controls pitch and bank, and also
has buttons for electric rudder and elevator trim as well as radio
push to talk. The brake levers are also controlled by the right
hand, just as on the conventional Sky Arrow.
The first US Sky Arrow
600 with the Disabled Pilot option received its airworthiness
certificate on May 23, 2006, and the company will use the plane to
demonstrate those features for prospective buyers.
The left sidestick can be quickly removed for easy entry. When
it is removed from the plane, the conventional rudder pedals are