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Transition to Glass: Pilot Training for High-Technology Transport Aircraft

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This report examines and details the activities of a major U.S. airline during the period of late 1993 to late 1997, as it acquired two fleets of advanced technology aircraft, the Boeing 757 and the 737-500. The host airline had planned to purchase 767s during the period of the study, but delivery was delayed for economic reasons. The 767 and 757 is considered a single fleet due to the commonality of their cockpits. All three aircraft were equipped with electronic flight instrument systems EFIS, colloquially known as glass cockpits. There are aircraft with flight management systems FMSs, but with traditional instrumentation e.g. some models of the B-737-300. But generally the glass aircraft have both FMSs and instrument panels that are driven by computer-based color graphics. These are not simply electronic replications of traditional aircraft instruments, but are highly versatile displays that can do what traditional instruments cannot e.g. the HSI moving map display, the display of radar returns on the map, the display of the wind vector, and the position predictor vector. Prior to the delivery of the first 737-500 in January 1994, the airline had no glass airplanes. The most modern aircraft was the 737-300 non-EFIS round dial, with a modern FMS see above. Although the primary focus of the study was upon flight training, we examined as well the technical support and management of the pilots in these fleets, in some cases very detailed matters, such as checklist and procedure design.

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  • Flight Control and Instrumentation
  • Commercial and General Aviation

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