The Control System Transition

Here’s a fascinating look at some unique problems our society is experiencing during the transition between primarily Human to primarily Computer-based control of critical systems. “People Make Poor Monitors for Computers” describes the interesting case of Air France 447 which experienced some loss of instrumentation data while flying through storms near the equator. Control of the aircraft was ceded to the Human operators in the midst of an airspeed indicator failure and the operators couldn’t make sense of what was going on (and in fact made very wrong choices) before it was too late to recover.

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Sun, Apr 8, 2012

What do all the controls in an airplane cockpit do?

A completely amazing answer about every single control in the cockpit of a 737. For all my dislike of Quora and its insular tech-centric postings, posts like this really make up for it. The answerer ("Tim Morgan") covers the controls through some well-placed screenshots from a detailed flight simulator. It explains both the incredible sophistication of these planes and the mind-numbing detail pilots must know these systems by. For example: Below the IRS panel are some warning lights showing when an IRU has failed, or is on battery backup power, and a pair of knobs that set the left and right IRU mode.

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Tue, Mar 13, 2012