Class "A" coaches are on medium duty truck chassis where the driver sits over the front wheels, so the steering wheel column has to go almost straight down to the front axle. As others have mentioned, universal joints and power steering have now allowed the steering wheel to be positioned just about any way the driver wants, but the column still has to go somewhat straight down.
On our late '99 Bounder, with the F-53 chassis, if I placed the steering wheel in the more ergonomically satisfying position,(more vertical than horizontal) it automatically eliminated many of the gauges from my line of sight. If, I placed it in the more "Bus" position, that is a more horizontal than I liked, all the gauges were in plain sight while I was in a comfortable driving position.
But, in our present coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon, D/P, in the same riding/driving position, with the steering wheel in the more vertical position, I see all the gauges just fine without having to move my head a lot to see what I need to see.
Scott and Karla SDFD RETIRED
2004 Itasca Horizon, 36GD Slate Blue 330 CAT
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Ext Cab 4x4 Toad 2008 Caliente Red LVL II GL 1800 Goldwing KI60ND
I was going to say FAT PEOPLE like me. Here's a tidbit.....for those that are new Class A drivers and even more experienced ones who think that their coach wanders...try tilting the wheel farther down toward your lap. The lower position will cause you to steer less.
Don & Mary
2005 Monaco Diplomat 36SKT
2012 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ CrewCab 4WD
2013 Polaris RZR 800 LE
When I drove transit buses (mainly Gilligs) they had sterring columns with two universal joins (one near the floor and another one about 30" from the top). The top section of the column was adjustable about 12" in its axial direction. Add in a vertically and horizontally adjustable Recaro driver's seat, and you could adjust to just about any preferred driving position and any size of driver.
On our Georgetown (Ford F53), there's only one angle adjustment (down near the floor) and only a very limited range of clumn length adjustment. Add in the ridiculously long (fore/aft) seat cushions on the Flexsteel seats and even I can't get really comfortable (I'm 5' 9"). Also, the seats don't have vertical adjustment.
DW is about a 10 inches shorter than me and there's no way in hell she could ever adjust seat and column to where she could drive. We didn't realise this before we bought the rig. With a steering column like the Gillig, I'm sure she would be able to drive it.
After some discussion, our "Get us home" procedure, if I'm not able to drive, is a one-way airplane ticket for one of our sons-in-law from Seattle to wherever we're stuck!
Frank Damp, DW - Eileen
'02 Georgetown 325, F53, V-10, bought used in 2010 at 13,000 miles.
Dogs - 2 Labs again, both yellow males, both 9 yrs old and both adopted.
On a school bus, they are more horizontal than on the family van, but that is because it allows for more arm strength when steering. Granted, now days, with power steering it's not as necessary, but I happen to like the feel, especially when driving a "A" style (ahead of the wheels) bus, because it reminds me to steer a bit differently than I would with the van or car....or even our "C".
Keep in mind, as mentioned, most "A" coaches are build on truck chassis, so they will have all the same truck features.....brakes, steering, engine, etc.
All we have in our fleet are transit style busses and they're almost all Thomas' on freightliner chasis.. I have driven a couple of "convential" and find that they feel weird to me..
If you have a large stomach,you don't want to drive a transit style where they have increased the seating number as they take the space away from the driver and you really sit close to the wheel and the pedals. Oh and there's NO airbag on them