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I have noticed that on a lot (all?) Airbus cockpits, there are these "things" (for lack of a better term) under the panel.

I have highlighted them in this picture of an A340 cockpit:

A340 Cockpit
(source: ourl.ca)

What are they?

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  • $\begingroup$ Your highlight is that yellow oval below the glass information panel? $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Farhan yes I am ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 1:42

3 Answers 3

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The centre bit is the pull out mechanism for the table, the two bits either side are fold down footrests.

Picture found via google image search

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  • $\begingroup$ This actually answered my question the best, as it explained the footrests too. Good job. ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Footrest? They still have rudder pedals, underneath that, correct? $\endgroup$
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RoboKaren Correct. You can see the rudder pedals in the picture above. The foot rests fold down, supported by the two bars. They retract up out of the way when the pilot removes their foot. Boeing aircraft have a less complex solution of two bars attached to the bottom of the main panel above the footwell. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 8:01
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Since Airbus planes use a sidestick instead of the traditional center yoke, they use the space where the yoke would be to include a fold out table instead. You can see a laptop on one here. The A380 version also has a keyboard. This is used to interface with the onboard systems and input information.

A380 Cockpit

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    $\begingroup$ Ask an Airbus pilot what their favourite part of the aircraft is and they all say 'the tray table!' $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 23:11
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Are you talking about this area?

keyboard in

This is a pull out keyboard, which is part of Electronic flight bag (EFB). It is part of a standard laptop computer. However, its integrated Keyboard Cursor Control Unit (KCCU) can interact with the cockpit screens. The full-size keyboard felt substantial and, in the paperless cockpit, will greatly ease the tasks of data and text entry.

keyboard out

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    $\begingroup$ Note that this is A380 cockpit where the EFB is integrated. The earlier designs only have a table for maps/charts/handbooks/checklists in paper or regular notebook form. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 10:36

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