Hot answers tagged

157

I would argue that the controls of an aircraft are not complicated, but rather that they are simply foreign to you. In the vast majority of cases, the various controls in the aircraft do one thing: Turn something on, or turn it off. They are quite simple actually, but what makes it appear complicated to you is that there are so many of them. As you ...


115

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 shapes. That's intentional. Pilots train and train and train and train on checklists, especially the emergency ones. Muscle memory is a big part of quickly and ...


81

Right instrument face colors are inverted. Black and white are perfect complementary colors, meaning: When placed next to each other, they create the strongest contrast for those particular two colors. But for instruments if they were inverted, strong daylight shadows will make the numbers and hands harder to read, while at night with the white ...


65

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. Without looking, we only have a very vague idea where our hand is due to muscle tone sensing, but we don't need to look at our hand to know exactly how hard it is pushing something. For the ...


64

As has been pointed out in a previous answer, the cockpit is a user interface. My belief is that it is virtually impossible to design any user interface that is user-friendly to both novice and experienced users, and I question whether you would really even want to do that. For example, in a light single engine aircraft with one fuel tank, a single on/off ...


63

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 color keeps pilots awake and not getting tired by the black or grey of a cockpit panel, especially under terms and condition of long range flights or under ...


61

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. This might be required by a supersonic design where windows would be impossible (also known as a 'virtual cockpit'). I understand it has been used for all sort of ...


58

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 Gee Bee planes were explicitly attempts at shoving the most powerful engine into the smallest and lightest possible air-frame, with the pilot tucked in ...


55

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 interpreted correctly. This might not seem to matter much, but if you need to throw 20 switches in a hurry, the mechanical solution is head and shoulders above ...


55

(airliners.net) Above I marked five similar plus signs on the 737 (there are more). Beneath the +'s are the contacts for the backlighting of each panel. If it acts up then pressing on the sign will ground/secure the connection and may solve the issue. The electroluminescent light-panels are flexible and the ride can be too bumpy sometimes. Better push the ...


54

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 30 seconds, which disengaged the autopilot and started a steep turn. The pilots tried to recover but the aircraft stalled and crashed, killing everyone on ...


53

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 "jet-age" aircraft, but it wasn't a 21st Century design. it was designed before "glass cockpits" were possible, in the 1960s. There were no real multifunctional ...


50

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, and only then the real ejection starts. Earlier designs would blow the full canopy off, but this takes longer than shattering it, especially when the canopy is ...


50

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 replaces the rear view mirror and allows the instructor to see ahead. The runway is projected on a second mirror inside the cockpit, creating a full periscope ...


50

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 edge of the disc and the walls of the tube. They are very sensitive and are good down to 10 MPH or less. You'll also see them on hang gliders. See here: ...


48

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 Original uploader was Bryan Fury75 at fr.wikipedia - Transferred from fr.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Padawane using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under CC BY-...


46

Thin-film interference Thin-film interference is a natural phenomenon in which light waves reflected by the upper and lower boundaries of a thin film interfere with one another, either enhancing or reducing the reflected light. It's the same mechanism behind your oil example. The thin film in this case is the heating coating applied to the windshield, ...


45

99% of the information provided by all of those gauges, and 90% of the possible positions of all of those controls, are not necessary on a typical flight. You CAN take off, fly, and land, with just the instruments used on an ultralight (or less, if you think about the paramotor folks). But if anything goes wrong, or to squeak out a tiny bit more efficiency, ...


43

The controls of an airplane don't have to be complicated. Here is a typical modern glider control panel: These instruments are: (top left) Variometer (shows relative climb/sink, only really useful for gliders) (top centre) Airspeed (required) (top right) Another variometer (in this airplane, one is mechanical and one is electronic) (bottom left) Altimeter (...


43

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 nipples that protrude from the lower part of the seat. The nipples are connected via cables to reels beneath the rear of the seat which pull the pilots feet in ...


43

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 extremely rapidly from safe-and-normal to heavy workload to full-emergency due to any number of factors, including weather, mechanical issues, airspace/congestion, etc....


41

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 interesting offset from the longitudinal axis: 1938: Blohm and Voss BV 141 (source). 1939: SAI Ambrosini SS.4 (source). 1942: F4U-1 (source). 1944: Spitfire Mk 19 ...


39

The short answer is to sit down, shut up, and stay the heck out of the way. That's what I would do. If you can quietly help the one or two people sitting next to you do the same, you're doing your part. Seriously, the last thing the flight crew needs in a flight emergency is extra distractions from passengers - especially those without directly relevant ...


39

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. While lighting levels could be turned down on the black on white displays the contrast would suffer. With white on black the lighting levels can be left ...


39

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 it easy to link an ipod to headphones that are also receiving the comms. Pilots are allowed to take naps in flight as long as they are awake within 45 min of ...


38

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 divert because a coffee spill disabled the communication equipment. This Boeing 737 report had smoke in the cockpit because the previous flight crew spilled ...


37

Small planes tend to have keys, but not all. The bigger the plane the less likely a key is needed and once you get into jets, I can't think of any that need keys for engine starts. The starting and securing of engines with no keys comes down to switches and knobs. Likewise with exterior doors, on smaller planes including private end executive jets, you ...


36

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:


35

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. This precludes using red, yellow, green, bright blues or brown, but also black and white as black is used to represent empty space in instrument displays while ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible