Cockpit
Overview
 
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s are also physically separated from the cabin. From the cockpit an aircraft is controlled on the ground and in the air.

Cockpit as a term for the pilot's compartment in an aircraft first appeared in 1914.
Encyclopedia
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s are also physically separated from the cabin. From the cockpit an aircraft is controlled on the ground and in the air.

Cockpit as a term for the pilot's compartment in an aircraft first appeared in 1914. From about 1935 cockpit also came to be used informally to refer to the driver's seat of a car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

, especially a high performance one, and this is official terminology in Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

. The term is most likely related to the sailing term
Cockpit (sailing)
In the Royal Navy, the term cockpit originally referred to the area where the coxswain was stationed. This led to the word being used to refer to the area towards the stern of a small decked vessel that houses the rudder controls...

 for the coxswain
Coxswain
The coxswain is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives us a literal meaning of "boat servant" since it comes from cox, a coxboat or other small vessel kept aboard a ship, and swain, which can be rendered as boy, in authority. ...

's station in a Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 ship, and later the location of the ship's rudder controls.

The cockpit of an aircraft contains flight instruments
Flight instruments
Flight instruments are the instruments in the cockpit of an aircraft that provide the pilot with information about the flight situation of that aircraft, such as height, speed and altitude...

 on an instrument panel, and the controls which enable the pilot to fly the aircraft. In most airliners, a door separates the cockpit from the passenger compartment. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, all major airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

s fortified the cockpit against access by hijackers
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

.

On an airliner, the cockpit is usually referred to as the flight deck. This term derives from its use by the RAF for the separate, upper platform where the pilot and co-pilot sat in large flying boats.

Ergonomics

The first airplane with an enclosed cabin appeared in 1912 on the Avro Type F
Avro Type F
-References:* -External links:*...

 however during the early 1920s there were many passenger aircraft in which the crew remained open to the air while the passengers sat in a cabin. Military biplanes and the first single-engined fighters and attack aircraft also had open cockpits, some as late as the Second World War when enclosed cockpits became the norm.

The largest impediment to having closed cabins was the material the windows were to be made of. Prior to Perspex becoming available in 1933, windows were either safety glass, which was heavy, or cellulose nitrate (ie: guncotton)
Nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton...

 which yellowed quickly and was extremely flamable. In the mid 1920s many aircraft manufactuers began using enclosed cockpits for the first time. Early airplanes with closed cockpits include the 1924 Fokker tri-motor, the 1926 German Junkers W.34 transport, the 1926 Ford Tri-Motor, the 1927 Lockheed Vega
Lockheed Vega
|-See also:-References:NotesCitationsBibliography* Allen, Richard Sanders. Revolution in the Sky: Those Fabulous Lockheeds, The Pilots Who Flew Them. Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1964....

, the Spirit of St. Louis
Spirit of St. Louis
The Spirit of St. Louis is the custom-built, single engine, single-seat monoplane that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh on May 20–21, 1927, on the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris for which Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize.Lindbergh took off in the Spirit from Roosevelt...

 and the passenger aircraft manufactured by the Douglas and Boeing companies during the mid-1930s. Open-cockpit airplanes were almost extinct by the mid-1950s, with the exception of training planes and crop-dusters.
Cockpit windows may be equipped with a sun shield. Most cockpits have windows which can be opened when the aircraft is on the ground. Nearly all glass windows in large aircraft have a Anti-reflective coating
Anti-reflective coating
An antireflective or anti-reflection coating is a type of optical coating applied to the surface of lenses and other optical devices to reduce reflection. This improves the efficiency of the system since less light is lost. In complex systems such as a telescope, the reduction in reflections also...

, and an internal heating element to melt ice. Smaller aircraft may be equipped with a transparent aircraft canopy.

In most cockpits the pilot's control column or joystick
Joystick
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or...

 is located centrally (centre stick
Centre stick
A centre stick , or simply control stick is an aircraft cockpit arrangement where the control column is located conventionally in the centre of the cockpit between the pilot's legs...

), although in some military fast jets and in some commercial airliners the pilot uses a side-stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

 (usually located on the outboard side and/or at the left).

The layout of the cockpit, especially in the military fast jet, has undergone standardisation, both within and between aircraft different manufacturers and even different nations. One of the most important developments was the “Basic Six” pattern, later the “Basic T”, developed from 1937 onwards by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

, designed to optimise pilot instrument
Flight instruments
Flight instruments are the instruments in the cockpit of an aircraft that provide the pilot with information about the flight situation of that aircraft, such as height, speed and altitude...

 scanning.

Ergonomics and human factors concerns are important in the design of modern cockpits. The layout and function of cockpit displays controls are designed to increase pilot situation awareness
Situation awareness
Situation awareness, situational awareness, or SA, is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time...

 without causing information overload. In the past, many cockpits, especially in fighter aircraft, limited the size of the pilots that could fit into them. Now, cockpits are being designed to accommodate from the 1st percentile
Percentile
In statistics, a percentile is the value of a variable below which a certain percent of observations fall. For example, the 20th percentile is the value below which 20 percent of the observations may be found...

 female physical size and the 99th percentile male size.

In the design of the cockpit in a military fast jet, the traditional “knobs and dials“ associated with the cockpit are mainly absent. Instrument panels are now almost wholly replaced by electronic displays which are themselves often re-configurable to save space. While some hard-wired dedicated switches must still be used for reasons of integrity and safety, many traditional controls are replaced by multi-function re-configurable controls or so-called “soft keys”. Controls are incorporated onto the stick and throttle to enable the pilot to maintain a head-up and eyes-out position – the so-called Hands On Throttle And Stick or HOTAS
HOTAS
HOTAS, an abbreviation for Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle stick and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing the pilot to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove his...

 concept,. These controls may be then further augmented by new control media such as head pointing with a Helmet Mounted Sighting System
Helmet mounted display
A helmet mounted display is a device used in some modern aircraft, especially combat aircraft. HMDs project information similar to that of head-up displays on an aircrew’s visor or reticle, thereby allowing him to obtain situational awareness and/or cue weapons systems to the direction his head...

 or Direct Voice Input (DVI
Direct Voice Input
Direct Voice Input is a style of Human-Machine Interaction "HMI" in which the user makes voice commands to issue instructions to the machine...

). New advances in auditory displays even allow for Direct Voice Output of aircraft status information and for the spatial localisation of warning sounds for improved monitoring of aircraft systems.

The layout of control panels in modern airliners has become largely unified across the industry. The majority of the systems-related controls (such as electrical, fuel, hydraulics and pressurization) for example, are usually located in the ceiling on an overhead panel. Radios are generally placed on a panel between the pilot's seats known as the pedestal. Automatic flight controls such as the autopilot
Autopilot
An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. An autopilot can refer specifically to aircraft, self-steering gear for boats, or auto guidance of space craft and missiles...

 are usually placed just below the windscreen and above the main instrument panel on the glareshield. A central concept in the design of the cockpit is the Design Eye Position
Design Eye Position
In the design of human-machine user interfaces , the Design Eye Position is the position from which the user is intended to view the workstation for an optimal view of the visual interface. The Design Eye Position represents the ideal but notional location of the operator's view and is usually...

 or "DEP", from which point all displays should be visible.

Most modern cockpit will also include some kind of integrated warning system
Bitching betty
Bitching Betty is the slang term some pilots and crew use when referring to the voice warnings used by some aircraft systems....

.

Flight instruments

In the modern electronic cockpit, the flight instruments usually regarded as essential are MCP, PFD, ND, EICAS, FMS/CDU and back-up instruments.

MCP

A Mode Control Panel
Mode Control Panel
In aviation, a mode control panel , is an instrument panel that controls an advanced autopilot and related systems, such as an automated flight-director system ....

, usually a long narrow panel located centrally in front of the pilot, may be used to control Heading(HDG), Speed(SPD), Altitude(ALT), Vertical Speed(V/S), Vertical Navigation(VNAV) and Lateral Navigation(LNAV). It may also be used to engage or disengage both the autopilot and the autothrottle. The panel as an area is usually referred to as the "glareshield panel". MCP is a Boeing designation (that has been informally adopted as a generic name for the unit/panel) for a unit that allows for the selection and parameter setting of the different Autoflight functions, the same unit on an Airbus aircraft is referred to as the FCU (Flight Control unit).

PFD

The Primary Flight Display
Primary flight display
A primary flight display or PFD is a modern aircraft instrument dedicated to flight information. Much like multi-function displays, primary flight displays are built around an LCD or CRT display device...

 will usually be located in a prominent position, either centrally or on on either side of the cockpit. It will in most cases include a digitized presentation of the attitude indicator, air speed and altitude indicators (usually as a tape display) and the vertical speed indicator. It will in many cases include some form of heading indicator and ILS/VOR deviation indicators. In many cases an indicator of the engaged and armed autofight system modes will be present along with some form of indication of the selected values for altitude, speed, vertical speed and heading. It may be pilot selectable to swap with the ND.

ND

A Navigation Display, which may be adjacent to the PFD, shows the current route and information on the next waypoint, current wind speed and wind direction. It may be pilot selectable to swap with the PFD.

EICAS/ECAM

The Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System (used for Boeing) or Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor (for Airbus) will allow the pilot to monitor the following information: values for N1, N2 and N3, fuel temperature, fuel flow, the electrical system, cockpit or cabin temperature and pressure, control surfaces and so on. The pilot may select display of information by means of button press.

FMS

The Flight Management System/Control Unit may be used by the pilot to enter and check for the following information: Flight Plan, Speed Control, Navigation Control, and so on.

Back-up instruments

In a less prominent part of the cockpit, in case of failure of the other instruments, there will be a set of back-up instruments, showing basic flight information such as Speed, Attitude, Heading, and aircraft attitude.

Aerospace industry technologies

In the U.S. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

) have researched the ergonomic aspects of cockpit design and have conducted investigations of airline industry accidents. Cockpit design disciplines include Cognitive Science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

, Neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, Human Computer Interaction, Human Factors Engineering
Human factors
Human factors science or human factors technologies is a multidisciplinary field incorporating contributions from psychology, engineering, industrial design, statistics, operations research and anthropometry...

, Anthropometry
Anthropometry
Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual...

 and Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities.The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:...

.

Aircraft designs have adopted the fully digital “glass cockpit.” In such designs, instruments and gauges, including navigational map displays, use a user interface markup language known as ARINC 661
Arinc 661
ARINC 661 is a standard which aims to normalize the definition of a Cockpit Display System , and the communication between the CDS and User Applications which manage Aircraft avionics functions...

. This standard defines the interface between an independent cockpit display system, generally produced by a single manufacturer, and the avionics equipment and user applications which it is required to support, by means of displays and controls, often made by different manufacturers. The separation between the overall display system, and the applications driving it, allows for considerable specialization and independence.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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