Author’s Name Subject/ Course number New Technology: A Necessity with a High Price or a Whim for Simplicity in Aviation? The United States budget for the fiscal year 2013 is estimated to be $16,202.7 billion as per GDP…
Global passenger traffic has risen from about 1.7 billion in the year 2000 to about 3 billion in 2012 with only two dips in the trend happening in the year 2011 due to the 9/11 attack, economic downturn, and the SARS Epidemic, and also in the year 2010 caused by the financial crises and global recession (International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) (as cited in Beynon). The reasonable response of airline companies with the greater influx of passengers is to add new planes to its fleet. A report by the Airline Monitor (2012) compiled the total air craft deliveries per year by Boeing and Airbus, two of the largest aircraft manufacturer (as cited in Beynon). The report shows that there will be a total of 1,300 new aircrafts delivered by the end of 2013 and as much as 1,600 additional aircrafts by 2019. The cost of procuring an A350 (Airbus) is about $320 million while a B777 (Boeing) costs about $315 million. (Rothman and Walid and AircraftCompare.com) It is evident from these statistics that a huge chunk of the tax payers’ money are channeled to the improvement of aircrafts used by our armed forces and there’s also a lot of money being poured out into the commercial airline business. However, we are just recovering from the effects of the Global recession and the financial crises that’s why we need to take in perspective the amount of money that we spend as well as the government spends on buying and improving our aircrafts. Two of the changes that aircraft manufacturers infuse in their new fleets are better fuel efficiency and replacement of gauges in the cockpit with Multifunction Electronic Display Systems (MEDS). The MEDS are essentially cathode-ray tube (CRT), active-matrix liquid-crystal display (AMLCD) (tannas.com) or LED monitors that display the information once seen from the different gauges in the cockpit. Better fuel consumption is highly beneficial for cost reduction and lessening the impact of flight to the environment however, there is a question on why we need to upgrade the gauges to panels and monitors when the mechanical gauges works just fine? Is this upgrade a necessity that we are willing to pay high prices for or just a whim to make things simpler in aviation? I. The Need for Electronic Flight Displays The “glass cockpit” as NASA names it is a new configuration in the airplane and space shuttle cockpit design using CRT, LCD, or LED screens in place of the old electromechanical displays, gauges and instruments that have worked for so long in the aviation industry. Instead of having multiple knobs, buttons, switches, indicators, gauges and symbols that cluttered the cockpit, the screens now display all the relevant information for the pilot to safely take-off, fly and land the plane (NASA, 2000). Lane Wallace, a correspondent of the “Airborn Trailblazer” said that before the 70s there really was no need for computerized electronic flight displays; however, with the increasing complexity of aircrafts, the improvement of digital systems and ballooning air traffic prompted the need for displays that could process raw in-flight and aircraft-systems data and integrate is so as the displayed information contains the position, situation and progress of the aircraft within the three dimensions and with regards to speed and time. (NASA) The developers of this technology say that cockpits that are fitted with these displays ...
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