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What is a Cockpit?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 23, 2024
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A cockpit, which is also sometimes referred to as a flight deck is an area located in the front of an aircraft from which the pilot controls the movements of the aircraft. Inside the cockpit, there is a panel of instruments and controls that are used to take off, land, and control the progress of the flight. The size of a cockpit is usually directly related to the size of an aircraft as a whole. In many cases, the cockpit is closed off from the rest of the aircraft and is only accessed by the pilot and a co-pilot or flight crew members.

The controls and instruments in a cockpit depend on the aircraft model and size. In airplanes that are large enough to have a pilot and a co-pilot, there are usually duplicates of some of the controls and instruments with a set that is accessible from each of their seats. This allows the pilot or the co-pilot to be able to control the plane as needed during take off, during landing, and while in flight.

The various systems that are incorporated into the control panel in a cockpit include instruments that are used to direct the path of the aircraft, as well as instruments that are used to monitor various parts of the aircraft. Engine-monitoring instruments reflect information regarding the engine's functions such as the cylinder temperature, the exhaust gas temperature, the oil pressure, and the oil temperature. There are also instruments that are used to relay warning messages in the event of a problem with one of the parts of the plane.

In addition to the controls and instruments that are used to manage the movements of an aircraft, there are also instruments that are used to stay in touch with agencies that are overseeing or controlling air traffic. As these instruments are crucial to the safe and successful takeoff, flight, and landing of a plane, there are often two radio sets, even in rather small aircraft, in case one of them fails. On commercial airplanes, there is often a public announcement system that allows the pilot or co-pilot to report flight information. These kinds of planes are also sometimes outfitted with communication systems that allow the pilot to communicate directly with members of the flight crew.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
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Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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