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Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:32 am

Do cockpits get more advanced as technology advances even though it's in the same airplane? For example, CO's 762s are fairly young, delivered ~2002 timeframe, IIRC. Are the cockpits in these airplanes the same as when the 762 first came out, ~1980? Same goes for the latest 747-400s. Do those have the same technology as they did back in 1987? It would seem like a waste of good technology if they kept all the old technology just to keep it simple.
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RE: Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:35 am

It's not really the cockpit, but the technologies/additional systems that gets put into the aircraft that is reflected in the cockpit. For example, the later built 737 Classics had GPS Nav built into it. Same with the A320s, the early built ones won't have the GPS... but you won't see a major change in the flight deck. The change from CRT to LCDs are probably the most obvious when looking at airbus cockpits. As to the CO762 later builts, they probably have GPS Nav capability.

So I guess the simple answer is, no, but the differences are minor.

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RE: Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:23 am

Shall this might be of any interest, I knew in the IT field is at development stage a sort of what is called "selective calls" in order to automate as possible the exchange of informations during the flight, regarding what is currently exchanged via voice over radio frequencies, using data comunication. I know it's already used with sat connections on widebodies, but not at the detail level voice is still used during approach etc. That would help a lot but that will be take yet a while before to see it currently used in any flight. Some sort of what happened for TCAS, I guess. That would work like it. Mute data exchange beetween atc's and cockpits. This already happens for radar controllers, if Im not wrong (maybe not exactly all over the world in any controlled airspace tough).

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RE: Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:37 pm

It's also a matter of what options the carrier orders. A great example would be WN. They were (still are?) flying the NGs with a display similar to the steam gauges in the classic 73s for fleet commonality.

Airlines are typically pretty far behind the curve when it comes to technology advances. It costs a lot to upgrade an entire fleet so you'll often see them a couple generations behind on advancements until it's either forced by regulation or the bean counters see a cost savings to the upgrade.
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RE: Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:50 pm

On the NW 747-400's, for example, they were delivered in three 'blocks'. The block 1 ships, 6301 to 6310, were delivered from 1989 to 1990. The block 2 ships, 6311 to 6314, were delivered in 1999, and the block 3 ships, 6315 and 6316, were delivered in 2002.

They all have a few subtle differences despite all being 747-451's, but by and large they all have identical cockpits.
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RE: Advancement Of Flight Decks

Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:37 pm

Airlines ideally need commonality on their fleets. If newer aircraft of the same type were built to a different standard it would complicate training and maintenance. New equipment is added, such as GPS, EGPWS and TCAS, and this is retrofitted to existing aircraft of course. Also significant changes in technology could affect the aircraft certification, adding costs to the manufacturer as well as the airline.
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