An aircraft cockpit comprises of electronic flight instruments display, such as altimeter, direction, gyroscope, and air speed. These aircraft cockpits are known as glass cockpit and it includes LCD screens rather than the conventional analog systems. The glass cockpit systems consists of several displays which are connected to the flight management system, and can be altered to display flight information as required. The glass cockpit has replaced the conventional (Electronic Flight Instrumentation Systems EFIS) warning lights and mechanical gauges, but still they are used in some aircrafts as backups in case of electronic flight instrumentation system malfunction. Currently, glass cockpit is largely used in commercial aviation aircrafts such as Boeing 737NG, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777, and Tupolev Tu-204 among others.
The data provided in the glass cockpit is more accurate and clear, information is precise and data played in the glass cockpit systems are ergonomically displayed. These factors are expected to fuel the glass cockpit for aerospace market in future. The glass cockpit reduces the workload as well as fatigue of the pilots and this is urging the aviation industry to shift from traditional mechanical systems to digital glass cockpit systems. In addition, the glass cockpit systems offers a checklist for certain issues which the pilot can use for troubleshooting the problems and correct them before any unavoidable circumstances. This factor is anticipated to drive the market for glass cockpit heavily over the years.
The glass cockpit offers several advantageous in the current aviation industry scenario, but it has few limitations such as the pilot is less aware about flying the aircraft, the battery life is less than the traditional mechanical systems, and it is tough for the pilots to swap from analog systems to digital systems and vice-versa. The digital glass cockpit mechanism offers exceptional situational awareness but it is only possible when the pilot is well aware of the complete system. This is because during an emergency the time spend on correcting the problems becomes more rather than flying if the pilot is unaware or not sufficiently aware of the glass cockpit mechanism. This is leading the pilots to be trained on the new concept of glass cockpit which is leading the pilots to spend more time on training rather than training on actual flying time. In addition, the battery life for the glass cockpit is less than the analog systems and the pilots have very less time to react to the problems during an emergency. This factor can cause fatal incidences during a flight. Moreover, the pilot well trained on the digital glass cockpit systems or never used the analog systems finds it difficult to shift to analog systems if required, as the analog mechanism requires more cognitive process to understand the situation. Another major inhibiting factor for glass cockpit for aerospace market is that the pilots become over reliant on the system and this arises a question on the safety of the mechanism if they fail to work properly at times.
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Though the glass cockpit system is an advanced technology in the commercial aerospace industry, the manufacturers are still conducting research in order to make the system more robust and user friendly. The major advancement in glass cockpit mechanism includes integration of touchscreen facility, and this is touchscreen technology is expected to boost the market to a greater extend over the years.
The glass cockpit for aerospace market can be segmented on the basis of aircraft type, display type, display size and geographically. The aircraft type segment is further sub segmented as cargo aircraft, general aviation aircrafts, business jets, helicopter, and trainer aircrafts. The segment based on display type can be bifurcated as primary flight display, display backup, multi-function display. Based on display size, the segmentation can be classified as display size less than 5 inches, display size ranging from 5 inches to 10 inches, and greater than 10 inches. Geographically, the glass cockpit for aerospace market has been divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and Latin America.
The prominent vendors in the glass cockpit for aerospace market are Avidyne Corporation (U.S.), Honeywell Aerospace Inc. (U.S.), Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.), Universal Avionics System Corporation (U.S.), Gramin Ltd. (Switzerland),Rockwell Collins (U.S),Elbit System Ltd. (Israel), DynonAvionics (U.S.)., Esterline Technologies Corporation (U.S.),Aspen Avionics Inc. (U.S.).