Technology

10 November 2020
What Is a Cockpit Like?

No matter how many times we’ve got on a plane, some parts of planes still preserve their mysteries to us. The cockpit that is especially protected for security reasons is an interesting place for all of us. We know that only the two pilots are inside. Knowing that that part of the plane will always be a mystery to us, we lie back and enjoy our flight. But, what is there in that secret part of the plane? What happens in a cockpit during a flight?

Let us start with its name... Just like many other terms in aviation, cockpit is also derived from the maritime. The members steering the ships were called “coxswain” and ‘cockpit’ is the name of the area where he and the captain were in. As the aviation developed, the name “cockpit” also started to be used in aviation just like many other terms derived from the navigation.

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There are two pilots in the cockpit, the first pilot and the co-pilot. A flight technician and a radio operator also used to sit in the cockpits during a flight. With the developing technologies and computers, two people can do the job. The cockpit’s door is also different from the rest. Pilots need to enable access from inside and this duration differs from case to case. During the first years in aviation, cockpits were mostly open. Even though the first closed cockpit was invented in 1912, some open cockpits were used until 1940.

The cockpit is as magnificent as we can imagine. It resembles a small spaceship, like the ones we see in sci-fi movies. There are computers and buttons in front and on top of the pilots. It is a very much wondered about issue, whether the pilots use all of the buttons on top of and around them. Yes, the pilots have to know and use all these thousands of buttons. The lever used during takeoff and landing is located right in front of the pilot. This lever can be like a joystick in some planes. The computer systems on the roof generally show the electronic, hydraulic, and fuel systems as well as the pressure levels.

The Flight Management System (FMS) shows the flight plan and details while ensuring speed control. This area is where the first pilot enters the most information and manage the flight. Main flight indicators are in front of both pilots and show elevation speed and elevation, overall speed, and other flight details. A separate panel has other screens showing the meteorology radar, maps, and engine control data. The windshield of the cockpit is special-made and at least 6 cm thick. The autopilot is usually located directly underneath. 

As you see, the cockpit is like a small base, where everything is controlled. When you know what is going on inside, you cannot help but say it better stays locked for flight safety.