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Touchscreen 2d panels....

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Just nerding out abit on aviation stuff while at work, I just read an article that suggests the plane design & manufacturing industry might be headed towards replacing the standard "switches and knobs" panels with 2D touch screens..


Im not a pilot but as a SIM pilot and thinking about the two very different interfaces, my experience says that its not a good thing.


it would be like trying to play flight sim with just a keyboard and mouse.. (its sucks)


What do you real life pilots think about all touch screen panels ?

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Touch screen has its place, but it needs an alternative in turbulence, and it requires more attention from the pilot to operate one than it does the switch/knob that you almost don't have to look at in order to find it and operate it.


Of course I'm not a fan of the trend (over the last 15-20+years) to go more and more to electronic menus, sometimes 3 or more deep. That's especially true of something that I need to do NOW with minimal time and attention. And I'm not just talking aircraft. I have two HD camcorders, one is a large, low end professional unit about 10 years old, with most functions using dedicated switches or lens rings, plus a few functions that are in a menu but can be assigned to one of a handful of assignable switches. (Love it)


The other is much smaller, with a couple of assignable switches and a couple of switches that are dedicated, and otherwise you have to go into a set of menus (manual exposure, for example). It does better in low light than the one above, but I almost always have to leave it in automatic mode since I don't usually have the time to do manual operations.


Each has its advantages, but if I'm needing to get the picture NOW, and it needs something done manually, then I'm pretty well stuck with the older one (it's more fun, mostly, also), but the newer one has advantages, too, that get it used a lot.


The same kind of comparison gives the same answer with a pair of ham radios I have -- one mostly menu driven, one with lots and lots of dedicated switches and buttons and lights.


So the real answer is that it would be a mistake to make everything touch screen or buried in menu levels, though some functionality would lend itself very nicely to the touchscreen in a cockpit. Just don't make it things I have to do quickly without diverting my attention much, especially when in IMC.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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