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117 votes
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Why are traditional knobs not replaced by touchscreens in cockpits?

Adding a pilot's perspective to what others have said: Look at the switches and knobs in an airplane up close some time. You'll notice that nearly all of them have different textures,heights,sizes or ...
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82 votes
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Why are Russian cockpit panels painted in turquoise?

According to Cold War Air Museum: ...the color chosen by Soviet designers helps to reduce stress and maintain a pilot's effectiveness on long missions. ... the scientists found out that this ...
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76 votes

What is the motivation behind designing a control stick that does not move?

The stick does not need to move in order for the pilots to sense their inputs! Humans have very accurate force sensors in their fingers, and no direct position sensors. Proprioception provides ...
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62 votes
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Has there ever been a plane not controlled from the nose?

NASA added a second cockpit to their Boeing 737-100, located in the forward cabin. History is a bit patchy, but I believe this was initially to see if it was possible to fly the plane by camera. ...
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58 votes

Has there ever been a plane not controlled from the nose?

Some of the Gee Bee racing planes are obvious candidates. In fact, in one of them the pilot was right next to the tail: Gee Bee Model R Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons It needs no guessing that the ...
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57 votes

Why are traditional knobs not replaced by touchscreens in cockpits?

Adding to the absolutely correct answer of @Mach1: Flicking a switch gives clear haptic and audible feedback. Compare that to a touchscreen where you can never be sure if your intention has been ...
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55 votes

Can a few random interaction with cockpit controls result in a crash?

There's a real-life example that seems very similar: Aeroflot 593. The pilots let two children sit in the cockpit while the aircraft was on autopilot. One of the children pushed the control column for ...
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53 votes
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Why was Concorde's cockpit so complex?

Why was this cockpit much more complex than any other modern day aircraft Firstly, as others have noted, you imply Concorde was modern when you compare it with "other modern" aircraft. OK, it was a "...
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51 votes
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What are these wavy lines on fighters' canopy?

It is an explosive cord which helps to crack the canopy (pdf!) before the ejection seat has to do this all by itself. When ejection is commanded, the harness is tightened and the canopy is shattered, ...
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51 votes
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What is the purpose of the "Mirror-Thing" over the Mig-29 Cockpit?

Additional details to Marco's selected answer. On the two-seater version, the instructor seat (aft) is not high enough, contrary to other training aircraft, to see the runway. A forward view mirror ...
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51 votes
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What is this object in the cockpit of an ultralight?

It's an airspeed indicator for ultralights. The pitot inlet is at the bottom and the pitot air pushes a little red plastic disc up and down on a central rod, with a calibrated clearance between the ...
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48 votes

Has there ever been a plane not controlled from the nose?

Most of the (single engined) piston aircraft had the cockpit after the engine, This resulted in the cockpit being aft of the wing, like the Supermarine Spitfire. "Ray Flying Legends 2005-1" by ...
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44 votes
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Are the instrument panels in the cockpit spill / waterproof?

No they are not, at least not fully. There have been instances of equipment failure caused by coffee spills, resulting in the need to abort the flight. This example shows a flight that needed to ...
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43 votes
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What are the "spur" devices on this U2 pilot's boots?

These are part of the foot restraint system fitted to the seats used in the SR-71, later U-2 and some Space Shuttles. (They're all derived from the same basic design). The spurs engage in two ball ...
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43 votes
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Why was a flight delayed because of a bird in the cockpit?

Having a small bird in a cockpit, or anywhere on board, would not be a problem during a normal flight because a normal flight should have a wide safety margin. However, a situation can change ...
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42 votes
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Why are most cockpits gray?

Basically, neutral mid-toned greys or tans are considered to be the best color to use, because they aren't any other color: The base color shouldn't be confused for anything in an instrument display. ...
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41 votes
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Why does an airplane captain sit in the left seat?

There are several reasons, mostly historical, or theories behind this: After World War I, most airplanes had rotary engines with left turning tendencies because it followed the torque of the engine. ...
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41 votes

Has there ever been a plane not controlled from the nose?

Many civil and military aircraft between 1920 and 1950 had their pilot in the center of the aircraft, or further aft. Random selection: 1922: De Havilland DH37 (source). Not really aft, but ...
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41 votes
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Do jet fighters have air conditioning systems?

Yes. Fighter aircraft have air conditioning systems. In general, they are called as Environmental Conditioning Systems (ECS). Their primary functions (as far as cockpit goes) include, Cockpit ...
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  • 98.7k
39 votes

Why are cockpit instruments white on black dials?

For night flying the white on black scheme emits probably 1 or 2% of the light that a black on white display does. This will make a very significant difference in cockpit light levels and night vision....
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39 votes

Why can't airline pilots listen to music while flying?

I don't know where he gets that. Regulation wise there's nothing stopping an airline pilot from listening to music as long as he/she can hear ambient sounds or communications and modern headsets make ...
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  • 107k
38 votes

Is it true that cockpit doors are bulletproof?

For all air transport operating under 14 CFR 121, 121.313(f) requires a door to be installed between passenger compartment and cockpit. 14 CFR 25.795(a) outlines the relevant design requirements for ...
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36 votes
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What are the "lumps" in the A380 flight-deck?

They are a different design of computer mouse: As far as I can tell, the front disk is a track pad and the model in your picture has the mouse buttons on the front instead of the sides:
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36 votes
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Why does the Dassault Falcon 7X's cockpit have ashtrays?

In the United States, the smoking ban only applies universally to air carriers on scheduled flights. The regulation states §252.4 Smoking ban: air carriers. Air carriers shall prohibit smoking on ...
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35 votes
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Why are some windows in cockpits made openable?

The opening cockpit windows do serve some purpose, like providing an additional means of evacuation during an emergency.* There have been instances where the crew had used the cockpit windows to ...
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