Warplanes: Not Your Grandfathers Fighter Cockpit

Archives

January 28, 2006: TV and movie depictions of life in fighter cockpits still look a lot like World War II. But the reality is that in the past sixty years, the inside of that cockpit has changed dramatically, if somewhat gradually. For example, the joystick began disappearing, in U.S. aircraft anyway, some two decades ago. Even before that, the HUD (Head Up Display) began to show pilots all sorts of information, on what appeared to be a see-through computer screen at the front of the cockpit canopy. About the same time the joystick became old-school, while the instruments and dials in the front of the cockpit were getting replaced by computer displays. These displays eventually displaced all the old fashioned stuff, and became touch sensitive as well. Just like many ATMs, or laptop computers. Meanwhile, the French pioneered controls that responded to voice commands (even when given in a voice stressed by combat, or pulling lots of Gs). Added to this were HUD type displays on the pilots visor, as well as sensors that knew what the pilot was looking at.

Much more automation is now available to pilots. This includes diagnostics of system failures (or battle damage), tactical advice and automatic landing systems (autopilot for level flight has been around for a long time.) Today's fighter cockpit is very definitely not your grandfathers fighter cockpit.

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close