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Aircraft "Dashes" Are Frighteningly Messy!!!


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Have you ever noticed how cluttered the cockpits look in helicopters and even fixed-wing planes? Seemingly hundreds of gauges, switches and push buttons. Lights like a white house Christmas tree! One might think you need a doctorate in rocket science just to master all the gadgets. Then there are the weird labels on these controls "GOV", "MASTER BATTERY", "FD" and "BCN", for example.

 

Grandfather said that Charles Limburgh flew all the way across the Atlantic navigating only on an altimeter and a compass in the 1920's and landed safely. Could any pilot navigate today on so little in the way of instruments?

 

I have flown enough birds in PC flight sims to know how horrific the cockpits look inside. Many of those switches are not even controllable in the game. A sea of toggle switches all across the dash. Why would I want to turn on the "NO SMKNG" or "FSTN STBT" sign in a simulated jet anyway? Even the radios have hundreds of buttons and weird labels. Nothing like a 9-volt transistor radio for simplicity for sure.

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Actually, we call them instrument panels. The "dash" is the flat part on top where the aftermarket GPS goes...or wobbly hula girl. :D

 

Many helicopters have very simple instrument panels. A lot of 22's have just 5 flight instruments and a small handful of engine gages. The 500 also often has a very simple setup, as does the jet ranger.

 

As for navigating the old fashioned way, I don't know about the military but we civilian pilots must be able to do it with the compas and some calculations we make on our handy dandy flight computer which is nothing more than a few spinning wheels and a slide rule, in order to pass the flight test.

 

We also use pilotage which is navigating off landmarks from the chart which we recognize looking out the window.

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In the 747 Classic are over 1000 switches, instruments, breakers, indicators, warning lights, controls, dials, levers, etc, in the cockpit. To say nothing of aural warnings and tones that signify everything from fire to autopilot disconnect to mach overspeed.

 

All important and have a purpose. Every one. During training in the exit oral, each crew member is questioned on eery single one, too.

 

In the subsequent -400, many of those controls are consolidated, eliminating the Flight Engineer, and some processes, such as engine starts, are automated. Many warning systems work through the EICAS flight management system, but still accomplish the same things.

 

The airplane is without question a very complex collaboration of systems and an intimate understanding of the panels is crucial to mastery of the aircraft. A thorough understanding of those systems is critical to operation of the aircraft, and so is an understanding of the cockpit indications of those systems.

 

Not all aircraft are that complex, and not all aircraft need that much instrumentation. Lindbergh wasn't the first to make an oceanic crossing. Making a crossing in a high performance turobjet is quite different, and involves a necessity for a lot more precision. Simply departing one continent and landing on another is not enough, and numerous aspects of the trip are critical, from fuel planning to navigation, which requires crossing every waypoint or fix within two minutes of a forecast ETA, precise speed and altitude management, etc. The north atlantic tracks are a crowded place, with hundreds of flights using the nat tracks in peak hours.

 

The more capable and advanced an aircraft, the more instrumentation, monitoring, etc, is required, and part of that is what's visible in the cockpit. Like an iceberg, the lions share is what's not seen.

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The S-76B I flew had 645 switches, knobs, dials, instruments, circuit breakers and levers, not counting the door handles or anything that wasn't on the instrument panel, centre console or overhead console. A long flight with little going on can lead you to count silly things.

 

But the best bit to look at was the groundspeed readout, specially when it hit 200 kt.

 

Playing PC sim games can give you the false sense of believing you can actually fly, and that the aircraft will actually behave in a similar fashion to the real thing. On the early versions of Flight Sim I could land a LearJet on the deck of the Enterprise, come to a full stop without engaging the barrier, and take off again. It's good for playing with yourself, and has little to do with reality.

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The S-76B I flew had 645 switches, knobs, dials, instruments, circuit breakers and levers, not counting the door handles or anything that wasn't on the instrument panel, centre console or overhead console. A long flight with little going on can lead you to count silly things.

 

But the best bit to look at was the groundspeed readout, specially when it hit 200 kt.

 

Playing PC sim games can give you the false sense of believing you can actually fly, and that the aircraft will actually behave in a similar fashion to the real thing. On the early versions of Flight Sim I could land a LearJet on the deck of the Enterprise, come to a full stop without engaging the barrier, and take off again. It's good for playing with yourself, and has little to do with reality.

 

I used to land the Cessna on the top of the Sears Tower in the orginal MS Flight Sim...

On the other hand, hovering any full motion sim is tough, even though I hover actual without thinking about it.

 

The switches, etc., are the easy part of a transition. Learning the systems an emergency procedures is the challenge.

Edited by Wally
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I sure would like to run a trace IP program to see which one of you bozos is living a double member life under the name Jonathan Bailey :)

 

At least this guys' posts, though while funny and awkward at times, aren't making everybody rip each others heads off.

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Have you looked at how many buttons are on that keyboard you use to type these posts? Yet you seem to have mastered it very well.

 

Pilots train just as well to learn the buttons, switches, and knobs of their respective ships, and in training, they master them as fluently. It is the reason we can be classified as Capt of our ships.

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Guest pokey

Looks like everybody got trolled again. But avbug never misses an opportunity to inject a 747 into the conversation.

 

he flies the one out front of warmart, his mom gives him a roll of quarters while she shops

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The S-76B I flew had 645 switches, knobs, dials, instruments, circuit breakers and levers, not counting the door handles or anything that wasn't on the instrument panel, centre console or overhead console. A long flight with little going on can lead you to count silly things.

 

But the best bit to look at was the groundspeed readout, specially when it hit 200 kt.

 

Playing PC sim games can give you the false sense of believing you can actually fly, and that the aircraft will actually behave in a similar fashion to the real thing. On the early versions of Flight Sim I could land a LearJet on the deck of the Enterprise, come to a full stop without engaging the barrier, and take off again. It's good for playing with yourself, and has little to do with reality.

Why didn't you count the door handles?

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You people in Alabama and Tennessee might have 645 fingers, but regular humans don't.

 

 

 

Looks like everybody got trolled again.

Nah, he's not a troll, just a wannabe kid looking to hit the record for the fastest number of posts. It's fun to throw him a bait and see the gormless answers. A little bit like those Slinky toys - pretty much useless, but amusing to watch it fall down the stairs.

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The secret to busy cockpits is you can ignore just about every gauge for most of the flight. Just look at whatever your power gauge is and you're pretty much set. Everything else can be can be handled by looking outside.

 

Easy Peezy.

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Looks like everybody got trolled again. But avbug never misses an opportunity to inject a 747 into the conversation.

 

It's relevant. It's the most complex advanced aircraft I've flown.

 

What's the most advanced aircraft you've flown?

 

Never mind:

 

This post is hidden because you have chosen to ignore posts by helonorth.

 

 

Fixed.

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Have you ever noticed how cluttered the cockpits look in helicopters and even fixed-wing planes? Seemingly hundreds of gauges, switches and push buttons. Lights like a white house Christmas tree! One might think you need a doctorate in rocket science just to master all the gadgets. Then there are the weird labels on these controls "GOV", "MASTER BATTERY", "FD" and "BCN", for example.

 

Grandfather said that Charles Limburgh flew all the way across the Atlantic navigating only on an altimeter and a compass in the 1920's and landed safely. Could any pilot navigate today on so little in the way of instruments?

 

I have flown enough birds in PC flight sims to know how horrific the cockpits look inside. Many of those switches are not even controllable in the game. A sea of toggle switches all across the dash. Why would I want to turn on the "NO SMKNG" or "FSTN STBT" sign in a simulated jet anyway? Even the radios have hundreds of buttons and weird labels. Nothing like a 9-volt transistor radio for simplicity for sure.

 

Add to that that Charles could not even see forward without use of a periscope, and you've got quite an achievement. The Ryan aircraft was nothing but a flying gas tank. His last U S land was Cape Cod. 33 hours later, he arrived in France not more than a few miles off course.

Try flying a hundred miles using just a wet compass which is subject to a number of oddities. I would bet many pilots would be more than a few miles off.

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