Bsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 18748 times:
Purely a guess:
The cockpit of a yacht is where the boat is controlled from. It is usually a sunken part, with access to the cabin etc. The fact that it is sunken would make it resemble the pits used for animal fighting (dogs, bears, cocks etc.). Therefore, a cock pit would be a pit used for cockfighting.
Since most aviation terminology comes from the naval world, the part with the controls would naturally be called the cockpit.
What do you think?
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N766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8038 posts, RR: 25 Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 18450 times:
The origin of the word cockpit is as follows:
The cockpits of early aircraft were often so small and cramped that the pilots likened them to the holes used for cockfighting. Hence, as Bsergonomics stated, it would be a pit used for cockfighting: a cockpit.
MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13613 posts, RR: 63 Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 18449 times:
Originaly the term comes from cock fighting ( as still customary e.g. in the Philippines). Two roosters, with metal blades attached to their feet, are set against each other in a pit (or a circular cage made of wood, but open on top for the spectators) to prevent them from running away.
This term was later used for sailing dingies and yachts, you sit on the sill and put your feet into the cockpit, while handling the tiller and the sheet.
Since many aviation traditions derive of maritime traditions (see the white hat of PanAm pilots), the term cockpit was taken over in aviation for the place from which you control the plane.
Pugwash From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 2 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 18167 times:
According to The Sailor's Word Book by Admiral Smyth, 1867, the cockpit is the place where wounded men were attended to, situated near the after hatchway and under the lower gundeck. The midshipmen alone inhabited the cockpit in former times but in later days commission and warrant officers, civilians etc, had their cabins there...
Whether this in turn was named after the cock-fighting arena I don't know. Perhaps the young midshipman were always fighting and strutting their stuff.
In the 18th century the cockpit in London was the Treasury or Privy Council, or another word for a house where rebels met.
In general English today a cockpit is an arena of action, like "Iraq is a cockpit of war..."