About the Download

FLIGHT DECK
Flight Deck Human-Machine Interface
A consortium of companies have lobbied and debated with the FAA over refurbishing
and adding to the existing model interface to get it into the shape and form it is in today. This
was specially tough post 9-11 and the USP that most companies used was that of safety.
Introducing advances such as enhanced situational awareness have gone on to improve safety.
Intuitive symbology on the primary flight display has made operations easier. The FAA has
recently allowed for gesture-based touchscreen control, voice command and control, and full-
immersion – and 3D – displays, making it all the more easier for pilots as well as adding a layer
of safety to the operations. These advances have of course derived out of simulated video games
driven by the consumer market. The FAA was more than content with the flight deck of a decade
ago, because it was deemed safe as is.
An enhanced flight vision system was also approved in the last ten years whereby
infrared vision was credit as well as natural vision down to a 100ft (30m) decision height on a
Category 1 instrument approach which otherwise has a 200ft decision height. A more advanced
system is in the works which will allow for a zero ceiling, zero decision height.
However, concerns arising from the systems improvement have also come to the fore.
For example, when in 2002, Universal Avionics finally got approval for the exocentric synthetic
vision on a MFD, it had to successfully argue why such a system wont be a distraction.
Likewise, systems like the wireframe SV for the primary flight display introduced by Chelton
Flight Systems or the ergocentric SV system for the PFD introduced by Universal make pilots
rely more on technology and less on human oversight. But the benefits far outweigh the concerns
because correctly done, pilots do not need to rely on human instinct (Harris, 2004).

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