What is the Aircraft Cockpit?
The aircraft cockpit, otherwise known as the flight deck, is the forwardmost section of the vehicle in which the pilot and co-pilot control the systems and devices pertinent to flight operations. In most modern aircraft, the cockpit has been separated from the aircraft cabin by a fortified door for pilot protection, and this has led to many being curious about the inner workings of the room. To best understand the importance of the cockpit and the various operations that are conducted within, it is helpful to first know the main two types of cockpits that may be present across different models of aircraft.
For early aircraft that came before the widespread adoption of electronic aviation instruments, the cockpit consisted of a variety of dials and gauges that provided a plethora of information for the pilots through mechanical means. Known as a round dial or analog cockpit, such early designs were most notable by the presence of the “six-pack” gauge set. As the core flight instruments for operations, the analog six-pack includes attitude, airspeed indicator, altimeter, turn coordinator, heading indicator, and speed indicator instruments. By utilizing such information alongside an enroute chart, pilots could navigate the skies with ease for a variety of applications.
Around the 1960s to 1970s, however, aircraft displays began to modernize as engineers created digital versions of many of the base analog instruments. With large LCD screens replacing the conventional analog dials and gauges, pilots can receive much of their needed information on just a few digital flight instrument displays. With multi-functionality, screens can also often be adjusted by the pilot to display information as needed. As such, pilots are able to focus on more important information much easier, leading to an increase of flight efficiency and safety. Additionally, electronic flight displays have also begun to bring in new hardware for pilots, including GPS systems, weather data displays, and much more.
While the glass cockpit is seemingly better than the analog version with its simplicity and ease of use, the original cockpit does hold some benefits still. For one, mechanical gauges are not reliant on power, meaning that pilots can continue to receive flight pertinent information in the instance of an electrical failure. Additionally, such cockpits are also cheaper to acquire, and are not dependent on other systems for their readings. Nevertheless, the flexibility, visibility, and ease of use provided by the glass cockpit makes it a very desirable set-up for new models of aircraft.
Whether a cockpit features analog gauges or electronic flight displays, the pilot’s job of safely conducting a flight operation always remains the same. Across most types of aircraft serving varying roles, the cockpit team is most often composed of a pilot and co-pilot who each take on multiple responsibilities throughout the flight. For commercial airliners, having both a pilot and a co-pilot is standard, while military aircraft typically only permit a single pilot for control.
With the main pilot serving as the captain of the aircraft, they are responsible for the flight, crew, and all passengers aboard. Before stepping into the aircraft, a captain’s duties begin with weather checks, safety checklists, flight planning, and other tasks that ensure that the aircraft can successfully and efficiently reach its destination while accounting for any future changes or occurrences. Throughout a flight, the pilot will also stay in communication with air traffic control personnel to report their status, share any issues, and detail any changes in the flight plans.
For the co-pilot role of the aircraft, the individual must be capable and ready to undertake any of the duties that are handled by the captain. As such, co-pilots will respond to radio communications, operate navigational computers, and even take command of the aircraft as dictated by the pilot. As flight operations may be conducted over a large period of time, pilots and co-pilots will often switch responsibilities to equally delegate tasks and ensure breaks and rest periods can be taken. With a co-pilot, flight safety is also further guaranteed as the co-pilot can take full control as the captain in any case of illness or incapacitation.
While pilots and co-pilots are equal in their piloting skills and qualifications, the captain is typically an individual with more experience. As such, the higher ranking pilot will remain in charge of the flight with all responsibilities while the co-pilot undertakes any orders from their superior. To discern whether a pilot is a captain or a co-pilot, one can refer to the amount of stripes that are present on a uniform. For a captain, four stripes will be present, while a co-pilot will only have three.
As the cockpit serves as the room in which flight operations are conducted from, pilots are provided with a robust and protective windshield that allows for them to see their surroundings with ease, assuming that there is favorable light and weather conditions. To ensure the sight of pilots during rain and stormy conditions, various rain removal systems may be present such as chemical water repellents, fans, wipers, and more. Furthermore, the cockpit windshields are highly reinforced with several layers of thick glass, protecting pilots from harsh weather and any objects. If there is no visibility out of the windshield due to fog, storms, or night flying, many modern aircraft will provide flight instruments that allow for the pilots to conduct instrument flight rule (IFR) regulated operations assuming the pilot is authorized to do so.
With experienced pilots, robust flight systems, and ample protection located in the aircraft cockpit, the pilot and co-pilot can conduct flight operations safely and efficiently for the benefit of all. At Fulfillment by ASAP, we can help you secure the various aircraft cockpit systems and components that you have been searching for, including adapter kit cockpit parts, accelerometer hum cockpit components, air cond. cockpit parts, and much more. We invite you to explore our expansive part catalogues at your leisure, and our team of industry experts are always available 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process as needed. If you would like to receive a personalized quote for parts that you are interested in, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website. Once received, a member of our staff will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.