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Home > Flying the Plane > Is it easier to fly a glass cockpit plane?
Is it easier to fly a glass cockpit plane?
Flying - Flying the Plane
Saturday, 31 August 2013 12:16

Flying the Boeing 737 glass cockpit
Dear Captain Lim,

These days, more and more modern aircraft come with glass cockpit. Personally as an aspiring pilot, I find that the analog gauge cockpits are nicer looking and more complex than having three big computer screens.

What do you think about it? In your opinion, does it look easier to fly in glass cockpits? Or is it just more automation on the flight deck?

I love the cockpit of the Boeing 767-300. I don't like glass cockpit because it doesn't look like a 'real' cockpit anymore.

Regards,

Max

Hi Max,

A glass cockpit has flight instruments, typically LCD screens, driven by computers whereas the traditional cockpit relies on numerous mechanical analogue dials and gauges. Glass cockpit allows pilots to focus only on the most pertinent information whereas the conventional cockpits require pilots to scan more - from one instrument gauge to another and back. Glass cockpits are popular with airlines as they have now eliminated the need for a flight engineer. See an article by me in Travel 3Sixty on the same title here

In fact, many older planes are retrofitted with modern avionics that include the autopilots, the PFD (primary flight displays) and ND (navigation displays) that have better safety features and are more reliable and less prone to wear and degradation. However, a NTSB study concluded that glass-cockpit aircraft do have some issues due to its complication as a result of the modern technology.

A glass cockpit has the computers behind it to do the thinking for the pilot and forecast the trend of the plane motion, for example, its speed in the next 6 seconds.

When I first started flying, I was introduced to the elementary instruments using the needle, ball and airspeed method on the Chipmunk plane. But in later years, it did take some time to get used to flying the modern glass cockpit and once you are comfortable with it, there is no turning back.

This is not to say that it is easier to fly a glass cockpit plane. “Technology simplifies that which was complex and complicates that which was simple.” I am not clear as to the origin of this statement but that is the truth. You still need to master flying the plane that has more automation and better instrumentation.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim


Traditional Cockpit of a DC3
 

First Hand on Cirrus and Glass cockpit

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