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Cockpit Instruments [A century of powered flight:1903-2003]

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Since nearly the beginning airplanes were flown using only the stick or control column, rudder pedals, dials, and switches. There were as many control arrangements (sticks, wheels, and levers) as there were pioneer airmen. The 1903 Wright Flyer was far from conventional in many ways. Their only instruments were a stopwatch and prop revolution counter. Instruments were of little interest for about a decade after the Wright Brother's flight. Just getting off and back onto the ground safely was the primary concern. Controls have evolved, but not changed as much as instrument displays. The stick/control column is beginning to be replaced by hand controllers in some fly-by-wire (FBW) aircraft (e.g., Airbus A-320 and up). Servo feedback provides the necessary hand controller "feel" as a function of the aerodynamic pressure expected on the control surface.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 7 )