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Written by Sabc   
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Since the F-15E is a two-seat fighter, the back-seater ( WSO) has the basic flight controls (stick, throttle, rudder) repeated in his cockpit and they are fully functional as far as flight control functions are concerned. However the WSO control stick is smaller and - though utilizes some heavy HOTAS functionality - lacks a lot of of functions which the pilot control stick does have. The reason is logical: it is not the WSO's job to drive the jet and release A/A and A/G ordnance, for him the stick is there for emergency purposes only.


Just like the pilot's counterpart, the WSO stick too is traditionally placed, i.e. it protrudes from the floor of the WSO cockpit between the WSO's knees. It is strictly for the right hand: it is twisted left in order to create a comfortable hold. The shape of the stick grip is very ergonomical but with no wrist rest, and it is designed for a gloved right hand.

Directly underneath the stick grip, a huge grey box is mounted, this is the stick force sensor box, which senses the force the WSO deflects the stick with and feeds this input to CAS. In the following the WSO stick's HOTAS functions (see picture) are discussed in detail.


- Weapon Release Button
- Trim Switch
- Air Refuelling Release Switch
- Trigger
- Paddle Switch

The functions of these switches and buttons are the following:

Switch Functions

1 - Weapon Release Button: When pressed momentarily, this button lets loose whatever A/G weapon is set for release if the jet is in A/G master mode. Note, that this button is capable for releasing A/G ordnance only (while the pilot's weapon release button can release any weapon). Pressing this button when not in weapon release mode enables programmed recording with VTRS (on-board video recorder).

2 - Trim Switch: This is a 4-way switch, which (unlike that of the pilot) cannot be pressed down. It is used to make steering trims during flight. Tipping it forward makes the aircraft lower its nose, tipping it backward makes the aircraft raising its nose, while tipping it sideways makes the aircraft lower its respective wing.

3 - Air Refueling Release Switch: While this button has a miriad of HOTAS functionality on the pilot's stick, here in the WSO cockpit it is used for a single purpose only: when pressed down it disengages the air refueling probe (if connected).

4 - Trigger: The WSO's trigger is non-functional.

5 - Paddle Switch: Its functions are the same as of the pilot's paddle switch, except that it cannot be used to override the terrain following system during flight. This switch can be pressed (pulled back) momentarily and continuously. If pressed momentarily during flight it disengages autopilot. If pressed momentarily on the ground ( WOW is sensed) it terminates AFCS BIT. If pressed and held on the ground it disengages nose wheel steering (done by rudder pedals when WOW is sensed).

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 September 2010

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