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Autopilot Formation Stick

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0856
Category: Flight Control
Object Type: Inceptor
Object Name: Autopilot Formation Stick
Part No: G1080A3
Serial No: None
Manufacturer: Bendix
Division: Unknown
Year of Manufacture: 1944
Dimensions: Width (mm): 156
Height (mm): 142
Depth (mm): 191
Weight (g): 1,515
Location: Rack RAA04 [Main Store]

U.S. Army Air Forces
Type C-1 Auto Pilot Formation Stick
Mfrs No. G1080A3
Order No. W33038AC2547
Spec. No. R24962
Jack & Heintz. Inc.
Cleveland, Ohio
Interchangeable with Minneapolis Honeywell Reg. Co. Unit


The Formation Stick was used when the aircraft was flying in formation with others, typically in WWII on a bombing run. The aircraft would be set on Autopilot but the Formation Stick allowed the pilot to make small adjustments to maintain formation with the minimum of effort.

Usually there were two such Sticks, one to the pilot's left and the other to the co-pilots right. Only one stick was engaged at a time and a switch on the top allowed control to be transferred from one stick to the other.

The Stick has various modes:
● OFF: naturally the Formation Stick has no function.
● ON SERVO BOOST: the Stick directly controls the servo units of the Autopilot and the aircraft is flown as if it had no Autopilot; this setting is used in close formation flying.
● ON: the Stick works rather like the Autopilot turn control knob, except that it also provides elevator, aileron and rudder control; such a setting would be used in loose formation flying, solo flight or when little manoeuvring is needed.
● ON ELEVATOR: gives control of attitude in pitch only. This was used on a bombing run in place of the elevator centring knob to control altitude.

A microphone switch was also fitted to the stick.

It is not known why this item was found at Rochester although there was a strong link between Elliotts and Bendix, who made many of these sticks under licence from Jack & Heintz Inc.

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