The cockpit – also known as the flight deck – is the area normally located at the front of an aircraft and is the control centre of the plane. Here, you’ll find the pilot and co-pilot amid a sea of display, control and communications equipment, which helps to operate and navigate the aircraft both on the ground and in the air. Using this technology, pilots can talk to ground installations or other aircraft; monitor or control onboard systems; and oversee equipment such as engines, fuel tanks and air conditioning.
Cockpits have come a long way since the 1970s, when every surface and empty space was filled with indicators, instruments and electromechanical controls. The cockpit was generally designed for a three-man crew, two pilots and an engineer, working more than 100 different instruments and controls. Thankfully, due to the digitalisation of physical data, we have seen cockpits revamped with touchscreen computer-type displays, flight management systems and autopilot functions.
Cockpit technology today is advancing at a rapid pace. From the classic flight deck with analogue dials and individual displays, we now have ‘glass’ cockpits where most instruments are presented on electrical screens. It is exceptionally important that this likeness is replicated in simulators when cadets are learning to fly, so they can become fully immersed in the experience of handling a modern aircraft.
At AXIS Flight Training Systems, we use real aircraft noses to create our full flight simulators, to ensure students really feel like they are flying an aircraft. The visual system we use is a 200 x 40 degree collimated visual system, with fully textured day/dusk/night compatible database. Our simulators also provide a full range of atmospheric and weather conditions, including animation effects like reflections, smoke, drifting sand or snow and 3D moving water textures. The simulators are also equipped with a high-fidelity 16-channel 3D sound system.
With the increasing complexity of these avionics systems – and new products constantly on the horizon – finding a way to replicate these avionics is a key component of simulator technology today.