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Common Cockpit Concepts and Convenient Configurations

One of the big pushes in aviation and military is to have common cockpit designs, which are ergonomically correct. The Common Cockpit Initiative (CCI) would mean all aircraft have basically the same cockpit; all the instruments would be in the same place, the seats in the same place, in fact nearly everything would be the same. This would make virtual Reality training easy in simulators and allow for maximum efficiency and save lives, as the human component would never be confused and thus fewer mistakes would be made in unfamiliar cockpits under extreme stress during incidents, under fire or during equipment failure. It would allow maximum use of the "human unit" as everyone could do every job. Taken to extreme this would mean your automobile or a commercial truck would be similar to a war fighting tank, jet airliner, private boat, fighter jet, helicopter and school bus. Engineers laugh often at this saying; "oh sure and the commode will also be designed like that; once you take a dump you simply move the joy stick down which signals the toilet to release the human waste and flush?" Then another engineer laughs and says; "Yah or it could be a leveler identical to the "bombs away" switch in a fighter-bomber carrying the latest smart munitions?" Yes, I was listening as this conversation went on for a few minutes in the lobby bar of a hotel in Dayton, OH during an aviation and space conference.

Although on the surface this might seem hilarious to try to design everything the same, it does make sense, regarding the toilet comment; I say well why not? Why not redesign the modern day toilet? Let me tell you a story; I met a gentleman whose claim to fame was he designed the toilet system for the ISS and Space Shuttle. Removing the human waste was not as easy as it sounds in zero gravity. And yes what he was doing was rocket science and yes he was an aerospace engineer designing toilets for a better description.

You see the point is that Common Cockpit theory makes sense. Of course in an aircraft you do not have a collective like you do in a helicopter, yet that's okay as the pilot transitioning only has to learn one thing extra you see? As video games progress we will see more and more of these types of things come to fruition. Now then the point I wish to make in this CCI is that we should take this to the next step to simplify it further. Since humans come in different shapes and sizes and if every cockpit is the same, then why not have the seat controls also the same. For instance in some cars the seat automatically adjusts for the driver, some cars have three or four possible positions in memory and you select yours and the seat adjusts for you to the best optimal pre-programmed position. In the CCI, I propose that you simply standardize all common cockpits with the same sensors and seat movement positions and add this to your SmartCard, RFID imbedded chip or wrist watch. When you go to driver training or into a simulator for your check ride, you simply find the best and most comfortable position and set it. If you gain or lose weight you can then adjust manually the Common Cockpit you are in and it will imprint on your SmartCard the new position.

Often we see drivers in cars sitting too low and can barely see over the steering wheel, when we rent an aircraft everything is in the wrong place. If we borrow a friend's car we are constantly looking for where stuff is, where is the hood release, fuel hatch release and how the hell do I turn off this G-Dang windshield wiper? As machines get more complicated and humans become more brain dead due to bad use of natural selection, we will need counter these issues with better designed standardization such is being done in the CCI. Now then I am not criticizing the lack of cranial capacity in the modern day human, rather simply suggesting a reality check is needed. We spend too much time in training of soldiers, drivers, pilots, operators with increasingly more complicated equipment. Humans do not have the patients for that really and the potential loss of equipment and life is the resultant. So the CCI is the correct approach to KISS ? Keep it simple stupid. Now then you think on this for me.


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