What is an integrated flight deck?

What is an integrated flight deck?

As the world advances, it will inevitably involve more technology in its integration with existing operations.
An Iran Air 747-200, showing the early-production 747 cockpit, located on the upper deck

This statement is true for aviation, not only with air traffic control and its functions, but also aircraft. Increasing the amount of technology in aircraft can reduce the workload pilots deal with as there is more automation with the plane’s flight. Though new technology and its use on the flight deck sounds mostly positive. Moreover, it is important to cover all aspects and viewpoints of its integration in modern aircraft. 

Flight deck interfaces work in different ways, they apply to multiple aspects of the flight as well as the plane. Heads up displays (HUDs), autopilot, flight management systems (FMSs), and other items are all flight deck interfaces (Pilot, 2020). They are all interacted with in a flight, making them valuable, essential, and efficient for flying.

HUDs are useful because they allow the pilot to take in more information without having to remove sight from the front of the aircraft. Usually, pilots make a “scan” when flying, meaning they observe all aircraft instruments routinely (Pilot, 2020). Removing this need allows the pilot to focus on looking ahead at runways when landing in poor weather.

Autopilot is a feature on an aircraft where a pilot is able to program the plane to navigate on its own.
USAF and IAF airmen work inside the cockpit of an IAF Ilyushin Il-76.

As a result, the pilot does not need to constantly put in flight inputs (Pilot, 2020). This relieves another layer of workload for a pilot in cruise operations of the flight. Lastly, a flight management system is a display that shows key navigational figures and features other categories of data, like weather (Pilot, 2020). If an aircraft is able to record data and then disperse that data to other planes in the same airline. The other planes are able to avoid turbulence and other areas with poor weather conditions. 

These features sound like nothing but upside but there are some items to consider. When implementing this equipment in flight operations. There needs to be a “trust but verify” process when utilizing these interfaces so that there are no incorrect inputs on the plane’s flight path (Pilot, 2020). Reason for this being is that there are a lot of accidents involving Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I). And Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). Because of the complacency observed by pilots who rely too heavily on technology and flight deck interfaces (Pilot, 2020). 

Technology can be seen as a necessity when progressing and innovating. However, it needs to be supplemented with procedures in aviation. Assuring there are flows and checklists in place that can combat any type of complacency in a flight crew and staff. Lastly, trusting but verifying is the greatest technique. When attempting to use the flight deck interfaces pilots and crews have come to love. 

What is an integrated flight deck?

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ReferencesPilot, P. (2020, September 29). Future flight deck technology. Professional Pilot Magazine. https://www.propilotmag.com/flight-deck/#:%7E:text=Next%2Dgeneration%20flight%20deck,current%20arrangements%20to%20future%20configurations.

What is an integrated flight deck?