first sight, the array of dials and switches in an aircraft cockpit can be
rather daunting. Unlike automobile drivers, pilots do not have the benefit
of direction signs affixed to the sky! As a result, aircraft carry with
them some sophisticated navigation equipment that will permit operations
even in thick cloud and at night. In addition, as there are no parking
areas in the sky, the engine is much better monitored than the average
car. Because an aircraft is travelling in three dimensions, additional
instruments are required for altitude, and rate of climb and descent.
Lastly, pilots need to communicate with airfields and air traffic control.
Usually, two radio sets are fitted, (in case of failure) and also a
transponder, which is an instrument that transmits to air traffic control
so that they can identify you and know your altitude.
aircraft do not carry always carry such equipment if daylight fine weather
operations are all that is required. Nowadays, aircraft panels are rather
standardised, so that it is relatively easy for a pilot to make the
transition from one aircraft type to another. Featured below is the panel
from a new Tiger light aircraft. It is a typical example of a modern
standard panel. Mouse over the arrows for explanations.
This is a drawing of a typical new aircraft panel. It is likely that your
initial trainer will not be quite so well equipped!