glass cockpit

Glass cockpit - All instruments in a screen

Avionics- Glass cockpit

Glass cockpit avionics are a class of avionics, which uses light indications and/or screens to indicate all the parameters and indications needed for the operation of the aircraft. There are numerous aircraft types today flying with glass cockpit configurations, due to the simplicity and user friendlier interfaces.

In early days, glass cockpit use was limited to PFD (Primary Functions Displays), MFD (Multi Function Displays) or a PFD that incorporated MFD functionality. Those early glass cockpits paved the way for ever more complex and advanced avionics driving us now to an almost paperless cockpit. The main reason that such avionics were invented was that the limited space in the cockpit of an aircraft, could not fit all the needed avionics that the pilots needed to have direct access. The typical avionics of the pre-glass cockpit era were bulky heavy and made a total mess with their wires and tubes, practically making the back of the panel/firewall a total jungle of tangled wiry things and labels

Commercial aviation

In commercial aviation simple glass cockpits, were firstly introduced in medium Jets(B734,MD-80,A310,), then fund implications in heavier jets(A300,B744,B672) and business jets. These early glass cockpits were mostly limited in indicating the flight crew with all the vital indications that conventional instruments would do, but in a more suitable way. For example in the case of the air speed indicator in glass cockpits there were now automated needles that moves, let’s say when the pilot retracted the flaps or extended the landing gear to clearly indicate the new operation speed limits of the aircraft in that configuration. Also all autopilot indications and bags were incorporated in the glass cockpit for greater easiness. But the most crucial change was the HSI (The main navigation instrument up to that day), had a meeting with the garbage can. It was totally replaced with an all new design that gave the pilot all the indications that he wanted. Incorporated moving maps with live route-distance-time indications, weather radars, combined HIS and RMI functionality it was the Christmas present that any pilot of that era could have wished.

Hello EICAS, Goodbye flight engineer.

Later came the EICAS system(Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System), which was very bad news for one particular airman in the cockpit. The flight engineer now could retire or get his hands dirty again in the hangar, since he had no job in the cockpit. EICAS is an integrated system used to provide aircraft crew with aircraft engines and other systems instrumentation and crew annunciations. This system incorporated also annunciator panel with prioritized colored indications and advised solutions, some came with even intergraded checklists. This system clearly offered the aircrew with a powerful toll to cope with any improper indications, simply scanning 1 or 2 screens instead of 1 great and complex flight engineer panel, which needed an independent controller to supervise. The difference can be clearly seen in the case of the Douglas DC10 and the Douglas MD11, which was the first jumbo jet to do without flight engineer.

Everyday pilot get a new file saving tool.

The next step was to find their way to a wider market, and in the crammed cockpits of GA(General Aviation) aircraft. These implications came with many challenges, first and foremost how to fit the computer banks needed in bigger commercial aircraft (We are talking for a whole room) in a very very small panel. Garmin took the challenge and came up with the striking G1000, which is an all round full panel substitute. If you want to retrofit your Cessna 172 to Garmin G1000 you will have to wave goodbye to all your existing instruments, radios, receivers, indicators and the stupid vacuum pump ware. The G1000 has almost no moving parts to have mechanical wear, so no more inop labels on the panelJ. After Garmin came many other companies like Dynon and MGL avionics that are mainly targeting experimental and ULM markets. These days you can buy and have a full glass cockpit panel for your ULM ultralight aircraft with full autopilot and altitude hold, moving maps and synthetic vision for as much as 6000$.

RAF Hercules C-130J

The C-130J has a revised flight deck with modern glass-cockpit and head-up displays, allowing two-pilot, flight deck operation.

The Beetle was a robot designed for the Air Force Special Weapons Centre, initially to service and maintain a planned fleet of atomic-powered Air Force bombers, according to declassified Air Force reports, work began on the Beetle in 1959, and it was completed in 1961. It was 19 feet long, 12 feet wide, 11 feet high and weighed a ground-shaking 77 tons. The pilot was shielded by an inch of steel armour on the outside of the unit, half-an-inch inside and a minimum of 12 inches of lead plating around the cabin, which would keep him shielded from all but the most intense blasts of radiation. On top of all that, the cockpit glass was 23 inches thick, and was made up of seven individual panes of leaded glass. it was built on a M42 duster chassis, powered by a 500hp engine and had a top speed of 8 miles per hour, speed had been traded off for power, the robot’s bulk meaning it had 85,000 pounds of pull in its arms. Yet despite this raw power, it could also perform incredibly delicate operations. At a public demonstration in 1962, for example, the Beetle was able to roll up to a carton of eggs (pictured up top), pick a single egg up and hold it in its pincers without breaking it. when the atomic aircraft project was cancelled in 1961, it was earmarked by the US military for a role in cleaning up the debris caused by a nuclear explosion but that would have required a more active deployment, something its size, weight and most crucially unwieldiness (as in, taking several minutes for a pilot to get in and out) simply could not stand up to. It’s unknown what ultimately became of the Beetle.

Windshield wipers, cracked windscreens and side windows !

This might strike you as quaint, but most airliners are indeed equipped with wipers. They’re used on the ground, and during takeoff takeoffs and landings if precipitation is heavy. They are effective at keeping the windscreen clear, but tend to be very noisy. Often there’s a speed restrictions (around 200 knots, give or take), above which they should not be turned on. Some planes use a system that instead blows engine bleed air across the glass. Cockpit windows are also electrically heated to prevent ice and frost accretion. The individual panels use separate circuits and heating elements so that a failure will affect only one section. Heating also increases flexibility, providing extra protection against bird strikes.

The glass is unbelievably strong — bank-teller thick and bolstered by high-strength frames. Somewhere on YouTube is a video of maintenance workers attempting — and failing — to shatter a discarded cockpit windscreen with a sledgehammer.

If that all sounds expensive, it is. Swapping out a single cockpit pane can run tens of thousands of dollars.

Strong as they are, aircraft windscreens occasionally do crack. In all but the rarest cases, however, cracking will not cause a shattering or rupture of the window. How to deal with the crack depends on its size, the location, and how many layers of the glass are affected (there are multiple layers). The checklist might call for a speed reduction, and/or depressurizing in order to reduce stress on the glass. Or it might call for nothing at all. Depressurizing requires a descent to no higher than 10,000 feet. Once at the appropriate height and speed, and so long as fuel allows, it may be possible to continue flying without further trouble.

This is the kind of thing that the flight crew would coordinate with maintenance personnel. Ultimately it’s the captain’s decision, but dealing with malfunctions is often a team effort between the flight crew and staff on the ground, who we communicate with via datalink or radio.

Another peculiarity of cockpit windows is that some of them can be opened when the plane is on the ground. It’s normally the side windows — never those in the front — that have this capability, and only on some aircraft. The A380 that I fly is one of those aircrafts. It gets hot in the cockpit with all of the lights on and electrical equipment humming, and I often crank a window open for fresh air.

The apparatus that does the latching and sliding is strictly mechanical, and also allows the window to be used as an emergency exit. It’s a long way down, so an escape rope is usually tucked into an adjacent sidewall or ceiling panel. (When commandos stormed a hijacked Air France flight in Algeria in 1995, first officer Jean-Paul Borderie fractured an elbow and thigh after leaping 16 feet to the ground from the cockpit of an Airbus A300.) The window fits into the frame much like a plug, and similar to how an aircraft’s doors cannot be opened during flight, neither can its windows, so long as the plane remains pressurized.

While all that glass makes for a splendid view and the chance for some fresh air, it also has a downside. Namely, noise. Going nose first into 600 miles-an-hour of onrushing air produces an exceptional racket. Ambient cockpit noise levels average about 75 decibels. Over the course of a multi-hour flight, that induces fatigue. Over the course of a career, it induces hearing loss. Engineers have tinkered with active noise reduction technology and better insulation, but the easiest way of dealing with the problem is either with a noise reducing headset or, more routinely, a pair of foam earplugs.

recharging fliers

○ Fliers losing some of their motor function during recharge, and their wings constantly tapping on their berths for the most annoying woodpecker-esque noise you can imagine

○ Wings smacking berthmates unintentionally.
○ Wings showing their emotions during a dream.
○ Thrusters firing for a split second from dream spooks and leaving scorch marks, either on the berth, wall, or an unfortunate berth mate.
○ The grating sound of cockpit glass scraping across the berth.
○ Three bots to one berth when you bond with a seeker, and you weren’t expecting the entire trine to come with this one mech.
•   Having to deal with THEIR cuddle customs at night. 
○ Being the go-to bot when they’re having a dream about falling and unable to fly.
○ Being OK with being the smaller spoon because otherwise you may crush your berthmate’s wings. 
○ Having to sleep nearly falling off the edge of the berth because your wing friend likes to sleep closer to the wall because there’s an air vent there and flying bots need air currents so that they don’t go stir crazy and feel claustrophobic.
•   At least that’s what they SAY, but you really know it’s because they don’t want to fall off and dent their wings because ouch. 


Finally, Bkack Hawks will be equipped with glass cockpit technology. Another 20 years service for the Black Hawks?
The system features a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program with an integrated architecture that enables new capabilities through software-only solutions rather than hardware additions. The architecture maximizes the UH-60L platform performance and reliability while minimizing total life cycle cost. The system is also smaller in size, lower in weight and requires less power than legacy processing systems