Aircraft Carriers - superstructure on the starboard side

Jim S
16th February 2006, 20:51
I am new to this website but have been impressed by the knowledge that is out there. Preamble over my question is ;- Why is the superstructure island on the world's aircraft carriers always on the starboard side?. I guess this convention originally might have had something to do with (for want of a better description) the effects of "torque steer" on early piston engined aircraft.
A wayward aircraft veering off to port.

Helicopters are another odd convention. While the Captain of a fixed wing plane sits on the port side his helicopter opposite number sits on starboard side.

skymaster
16th February 2006, 21:33
You are right Jim to accomodate propeller aircraft that turned to port.with engine torque.Once they started they kept building that way so as not to confuse pilots.Two Japanese carriers were actually built with port super stuctures AKAGI and HIRYU,something to do with working with two starboard island ships.It was soon scrapped.Hope this helps?

Mike

John Rogers
16th February 2006, 21:50
The cyclic stick or arm( Up/down and throttle) is on the right side (Stb) on a chopper and the joystick is in his left hand. Where as the pilot of a stiff wing his controls are all in front of him on or near the firewall.
John

Paedrig
16th February 2006, 21:51
Not my subject really but it rang a few bells as they say. Evidently the first appearance of a starboard "island" on a flight deck carrier was on a model produced by a Lt Hugh Williamson, a submariner turned aviator, in 1915. Williamson apparently was a keen exponent of the use of aircraft against submarines. When asked why was the "island" located on the starboard side he claimed it had been purely arbitrary.
Scource; Naval Aviation in the First World War. Its impact and influence. Author RD Layman.
A book I had nearly forgotten was on my bookshelf!

Jim S
17th February 2006, 22:27
Agree, although on two pilot choppers such as Sea King/S-61N, Super Puma etc where the controls are duplicated still with cyclic in right hand and collective at left hand. The Captain still sits on right. - A pilot once told me he did not know reason for seating arrangement but said it was sometimes an inconvenience when manoeuvering in controlled airspace with fixed wing planes. Captain as handling pilot being on opposite side to his fixed wing opposite number.

John Rogers
18th February 2006, 00:06
Maybe its because the title of command pilot,then they must sit in their respective position on the aircraft,right for chopper left for fixed wing.
John.

John Rogers
18th February 2006, 00:57
I found this little item that I thought was interesting.

Les Morris was one of the first helicopter test pilots for Igor Sikorsky, and he had time in the first American helicopter, the VS-300. On the single seat VS-300, which made its debut on 8 December 1941, the collective control was fitted on the left side of the seat (for reasons unknown to me). The next year brought the introduction of the XR-4 helicopter, which was designed to the flown from the left seat (again for reasons Iím not sure of...it is possible that Mr. Sikorsky was trying to follow the convention of fixed wing aircraft). In these early helicopters, the collective controls were always mounted between the seats, unlike modern helicopters, which have collective controls on the left of each seat. Morris, being a good test pilot, retrained himself to fly from the left seat, with the collective in his right hand. In his own words, it took him "many hours before I mastered an inordinate desire to use the wrong control at the right time!" Once he had retrained himself, Morris began training other pilots in the XR-4. Morris, however, didn't want to give up the left seat and risk confusing the controls should a student pilot make a mistake that required a quick correction, so all the new pilots were trained in the right seat. From this point on, all new helicopter pilots learned to fly from the right seat, which is one possible explanation for their position in modern helicopters.

Jim S
20th February 2006, 20:45
Hi Guys,
It has been an interesting deviation from things purely maritime - I guess we are in danger of being reminded that this is a "Ships" site.
There has been some good information received. I liked the story on Mr Morris Sikorsky's test pilot and his difficulties with the handing of the Cyclic and Collective controls. With this in mind I often wonder how difficult it has been for Captains on most of the Airbus family to adapt to the computer type stick at his left hand. At least Boeing have seen sense and even on fly-by-wire aircraft have retained a computerised version of the traditional yoke.

John Rogers
20th February 2006, 21:31
I dont think the powers to be will mind us talking about an "Airship"Jim ,and aircraft are a component of a Aircraft Carrier.
John.

trotterdotpom
21st February 2006, 11:06
USS Ronald Reagan was in Brisbane a few weeks ago and the day after sailing lost a jet fighter trying to land on the deck - presumably jets don't care where the superstructure is.

My daughter, who won a heart on board the ship, tells me that she has reliable information that another one fell off the deck near Singapore a week or so later. Expensive voyage ($45M each!).

The story of Les Morris and his Cyclic and Collective helicopter controls reminds me of my own difficulties driving on the 'wrong side' of the road in Beaumont, Texas. Good job they had wide streets!

John T.

John Rogers
21st February 2006, 15:33
After a few glasses of rum there is never a right side or left,just take the middle.
John

R58484956
21st February 2006, 15:35
midle after rum, middle after water.

David Davies
25th June 2007, 11:10
Why do aircraft carriers always have the bridge and superstructure on the starboard side?

Gavin Gait
25th June 2007, 11:15
It was just how they were developed back in the 1920's David with the RN and the USN taking the lead in the design of the early carriers. Japan did build at least one carrier with a port side superstructure / engine exhausts just before WW2 tho.

I don't know if its anything to do with how the RN and USN ships were moored as the bulk of the photo's i've seen of carriers at the time showed them moored starboard side to the quay so a starboard side superstructure would have been essential.

Can anyone with more knowlege than I give us a better explanation please.

Davie

Jim S
25th June 2007, 21:04
Why do aircraft carriers always have the bridge and superstructure on the starboard side?

David,

Type in Aircraft Carriers in the "Search Forums" and you will see some discussion that took place around February 2006 when I asked the very same question.

Regards,

Jim S

David Davies
26th June 2007, 11:18
Thanks Jim & Davie. The propeller driven aircraft veering veering to port seems to be the answer although early rotary engined aircraft veered off to starboard according to my father who flew Sopwiths in the 14-18 war, possibly due to the centrifugal force of the rotating engine (northern hemisphere - southern hemisphere?). From a seaman's point of view it would be better on the port side i.e. keeping your port side open in "rule of the road"and in a narrow buoyed channel

Virgo
22nd February 2009, 03:29
Why do aircraft carriers always have the bridge and superstructure on the starboard side?

To give sailors something to paint!

onestar
22nd February 2009, 16:11
Normal aviation practice is to fly left hand circuits which made having the island on the starboard side a logical choice, the aircraft turned away from the island if doing a closed circuit, continuing left turns to downwind, base and finals.
The Japanese carriers with islands on the port side were Hiryu and Akagi, after modernisation. The theory was that they could work in close formation with their sister ships, flying a right hand circuit, while the aircraft of the sister ship used left hand circuits, so that their respective air groups could operate together with minimal interference when landing and taking off.
Hiryu was supposed to work with her near sister Soryu, while Akagi worked with Kaga.
That was the theory anyway!

Steve Oatey
23rd February 2009, 09:16
When the helicopter comes to land on a ship, it pulls up alongside and then moves across sideways above the ships deck. With the carriers island on the starboard side, that means the helo has to come up on the port side and move across to the right, so the pilot has to be on the right to see the deck and the guy on the deck giving directions.

waldziu
23rd February 2009, 09:53
Steve, that be true for us Brits but our cousins from across the pond approach to land on smaller ships from the rear( sorry the stearn) I observed this when the Americans approached the Scylla during the rescue of the crew of the Hundri 7 in the gulf in 86/87. Although they did not land on our flight deck ( only big enough to take our Lynx their Sea King just rested his starboard wheel on deck to unload.

dennyson
23rd February 2009, 10:45
Morris, being a good test pilot, retrained himself to fly from the left seat, with the collective in his right hand. In his own words, it took him "many hours before I mastered an inordinate desire to use the wrong control at the right time!" Once he had retrained himself, Morris began training other pilots in the XR-4. Morris, however, didn't want to give up the left seat and risk confusing the controls should a student pilot make a mistake that required a quick correction, so all the new pilots were trained in the right seat. From this point on, all new helicopter pilots learned to fly from the right seat, which is one possible explanation for their position in modern helicopters.[/I]

This is what I was told when I learnt to fly helicopters over 40 years ago! In fact one of the early RAF helicopters (the Sycamore) had a single collective lever between the seats, and as part of the Instructor course the trainee instructor had to learn to fly 'cack handed'. An early RN helicopter (the Dragonfly) had tandem seating for training but two rear seats for operational use.

On the subject of why the island is on the starboard side, my own theory is that it was designed that way from a seaman's point of view (the majority of the time watchkeepers paced the starboard side of the bridge so as to look out for vessels approaching from starboard to which they had to give way). The earliest 'true' carriers were just a flat deck but the OOW needed to keep a lookout all round and a 'conning tower' about 18" high protruded above the flight deck, but situated to one side so the wing could pass above it. The OOW's naturally favoured the starboard side and that was how the island grew up on that side!

Steve Oatey
23rd February 2009, 22:03
Steve, that be true for us Brits but our cousins from across the pond approach to land on smaller ships from the rear( sorry the stearn) I observed this when the Americans approached the Scylla during the rescue of the crew of the Hundri 7 in the gulf in 86/87. Although they did not land on our flight deck ( only big enough to take our Lynx their Sea King just rested his starboard wheel on deck to unload.

With starboard wheel on your deck, which way was the pilot facing? If he was facing to Port, I'm thinking it would amount to the same procedure as we're familiar with.

waldziu
24th February 2009, 16:14
Said that way, Steve, you are correct but hay ho, what would a stoker Boy Know about Waffu things?

Steve Oatey
25th February 2009, 09:00
As much as we need to know, and more than we want to know, right??!!

waldziu
3rd March 2009, 12:48
Came off in my hand Cheif!!