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15 Advantages Of Flying A Glass Cockpit

Glass cockpit or round dials? It's a decades old argument that won't be solved anytime soon. Here are a few ways that glass cockpits can improve your flying.

1) No Parallax

The next time you're preflighting an airplane, try to read round dial instruments from the right seat. Due to the changed viewing angle, it's difficult to get accurate readings on round dial instrument from the right seat.

In glass cockpit equipped aircraft, the viewing angle still makes a right-seater's job difficult, but there is no parallax.

Basinbah

2) Precision

Instead of interpreting the altimeter's needles or position of the airspeed indicator, you'll get actual numerical values right on the glass display.

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3) Graphical Weather

Receiving weather information digitally is undoubtedly one of the most useful aspects for glass cockpits. ADSB and XM weather provides pilots with forecasts, radar reports, satellite imagery, pilot reports, and much more.

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4) System Redundancy

Most glass cockpits compute attitude, airspeed, and altitude (among other information) through air data computers (ADC) and attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS). When you have dual ADC and AHRS systems, you have full redundancy if a system fails.

Swayne Martin

5) Synthetic Vision And Terrain Awareness

Synthetic vision and terrain overlays play an important role in increasing situational awareness, preventing CFIT accidents. Check out the terrain warnings provided by our airplane as we landed in Aspen:

6) Frequency Changes

Remember those old analog radios with physical numbers flipping around as you twisted the dial? In most glass cockpits, you'll still twist to adjust frequencies. But some systems, you can type them into a keyboard.

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7) On-Screen Checklists

There's no more searching for that paper checklist, because the checklist is right in front of you.

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8) Faster Interpretation

Because glass cockpits give precise data and numbers, you're able to more quickly interpret your speed, altitude, and position.

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9) Bluetooth Syncing

Tired of manually entering routes into your navigation equipment? If you made a flight plan before arriving at the airplane, the newest Cirrus Perspective systems allows you to sync your flight plan directly into the aircraft's avionics using ForeFlight.

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10) Annunciations And Warnings

You won't find many flashing, color coded messages and voice annunciations on round dial aircraft. They're hard to miss, and certainly grab your attention quickly.

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11) Passenger Confidence

If you've marveled at how advanced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's cockpit is, so do non-pilot passengers. Although it looks like nothing more than spaceship to them, large paneled screens add a sense of confidence and reliability to an ever-growing group of people that put their trust in computers every day.

Wikimedia

12) Airspace Mapping

If you're in an unfamiliar area, it's sometimes hard to judge where airspace boundaries start and end. Glass cockpits show your position compared to most airspace boundaries to assist your situational awareness.

Swayne Martin

13) Traffic Avoidance

Useful especially in congested airspace, ADSB traffic awareness helps prevent conflicts. Make sure to keep your eyes outside as much as possible however, because not everyone flies with ADS-B! Always maintain visual separation when you can.

Swayne Martin

14) Fewer Moving Parts

Because there are fewer moving parts, digital displays are generally more reliable than standard instruments. There's always a downside though... the biggest complaints from glass cockpit users result from software glitches.

Corey Komarec

15) Turbulence

The space shuttle has large displays for a reason. It's far easier for the human eye to read off of large displays during turbulence than it is to interpret multiple small adjoining dials.

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Glass cockpits aren't perfect by any means, but they do offer some very real benefits to their users. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and commercial pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He holds multi-engine and instrument ratings, and is an aviation student at the University of North Dakota. He's the author of the articles, quizzes and lists you love to read every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures at http://www.swaynemartin.com.

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