IFlyVeryLittle
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Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 2:21 pm

I think none of us expect to see truly radical changes in the design and configuration of airliners, such as blended wings, in the near future. But, with advances in fly by wire and enhanced video, is there any reason cockpits need to remain in the nose of the aircraft? I'm not suggesting remote control or anything like that, but is it practical to consider below the floor or other options to open up seating capacity or other amenities?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 2:36 pm

Yes, the cockpit is in the front, so if a fatal mistake is made, the pilots die first.
 
kalvado
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 3:18 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Yes, the cockpit is in the front, so if a fatal mistake is made, the pilots die first.

Any particular case when front of the aircraft was affected, but not the back? I can think of one..
And extra 0.1 second in case of crash makes little, if any, difference. Only to jump the line to St. Peter, maybe..

On a more serious note - as far as I understand all current FBW airliners have limited mechanical control fallback as measure of last resort, so total loss of power is one of the things planned for - and that excludes any cockpit location without direct view of future crash location.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 3:36 pm

I'm not sure that sticking the flight deck below the floor would be a good idea. Certainly in a plane like the 737, A320, CRJ, and ERJ, you don't have the space to do that anyway. As for video technology, suppose that fails. Then what. Also, where below the floor would you put it. In the nose? You have the nose gear there. In the middle? Not only do you have the main gear and the fuel tanks there, but you also sacrifice cargo space. In the back?
Captain Kevin
 
kalvado
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 3:41 pm

AirKevin wrote:
I'm not sure that sticking the flight deck below the floor would be a good idea. Certainly in a plane like the 737, A320, CRJ, and ERJ, you don't have the space to do that anyway. As for video technology, suppose that fails. Then what. Also, where below the floor would you put it. In the nose? You have the nose gear there. In the middle? Not only do you have the main gear and the fuel tanks there, but you also sacrifice cargo space. In the back?

I can think of crew rest area in 777 crown as one possible option. Although avionics is also part of the cockpit - and may require a bit more room.
But direct visibility is still the key question here, I would think.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 5:43 pm

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
I think none of us expect to see truly radical changes in the design and configuration of airliners, such as blended wings, in the near future. But, with advances in fly by wire and enhanced video, is there any reason cockpits need to remain in the nose of the aircraft? I'm not suggesting remote control or anything like that, but is it practical to consider below the floor or other options to open up seating capacity or other amenities?


You could ask the question in reverse. If the cockpit was placed somewhere else, what would you use the space for? ;) You can't really stuff any meaningful amount of seats into that space up front. Putting in stairs and a secondary command deck somewhere is probably going to take up more space and weight than you gain.

If anything, the cockpit will be removed entirely and replaced by computers. But I don't see that happening before I retire at least.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 14, 2018 7:37 pm

Another technical issue is passengers have to have emergency exits fore and aft of all passenger seating. The 747 forward cabin, lower deck, could not be cert’d today.

GF
 
ChrisKen
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 15, 2018 10:01 am

Why would you fix something that isn't broken with something more complicated. Mark I eyeball and a windscreen far more reliable than a video feed.
 
barney captain
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 15, 2018 5:07 pm

Wasn't that the original concept for the 747? Move the cockpit up and out of the way, to allow for unobstructed cargo loading.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 15, 2018 5:56 pm

barney captain wrote:
Wasn't that the original concept for the 747? Move the cockpit up and out of the way, to allow for unobstructed cargo loading.

Yes, to allow cargo to be loaded through the nose. But that said, the 747 still uses windows, so not quite the same scenario as what's being described in the thread.
Captain Kevin
 
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Faro
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 15, 2018 8:08 pm

Well...one thing you can do with the pointy end if the cockpit is removed...is cover it with a hyper-smooth, high-precision profiled skin...and hey presto!...you’ve got laminar through your nose end...


Faro
The chalice not my son
 
YIMBY
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Re: Cockpit location

Wed May 16, 2018 4:39 pm

Having the cockpit in the very aft would have the advantage of direct control of flight surfaces, without long wires or other objects that have been known to cause problems when they stick or break. Would be quite a fancy place to be, maybe using periscopes to see something.

There may have been very good reasons why it has not been that common, even as an emergency cockpit. (Imagine, an observer in the front, giving commands up, left,,,. and the row of passengers repeating it until the end of chain....)
 
YIMBY
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Re: Cockpit location

Wed May 16, 2018 4:40 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Another technical issue is passengers have to have emergency exits fore and aft of all passenger seating. The 747 forward cabin, lower deck, could not be cert’d today.

GF


A front exit, like aft exit in DC-9??? Just a bit smaller than the cargo door in 747F.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 4:44 am

kalvado wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Yes, the cockpit is in the front, so if a fatal mistake is made, the pilots die first.

Any particular case when front of the aircraft was affected, but not the back? I can think of one..
And extra 0.1 second in case of crash makes little, if any, difference. Only to jump the line to St. Peter, maybe..

On a more serious note - as far as I understand all current FBW airliners have limited mechanical control fallback as measure of last resort, so total loss of power is one of the things planned for - and that excludes any cockpit location without direct view of future crash location.


Actually that isn’t so. The legacy 777 does, or did, have very limited cable driven backup but the 787 and 777X do not. I don’t believe the Airbus FBW airplane have any mechanical backup either.
 
stratclub
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 6:19 am

With the digital tech these days, you don't even need a cockpit. A digital aircraft could be flown though a smart phone's WIFI I'm pretty sure. All it would take is some changes in the aircrafts network permissions and some code written.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 8:41 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Yes, the cockpit is in the front, so if a fatal mistake is made, the pilots die first.



OMG wow lol...
 
blueflyer
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 8:43 am

VSMUT wrote:
You could ask the question in reverse. If the cockpit was placed somewhere else, what would you use the space for?.

Put larger windows upfront and give premium passengers a view to die for? Maybe literally once in a very long while?
MAGag
 
VSMUT
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 9:10 am

blueflyer wrote:
Maybe literally once in a very long while?


:lol:

blueflyer wrote:
Put larger windows upfront and give premium passengers a view to die for?


Kidding aside, those windows are really expensive and heavy. If the pilots weren't there, they would be removed, or at best replaced with tiny windows.
 
Flow2706
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 9:25 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Actually that isn’t so. The legacy 777 does, or did, have very limited cable driven backup but the 787 and 777X do not. I don’t believe the Airbus FBW airplane have any mechanical backup either.

Airbus FBW airplanes have a (very limited) backup system, which (on A320, newer models might be different) includes the Rudder the Stabilizer Trim (but no Elevator or Ailerons) - but even though it is called "Mechanical Backup" it requires at least one hydraulic system to be operative (without hydraulics the only possibility to control the aircraft is through thrust changes - assymetric thrust for turns, increasing thrust to climb and reducing thrust to descend). It is designed to cover a temporary full electrical failure or the temporary loss of all flight control computers. I think Airbus test pilots demonstrated that a landing can be performed in mechanical backup (in very benign conditions, I assume) during the flight test campaign, but it was never intended to be used for landing - only to keep the aircraft in an acceptable attitude long enough to hopefully recover some electrics/flight control computers. We tried it in the simulator - the aircraft can indeed be maintained in a more or less controlled condition and with some practice it is possible to do climbs/descend and turns, however it I think its a matter of luck of being able to land the airplane in this condition.
I am not sure as I am not familiar with Boeing systems, but I think the 777 backup system also requires some hydraulics to be functioning, maybe somebody familiar with the Boeing system can confirm?
 
trnswrld
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Re: Cockpit location

Thu May 17, 2018 11:51 pm

I know you said you weren’t referring to remote controlled aircraft, but in all honesty, if they were going to go the distance of having a windowless cockpit somewhere in the aircraft, why have one at all and just go straight to remote control? So IMO this cockpit relocation won’t happen and if something does it would skip that all together and go right to a remotely operated aircraft.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cockpit location

Mon May 21, 2018 4:50 am

Flow2706 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
Actually that isn’t so. The legacy 777 does, or did, have very limited cable driven backup but the 787 and 777X do not. I don’t believe the Airbus FBW airplane have any mechanical backup either.

Airbus FBW airplanes have a (very limited) backup system, which (on A320, newer models might be different) includes the Rudder the Stabilizer Trim (but no Elevator or Ailerons) - but even though it is called "Mechanical Backup" it requires at least one hydraulic system to be operative (without hydraulics the only possibility to control the aircraft is through thrust changes - assymetric thrust for turns, increasing thrust to climb and reducing thrust to descend). It is designed to cover a temporary full electrical failure or the temporary loss of all flight control computers. I think Airbus test pilots demonstrated that a landing can be performed in mechanical backup (in very benign conditions, I assume) during the flight test campaign, but it was never intended to be used for landing - only to keep the aircraft in an acceptable attitude long enough to hopefully recover some electrics/flight control computers. We tried it in the simulator - the aircraft can indeed be maintained in a more or less controlled condition and with some practice it is possible to do climbs/descend and turns, however it I think its a matter of luck of being able to land the airplane in this condition.
I am not sure as I am not familiar with Boeing systems, but I think the 777 backup system also requires some hydraulics to be functioning, maybe somebody familiar with the Boeing system can confirm?


No mechanical backup on the 350. If we actually lose power completely, we are toast. The last resort backup is a backup power supply (BPS) for controlling a limited set of surfaces. The BPS is powered by the yellow hydraulic system. Given that it gets its electrical power independently of the other electrics, though, the chance that the bPS will also fail if you're down to that is ridiculously remote.

Hydraulics are worse. On the 330 and 350 if we lose all hydraulics, there is no way to control the aircraft. Self-contained hydraulic actuators such as on the 350 are changing the equation there a bit.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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keesje
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 22, 2018 10:01 am

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: Cockpit location

Fri May 25, 2018 2:19 pm

With a WWII era bubble canopy, the pilots could be placed just about anywhere on the fuselage. Though I wouldn't care for one on the belly. I'd hate to see what that does to drag.
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Cockpit location

Fri May 25, 2018 4:41 pm

Of course the cockpit doesn't need to be in the front, however it is the most convenient place for it. Plus of course there can be reasons the pilots need to physically see out the window. Cameras and video screens can only partly replace the function of a cockpit window, like everything else electrical there is a chance (no matter how small) that it fails.

One thing I can imagine happening is the aircraft taking off from the ground in rainy conditions and some dirt splashes up and covers the cameras. In case those cameras were the only outside view the pilots have, they've got a problem. It would mean they're flying blind, without any outside view. Since cockpit windows are much larger than cameras the impact of a little bit of dirt would be much less.

Of course the cockpit can be placed in another location, however cockpit windows will always remain essential. The 747 is the closest example I can think of with the cockpit on the upper deck, actually quite far at the back of the plane but still in a convenient position due to it's height. For another example, we should look at ships instead of aircraft. Modern ships have the wheelhouse high up on the back of the ship while most of the deck is in front of it, but this hasn't always been the case. Old ships had the wheelhouse placed more or less in the middle of the ship, with an equal amount of deck before and after it. At a certain moment someone must have thought it was a good idea to move the wheelhouse all the way to the back, and that's what they did. Theoretically the same thing could happen on aircraft.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cockpit location

Sat May 26, 2018 12:37 am

Mud on the cameras is not really a good argument against remote viewing. Cameras can easily be placed in multiple separate locations on an aircraft, and cleaning a camera automatically is an easily surmountable problem.

We "fly blind" all the time. Going completely "blind" even on the ground isn't a massive step. Having said that, I think windows will be with us for a long time because they are a much simpler, cheaper and more convenient solution.

Veering a bit off topic...

The reason for moving the wheelhouse to the back of ships was probably related to creating an uninterrupted payload area. That way you could group engineering spaces, living spaces and control spaces in one area and leave the rest for cargo.

However, modern very large container ships often have the wheelhouse further forward due to field of view requirements. The Maersk E-Class is a good example. Ships with the wheelhouse at the back cannot load containers to "full height" because it would impede the legally mandated minimum view angle of the space in front of the ship.

Image
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Virtual737
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Re: Cockpit location

Tue May 29, 2018 10:06 am

ChrisKen wrote:
Why would you fix something that isn't broken with something more complicated. Mark I eyeball and a windscreen far more reliable than a video feed.


^^^^ here's your answer.

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