Support: Is There Anything Flat Panels Can't Do


September 13, 2011: The introduction of digital "all glass" cockpits in modern aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters) not only means less work for pilots, but also cheaper and more accessible simulators. That’s because the “all glass” cockpits means hundreds of switches and instrument displays are replaced by three or four multifunction displays (MFDs). With these displays, a lot of additional information can be displayed, like checklists, and a moving map to show where the aircraft is. The displays are touch sensitive and can bring up all the buttons and slider controls you need. The new electronic systems contain more self-diagnostics and software that helps the pilot quickly figure out problems, and solutions to them. In effect, the MFDs provide more resources for the pilot, and more stuff to learn.

But even more importantly, it’s easy to duplicate this collection of displays, and the software needed to drive them, for a PC based simulator. These are called DTTs (DeskTop Trainers) and make it possible for more pilots to spend more time training with a realistic simulation of the actual cockpit. Simulation type training is most useful for learning how to handle rare, but potentially fatal, events. It’s also safer to train for these disasters on the DTT than in the air, and it’s a lot cheaper as well.

Some DTTs add a few more larger displays to show what is outside the cockpit. This is not as impressive as the 360 degree “bubble” displays long favored for top line flight simulators. But half a dozen large flat screens, and the software to put realistic images on them, is a lot (as in over 95 percent) cheaper than the bubble type sims.



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