|Written by Sabc|
The throttle quadrant of the pilot is placed in the middle of the left instrument panel in the pilot's cockpit. Being a twin-engine fighter the F-15E's throttle is split into two halves, each controlling its respective engine - however just simply grabbing the throttle with a full left hand moves the two halves simultaneously. The height of the throttle is about 26 inches from the floor (somewhat lower than the height of the stick) and when it's placed in 'idle' setting, the right edge of the throttle is about 16 inches from the left side of the stick at aproximately a 45 degree angle.
The shape of the throttle grip is simple and straightforward, it is designed to fill a gloved left palm. It is even bigger than the stick itself - it is nearly impossible (or at least takes a huge hand) to reach the control buttons placed at is left and right simultaneously. It can be seen easily that the whole thing is designed to withstand the occasionally rough treatment inavoidable in the heat of A/A engagaments. The following photo illustrates my smaller than average hand (holding a Suncom SFS Throttle, which is an exact replica of the F-15E throttle) against the size of the throttle.
The throttle can be freely moved and be put to any setting in between the two limits, null and full afteburner (MAX). For null setting the throttle must be pulled fully backward, afterburner is reached when the pilot pushes the throttle fully forward. There are two detents in between the two limits, one for IDLE power (minimal thrust possible with the engines running) and one for MIL military power (maximum thrust available without afterburner). The friction of throttle movement can be adjusted manually by a small lever at the base of the quadrant. Just like in case of the stick, control is electronic, moving the throttle provides input to DEEC, which controls engines based on its software.
The Strike Eagle flight controls were designed to utilize a full-blown HOTAS system, hence the throttle grip hosts a whole range of buttons, knobs and switches (see picture below).
The functions of these switches and buttons are the following:
2 - Speed Brake Switch: This is a 3-way switch. When tipped forward it retracts the speedbrake, when tipped aft it extends the speedbrake. Left in the center it holds the speedbrake in its current position.
3 - Microphone Switch: This is a 2-way switch. When tipped forward the pilot can transmit on radio channel 1, when tipped aft the pilot can transmit on radio channel 2. Channels 3 (forward tip) and 4 (aft tip) will be available in the future.
4 - Right Multi-Function Switch (Coolie Hat): The 4-way coolie switch is again a multi-functional switch, which earned its name by being similar in shape to the typical, wide hat of rice-plant workers in the Far East. The exact functions performed by tipping the switch in a direction depend on what the pilot is doing at the moment. Here are the options:
5 - Target Designator / LOS Slew Control: The TDC switch is a 4-way switch which can be depressed as well ( TDC stands for Target Designation Control). A typical use of the switch is to press it, select something by tipping it to directions while keeping it pressed (move a cursor, for example) and then invoke a function to the selected point with releasing the switch. Note that the switch senses the force it is tipped to a direction - the stonger it is tipped, the faster the cursor moves. As with many HOTAS controls, the exact functions performed depend on what the pilot is doing at the moment. Here are the options:
6 - Left Multi-Function Switch: It is a simple pushbutton which can invoke multiple functions, depending on the 'mode' the jet is currently in. Here are the options:
7 - Antenna Elevation Control: This wheel can be rotated up or down and it controls the elevation of the A/A radar antenna.
8 - CMD Dispenser Switch (Pinky Switch): This is a 2-way switch. When tipped up it engages CMD manual 2 program (semiautomatic countermeasure dispensing), and when tipped down it engages CMD manual 1 program (dropping chaff).
9 - Finger Lifts: These levers can be pulled up. When pulled up each one starts its respective (left or right) engine, provided that JFS is running.
10 - Flap Switch: This switch engages/disengages flaps. Note that flaps can be placed only in full up or full down position - no intermediate position is available.
11 - Rudder Trim Switch: This is a 2-way switch which is used to trim the rudders. When tipped left or right it deflects the rudder thus yawing the jet in the respective direction.
12 - Weapon/Mode Switch: This is a 3-way switch. When tipped forward it places MRM (if any) in priority, when tipped aft it places the gun in priority. Put in center selects SRM (if any) in priority. Default setting is MRM.
Friction Adjusting Lever: This is a lever at the base of the throttle quadrant, in front of the rudder trim switch. This lever is used the adjust the force that must be exerted to move the throttle. Moving the lever forward increases, moving it aft decreases this force.
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 September 2010|
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