Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Ralph D. Kimberlin

Committee Members

U. Peter Solies, Alfonso Pujol, Jr.


In this project the concept of Hands-on-Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) was applied to a general aviation (GA) aircraft. HOTAS had seen limited use in GA aircraft, but nothing that would compare to its use in military or commercial aircraft. The purpose of incorporating HOTAS was to give the pilot the ability to quickly and efficiently operate specific functions of the aircraft’s avionics units without having to remove his/her hands from the stick (or control wheel) or throttle. This project followed the systems engineering approach to accomplish the conceptual design of the GA HOTAS system. Two representative GA aircraft were chosen along with the avionics units to be controlled. In-flight functions of the units were determined and broken down into their most basic functions. Hardware was identified for each function, and the best alternative was chosen for each function. A control layout was achieved and then integrated into the aircraft’s existing controls. The project resulted in a conceptual GA HOTAS system that could be integrated into existing GA aircraft with existing avionics. Throughout the course of this project, the design proceeded with the needs and abilities of the pilot in mind. The HOTAS system was designed to be operable by pilots of various sizes and experience levels. The system was meant to be intuitive so that any pilot with experience in the aircraft’s avionics could operate it; however, training and experience with the system was also required

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