Pilots use instrument gauges to help them fly and reach their destination safely. The fathers of flight, Orville and Wilbur Wright, had only three "gauges" to help them: a stopwatch, an anemometer to measure wind speed and a tachometer. Of course, they didn't go very high or very fast during these first days of flight. With the introduction of instrument flight, nearly every inch of cockpit space became covered with instruments, switches and buttons to help the pilot. And as aircraft became even more complex, a flight engineer was required to manage all those systems and to check dozens of lights and gauges, so the pilots could concentrate on the actual flying of the aircraft. In the early 1970s, the military started to combine several instruments in a computer-generated screen, replacing mechanical gauges with cathode ray tubes (CRT). The rows of round gauges and banks of lights were replaced with the Multi-Function Display (MFD). This new display was a kind of storage area for all types of aviation data for weather radar, flight planning, GPS navigation aids and control of the nav radios.
This was the beginning of the "glass cockpit" concept, which has become common in today's sophisticated aircraft.
Most pilots love the all-glass cockpits of today — and most of Phoenix East Aviation's training aircraft are equipped with glass cockpits for students. These fancy television-type screens are much more complex than your home television, to be sure. The screens are 10 by 13 inches and hold a lot of information, and the newest MFDs provide even more information than just a few years ago. New technology allows the pilot to control his aircraft with more information more easily available to him or her. Learn to fly at Phoenix East Aviation and become skilled at using all the new aviation technology.