116

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 ...


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 ...


25

The screens are LCDs, which have a polarized filter layer over them. That layer is usually placed at a 45° so they are misaligned with your polarized sunglasses which are aligned vertically. You can confirm this is the problem by turning your sunglasses at different angles and see if the screen changes.


21

Mechanical switches gives a better visual inspection than digital touch screens. For a pilot surrounded with so many switches, just a visual glance would be enough to find the position of the control.


21

In essence, you are correct. It was a conscious decision to do it that way: - when the nose pitches up, you're "pitching" toward the slower airspeed on the tape... - and you're pitching toward the higher altitude on the altitude tape. My question: why do most aircraft have the higher speed near the top of the tape? Is it "just because the altitude tape ...


19

There are a few options for this and it depends on the type of plane you are in, for the most part it looks like the information must at least be proactively navigated to in what ever NAV system you are using. Every pilot should study their route before hand and identify possible diversions or at least understand where they are. For pilots flying common ...


18

On a Boeing 777, the pilot can select to have nearby airports displayed on their navigation display (ND). It's the quickest way to get the info IMHO. Of course this data needs to be corroborated with the nearest airport in the NavData and once a suitable airport is chosen, it can be quickly entered into the modified route - activate, execute and fly direct ...


16

I think your best bet might be going through the Instrument Flying Handbook [PDF, Large!] by the Federal Aviation Administration. It has plenty of nice graphics, if you're fine with a lot of other irrelevant stuff in the document. There's also the Chapter 8, Instruments, of the FAA Pilot Flying Handbook [PDF], which is a bit more compact. I'm not sure there ...


15

Beyond the obvious aviation reasons of cost and so on, I can think of a few reasons why I'd not want an over reliance on touchscreens in the cockpit: If a touchscreen fails, you've lost all the controls that were related to it. Likewise, if a touchscreen (or portion of) fails then the whole thing has to be replaced rather than just the button Feedback - ...


14

There are no regulations on what color something has to have as far as I know, but of course, a good color usage is a key part of every good and modern avionic. Maybe you need some terms relevant for you: EFIS for Electronic Flight Instrument System That's in general the name instruments that are displayed on a screen instead of steam gauges. PFD for ...


14

Yes there are standards. There are industry standards which not regulatory standards, but they have been deemed acceptable by the regulatory agencies (e.g. FAA). So following them is usually accepted without issue. The FAA also provides guidance in the form of an Advisory Circular, AC 25-11B Electronic Flight Displays. You have two separate things to ...


11

If the power suddenly disappears to any aircraft (ie, a total electrical failure including the batteries), then all the aircraft systems will be failed regardless of whether or not they were glass. This is highly unlikely because there are several power generation backups that would have to fail, including the batteries themselves, before this ever became a ...


9

Attitude Indicator It shows your attitude (nose up / down, bank left / right) relative to a horizontal surface. Basically, it tells you the orientation of the plane if someone were to take a photo of the plane from the outside at this very moment. It does not tell you which way you are going (e.g. you can be nose up but descending). Turn coordinator This ...


9

It depends on how you define "glass cockpit." Technology has progressed in steps to the modern "glass cockpits" of the latest aircraft. Who developed the first glass cockpits? The military appears to be the first place where electronic displays were used. First for specific uses like navigation or targeting scopes, and later gaining more functionality. ...


9

I can't find any good information on ... how this layout was developed The glass cockpit arrangement for the primary flight display copies the defacto standard analog instrument minimal T arrangement that pilots are/were used to. Airspeed Attitude Altimeter Airspeed Attitude Altimeter ......... Heading ...


8

While total electrical failure in a transport-category aircraft is extremely remote, even fly-by-wire airliners such as the A320-380 and B777/787 have redundant backups that would work under the scenario: in the case of the Airbus, you'd fly using the rudder pedals for yaw and roll and manual stabilizer trim for pitch, while Boeing uses a pair of spoiler ...


8

Touchscreen flight displays are already under production and the first commercial aircraft with touch screen primary flight displays as standard equipment to receive FAA certification is the Beechcraft King Air 250 turboprop equipped with Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. There are some issues with touchscreen, such as, ...special security ...


8

The primary difference is labelled right on your image of a TC: "NO PITCH INFORMATION". The artificial horizon is basically a pitch/bank position indicator, while the turn coordinator is a yaw/bank rate indicator. The horizon thus shows you how your aircraft is oriented right this instant, while the TC shows you how fast your orientation and/or heading is ...


8

Apparently yes, according to this 2008 review of the system in a Diamond DA40: With [a safety pilot], I stayed under the hood for the entire flight—takeoff, en route, approach and landing—using the system’s visual cues. I managed to land the airplane without breaking anything, barely. It wasn’t pretty, but it demonstrated what was possible.


7

"Wouldn't this make it more economic as there would be savings on material and wiring?" Not necessarily, because the days of "one wire per function" are long over. Automotive has pushed that forward, and aerospace is following. Modern systems tend to be networked. This actually gives better reliability for less wiring, because it's easier to duplicate ...


7

It's hard to see from the angle that your example photos were taken from, but the main reason is that they want the primary flight instruments (which are on the PFD, or Primary Flight Display) directly in front of the pilot, no matter which seat they are in. The PFD gives the most critical information which is used to actualy control and fly the aircraft, ...


7

This answer is a bit of a guess. I think this design choice helps the pilot in manually flying in the coffin corner. By ensuring that the direction of movement of the horizon, altitude and speed tape all require the same stick input, less mental workload is needed to fly the aircraft. If the nose of the aircraft is lowered: The artificial horizon will ...


7

Turn Coordinator It is actually a turn and slip indicator. It tells you if you are: turning or not slipping or not skidding or not Artificial Horizon This, the attitude indicator, tells you: what is the pitch angle of the airplane when ascending or descending what is the bank angle of the airplane when turning The pull to cage know will cage the ...


7

Caging was required when Gyros were mechanical masses actually spinning at many rpms in their cases. That mass resisted rotational motion and produced a resistance force that was measured and translated into useful info like pitch and roll. That spinning mass carried much momentum in the form of its mass times its rotational velocity. And too much sudden ...


7

There are two ways this generally works: A low-current hot buss that is always connected to the system battery A small rechargeable battery that powers low-power time and memory circuits The first is common in aircraft with hard-wired systems, while the second is the case for nearly every handheld-style GPS. While GPS does not necessarily need to be ...


6

Generally, PFD will smoothen the indication for most of the indicated data. I don't know any 'legal' requirements for it, but as you mention, basic ergonomics require it. I have first hand experience with Garmin G1000, so I'll try to explain its PFD behaviour as an example. (It's a bit hard to capture and post a video). Most (if not all) 'graphical' ...


6

I found some training material on Airbus PFDs which explains: A vertical arrow, called the speed trend arrow, indicates the aircraft's predicted speed in 10 seconds if the current acceleration or deceleration rate remains constant. Put another way, if you measure the acceleration in knots per second, and then multiply it by ten, it's on the same scale ...


5

I fly a Super Decathlon with an Aspen E1000. While an excellent PFD, I certainly would not trust it in aerobatic flight. There's no cage function, and no way that I'm aware of to keep the attitude indicator from misbehaving, which I've seen it do firsthand. I also fly the Avidyne R9 system, which also does not have a caging function. Furthermore, I ...


5

When my hands are swatting, or there is dust in the air etc I find that the touch screen on my phone does not always work. Also in turbulence, how well can someone touch a flat smooth screen in the correct location, but a physical 3d switch can still be used. Also what if the operator has to wrap his/her hand in a cloth due to it bleeding? Do you wish ...


5

Ive had touch devices misread my intentions many factors of factors times more often than mechanical switches. Furthermore you can operate mechanically arranged interfaces without looking, ie. by feel. In fact, having an interface that responds when you touch it is not at all what you want to happen when safety is a major concern.


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