What Are Aircraft Primary Flight Displays?

Since the introduction of the glass cockpit in the aviation industry, pilots have gained access to many tools and systems that make their job easier, safer, and more efficient. One of the most notable additions to aircraft was the primary flight display (PFD), that of which is a screen that organizes and displays vital flight information in a single area. Using this device, pilots no longer have to scan individual gauges to obtain the readings they need to make decisions, promoting heightened attention and ease of use. As a result, PFDs have become a staple of modern aircraft design, so it can be highly beneficial to have a basic understanding of their use and the information that they can provide.

While PFDs are unable to provide all-encompassing data on an aircraft, such as its physical status, they are efficient at organizing flight conditions. Generally, this includes the aircraft’s altitude, airspeed, and attitude, all of which are obtained through the pitot-static system and other various sensors. With readings from the attitude indicator, the primary flight display will indicate the aircraft’s position with an artificial horizon centrally located on the screen. This is highly beneficial for pilots so that they can keep an eye on any pitching or tilting during flight.

Next to these readings will be the airspeed and altitude indications, both of which tend to be displayed vertically next to the artificial horizon. Due to standardization of flight measurements, airspeed indicator will generally be presented in knots or nautical miles per hour. On the other hand, altitude will be conveyed in terms of units above mean sea level (AMSL), that of which is the average height that seawater reaches across the globe.

While these three readings or measurements are the most common on primary flight displays, there may also be a compass rose for general navigation and reference, as well as stall angle readings, runway diagrams, ILS localizers, and more. Depending on the exact unit one procures and how it is installed, the exact layout and display of information may vary. Additionally, most units are fairly customizable, and pilots can often adjust settings to ensure that everything fits their needs while still remaining within regulations. With all of these various features, pilots have more resources at their fingertips to anticipate aircraft movements and reactions in a better way.

While the electrification of aircraft instrumentation has greatly changed the ways that pilots can obtain information, traditional gauges and instruments will still be present in the aircraft. This is because in the case of an electrical issue or failure, pilots still need to have access to crucial flight data for safety. With the possibility of having to use gauges or varying types of primary flight displays, pilots should always ensure that they are familiar with the system or features of the aircraft that they intend to fly so that there is no issue in obtaining information throughout the flight operation.

If you happen to be in the market for primary flight display components, heads up display parts, or other various cockpit components, we at After Market Aero Spares have you covered with an unrivaled inventory of items. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we present customers access to a database containing over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components that trace back to leading manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our offerings as you see fit, and be sure to use our online RFQ services to request quotes on items of interest. Once we receive and review a completed request, a member of our staff will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less to present a customized solution for your comparisons. Get started today and see why so many customers steadily depend on us for all their operational needs!



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