Pilot instruments and controls are divided into three main sections: one is the main instrument panel located directly in front of the pilot, and the other two are the left and right consoles, located on the sides of the pilot's seat. A huge effort had been made to place the miriad of displays, switches and other controls as ergonomically, as possible ...
Main Instrument Panel
The main instrument panel is a more or less vertical panel placed in front of the pilot. It houses controls and displays which are the most significant and which should be within the easiest reach of the pilot. See the following illustration:
Short descriptions of the numbered controls displayed above:
(1) Mirrors - Three canopy frame mounted rear view mirrors (left, middle, right) which help increase pilot's SA by being able to monitor part of the airspace behind the aircraft.
(2) Lock/Shoot Lights - Two orange lights built into the canopy frame which flash rapidly when a missile lock is achieved (in A/A mode). The rapid orange flashing is designed to quickly get the pilot's attention.
(3) Air Refueling Ready Light - Illuminates when the aircraft is ready for refueling boom engagement (after the air refueling process has been initiated by the pilot).
(4) Chart Light - A small directional light to help reading the map strapped on the thigh of the pilot.
(5) Head-Up Display - The HUD is used to project tons of information right into the pilot's forward vision. For more details see: Head-Up Display.
(6) Standby Magnetic Compass - Although an electronic compass strip is constantly displayed on top of the HUD, the Strike Eagle uses a completely conventional magnetic compass built into the canopy frame.
(7) Up-Front Control - The UFC is a control panel which houses a lot of functions with its 6 lines of alphanumeric displays and 12 pushbuttons on both ends of the lines.
(8) Warning Lights - Red lights that are designed to get the immediate attention of the pilot: they are placed in almost eye level and if turned on, they shine with a bright red color.
(9) Multipurpose Displays - Three large LCD displays are used to present tons of information to the pilot. The middle display is in color ( MPCD) while the other two are green monochrome ( MPD's).
(10) Cautions Lights - A couple of caution light placed in a relatively easy-to-notice corner of the dashboard.
(11) Hydraulic Pressure Indicators - Conventional gauges to display pressures of critical hydraulic systems.
(12) Clock - A conventional analog clock.
(13) Data Transfer Module Receptacle - The DTM is used to enter pre-designed mission information to the aircraft's onboard computers. The DTM cartridge is prepared on mission planning computers during the mission planning phase and should be inserted into this receptacle before the mission.
(14) Cockpit Pressure Altimeter - A traditional gauge showing cockpit pressure on an altitude scale between 0 and 50,000 feet.
(15) Engine Monitor Display - A digital display to present information about the engines of the aircraft. For more details see: Engines.
(16) Fuel Quantity Indicator - A combined indicator to display different fuel quantities. For more details see: Fuel Quantities.
(17) Caution Lights Panel - A set of caution lights each responsible for one specific system. They illuminate to indicate the occurence of a caution condition.
(18) Emergency Vent Handle - When turned 45° CCW, electrically dumps cabin pressure. Extension of the handle shuts off ECS air to the cockpit and allows ram air to enter the cockpit (the amount is controlled by how far the handle is extended).
(19) Holding Brake Switch - A switch to engage the holding brake.
(20) Jet Fuel Starter Control - A control handle to start the JFS. For more details see: Jet Fuel Starter.
(21) Multipurpose Color Display - Three large LCD displays are used to present tons of information to the pilot. The middle display is in color ( MPCD) while the other two are green monochrome ( MPD's)
(22) Rudder Pedal Adjust Knob - A knob used to adjust the rudder pedals to the pilot's personal preferences. The knob should be pulled out to adjust the rudder pedals (pushing feet against a spring pressure) and pushed back in to fix them in their adjusted position.
(23) Circuit Breaker Panel - Just what its name says, a panel containing an array of circuit breakers within easy reach of the pilot.
(24) Cockpit Cooling & Pressurization Outlet - An outlet for cockpit air exchange and cooling/heating.
(25) Energency Stores Jettison Switch - A switch used to quickly jettison ordnance and/or external fuel tanks.
(26) Vertical Speed Indicator - A conventional gauge to indicate vertical speed. Since vertical speed is displayed on the HUD, this instrument serves as a backup.
(27) Angle-of-Attack Indicator - A conventional gauge to indicate AoA. Since AoA is displayed on the HUD, this instrument serves as a backup.
(28) Emergency Break/Steering - A handle to be pulled out for emergency breaking/steering.
(29) Pitch Ratio Indicator - A conventional gauge to show the ratio of symmetrical stabilator motion to longitudinal stick motion (value between 1 and 0, the bigger the value, the bigger the stabilator motion for a given stick motion). Naturally, the higher the aircraft speed is, the lower ratio value is needed to pitch the aircraft.
(30) Pitch Ratio Select Switch - A two-way switch. When AUTO, normal pitch control functions are maintained. When EMERG, hydraulic pressure is removed from the hydromechanical pitch control system, which results the pitch ratio to move to a mid-range value (between 0.3 and 0.5) and lock there.
(31) Landing Gear Handle/Indicator Panel - A panel to operate landing gear and to display its status.
(32) Radio Call Panel - A panel to indicate radio calls.
(33) Emergency Landing Gear Handle - A handle used to emergency-rolower the landing gear (the gear doors open and the gear lowers by forces of gravity and drag).
(34) Arresting Hook Control Switch - A switch used to lower/raise the tail hook designed to catch the runway arresting cable in case of emergency.
(35) Canopy Jettison Handle - A handle used to emergency-jettison the canopy. Canopy is blown off by pyrotechnic charges.
(36) Armament Control Panel - A panel used to manipulate different armament settings.
(37) Standby Airspeed Indicator - A conventional gauge to indicate airspeed. Since airspeed is displayed on the HUD, this instrument serves as a backup.
(38) Standby Attitude Indicator - A conventional gauge to indicate aircraft attitude (also called as artificial horizon). It's a completely mechanical backup indicator.
(39) Standby Altimeter - A conventional gauge to indicate altitude. Since altitude is displayed on the HUD, this instrument serves as a backup.
(40) Fire Warning/Extinguishing Panel - A panel used to display and/or extinguish engine fire. For more details see: Fire Warning System.
(41) Caution Indicator (EMIS) - An orange light which illuminates if the aircraft emits detectable electromagnetic energy (i.e. radar is emitting).
(42) Master Caution Switch/Indicator - An indicator to display and acknowledge a new caution status.
The left console is a horizontal panel placed on the left side of the pilot cockpit at thigh level, between the pilot's ejection seat and the cockpit wall. See the following illustration:
Short descriptions of the numbered controls displayed above:
(1) Miscellaneous Control Panel - Panel for a couple of controls, which are the following:
- ROLL RATIO: A two-way switch. When AUTO, normal roll control functions are maintained. When EMERG, hydraulic pressure is removed from the hydromechanical roll control system, which results the roll ratio to move to a mid-range value (between 0.3 and 0.5) and lock there.
- INLET RAMP: Controls engine air intake ramps. When AUTO, the ramps are moved automatically. When EMERG, the ramps are full up. For more details see: Air Inlets.
- ANTI SKID: Controls the operation of the landing gear anti-skid system. When NORM it operates normally. When PULSER it always performs pulsing brakings. When OFF it does not operate.
- LDG LIGHT/TAXI LIGHT: Controls landing and taxi lights. When LDG LIGHT, landing lights are turned on. When TAXI LIGHT, taxi lights are turned on. When OFF, both lights are turned off.
(2) Fuel Panel - Controls the aircraft's fuel management system. Controls are the following:
- Fuel control switches (top row): Controls fuel flow of wing drop tanks (WING), centerline drop tank (CTR) and conformal fuel tanks (CONF TANK). When NORM, fuel transfers normally. When STOP TRANS, no fuel is transferred at all. When STOP REFUEL, no refueling is allowed. For more details see: External Fuel Tanks.
- Fuel dump switch (middle): Spring loaded and lever locked to its NORM position. When set to DUMP, fuel is dumped from board. For more details see: Fuel Dumping System.
- CONF TANK EMERG TRANS: Used to emergency-transfer CFT fuel. When NORM, no emergancy-transfer takes place. When L or R, center compartment transfer pumps are activated. For more details see: Conformal Fuel Tanks.
- EXT TRANS: Sets the transfer sequence of external fuel. WNG CTR refers to external drop tanks, CONF TANK refers to CFT's. The unselected tanks stops transferring fuel. For more details see: External Fuel Tanks.
- SLIPWAY: Controls air refueling receptacle door. When CLOSE, the door is closed. When OPEN, the door is opened. When ORIDE, the door is opened, plus other functions are activated. For more details see: Air Refueling System.
(3) VMAX Arm Switch - Temporarily adds approx. 4% engine performance increase at the cost of extreme wear. For more details see: Engines.
(4) NCTR Switch - Engages radar NCTR mode. For more details see: Radar System.
(5) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(6) Fly Up Enable Switch - Enables fly-up with the terrain following system. For more details see: LANTIRN Pods.
(7) Seat Adjust Switch - Used to electrically move the seat forward/backward.
(8) See item (10)
(9) EWWS Enable Switch - Enables EWWS system.
(10) Intercom Control Panel and (8) IFF Antenna Select Switch - Controls the intercom and IFF systems. Controls are the following:
- IFF ANT SEL: Selects which IFF antenna to use. UPPER for upper antenna, LOWER for lower antenna, BOTH for both antennas.
- Volume knobs (top row): Knobs for setting different volumes. TEWS CAUTION and LAUNCH knobs are for TEWS caution and missile launch warning tones. ICS stands for internal communications system (that is intercom), WPN stands for weapon related tones, ILS stands for instrument landing system localizer identification tone, TACAN stands for tactical aid for navigation station identification tones.
- CRYPTO: A lever locked switch to set the storage of IFF Mode 4 crypto codes. When NORM, codes are stored when aircraft power is on. When HOLD, codes are stored after power down. When ZERO, codes are zeroed. For more details see: IFF System.
- MIC: Intercom function selector switch. When ON, it provides direct communication from the pilot cockpit. When OFF, the microphone cannot be used for intercom purposes. When RAD ORIDE, it attenuates redio communications in favor of intercom communication.
- VW/TONE SILENCE: Button to silence voice warning ( VW) tones.
- UHF ANT: Controls which UHF antenna to use for the UHF1 radio, UPPER or LOWER. When AUTO, the radio selects the antenna with the best signal.
- VHF ANT: Controls which VHF antenna to use: UPPER or LOWER. When AUTO, the radio selects the antenna with the best signal.
- TONE: Selects tone between UHF1 and UHF2 radios.
- CIPHER TEXT: Radio communication encoding switch. When NORM, the radio can receive both coded and clear text communication. When ONLY, the radio can receive only coded text communication.
- MODE: Lever locked switch to set IFF replies. B for Mode 4/B replies, A for Mode 4/A replies, OUT for no Mode 4 replies at all. For more details see: IFF System.
- REPLY light and switch: The switch sets what feedback should be given once a Mode 4 IFF interrogation is received. When LIGHT, the REPLY light illuminates. When AUDIO REC, an audio tone is played. When OFF, no feedback is given. For more details see: IFF System.
- MASTER: Sets IFF system mode. When LOW, low sensitivity is set. When NORM, normal mode of operation is set. When EMERG, emergency sensitivity is set. For more details see: IFF System.
(11) Emergency Air Refueling Control - Opens air refueling door by use of pyrotechnic devices. Process is irreversible and used in emergency only. For more details see: Air Refueling System.
(12) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(13) Ground Test Panel - A panel with indicators of several aircraft systems. It is used for ground testing purposes.
(14) Armament Safety Override Switch - Allows the landing gear handle safety interlock to by bypassed for armament circuit checkout. When SAFE, normal circuitry is used. When OVERRIDE, the switch is solenoid-held until electrical power is removed, the landing gear handle is placed UP, or the switch is put back to SAFE manually.
(15) Ground Power Panel - Controls how ground power is applied to aircraft systems. Controls are the following:
- 1, 2, 3, 4: For powering several aircraft systems. Each of these switches are responsible for a set of systems. When ON, systems are powered from ground source. When AUTO, systems are powered from aircraft generator. The difference between A ON and B ON (switch 1) is that with A ON, the automatic flight control system ( AFCS) is not powered from the aircraft generator.
- PACS: Switch to power the programmable armament control set ( PACS). ON for ground power, AUTO for aircraft generator power, OFF for no power.
- CC: Switch to power the central computer ( CC). ON for ground power, AUTO for aircraft generator power, OFF for no power.
- MPDP/ AIU: Switch to power the multi-purpose display processor ( MPDP) and avionics interface unit ( AIU). ON for ground power, AUTO for aircraft generator power, OFF for no power.
(16) Control Augmentation Panel - Functions of the CAS system. Controls are the following:
- YAW, ROLL, PITCH: Enable/disable CAS control in the yaw, roll and pitch axis, respectively. ON for normal operation (after CAS control for respective axis is engaged). OFF to disengage axis. RESET to re-engage axis (after a fault).
- BIT: Button to activate built-in test of the CAS system.
- TF: Couples the TF system to the autopilot. When COUPLE, the TF system is coupled to the autopilot. When OFF, TF system is deactivated.
- T/O TRIM: Take-off trim button and light. When pressed the stick and rudder pedals move to the takeoff position (which in turn move the control surfaces). Once there the light goes on and a warning tone sounds, which stops after the button is released.
(17) Nuclear Consent Switch - A separate three-way switch (NUC) for nuclear weapons (fortunately never used on a Strike Eagle). When ARM, nuclear weapons can be employed. When SAFE, nuclear weapons cannot be employes. When JETTISON ENABLE, nuclear weapons can be jettisoned.
(18) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(19) Throttle Quadrant - For more details see: Pilot Throttle.
(20) External Lights Panel - Switches to manipulate external lights. For more details see: Exterior Lighting. Controls are the following:
- FORMATION: Knob to set the brightness of formation lights. Settings are from 1 to 5, OFF to turn off formation lights.
- ANTI-COLLISION: Turns ON or OFF anti-collision lights.
- VERT TAIL FLOOD: Switch to set the brightness of vertical tail flood lights. BRT for bright, DIM for dim setting, OFF to turn them completely off.
- POSITION: Knob to set the brightness of position lights. Settings are from 1 to 5, OFF to turn off position lights.
(21) Sensor Control Panel - Manipulates a couple of sensors of the aircraft. Controls are the following:
- TF RDR: Controls the terrain following ( TF) radar. When ON/OFF it turns the TF radar on/off. When STBY it puts the TF radar in standby mode.
- RDR ALT: Controls the radar altimeter. When ON/OFF, the radar altimeter is activated/deactivated. When OVERRIDE, the radar altimeter is deactivated, but no low altitude warning will be sounded.
- RADAR: Controls the radar. The knob needs to be pulled before turning. When OFF, the radar is completely turned off. When STBY, the radar is put in SNIFF mode. When ON, the radar is turned on. The EMERG setting should be used in case of emergency only. For more details see: Radar System.
- INS: Controls the inertial navigation system ( INS). When OFF, power is removed from the INS. When STORE, the INS performs a stored heading ( SH) alignment procedure. When GC, the INS performs a gyrocompass ( GC) alignment procedure. For normal navigation the INS knob should be turned to NAV setting.
- NAV FLIR: Controls the navigation FLIR. The GAIN LEVEL knob sets gain level. Switch ON/OFF turns navigation FLIR on/OFF, while switch STBY puts the nav FLIR into standby mode.
- JTIDS: Controls the JTIDS. The knob needs to be pulled before turning. When OFF, the system is turned completely off. When POLL, the system sends out poll signals. When NORM, normal operation is maintained. When SIL, the system works without emitting (silent mode).
- CC RESET: Pushbutton to perform a central computer ( CC) reset.
(22) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(23) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(24) Anti G Panel - Connector for the inflatable G-suit.
The right console is a horizontal panel placed on the right side of the pilot cockpit at thigh level, between the pilot's ejection seat and the cockpit wall. See the following illustration:
Short descriptions of the numbered controls displayed above:
(1) Oxygen Regulator Panel - Manages the OBOGS system. Controls are the following:
- FLOW: Oxygen flow indicator. White for flow, black for no-flow. It changes with each breath.
- Oxygen Pressure Gauge: A round gauge to show oxygen pressure.
- Emergency Lever: Three-position lever. When EMERGENCY, continuous positive pressure oxygen is delivered to the mask. When NORMAL, normal operation is provided. When TEST MASK, positive oxygen pressure is supplied.
- Diluter Lever: Two-position lever. When 100%, pure oxygen is supplied. When NORMAL OXYGEN, a scheduled mixture of air and oxygen is supplied.
- SUPPLY: Two-position lever. When ON, the proper mix of cockpit air and oxygen is supplied to the mask. When OFF, breathing is not possible with the mask on.
(2) Engine Control Panel - Manages the engines. Controls are the following:
- GEN L, R: Lever locked switches to turn left and right generators on/off. For more details see: Engines.
- EMERG GEN: Emergency generator switch. AUTO for automatic activation, MAN for manual activation, ISOLATE for powering critical systems only. For more details see: Engines.
- ENG CONTR: ON to place engines in PRI control mode, OFF to place them in SEC control mode. For more details see: Engines.
- ENG MASTER L, R: Guarded engine master switches to turn engines on/off. For more details see: Engines.
- EXT PWR: External power switch. NORM for allowing external power, OFF to disallow external power, RESET for establishing external power if it's not on the line (switch spring loads back to NORM). For more details see: Engines.
- STARTER: JFS controls. The READY light indicates if the JFS is ready to be engaged. ON allows JFS to be engaged, OFF immediately disengages JFS. Actual JFS engagement is done by the JFS control handle (see main instrument panel (20), above). For more details see: Jet Fuel Starter.
(3) VTR Panel - Manages the onboard video tape recorder. Controls are the following:
- RCD/EOT: RCD light illuminates green when a recording is in progress. EOT light illuminates white when the end of the tape is reached (or if not tape).
- MIN REMAIN: Counter to indicate the remaining minutes from the tape.
- RESET: Push-and-turn button to reset the MIN REMAIN counter.
- RECORD: A two-way switch. When ENABLE, enables VTRS recording (the INS should be activated). When UNTHREAD, it unthreads the video tape (deactivating INS also unthreads the video tape).
(4) Compass Panel - Manages the aircraft's gyro-magnetic compass. Controls are the following:
- Sync indicator meter: Indicates the direction (plus or minus) between the AHRS directional gyro and the magnetic azimuth detector ( MAD) in the slaved mode (see below).
- PUSH TO SYNC: When pushed it synchronizes the gyro-magnetic compass to the MAD in the slaved mode.
- FAST ERECT: Pushing this button re-rects the gyro for correct attitude sensing. Should be used in straight and level, unaccelerated flight only.
- N-S switch: Select hemisphere. N for northern, S for southern hemisphere.
- LAT: Latitude control knob. Used to manually insert present position latitude in DG and slaved mode.
- Mode selector knob: When SLAVED, directional gyro sensed heading is corrected to the MAD heading. When COMP, only MAD directional information is used (emergency mode). When DG, only directional gyro sensed heading information is used (over areas where the Earth's magnetic field is appreciably distorted).
(5) Blank Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(6) Black Panel - Blank panel reserved for future developments.
(7) Oxygen/Communications Outlet Panel: Connectors for the oxygen hose and communications cable attached to the pilot's helmet.
(8) Stowage Compartment: A small compartment to store the pilot's personal items.
(9) ECS Panel - Manages the environmental control system ( ECS). Controls are the following:
- OXY BIT: A button on the top left to initiate a built-in test ( BIT) of the OBOGS system.
- ANTI-FOG: Controls the anti-fog system. HOT for hot air, NORM for normal temperature air and COLD for manually tempered air. For more details see: Anti-Icing Systems.
- WINDSHIELD: Turns on/off windshield heating for anti-icing. For more details see: Anti-Icing Systems.
- PITOT HEAT: Turns on/off pitot tube heating for anti-icing. For more details see: Anti-Icing Systems or Pitot Tube.
- ENG HEAT: Turns on/off the engine anti-icing system. When TEST it performs a system test and turns on the INLET ICE caution. For more details see: Anti-Icing Systems.
(10) Air Conditioning Panel - Manages the air conditioning system. Controls are the following:
- TEMP switch: A three-way switch to manage cockpit temperature. When AUTO, cockpit temperature is automatically maintained at the temperature selected on the TEMP knob. When MANUAL, cockpit temperature may be changed with the knob, but not maitained automatically. When OFF, it shuts down off ECS air.
- TEMP knob: A rotary knob to set the cockpit temperature.
- FLOW switch: A three-way switch to select air flow. MIN, MAX and NORM settings are available for minimum/maximum/normal air flow, respectively.
- FLOW knob: A four-position knob to set the air source. When BOTH, bleed air is supplied from both engines. When L ENG or R ENG, bleed air is supplied from the left/right engine only. When OFF, no bleed air is supplied.
(11) Interior Lights Panel - Manages the cockpit interior lighting. Controls are the following:
- CONSOLE: Knob to set the brightness of the console instrument backlighting. OFF to turn it off completely.
- INST PNL: Knob to set the brightness of the forward instrument panel backlighting. OFF to turn it off completely.
- LT TEST: Switch spring loaded to its OFF position. When switched to ON, performs an interior lighting test.
- UFC: Knob to set the brightness of the up-front controller ( UFC). OFF to turn it off completely.
- STBY COMP: Used to turn on/off the lighting of the standby magnetic compass on the canopy frame. When ON, lighting brightness is regulated by the INST PNL knob.
- CHART LT: Knob to set the brightness of the chart light on the canopy frame. OFF to turn it off completely.
- DISPLAY: Switch to set the display backlightings into DAY (no backlighting) or NIGHT (backlighting) mode.
- WARNING CAUTION: Knob to set the brightness of the warning/caution lights. OFF to turn them off completely. For safety reasons, the knob must be placed momentarily to the RESET position to enable itself to set warning/caution lights' brightness.
- STORM FLOOD: Knob to set the brightness of the storm/flood lights which provide secondary lighting in the cockpit. OFF to turn them off completely.
(12) Black Panel - Black panel reserved for future developments.
(13) Black Panel - Black panel reserved for future developments.
(14) Black Panel - Black panel reserved for future developments.
(15) Utility Light - A small and handy unility flood light for lighting things in the cockpit. It comes with an alligator clip to fasten the light to various locations.
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