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HOTAS, an acronym of Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle lever and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing pilots to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove their hands from the throttle and flight controls. Application of the concept was pioneered with the Ferranti AIRPASS radar and gunsight control system used by the English Electric Lightning[1] and is widely used on all modern fighter aircraft such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the A-10A/A-10C and others.

HOTAS is a shorthand term which refers to the pattern of controls in the modern fighter aircraft cockpit. Having all critical switches on the stick and throttle allows the pilot to keep both "hands on throttle-and-stick", thus allowing focus to remain on more important duties than looking for controls in the cockpit. The goal is to improve pilots' situational awareness, their ability to manipulate switch and button controls in turbulence, under stress, or during high G-force maneuvers, to improve reaction time, to minimize instances when hands must be removed from one or the other of the aircraft's controls to use another aircraft system, and reduce total time spent doing so.

The concept has also been applied to the steering wheels of modern open wheel racecars, like those used in Formula One and the Indy Racing League. HOTAS has been adapted for game controllers used for flight simulators (most such controllers are based on the Fighting Falcon's controls)[citation needed] and in cars equipped with radio controls on the steering wheel. In the modern military aircraft cockpit the HOTAS concept is sometimes enhanced by the use of Direct Voice Input to produce the so-called "V-TAS" concept, and augmented with helmet mounted display systems such as the "Schlem" used in the MiG-29 and Su-27, which allow the pilot to control various systems using his line of sight, and to guide missiles by simply looking at the target.


  1. ^ English Electric Lightning -Supersonic Interceptor. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2010-09-12 – via YouTube. 
  • McCarty, W. D.; Sheasby, S.; Amburn, P.; Stytz, M. R.; Switzer, C. (1994). "A virtual cockpit for a distributed interactive simulation". Computer Graphics and Applications. 14 (1): 49–54. doi:10.1109/DASC.1993.283529. 
  • Stein, Michael; Sandl, Peter (2012). Information Ergonomics: A Theoretical Approach and Practical Experience in Transportation. Springer. p. 175. ISBN 3642258409. 
  • Moir, Ian; Seabridge, Allan (2012). Design and Development of Aircraft Systems. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 113–115. ISBN 1118469135.