Cockpit Design

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How to Improve on Cockpit Design for Impact Survival

How to Improve on Cockpit Design for Impact Survival


Aircraft safety and reduction in associated health and death risks have been interesting research topics over many decades. The design and layout of cockpit plays a vital role for protecting it from an impact, which may result from crash or any other incident. It is believed that if the issue of impact survival is given importance while designing the cockpit, the annual accident ratio and associated losses will decrease significantly.

This paper describes several approaches for designing the cockpit that could tolerate the impact to an extended level. The three schemes are discussed which could be used for decreasing the interaction between the human subjects and the instrumental panels present in the cockpit. The paper also discussed relatively new concepts of strong cage and energy absorbing nose. These technologies provide the cockpit with the load and kinetic energy limiting capabilities, so that the chances of collision of human subjects and floor of the cockpit reduce. Hence, the cockpit becomes secure against the threat of fatal injuries.


The cockpit of current and future aircrafts must be improved in design, in order to avail the economic and other benefits that relate to aircraft security. The disciplines of Bioengineering may provide considerable help in improving the cockpit design from the perspective of survival impact (Mohler and Swearingen, 1966).

The scrutinized interior of a typical aircraft depicts the witnesses of pointed and sharp ended protuberances. Most often, these protuberances cause no harm while static, but becomes of serious concerns, once the aircraft encounters any impact. The most common consequences of these protuberances are the production of punctures and fractures in the protoplasm that pressed against them, under the action of impact (Pearson, 1963). A person having accident investigation experience can easily read the signatures of impact left on the body of subjects left by the aircraft, as a result of crash or any other accident.

Various layouts and structures present inside the cockpit are prone for causing serious injuries to human subjects, most particularly, the pilots. The lower portion of the instrument panel contains the electronic equipments such as the circuit breakers and the switch lines. These components look like teeth, and most often create tooth like injuries. In addition to the instrument panel, the structures of rudder pedals can also cause serious injuries under the action of impact.

In the case, where the control wheel of the aircraft is made up of brittle material, the pilots may be pierced to death by the action of a portion of a wheel. If the wheel is installed, such that it points toward the floor of the plane, the risk to lower trunk and thighs becomes more critical.

The magnetic compass needle, installed near the pilot's forehead plays a vital role for causing impact injury. While designing the cockpit, much attention must be paid to the installation of trimb -tab controls. The location of such controls must be decided so ...
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