For years we have seen the increasing presence of touch screen’s in our everyday lives, from initially being present on payment terminals and museum exhibits to now being in the palm of your hand. It would seem somewhat strange that only now, almost 20 years later from 2000 we are finally starting to see their emergence into aircraft avionics. Is it the future?
Recently, I have become intrigued by the Gulfstream G700 cockpit. If you notice it above, have a look at the lack of buttons present in the cockpit. Almost everything is done via pressing a screen from the engine start to setting up the avionics and hydraulics. Gulfstream has been able to condense many functions of the aircraft into menus and reduce the workload, allowing for the aircraft to go from a cold and dark state to be ready to taxi in a blazing 10 minutes. Some critics present safety concerns about these new cockpits, citing difficult operation during phases of flight with turbulence. As a result, Gulfstream has added additional fail-safes in the form of menus that ask for confirmation after completing certain actions. This new cockpit seems like a radical departure from the standard in aviation, which still emphasizes the use of physical switches and buttons, but other companies are also making the switch.
Airbus is also currently in an interesting position in regards to its avionics design philosophy. Starting December 2019, they have begun offering a touch screen option in the cockpit of their A350 aircraft although not as radical as the Gulfstream cockpit. Their primary purpose is to support EFB operations, such as airport charts and performance calculations.
Currently, a notable absence is from this trend of moving to touchscreens is Boeing, although the 777X also has a touch screen cockpit in development.
So it seems the question is no longer is it the future, the question is now, how soon do we see this present in every aircraft? What do you think of these new touchscreen cockpits?
I don’t think too many touchscreens is smart. If a press on the screen isn’t registered by accident it can cause issues, same with the other way around, if you didn’t mean to tap it and it thinks you did you could cause some major problems.
A lot of corporate aircraft already have touchscreen technology today. The biggest issue I’ve run into with it is when you’re in turbulence it’s hard to touch the part of the screen you’re trying to!😂Also when the screens are off you have fingerprints everywhere, which is so annoying to just about every pilot.
I think it’s a major possibility, especially when you look at Elon Musk’s Space X Spacecraft. It’s virtually all touchscreen, even more than the gulfstream in your post. Looks like something out of a movie.
Eh I prefer actual knobs and switches, cause like my phone screen gets dirty real quick, plus I try to click something and it registers as something different, whereas with switches you know you switched the right one. Tbh I hope this doesn’t get implemented.
Edit: A minor but present reason I love airliners so much is because of all the knobs and switches. I just think they look so cool and complex, and that’s what I love about big boi planes.
I certainly hope not, however if they are the future, it’s a distant one. While several touch screen aviation is systems currently exist and are installed in aircraft, the unbalanced cost of these will keep them from being installed in many, if not most aircraft.
Also, from a MX standpoint, touchscreen displays bring myriad problems for AMT’s. Pilots (I am one so I can say this) are people, and people are morons. I can’t even tell you how many pieces of avionics I’ve replaced just this year that have been destroyed by sanitization efforts, such as wipes, sprays, or even hand sanitizer. Touch screen displays are expensive, and also expensive to replace. The general GA pilot/aircraft owner/operator understands this cost implication, which will inevitably keep touchscreen mostly sidelined, or at minimum rather muted in day to day aviation operations.
Really Gulfstream? There’s a difference between utilizing technology and relying on it too much. I think this fits the description of the latter more than the former. There’s so many things that could go wrong with this, I don’t see how this will work.
Good on Boeing. The thing about Boeing I love is that no matter what other manufacturers do, Boeing doesn’t steer away from the yoke or the good ol’ switches and buttons. Sure they left analogs behind, but they’re still sticking to their roots. Good on them for that.
Strait facts right here. What if the pilot tries to push a button but accidentally doesn’t press the button hard enough? What if a pilot accidentally bumps the touchscreen and causes something to happen, when in a normal cockpit nothing would change?
Knobs and physical buttons will always be better than a touchscreen. What if you have an electrical failure? If you have physical instruments some of them could still work, but if you have virtual interments and a touchscreen they could stop working or at least stop responding.
That’s just scratching the surface. You could mess up the screen and get it filthy in a matter of minutes after a meal (cause the pilots have to eat, right)? These screens are expensive as it is, adding a touchscreen would make them more likely to be damaged or broken. And I’m sure airlines wouldn’t want to pay an extra few thousand dollars every week or two because someone used too much Clorox or didn’t lick their fingers clean after eating KFC.
I’ve always been one of the few people here who loves analog cockpits and physical controls and such, but I’ve been able to deal with a few computers in the cockpit if it’s absolutely needed. Now this? Touchscreens? I genuinely hope these don’t get implemented into airliners and such, there’s no need whatsoever for these features. What’s wrong with buttons and switches? Do they take too much energy to use or something?
No thanks Gulfstream, no thanks Airbus, and no thanks to any manufacturer who says this is a “revolutionary” idea.
For the record, I’m not flying a Gulfstream anymore (like I ever have lol). 😂