WO2000000388A2 - Enhanced aircraft cockpit configuration - Google Patents

Enhanced aircraft cockpit configuration Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2000000388A2
WO2000000388A2 PCT/US1999/010618 US9910618W WO0000388A2 WO 2000000388 A2 WO2000000388 A2 WO 2000000388A2 US 9910618 W US9910618 W US 9910618W WO 0000388 A2 WO0000388 A2 WO 0000388A2
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WO
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Prior art keywords
aircraft
subsystem
operation
recited
corresponding
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PCT/US1999/010618
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French (fr)
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WO2000000388A3 (en )
WO2000000388A9 (en )
Inventor
Josef Barch
John Martin Noonan
Barry E. Bronson
Mark H. Bushaw
William E. Pope
David B. Miles
David Mc Elroy
John Underwood
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Tcs Engineering Services, Inc.
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64DEQUIPMENT FOR FITTING IN OR TO AIRCRAFT; FLYING SUITS; PARACHUTES; ARRANGEMENTS OR MOUNTING OF POWER PLANTS OR PROPULSION TRANSMISSIONS IN AIRCRAFT
    • B64D11/00Passenger or crew accommodation; Flight-deck installations not otherwise provided for

Abstract

The present invention relates to an improved, operational spatial configuration of aircraft cockpits. In particular, a display device (40a, 40b, 40c) is provided adjacent to the pilot/co-pilot seats (10, 12) in an aircraft cockpit to selectively output predetermined sets of information pertaining to monitored aircraft operation subsystems and/or other flight-related information (e.g., navigational information, particular information pertinent to a given phase-of-flight, etc.). The display device is processor-driven according to predetermined instruction sets and may be operated in multiple modes via selective user inputs (42b). The display device may be utilized to facilitate pilot/co-pilot control over aircraft equipment and to allow for selective initiation of automated equipment configuration procedures associated with different phase-of-flight operations. A plurality of the display devices may be provided adjacent to the pilot/co-pilot seats, wherein each of the display devices is separately operable to provide selected information in a spatially convenient manner.

Description

ENHANCED AIRCRAFT COCKPIT CONFIGURATION

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the configuration of aircraft cockpits, and more particularly, to the operational and spatial functionality of flight-related information/control devices employed in aircraft cockpits.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION As reliance on aircraft travel has increased through the years, corresponding advances have been made to increase the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations. In particular, significant development has occurred in the areas of flight-related information/control systems and associated interface componentry located in aircraft cockpits. Flight-related information systems may include a number of aircraft operation monitoring subsystems that each employ one or more devices to sense or otherwise provide information regarding a particular aspect of aircraft operation. By way of example, such aircraft operation monitoring subsystems may include the following: aircraft air conditioning monitoring subsystem; aircraft auxiliary power unit (APU) monitoring subsystem; aircraft doors monitoring subsystem; aircraft electrical monitoring subsystem; aircraft engine monitoring subsystem; aircraft fuel monitoring subsystem; aircraft hydraulic monitoring subsystem; aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; aircraft oxygen monitoring subsystem; and aircraft pneumatic monitoring subsystem. Flight-related information systems may also include subsystems that acquire/provide updated aircraft position/navigational information (e.g., via GPS/FMS interface), external communications information (e.g., VHF communications, HP communications, and satellite communication), flight-related reference libraries (e.g., approach charts, etc.), crew data (e.g., Automatic Crew Address and Reporting System (ACARS)), aircraft performance data (e.g., Performance Data Computing System (PDCS) information), aircraft maintenance information (e.g., to obtain performance data to reveal operational trends for pumps, relays, valves, generators, and engine components), and ground operation data for use by maintenance personnel (e.g., to obtain information regarding confidence checks, engine operation, taxi operation, engine shutdown, and air conditioning electrical power removal).

Many of the flight-related information systems noted above are adapted to visually display information to personnel within an aircraft cockpit. The provision of such data assists pilots and/or other aircraft personnel in the operation of an aircraft, including the identification of possible malfunctions so as to facilitate responsive actions as may be appropriate for a given circumstance. In this regard, it should be noted that responsive actions may be dictated by governmental regulations or other predetermined flight operation instruction sets.

The provision of flight-related information and related control componentry in aircraft cockpits presents a number of design considerations. In particular, it has been recognized that information output/control componentry should be presented in spatially convenient locations and in an understandable manner. In the latter regard, information outputs/controls may be grouped to recognize logical associations between the types or importance of information/controls being provided. By way of example, for large aircraft it is typical for "fiight-critica data outputs/controls to be located immediately in front of the pilot seat(s) of the aircraft, and for "non-flight-critical" data outputs/controls to be provided either overhead or rearward of the pilot seat(s).

As will be appreciated, the above-noted aircraft cockpit design considerations have become increasingly difficult to address as the nature and extent of available flight- related information has increased. Further in this regard, it is also important to recognize that there is only limited space available in aircraft cockpits. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing, a primary objective of the present invention is to provide flight-related information/control apparatus and methodology for realizing enhanced aircraft cockpit configurations. More particularly, objectives of the present invention are to provide flight-related information/control interfaces in a manner that enhances aircraft operation convenience and that otherwise makes efficient use of space and personnel within an aircraft cockpit.

A related objective of the present invention is to provide apparatus and methodology for the reconfiguration of cockpits in existing aircraft so as to realize the above-noted obj ectives .

The above objectives and additional related advantages may be realized by the present invention which comprises at least one processor-driven display means, positionable within an aircraft cockpit, for providing flight-related information and control-select options to aircraft personnel (e.g., pilot/co-pilot). More particularly, the display means may be provided with a corresponding user interface so that one or more predetermined sets of information may be selectively displayed on the display means by a user.

In one aspect of the invention, the display means may be positioned between side- by-side pilot seats to yield space-saving efficiencies and ready user access (e.g. by positioning within a readable distance and ready reach, or wing-span, of aircraft personnel). In conjunction with this inventive aspect, one or more of the information sets may correspond with a particular aircraft operation monitoring subsystem for monitoring operating conditions relating to an aircraft operation subsystem of a particular type upon an aircraft. By way of example, the monitored aircraft operation monitoring subsystem may be one or more of the following group: aircraft air conditioning monitoring subsystem;

- aircraft auxiliary power unit monitoring subsystem;

- aircraft doors monitoring subsystem; aircraft electrical monitoring subsystem; - aircraft engine monitoring subsystem; aircraft fuel monitoring subsystem; an aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; an aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; aircraft hydraulic monitoring subsystem; aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; - aircraft oxygen monitoring subsystem; and aircraft pneumatic monitoring subsystem. In one arrangement, the display means is operable to separately display, via use of the corresponding user interface, a plurality of information sets in corresponding relation with a plurality or all of the above-identified aircraft operation monitoring subsystems. As such, the display means is multifunctional in the sense that it may separately display multiple sets of information corresponding with multiple aircraft operation monitoring subsystems.

In another aspect of the present invention, the display means is provided to be operable in at least two different modes, wherein the information set(s) displayable in each mode is different and corresponds with a separate one of a group comprising: information corresponding with one of the above-identified aircraft operation monitoring subsystems; one or more of the above-identified aircraft operation subsystems, such information being dependent upon and of particular interest in relation to a selected phase-of-flight; aircraft maintenance (e.g., for ground maintenance and in-flight monitoring);

- aircraft performance functions (PDCS); crew address reporting functions (ACARS);

- emergency conditions information; - external communications; aircraft positional navigation information ; and flight-related reference libraries. With respect to this inventive aspect, the display means is further multifunctional since for example, it is capable of selectively providing an information set(s) for flight navigation in one mode and for providing a predetermined information set(s) corresponding to one or more aircraft operation monitoring subsystem(s) that is phase-of- flight dependent in another mode.

Further, in the later regard, and in yet another aspect of the present invention, the display means may be operable to display predetermined information sets which each comprise information corresponding with one or more aircraft operation monitoring subsystems (e.g. information indicating the state or a measured operating parameter of/within equipment comprising a given aircraft operation subsystem), which information sets are automatically selected in corresponding relation to one of a predetermined plurality of different flight phases. By way of example, such flight phases may include the following: an initial set up phase; a pre-flight phase; a before engine start phase; a monitor phase for engine start sequence; - an after start phase; a taxi phase;

- a take-off phase; a flight phase; a parking phase; and - a termination phase.

By way of example, the information set corresponding with the pre-flight phase may comprise monitored information corresponding with two or more aircraft operation subsystems, while the information set corresponding with the flight phase may comprise a different set of information corresponding with two or more of such subsystems. The monitored aircraft operation subsystems for a given aircraft may for example comprise any of the following: aircraft air conditioning subsystem(s);

- aircraft power delivery subsystem(s);

- aircraft electric subsystem(s); - aircraft engine operations subsystem(s); aircraft fuel delivery subsystem(s); aircraft hydraulic subsystem(s);

- aircraft anti-ice subsystem(s);

- aircraft oxygen delivery subsystem(s); and aircraft pneumatic subsystem(s). In yet a further aspect of the present invention, the display means may be operable with the user interface to allow for selected operator control over certain predetermined aircraft equipment operations. That is, for example, the display means may be interconnected with selected control componentry associated with one or more aircraft operation subsystems so as to allow an operator to change the operational state of such componentry (e.g., from an off state to an on state, from an open state to a closed state, etc.). Additionally, the display means may be provided to allow a user to selectively initiate an automated, predetermined aircraft equipment reconfiguration (e.g., via changing the operational states of the equipment) and/or check procedure (e.g., via parameter monitoring to ensure that a preselected equipment group is operating within corresponding predetermined acceptable ranges). Such selective, automated reconfiguration capabilities may be provided to a user in corresponding relation to a given phase of flight, such as those noted above.

In yet an additional aspect of the invention, the above-noted multifunctional information and control/selective automation capabilities of the display means may be provided via menu-driven operation thereof. In this regard, a series of display or screen pages may be provided with user interface selection devices (e.g., depressible buttons or touch screen buttons) being provided in corresponding spatial relation to each of a plurality of menu or page line items. That is, for example, menu selections corresponding with one of a displayed plurality of aircraft operation subsystems and/or corresponding with one of a plurality of the above-noted modes of operation may be selected by an operator via use of the selection devices. Additionally, initiation of the predetermined control/automated activities noted above may be provided via use of the selection devices.

In an additional aspect of the present invention, and as noted above, one or more display means having one or more of the above-noted features may be conveniently positioned for ready access/use in an aircraft cockpit. By way of example, such display means may be positioned immediately adjacent to at least one of a pilot seat and co-pilot seat in an aircraft cockpit. As will be appreciated, such seats are typically positioned side-by-side in the forward region of an aircraft cockpit. The display means may be located between the two seats at a location that can be readily viewed and reached for interface by aircraft personnel (e.g. a pilot and/or co-pilot) seated within a seat in a normal flight-ready position.

Of note, a plurality of display means, each having one or more of the above-noted features, may be advantageously positioned between two seats in an aircraft cockpit, preferably with a first display means positioned immediately adjacent to the pilot set and a second display means positioned immediately adjacent to the co-pilot seat. Each display means may each be provided with the multifunctional and control/selection capabilities as noted above, wherein each of the pilot and co-pilot may be able to view different information sets and otherwise interface with their corresponding display means contemporaneously. Such functionality enhances the efficiency and information flow within a cockpit during aircraft operations. As will be appreciated upon further consideration, additional display means may be further positioned within an aircraft cockpit, including for example, a third display means having the above-noted features, wherein either the pilot or co-pilot can interface with the third display means while maintaining a given information set on the corresponding first or second display means. As will be appreciated, the multifunctional and control/selection capabilities of the present invention are provided pursuant to preprogrammed processor instructions and memory data sets. Such processor/memory functions may be performed by hardware/software located within the display menus or may be advantageously located elsewhere in the aircraft (e.g. with bus connection to the display means). In yet a further aspect of the present invention, one or more processor-driven display means having one or more of the above-noted features may be provided in an aircraft cockpit, and an additional back-up device may also be provided in the aircraft cockpit, wherein such back-up device is provided with selected redundant information display/control functionality. More particularly, redundant functionality may be provided by the display means and back-up device with respect to the provision of selected aircraft operating subsystem information sets of predetermined concern, and with respect to the selective control over the operation, or state, of selected equipment relating to one or more of the following aircraft operating subsystems: aircraft fuel delivery subsystem; aircraft electric subsystem; - aircraft hydraulic subsystem; and aircraft pneumatic subsystem. The display means and back-up device may each comprise or otherwise be interconnected with separate logic-control devices, wherein the separate logic-control devices separately interface with analog sensor lines comprising one or more of the aircraft operation monitoring subsystems. Further in this regard, the noted equipment control provided by the display means may be processor-driven (e.g. via a digital-to-analog interface), while the back-up device may provide for direct analog-to-analog control over the equipment (e.g. the selected equipment comprising one or more of the above noted aircraft fuel delivery, electrical, hydraulic and/or pneumatic subsystems). In one embodiment, the above-noted aspects of the present invention may be advantageously employed to reconfigure existing aircraft cockpits to not only facilitate operation of the aircraft by pilot and co-pilot personnel, but additionally to yield space saving and required personnel efficiencies. More particularly, reconfiguration may provide for enhance capabilities, including automated fuel tank quantity balancing (e.g. via user interface with a display means an automated procedure, initiation of fuel jettison activities (e.g. initiation via user interface with a back-up device), automated execution and termination of fuel jettison activities (e.g. automated termination via on-board processor-driven functionality), multiple generator paralleling activities (e.g. via user interface initiated activity), automated sequencing of generator sourcing for powering certain aircraft electrical buses (e.g. via on-board processor-driven functionality), automatic de-powering of certain aircraft equipment components under particular generator failure conditions (e.g. via on-board processor-driven functionality), and automatic reporting of equipment faults and out-of-limit conditions (e.g. via on-board processor-driven functionality). Numerous additional extensions and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the detailed description that follows. DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 is an elevated rear view of one embodiment of an aircraft cockpit comprising various aspects of the present invention.

Fig. 2 illustrates one embodiment of a display/control unit of the present invention having a mode selection menu presented thereon.

Fig. 3A illustrates one embodiment of a display/control unit of the present invention in a first mode with a phase-of-flight menu page presented thereon.

Figs. 3B, 3C, 3D, 3DD, 3E, 3EE, 3EEE, 3EE-1, 3EE-2, 3EE-3, 3F, 3G-1, 3G-2, 3H, 3HH, 31, 3J and 3K illustrate the display/control unit embodiment of Fig. 3 A with examples of various pages accessible from the menu page illustrated in Fig. 3 A.

Fig. 4A illustrates the display/control unit embodiment of Fig. 3A in a second mode with an aircraft operation subsystems menu page presented thereon.

Figs. 4B, 4C and 4D illustrate the display/control unit embodiment of Fig. 3A with examples of various pages accessible from the menu illustrated in Fig. 4A. Figs. 5 A-5D illustrate one embodiment of a display/control unit having example menu pages presented thereon, each of which include an example of an operator alert fault indication.

Fig. 6 is a process flow diagram illustrating various aspects of the present invention. Fig. 7 is a system schematic of one embodiment of the present invention.

Figs. 8-1, 8-2 and 8-3 illustrate one embodiment of a back-up display/control unit of the present invention.

Fig. 9 illustrates another embodiment of a back-up display/control unit of the present invention. Fig. 10 is a partial schematic of a back-up control system corresponding with the embodiment of Figs. 8-1, 8-2, 8-3 or Fig. 9. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention may be utilized to yield a variety of improved aircraft cockpit configurations. Fig. 1 illustrates one such configuration.

More particularly, the cockpit of Fig. 1 includes two pilot seats 10, 12, a forward display region 20, and an overhead display region 30. Three display units 40a, 40b and

40c are positioned between the pilot seats 10, 12, each of the display units being separately interconnected via multiple data buses 50 to a plurality of redundant digital interface units (DIUs) 60. The DIUs 60 comprise redundant processor/memory capabilities to provide the various preprogrammed functionalities comprising the present invention, including operation of the display units 40a, 40b and 40c, and monitoring/control interface with aircraft operation monitoring/control subsystems, and operation of a "Crew Alert System" (as will be further described). In the later regard, the

DIUs 60 may be interconnected via upper and lower relay interface units (RIUs) 70 to a plurality of aircraft operation monitoring/control subsystems corresponding with the following: aircraft air conditioning subsystem(s); aircraft auxiliary power delivery subsystem(s), (e.g. auxiliary power unit);

- aircraft doors; aircraft electrical delivery subsystem(s); - aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; aircraft engine operation subsystem(s);

- aircraft fuel delivery subsystem(s); aircraft hydraulic subsystem(s); - aircraft anti-ice subsystem(s); aircraft oxygen delivery subsystem(s); and aircraft pneumatic subsystem(s). Each of the monitoring/control subsystems may comprise one or more components for monitoring an operational parameter (e.g., temperature, pressure, quantity, voltages, frequencies, load, and state) and/or for establishing an operational state (e.g., on/off, open/closed, etc.). As will be further described, display units 40a, 40b and/or 40c may be utilized to display a plurality of different screen pages comprising predetermined information sets corresponding with each of the aircraft operation monitoring subsystems and, in certain instances, to provide control signals to one or more of such subsystems. Additionally, display units 40a, 40b and/or 40c may be utilized to display predetermined information sets comprising information pertaining to: a particular phase-of-flight, and specifically including information corresponding with one and/or a plurality of the above-identified aircraft operation subsystems; - aircraft position navigation; aircraft maintenance; aircraft performance functions; emergency conditions; external communications from/to the aircraft; - flight-related reference libraries; crew address reporting functions; and crew alerting cues to out-of-limit conditions of the above mentioned aircraft monitoring subsystems (e.g., pneumatic, fuel, hydraulic subsystems).

More particularly, and as illustrated in Fig. 2, exemplary display device 40a includes an electronic display portion 42a comprising a number of display lines or rows of LEDs that may be selectively illuminated under the preprogrammed control of DIUs

60 to display alphanumeric information. The display portion 42a may be configured so as to define a screen page title portion 44a, a primary flight information portion 44b therebelow, and a secondary flight information portion 44c therebelow (i.e., corresponding with the area identified as "Scratch Pad"). The primary information portion 44b of the display device 40a may be electronically configured as shown in Fig.

2 to include twelve (12) subportions 44bM2 arranged in two columns of six (6) subportions each. In this regard, display device 40a is further provided with a plurality of user interface push-buttons 46LW and 46RM. Each of the user interface push-buttons 461-1.6 and 46Rj.6, called "line select keys," are positioned adjacent to a display line, e.g., one of the subportions 44bM2 to allow for user line select options. The display device 40a may further comprise a user input keypad 42b to allow a user to navigate through screen pages displayable on display portion 42a (e.g. via depression of the MENU button 48a, PREV button 48b, or NEXT button 48c), and to input alphanumeric information (e.g. via interface with primary information portion 44b and/or the other buttons provided on keypad 42b).

With further reference to Fig. 2, it can be seen that the display subportions 44bj.12 and user interface keys 46Lj.6 and 46R,_6 are provided to facilitate menu-driven operation by an operator so as to allow for selective access to information sets corresponding with a wide variety of menu items. In this regard, and as will be further discussed, the display unit 40a is operable to display an indicator arrow (i.e., "<") within portions 44b 2 when a given menu or display page includes items preprogrammed for operator selection/control input (e.g. to reach another screen page, to initiate an aircraft equipment control action, etc.). Further, different predetermined display colors may be utilized in displaying alphanumeric information in display portion 42a to indicate a particular attribute corresponding with the given information displayed (e.g., to indicate state or corresponding action of equipment (e.g., green display indicates that action has been selected and that equipment is active; white display indicates that action has not been selected and equipment is inactive)).

More particularly, Fig. 2 illustrates a "MAIN MENU" page that identifies and allows for the separate selection of one of the following seven (7) different modes of operation:

OPS: The OPS mode provides for the display of selected sets of aircraft operation subsystem information, each information set being dependent upon an aircraft's phase-of-flight. In the event an operator selects the OPS mode, via depression of key 46L,, the display unit 40a will display an OPS MENU page as per Fig. 3A. As will be further discussed, the various phase-of-flight menu selections provided in the OPS MENU of Fig. 3 A may then be selected by a user for display of a predetermined information set and/or selective control/automated function selection. SYS: The SYS mode provides for the display of information sets corresponding with each of a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems. In the present embodiment, upon selection of the SYS mode, via depression of key 46L2 display unit 40a will display a SYSTEMS MENU page as per Fig. 4A. As will be further discussed, the SYSTEMS MENU page allows a user to select a specific aircraft operation subsystem with respect to which the operator desires a display of a predetermined information set and/or control over a selected function or the state of selected equipment comprising a given subsystem.

GPS/FMS: The GPS/FMS mode provides for the display of one or more information sets useful in the navigation of an aircraft (e.g., the location of an aircraft as determined by signal interface with a global positioning satellite system). More particularly, upon selection of the GPS/FMS mode via depression of 46L3, display unit 40a may display a GPS (Global Positioning System) Menu. The GPS Menu page that allows a user to select specific aircraft navigation and/or position information and/or corresponding with respect to which the operator desires a display of a predetermined information set and/or control over a selected function (e.g., relating to way points, headings, routings, re-routings, satellite designation, IRS navigation cross checks, and ground station navigation update information).

ACARS: The ACARS mode provides for the display of one or more information sets for automated crew addressing and reporting. More particularly, upon depression of the key 46L4, the display unit 40a will display an ACARS

Menu page that allows a user to select data modes with respect to which the operator desires a display of a predetermined information set and/or control over a selected function (e.g., for input/output and transmission of information pertaining to estimated aircraft arrival and departure times, engine data, and updated weather conditions (e.g., at destination or terminal).

PDCS: The PDCS mode provides for the display of aircraft performance data. More particularly, upon depression of the key 46L5, the display unit 40a will display a PDCS Menu page that allows a user to select data modes with respect to which the operator desires a display of a predetermined information set and/or control over a selected function (e.g., for engine thrust and speed settings for takeoff, climb, cruise and go-around modes of flight, for display of holding airspeeds and long range cruise (LRC) speed, and for thrust settings to achieve particular holding and cruise flight airspeed profiles). Additionally, the PDCS Menu page will allow a user to determine optimum top-of-descent points relative to altitude, destination elevation, and fuel burn considerations. MALNT: The MATNT mode provides for provides for the display of one or more information sets for ground maintenance operation. More particularly, upon depression of key 46R,;, the display unit 40a will display a Maintenance Menu page that allows a user to select various data modes with respect to which the operator desires a display of a predetermined information set and/or control over a selected function (e.g., for use by ground maintenance personnel to conduct subsystem confidence checks, systems pre-flights, engine starts and shutdowns, and after start reconfiguration of equipment for aircraft ground taxi operation).

EMER: The EMER mode provides for the display of one or more information sets for use in executing emergency flight procedures. More particularly, upon depression of the key 46Rg, the display unit 40a will display an EMER Menu that allows a user to select display of pages which contain specific control and indicator data for executing procedures (e.g., including procedure in event of engine 1-2-3 fail or fire, loss of all generators, loss of A or B hydraulic systems, rapid decompression, electrical fire smoke source unknown, cargo bay smoke or fire, loss of FDMS, and air conditioning system smoke). Returning now to Fig. 3 A, it can be seen that a number of phase-of-flight driven menus are accessible therefrom. More particularly, the OPS MENU provides access to each of the following menus: IDENT: Selection of the IDENT menu item on the OPS menu of Fig. 3A, via depression of key 46Ll3 provides access to a screen page (e.g. IDENT PAGE) that sets forth a predetermined set of identifying information corresponding with the particular aircraft of implementation. More particularly, and as illustrated in FIG. 3B, the IDENT PAGE may be configured to identify the customer (e.g., owner or operator) associated with the aircraft, the model or type of aircraft, the version of the current software utilized in DIUs 60, and the type of engine(s) utilized in the aircraft. As will be appreciated, the specific information sets and control functionalities provided by display units 40a-40c may be tailored on an aircraft-type-specific basis. A user may directly proceed, or link-up to a PREFLIGHT page screen (as described below) via depression of line key 46R12. INITIAL SETUP: Selection of the INITIAL SETUP item on the OPS menu of Fig. 3A, via depression of key 46L2, provides access to a screen page (i.e., INITIAL SETUP) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with one or more of the above-noted aircraft operation monitoring subsystems, such information set being that which is of predetermined interest during the initial setup phase of flight (e.g., as determined by regulation or established procedure). More particularly, and as illustrated in FIG. 3C, the INITIAL SETUP page may include information as to the "state" (e.g. on/off, open/closed, etc.) of a number of different aircraft components and information as to a monitored parameter of a screen component (e.g. psi pressure). Further, the INITIAL SETUP page allows for actual user control over the state of various aircraft equipment components. That is, for example, the HYD B PUMP 1 (hydraulic subsystem B pump no. 1) and HYD B PUMP 2 (hydraulic subsystem B pump no. 2) may be selectively turned on/off via depression of key 46L6 and/or key 46Re, respectively. In this regard, it should also be noted that display portion 42a may provide a "CLEARANCE REQUIRED" reminder in corresponding line relation to the noted hydraulic pump control options. Such a reminder may be programmed for display when a predetermined control option for given component is displayed. Further, a user may selectively proceed directly to the successive phase-of-flight menu page after INITIAL SETUP, i.e., for PREFLIGHT, via the depression of line key 46R,;.

PREFLIGHT: Selection of the PREFLIGHT menu item (i.e., from the OPS MENU of Fig. 3A or from the INITIAL SETUP page of Fig. 3C) provides access to a page (i.e., PREFLIGHT) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with one or more of the above-noted aircraft operation monitoring subsystems, such information set being that which is of predetermined interest during the preflight phase-of-flight (e.g., as determined by regulation or established procedure). Further, and as can be seen in Fig. 3D, the PREFLIGHT page allows for selective user initiation of an automated procedure for a preflight equipment check/configuration. That is, by depression of line select key 46Ll5 adjacent to <PREFLIGHT CHECK an automated procedure may be completed pursuant to which a configuration confirmation as per Fig. 3DD may be provided.

As noted, the desired configuration may be directed to the electric, fuel delivery, hydraulic and pneumatic operating subsystems. Upon enunciation of the aircraft subsystem configuration, the PREFLIGHT screen page shown in Fig. 3DD also provides a user prompt for selectively initiating pre-flight check of the performance of the engine anti-ice subsystem and the wing anti-ice subsystem

(e.g., whereby for a B-727 application, ten (10) bleed air anti-ice valves are controlled and two (2) wing anti-ice valves are exercised), via depression of key 46L5. Depression of key 46L6 adjacent to <CANCEL provides for cancellation of the automated preflight configuration procedure. Additionally, the PREFLIGHT page of Fig. 3D or Fig. 3DD allows the user to directly access, via depression of key 46Rg a PERFORMANCE page for review/selective modification of variable information pertaining to the load of a given aircraft (e.g., total weight to be carried, weight balance information, carried fuel amount information, aircraft gross weight, fuel on board, aircraft zero fuel weight, and outside air temperature), as will be further discussed.

BEFORE START: Selection of the BEFORE START menu item (e.g. from the OPS MENU of Fig. 3 A or from the PREFLIGHT page (not shown in Fig. 3D, 3DD)) provides access to a screen page (i.e., BEFORE START) that allows for selective user initiation of an automated procedure for an additional equipment check/configuration. That is, by depression of line select key 46L1? adjacent to <BEFORE START, an automated procedure may be completed pursuant to which a predetermined set of equipment comprising one or more of the above-noted aircraft operation subsystems is confirmed/configured to be in a predetermined operational state (e.g., on or off, open or closed, etc.). The predetermined equipment set comprises equipment that is of particular interest during the BEFORE START phase-of-flight (e.g., as determined by regulation or established procedure). Pursuant to initiation of the automated procedure, a predetermined set of information reflecting the state of the predetermined equipment set may be displayed and may be updated as the configuration process is completed, as shown by the exemplary screen of Fig. 3EE. Depression of key 46L6 adjacent to <CANCEL, as shown in Fig. 3E and 3EE, provides for cancellation of the automated BEFORE START configuration procedure. With further reference to Fig. 3EE, it can be seen that when the automated configuration procedure is completed, the state of all of the preselected set of aircraft equipment will be indicated. Additionally, the state of the engine anti-ice subsystem(s), corresponding with "ALL ENG Al", may be selectively controlled

(e.g., via depression of key 46L5). As will be appreciated, in use the BEFORE START configuration enunciation provided by Fig. 3EE may be utilized by a pilot/copilot to ensure that the aircraft is in condition for main engine start. When the BEFORE START auto-configuration procedure is completed, the display unit 40a will display a MONITOR selection item adjacent to key 46Rg. A user may then selectively depress key 46R6 to cause display unit 40a to display a MONITOR page screen in conjunction with the main engine start procedures. In this regard, engine start procedures typically entail manual activation of a separate switches via a procedure established by applicable regulation or policy. MONITOR: As shown in Fig. 3EEE, the MONITOR page screen displays a predetermined set of information corresponding with equipment comprising one or more of the noted aircraft operation subsystems, such information set comprising information which is predetermined interest during an engine start sequence (e.g. as determined by regulation or established procedure). Such information set may comprise the operational state of selected equipment (e.g. open/closed, active/inactive, etc.) and information regarding a measured parameter of selected equipment (e.g. pressure, temperature, etc.). For example, in the MONITOR page screen shown in Fig. 3EEE, the operational state of each engine air intake start valve is displayed (e.g. START VALVE 1 is indicated as being open, START VALVE 2 is indicated as being closed, and START VALVE

3 is indicated as being closed). Correspondingly, the oil pressure for each engine is illustrated in columnar relation to the corresponding valve state. Additionally, the state of one or more hydraulic pumps comprising an aircraft hydraulic subsystem may be indicated (e.g. HYD system pump Al and pump A2 may be reflected as being active/inactive by virtue of the color and/or boldness of the Al and A2 displays (e.g. Al is green to indicate active and A2 is white to indicate inactive). Further, the overall pressure of the hydraulic system may be corresponding shown (e.g. 300 psi in Fig. 3EEE). Of additional note, the MONITOR page screen may provide a visual indication of the generator source being employed to power the various essential aircraft subsystems (e.g. via a main bus) at any given point in time during an engine start sequence. For example, during a normal three-engine start procedure, an auxiliary power unit (APU) generator (e.g. located in the cargo area of the aircraft) may be utilized to initiate power-up of the various essential subsystems (e.g. pneumatic, hydraulic, electric, etc.). At a predetermined point in the start-up of a first aircraft engine (e.g. at a predetermined power output level or a predetermined actual power-to-maximum rated power level), control software embodied at DIUs 60 may automatically trigger a power delivery wherein the generator corresponding with the first engine takes over the responsibility for supply of power to the essential aircraft operating subsystems from the APU generator. At this point, the display line which indicates APU on Fig. 3EE will automatically change to GENl . Similarly, when the engine start procedure for a second aircraft engine reaches a predetermined point, the control software may trigger a further power delivery transfer, wherein the generator corresponding with the second engine may automatically assume responsibility for power supply from GENl . At such point, the noted display line would change from GENl to GEN 2. The same sequence would occur upon start-up of the third aircraft engine. As will be appreciated, the information set provided by the MONITOR screen page comprises that which is of primary interest for aircraft personnel to confirm that the necessary aircraft operation functionality has been achieved for flight preparation. As shown on the MONITOR page in Fig. 3EEE, a user may selectively return to the OPS menu of

Fig. 3A, which is an alternate embodiment may be named NORMALS, via depression line key 46L6. A user may also selectively directly access, via depression of key 46Rg, an AFTER START page.

More particularly, upon accessing the "AFTER START" page, and as illustrated in Fig. 3EE-1, the user may selectively initiate an automated equipment configuration procedure via depression of line select key 46L,, adjacent to

<AFTER START. Again, this procedure may be canceled via depression of key 46Lj adjacent to <CANCEL. The AFTER START display page of Fig. 3EE-1 also provides a user with selective state control over engine anti-ice subsystems, e.g., via depression of key 46L5 ENG ANTI ICE. Upon activation of the automated check/configuration procedure noted above, the AFTER START page may be presented as shown in Fig. 3EE-2. As illustrated, the display page of Fig. 3EE-2 enunciates the configuration completion and identifies the state of the relevant, corresponding equipment interest. The display page also provides for selective user control over each of the engine anti-ice subsystem(s), namely in the illustrated example, the user may turn on/off the #1, #2 and #3 subsystems via depression of select key 46L5. The AFTER START display page shown in Fig. 3EE-2 further provides a user with selective direct access to the TAXI page phase-of-flight via depression of key 46R,;. An alternate embodiment of the AFTER START screen page is shown in Fig 3EE-4. In addition to the functions of the Fig. 3EE-1 embodiment, the Fig. 3EE-4 embodiment also provides for direct phase-of-flight page via line keys 46R5, respectively.

In the event that certain equipment (e.g., anti-ice subsystems) has not been activated as required (i.e., per policy or regulation) in order for a pilot/copilot to proceed in a phase-of-flight progression, a further AFTER START display page may be provided, as illustrated in Fig. 3EE-3. In Fig. 3EE-3, the display indicates that the "required" AFTER START configuration is incomplete and identifies the incomplete aspect in region 44c of the display unit 40a (i.e., " #3 Al DISAGREE"). While not shown in the embodiment of Fig. 3A, it should be noted that in an alternate embodiment, the "AFTER START" sequence of pages may be directly accessed via inclusion of an "AFTER START" menu item in the

OPS Menu displayed in Fig. 3A. TAXI: Selection of the TAXI menu item on the OPS MENU of Fig. 3A, via depression of key 46L5 or from the AFTER START page, provides access to a screen page (i.e., TAXI) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with monitored equipment comprising one or more of the above- noted aircraft operation subsystems, such information set being that which is of predetermined interest during the taxi phase-of-flight (e.g., as determined by regulation or established procedure). As can be seen in Fig. 3F, the TAXI page allows for selective user control over the state of one or more anti-ice system(s) corresponding with each of one or more aircraft engines (e.g. three anti-ice systems) via depression of line select key 46L5. Additionally, a user may selectively proceed to the PERFORMANCE page via depression of key 46Rg, as will be subsequently described, or to successive phase-of-flight page, i.e., TAKEOFF, via depression of key 461^.

TAKEOFF: Selection of the TAKEOFF menu item (e.g. from the OPS (or NORMALS) menu of Fig. 3 or directly from the TAXI page of Fig. 3F) provides access to a page screen (i.e., TAKEOFF) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with monitored equipment/parameters comprising one or more of the above-noted aircraft operating subsystems, such information set being that which is of predetermined interest during the TAKEOFF phase (e.g. as determined by regulation or established procedure).

Further, and as can be seen in Fig. 3G-1, the TAKEOFF page allows for selective user control over the state of selected aircraft equipment. In particular, line select key 46L2, immediately adjacent to <ENG Al, provides a user with selective control over the state of the anti-ice subsystems corresponding with three different aircraft engines. The line select key 46Lt allows a user to view the EPR mode setting (e.g. normal take-off mode or reduced thrust mode) for each of the three engines. Such mode setting can be established via the PERFORMANCE page described below. Additionally, line select key 46L3, adjacent to ARM, allows a user to initiate automatic configuration of various predetermined equipment. Line select key 46L4, adjacent to AUTO FUEL BAL, allows a user to automatically achieve fuel balancing. Line select button 46L5, adjacent to GND, allows a user to activate/deactivate the switches corresponding with one or more oil coolers. As will be appreciated, the state of the above-noted equipment is of particular interest to aircraft personnel immediately prior to takeoff. Of further note, the TAKE-OFF SCREEN shown in Figs. 3G-1 may be provided for interface with DIUs 60 so that, at a predetermined point during takeoff procedures, the display item TAXI> adjacent to line select key 46R6, will automatically change to a display item FLIGHT>. More particularly, DIUs 60 may interface with aircraft landing assembly and aircraft altimeter componentry to determine when an aircraft is sufficiently airborne to provide the FLIGHT page screen option (e.g. when sensors detect weight release from the landing assembly wheels and when the altimeter indicates an aircraft is at a predetermined altitude). As will be appreciated, in the event a successful take-off is not accomplished, a user may directly reaccess the TAXI screen of Fig. 3F via depression of line select key 46^. FLIGHT: Selection of the FLIGHT menu item (e.g. from the OPS MENU of Fig. 3 A or directly from the TAKEOFF page of Fig. 3G-1) provides access to a page (i.e., FLIGHT) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with aircraft equipment monitored one or more of the above-noted aircraft monitoring systems, such information set being that which is of predetermined interest during the flight phase (e.g., as determined by regulation or established procedure). Further, and as can be seen in Fig. 3G-2, the FLIGHT page allows for selective user control over the state of selected aircraft componentry. Information and equipment control options as set forth in the FLIGHT page shown in Fig. 3G-2 may be varied/updated in the course of a flight in corresponding relation to the stage of flight (e.g., selective control over engine anti-ice subsystems 1, 2, or 3, via corresponding depression of keys 46L2, 46L3, or 46L4; selective control over wing anti-ice subsystem via depression of key 46R2; and selective control over the left air conditioning pack via depression of key 46L5) and the right air conditioning pack via depression of key 46Rs. Additionally, a user may selectively proceed to the successive phase-of-flight pages (i.e., PARKING) via depression of key 46Rj. PARKING: Selection of the PARKING menu item from the OPS MENU of Fig. 3A or from the FLIGHT page, provides access to a screen page (i.e., PARKING) that sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with one or more of the above-noted aircraft monitoring subsystems, such information set being that which is of pre-determined interest during the parking phase of flight as determined by regulation or established procedure. As illustrated in Fig. 3H, the PARKING page allows for the selective initiation of an automated procedure to reconfigure a predetermined set of equipment via depression of key 46Lj. Fig 3HH illustrates the display page enunciating completion of the automated procedure. Additionally, the PARKING page of Fig. 3HH provides direct access to the successive phase-of-flight page, i.e., TERMINATION via key 46R6.

TERMINATION : Selection of the TERMINATION menu item from the OPS Menu of Fig. 3H or from the PARKING page provides access to a page (i.e., TERMINATION) which sets forth a predetermined set of information corresponding with one or more of the above-noted aircraft monitoring systems, such information being that which is of predetermined interest during the termination phase of flight (i.e., complete de-powering of the aircraft for a prolonged period), as determined by regulation or established procedure. As can be seen in Fig. 31, the TERMINATION page allows for selective user control over the state of selected aircraft componentry.

PERFORMANCE: Selection of the PERFORMANCE menu item on the OPS MENU of Fig. 3 A via depression of key 46Rs, or as otherwise provided for on the various screen pages noted above, may be utilized to access a predetermined set of information corresponding with a particular flight. More particularly, and as shown in Fig. 31, the PERFORMANCE page may include information directed to the display of aircraft gross weight information, aircraft zero fuel weight information and variable zero fuel weight information, outside air temperature information, and total fuel on board information. Additionally, a user may interface via the PERFORMANCE page to selectively establish one or more fuel jettison settings to be employed in the event that fuel jettison is initiated (e.g. using a back-up device (ECIS) as described hereinbelow), including jettison termination quantities (e.g. user selected remaining fuel quantity at which fuel jettisoning may automatically terminate via software control by DIUs 60). The PERFORMANCE page may also display the time to complete jettison of a predetermined amount of fuel in thousand pound increments. The information input and aircraft component configuration options provided may be selectively established by a user via use of the line select keys and/or keypad 42b.

FAULTS: Selection of the FAULTS menu item on the OPS MENU of Fig. 3 A, via depression of key 46R;, provides access to a page (i.e., FAULTS) that sets forth any and all faults that may be detected by DIUs 60 in the course of operation of an aircraft. Fig. 3K illustrates a sample FAULT page. In the example shown, the FAULT page indicates that hydraulic system pump number 1 is operating out of a predetermined pressure range. Further information regarding the hydraulic problem can be directly accessed via depression of key 46R„.

Generally, it should be noted that the DIUs 60 of the present invention are preprogrammed to interface with the various monitoring systems to monitor, on an ongoing basis, various aspects of the aircraft operation subsystems, as noted hereinabove. Additionally, DIUs 60 may provide for subsystem equipment control pursuant to inputs at display units 40a, 40b, and 40c. Further, DIUs 60 may be provided to control the various automated procedures otherwise disclosed herein.

When selected monitored parameters from the aircraft operation subsystems exceed a predetermined acceptable range, the DIUs 60 will send fault messages to the display units 40a, 40b and 40c. The fault-related information that has been detected will in turn be displayed on the FAULTS page. Additionally, when a fault is detected, the

DIUs 60 will send a message to the display units 40a, 40b and 40c for display of a prioritized fault in the secondary display portion 44c of the display devices. Further, upon the detection of a fault condition, the DIUs 60 will cause other elements within the Crew Alerting System to be activated, as will be further discussed. As indicated above, the MAIN MENU illustrated in Fig. 2 also provides for, via depression of key 46L2 corresponding with <SYS, a SYSTEMS menu listing page as illustrated in Fig. 4A. More particularly, the SYSTEMS menu provides for selective user access to one or more sets of screen pages corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems. Each of the SYS pages display a predetermined information set regarding the state of equipment comprising or a monitored parameter corresponding with the given aircraft operating subsystem. Additionally, one or more of the SYS pages may provide a user with selective control over the state of certain predetermined equipment comprising the corresponding aircraft operating subsystem and/or the selective capability to initiate an automated equipment set reconfiguration or other activity (e.g. an automated activity to be controlled via preprogrammed instruction sets at DIUs 60). The various control functionalities provided by the various SYS pages may encompass the various subsystem control functionalities described hereinbelow in relation to back-up device systems (ECIS). The SYS pages include the following:

ELEC: The ELEC menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig. 4A will, upon depression of key 46L,, provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding an aircraft's electrical subsystem, including in particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. For example, and as illustrated in Fig. 4B, a page entitled AC GEN#1 may be provided which sets forth information regarding the state of a number of electrical subsystem components in a first column and measured parameters of interest in a second column. Of note, it can be seen that the AC GEN#1 page of Fig. 4B allows the user to selectively change the state of the electrical subsystem components noted in the first column. Further, such page allows a user to directly access additional pages within the ELEC family of pages via depression of key 46Rj or 46Rg corresponding with ESS PER and DC-STDBY, respectively. Further, it should be noted that within each family of pages accessible by the

SYSTEMS MENU of Fig. 4A, the previous or next page appearing in a given family may be directly accessed at any time via use of the PREV key 48b on user keypad 42b or the NEXT key 48c on user keypad 42b, respectively.

ENG: The ENG menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig. 4A will, upon depression of key 46L2, provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding aircraft engine(s) operation, including in particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. By way of primary example, such page(s) display information regarding monitored oil pressures, oil temperatures, and oil quantities, as well as indications of the state of the start valves for each engine. Further, and in addition to these indicated parameters and states, the page allows a user to view information regarding the out-of-limit conditions of each oil system parameter for each engine as has been predetermined by regulation and engine manufacturer published limitation.

FUEL: The FUEL menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig.4A will, upon depression of key 46L3, provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding an aircraft's fuel subsystem, including particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. For example, and as illustrated in Fig. 4C, a page entitled "FUEL1&3" may be provided which sets forth information regarding the state of a number of fuel subsystem components in a first column and measured parameters of interest in a second column. Of note, it can be seen that the FUEL 1&3 page of Fig. 4C allows a user to selectively change the state of the fuel system components noted (e.g. to open/close various cross-feed valves and to turn on/off various fuel feed pumps for fuel delivery to the aircraft engine(s)). Further, it should be noted that an automated fuel balancing procedure may be initiated via user interface with line key 46L3, wherein upon initiation DIUs 60 may control the balancing of fuel between the various fuel tanks/systems per preprogrammed instructions. Again, it is also noted that within the FUEL family of pages, the previous or next page in the family may be directly accessed at any time via use of the PREV key 48b on user keypad 42b or the NEXT key 48c on user keypad 42b, respectively. HYD: The HYD menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig.4A will, upon depression of key 46L4, provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding an aircraft's hydraulic subsystem, including particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. For example, and as illustrated in Fig. 4D, a page entitled "HYDRAULIC A" may be provided which sets forth information regarding the state of a number of hydraulic subsystem components in a first column and measured parameters of interest in a second column. Of note, it can be seen that the HYDRAULIC A page of Fig. 4D allows the user to selectively change the state of the hydraulic subsystem components noted in the first column. Further, such page allows a user to directly access additional pages within the HYD family of pages via depression of key 46R6 corresponding with "SYS B&STDBY."

ICE: The ICE menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig.4A will, upon depression of key 46L5, provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding aircraft engine anti-ice and wing anti-ice subsystems. More particularly, the ICE Menu page may permit a user to selectively control (e.g., via depression of a corresponding line select key) anti-ice valves which are part of an engine anti-ice system (e.g., for engines 1, 2, and 3, respectively, in a B-727 application). Further, the ICE Menu page will permit the operator to selectively control (e.g., via depression of a corresponding line select key) both left and right wing anti-ice valves. In addition, the Ice Menu page allows the user to identify if any or all valves selectively controlled by the above-identified key actions have reached their selected operating states, and report faulted states to the Crew Alerting System to be further discussed. Further, the ICE Menu page will allow the user to display (e.g., via depression of a corresponding line select key) a control page (e.g., entitled PROBE/WINDOW) which is provided to selectively control and display the electrical circuits for a probe heat system and for a window heat system. The PROBE/WINDOW aircraft subsystem monitoring page allows the user, via depression of corresponding line select keys, to selectively control one or a plurality of left window heat circuits and to selectively control the right window heat circuits, respectively. In addition, and on the same page, the user may selectively view the ammeter current indications for the probe heat functions including e.g., left pilot heat, right pilot heat, aux pilot heat, left static port heat, right static port heat, aux static heat, left and right elevator probe heat, and true airspeed probe heat. Additionally, the page provides the user particular information regarding the on or off states of each of the above named circuits through the color text and aural tone cues furnished via the "Crew

Alerting System." PNEU: The PNEU menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig.4A will, upon depression of key 46R1? provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding aircraft pneumatic subsystems, including particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. The PNEU Menu page may provide a user access to two individual aircraft subsystems monitoring pages. For example, on one page a user may access controls and indicator information for the left air conditioning pack, engine pneumatic bleed valves, the cargo heat outflow valve, and the left and right pack cooling doors control and position indicators. On another page, a user may access particular controls and indicator information for the right air conditioning pack, the pneumatic engine bleed valves, the cargo heat outflow valve, and the left and right pack cooling doors controls and position indicators. In addition, both individual control pages may provide the user particular fault information for the pack and bleed controls contained on each page, including the Crew Alert System cues of color text messages, FAULT page cues, amber Caution glareshield lights, and aural caution tones as predetermined by regulation and aircraft manufacturer limitations.

MISC: The MISC menu item of the SYSTEMS MENU of Fig.4A will, upon depression of key 44b, , provide a user with access to a family of pages setting forth information regarding aircraft miscellaneous subsystems, including particular information pertaining to a monitored parameter and/or state. The MISC page, when made visible by depression of key 46R2 on Figure 4A, allows the user to access a page entitled MISC. The MISC page can allow a user access to preselected controls and indicators, including, for example, tail skid up or down position information, elevator differential pressure information, equipment cooling information, strut overheat information, and lower aft body section overheat information. Further, faulted conditions for these indicators are available to the user through the Crew Alerting System and the Crew Alerting System cues presented to the user if faulted conditions as defined by regulation and aircraft manufacturer limitations are sensed. As previously noted, in conjunction with the FAULTS menu listing item on the OPS menu of Fig. 3 A, the display units 40a, 40b and 40c may each be provided to display alert information as part of the Crew Alerting System when monitored aircraft operation subsystems are determined to be operating outside of a predetermined range of acceptability. More particularly in that regard, the display units 40a, 40b and 40c may provide a visual indication to a user that a fault has been detected regardless of what menu or page of information is currently being displayed on the display units 40a, 40b and 40c. In this regard, the secondary display portion 44c illustrated in Fig. 2 is utilized. By way of example, Figs. 5 A, 5B, 5C and 5D illustrate visual fault signals that may be provided. In Fig. 5 A, a FLIGHT phase-of-operation menu page corresponding with Fig. 3G-1 discussed hereinabove is illustrated with a fault message displayed in secondary flight information portion 44c. Of note, the fault message HYD A #1 LOW PRESS indicates the detection of a low pressure in a #1 pump of the hydraulic A system. In this regard, it should also be noted that Fig. 5A provides a user with an option to select HYD A SYS and directly proceed to the HYD A SYS page of the HYD page family. Fig.

5B illustrates the HYDRAULIC A page which can be directly accessed from the page illustrated in Fig. 5A. It should be noted that in Fig. 5B the particular monitored parameter of concern, i.e. the pressure for the #1 pump, may be displayed with a light shade or color that is different from the other information displayed on the HYDRAULIC A page. It should be further noted that a user prompt is included on the HYDRAULIC

A page to allow a user to proceed through a predetermined procedure to address the condition of concern via depression of key 46Rg i.e., to access the SYS B&STDBY page. More particularly, an HYD B & STBY page can be provided to allow a user to view monitored hydraulic B and standby subsystem parameters and to control the state of selected components, including selective control over hydraulic pumps and monitored parameters that provide pressure indications, system overheat indications, and system reservoir quantity indications. Further, fault conditions for these indicators are available to the user through the Crew Alerting System and the Crew Alerting System cues presented to the user if fault conditions, as defined by regulation and aircraft manufacturer limitations, are sensed. Fig. 5C illustrates another information page FUEL1&3 corresponding with one of the family of pages that may be otherwise accessed via the FUEL selection from the SYSTEMS MENU illustrated in Fig. 4A. As shown in Fig. 5C, a fault condition has been detected indicating a low pump pressure at the #1 tank forward boost pump. More particularly, this illustrates the general case for all fault recognition cues applicable to the entire body of data and information. When a fault is sensed, the display pages governing the subsystems monitoring and control as previously mentioned will contain an illuminated text section on the page governing the faulted item. Such illuminated text may be presented in a color or boldness different from the balance of alphanumeric characters presented on the display devices 40a, 40b, and 40c.

Fig. 5D illustrates an AC GEN #1 page comprising the ELE family of pages having a fault indication, i.e., AC GEN #1 GB TRIP. As indicated by Fig. 5D, a user may selectively control the state of the various equipment listed in column 1 and may further selectively proceed through a predetermined procedure to take responsive action to the detected fault via depression of keys 46R<; or 46Rg corresponding with the ESS

PER and DC-STDBY prompts.

In addition to the fault alert signals provided by the display units 40a, 40b and 40c discussed above, the Crew Alerting System in the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 1 may also comprises master light assemblies 80a and 80b positioned forwardly of the pilot and copilot seats 10 and 12. In this regard, each of the light assemblies 80a and 80b comprise lights which are illuminated when a fault is detected, and further include reset keys. Additionally, an aural indicator may also be positioned in the cockpit with a reset key to provide an audible tone upon the detection of a default. The lights of assembly 80a and 80b, and the aural tone activation may be controlled by DIUs 60 to continue until the reset keys are depressed, wherein a reset key is separately depressed for each different detected fault condition.

Referring now to Fig. 6, an overview of the operation of the of the above- described embodiment is provided. As illustrated, while the display units 40a, 40b and 40c are active, the DIUs 60 interface with the various aircraft operation subsystems to monitor the operations of various associated equipment. Such monitoring activity entails a comparison of monitored values sampled according to a predetermined schedule with corresponding values stored at the DIUs 60 which represent acceptable ranges of operation. When such comparison indicates that a particular piece of aircraft equipment is operating outside of the corresponding acceptability range, the DIUs 60 cause alert signals to be transmitted to various components of the Crew Alerting System. As noted, such components include the light assemblies 80a, 80b and an aural tone alert device, as well as signals to the display units 40a, 40b and 40c which result in the displayed messages in the secondary flight information portion, as well as inclusion on the FAULT page accessible from the OPS MENU of Fig. 3A. In response to a fault detection alert provided at the display units 40a, 40b, 40c, the DIUs 60 are further operable to present one or more display pages in a predetermined order (e.g., corresponding with the pages of the particular SYSTEMS MENU item to where the fault pertains), which allow a user to go through a predetermined trouble-shooting procedure to address the detected fault. Additionally, the FAULT page of Fig. 3K may be configured so that text messages appearing on the FAULT page may be removed from view, (e.g., via depression of a designated key) but stored in the memory of DIUs 60. Additionally, the FAULT page may be configured so that a user may cause faults sensed but removed from view to reappear on the FAULT page (e.g., via depression of a designated key), the purpose of which is to allow the user to review the condition of equipment monitored by the system prior to the continuation of a flight at such crucial times as prior to beginning a descent, approach, or landing maneuver.

As reflected by Fig. 6, while the aircraft equipment for the various aircraft operation subsystems is being monitored on an ongoing basis, the display units 40a, 40b and 40c may also be utilized as desired in one of a plurality of modes to provide specifically desired information sets. In this regard, each of the display units maybe selectively controlled by aircraft personnel to display different ones of the above-noted screen pages, in different modes, etc. For an OPS mode selection, the display units may display an OPS MENU which provides for information sets based on a phase-of-flight. In this regard, for a selected operation phase the display devices 40a, 40b and 40c may display one or more of a monitored data set, an equipment state with control selection options, an automated equipment check/configuration selection option and may further provide for successive phase-of-operation page selections. For a SYS mode selection from the MAIN MENU of Fig. 2, a user may selectively display information sets corresponding with the various aircraft operation subsystems. For a selected subsystem, the display units 40a, 40b and 40c may be utilized to display information sets corresponding with the particular subsystem and may further provide for display of/control over the state of predetermined equipment within the sets.

For other mode selections provided via the MAIN MENU display corresponding with Fig. 2, additional corresponding sets of information may be provided. Additionally, and in reference to Fig. 3 A, via depression of key 46R4, a user may view the operational page entitled PERFORMANCE, as can be seen in Fig.3J. When the PERFORMANCE page is displayed, operation of keypad 42b allows the user to register data on scratch pad area 44c (Fig. 2). Via depression of key 46L, on Fig. 3 J, a user may reposition previously entered scratch pad data on the display and retain the date in DIUs 60 unit memory. Additionally, data may be similarly entered via scratch pad 44c and keypad 42b via depression of key 46L4. Via depression of key 46L6, as user may erase scratch pad data prior to entering the data in the system. The erase feature is provided to allow a user to alter data entered in the scratch pad 44c in error. In this regard, and in further reference to Fig. 3J, when a user enters new data via depression of key 46L,, new aircraft gross weight will be calculated and displayed on Fig. 3J.

In one particular arrangement, the present invention may be employed to reconfigure the cockpit of a BOEING 727 aircraft (B-727). More particularly, in such aircraft the area where the DIUs 60 and RIUs 70 are located in Fig. 1 has been previously utilized to accommodate a variety of aircraft operation subsystem outputs/controls which were monitored/operated by a flight engineer. As illustrated in Fig. 1, such various aircraft operation subsystem outputs/controls may be removed to accommodate the positioning of the DIUs 60 and RIUs 70 illustrated in Fig. 1. More particularly, such prior outputs/controls may be taken under control of the DIUs 60 and display units 40a, 40b, and 40c of the present invention, or may be relocated to the overhead region 30 in the cockpit. For example, relocated outputs/controls may include the following: auto pack trip control and armed indicator light, left and right pack temperature controls and indicators, cabin altitude horn reset switch, a barometric set knob and indicator, aft cabin zone temperature control, passenger oxygen control and deployed indicator, cabin pressure controller, auxiliary power unit fire shutdown handle and auxiliary power unit bottle extinguisher discharge key, leading edge device indicator chevron, alternate trim motor control, GPWS, instrument switching module, aircraft battery switch and circuit breakers including TR1, TR2, ESS TR, GPWS, and left and right pack fan control circuit breakers. As may be appreciated, in locating one or more of the noted controls to region

30, the orientation of the corresponding user interface/control devices will need to be reversed to match the orientation of the other devices in region 30.

With respect to the various aircraft outputs/controls effected by the present invention, and referring now to Fig. 1, it can be seen that the upper and lower RIUs 70u and 701 can be disposed for ready access via fold-down covers and a plurality of fold- down panels that facilitate servicing of the various components comprising the RIUs 70u and 70£. The RIUs 70u and 70£ are also positioned for convenient analog signal interface with various aircraft operation monitoring/control subsystems and other flight information subsystems. In this regard, and referring now to Fig. 7, it can be seen that RIUs 70u and 70ϋ each provide analog signals (i.e., via interface with the aircraft monitoring/control and other flight information subsystems) to DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c. DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c concurrently supply digital control signals to display units 40a, 40b, and 40c, respectively. Additionally, DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c supply control signals to the Crew Alerting System components 80a and 80b. Data is transmitted bidirectionally between DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c, and alert units 80a and 80b. Battery and battery charger units 83b and 83a are provided to supply backup power to DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c, alert units 80a and 80b, display units 40a, 40b, and 40c and ECIS units 100 (described below).

As can be seen in Figs. 1 and 7, DIUs 60a, 60b, and 60c can be housed in cabinets, conveniently positioned below the RIUs 70u, 701, and separately comprise analog-to-digital converters 66a, 66b, and 66c, data processors 62a, 62b, and 62c, digital- to-analog converters 68a, 68b, and 68c, and memory units 64a, 64b, 64c. The DIUs 60a, 64b, 64c are operationally configured to provide triple redundancy. As will be appreciated, the processor 62a, 62b, 62c and memory 64a, 64b, 64c components are preprogrammed and otherwise selected to support the various invention functionalities discussed hereinabove, and may, for example, comprise Intel 486 processors and interconnected memory chips mounted to computer cards housed in the cabinet for DIUs 60a, 60b, 60c.

With respect to the present invention, the described embodiment may further comprise a Secondary Operating System (SOS) which is comprised of an Emergency Control Indicator System (ECIS) 100 to provide a user a back-up or alternate means of controlling certain aircraft functions determined by regulation or policy to be flight critical in nature. More particularly, when the three display units (60a, 60b, 60c) are or any reason depowered or otherwise not operational, the ECIS unit permits an operator to control certain flight critical functions and monitor certain flight critical indicators. Fig. 8 illustrates one embodiment of an ECIS unit 100 that may be positioned in the overhead area 30 of a cockpit. The ECIS unit 100 may include ECIS control functions 101, a fuel management panel 102, a hydraulics management panel 103, an electrical management panel 105, and a pneumatics management panel 108. The various control functionalities described below in relation to fuel management panel 102, hydraulics management panel 103, electrical management panel 105 and pneumatics management panel 108 are redundant with like control functionalities that may be provided via display units 60a, 60b, 60c via page displays accessible from the "SYSTEMS MENU" of Fig. 4A described below, including in particular the pages corresponding with the "<FUEL" item (line key 46L3, "<HYD" item (line key 46L4), "<ELEC" item (line key 46Lj), and "PNEU>" item (line key 46Rj), respectively, shown in Fig. 4A.

The ECIS control function 101 provides a means of enabling controls resident in the ECIS subpanels 102, 103, 105, and 108, and comprises two ECIS override switches 101a, 101b, a lamps test button 101c which illuminates ECIS controls and indicators when pushed, and a "bright dim" switch control lOld which governs the illumination intensity of ECIS 100 controls and indicators. Control functions on ECIS panels 102, 103, 105 and 108 are generally functional only when ECIS controls switches 101a or 101b are depressed (selected). Indicator functions resident on ECIS panels 102, 103, 105, and 108 may be continuously functional and display parameter data and state information as long as the ECIS 100 unit is powered. The fuel management panel 102 shown in Fig. 8-1 provides an alternate means of managing the fuel delivery subsystem for fuel delivery to the aircraft engines and comprises a fuel balance indicator 102a, eight fuel boost pump control switches 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e, 102f, 102g, 102h, 102i, three fuel cross feed switches 102j, 102k, 1021, a fuel dump on-off-rate switch 102m, and fuel tank quantity indicators 102n, 102o,

102p, and 102q. To activate the switches 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e, 102f, 102g, 102h, 102i, 102, 102i, 102k, 1021 (e.g., in the event display units 40a, 40b, and 40c become unable to manage fuel functions) either ECIS override switch 101a and 101b must be depressed/actuated. Switches 102b thru 102i also illuminate to serve as indicators displaying the state (ON-OFF) of each individual fuel pump relay (ON=Closed,

OFF=Open), as well as the pressure output of the respective pump (e.g. if pressure is below a predetermined level as the word "PRESS" is illuminated). A given pump's state and output pressure level is indicated by the corresponding switch 102b-102c regardless of activation of ECIS override switches 101a or 101b. In the illustrated embodiment of Figure 8- 1 , control over aircraft fuel feed from the aircraft's respective fuel tanks may be achieved via pump switches 102b through 102i. When either ECIS override switch 101a and 101b is actuated and any of these pump switches is depressed from OFF to ON, the upper right quadrant of the switch displays the word ON. The OFF command is issued by pushing the switch thus causing the word ON to disappear and the word OFF in the upper left quadrant of the switch to illuminate.

When a particular pump is OFF and/or fuel pressure above a predetermined level is not sensed at the pump, the word "PRESS" appears in the lower half of the switch. In this regard, each pump switch 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e, 102f, 102g, 102h, 102i controls a single boost pump relay for aircraft engine fuel delivery. Cross feed valves switches 102j, 102k, and 1021 become operational when either

ECIS override control 101a or 101b is actuated. In this regard, the cross feed valve switches 102j, 102k, and 1021 indicate an OPEN state by displaying the word "OPEN" in the upper right quadrant, indicate a closed state by displaying the word "CLSD" in the upper left quadrant, and indicate an in transition state by displaying "TRANSIT" in the lower half of the switch face as a valve moves from closed to open or from open to closed. When the valve is not in transit, the lower half of the switch is not illuminated. Cross feed valve switches 102, 102k and 1021 allow fuel to be cross-fed from a given fuel tank corresponding with a given engine to a fuel delivery pathway for another engine. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the fuel management panel 102 also depicts the path of pressurized fuel via connected line segments 102r, 102s, 102t and 102u. These line segments 102r, 102s, 102t and 102u are illuminated and serve as guides useful in the manual feed management process. These line segments illumination intensity is governed by the ECIS bright-dim switch lOld.

As can be further seen in Figure 8-1 of the illustrated embodiment, indicators 102n, 102o and 102p provide tank fuel quantities for the aircraft fuel tank(s). By way of example, the quantity information may be displayed beneath tank labels which appear above each display. A Total Fuel Indicator 102q is provided to numerically depict the sum of all fuel tank quantity values. Fuel indicators 102n, 102o, 102p and 102q are always visible regardless of the position or actuation of ECIS override switches 101a or 101b. As can be further seen in Figure 8-1, a FUEL BALANCE indicator 102a is provided which will illuminate the word "AUTO" if the primary operating system auto fuel balance function is actuated (e.g. via initiation by a user pursuant to interface with the display unit 40a, 40b, 40c, namely depression of line key 46R3 when a FUEL page is displayed as per Fig. 4C). The indicator 102a may illuminate the word "UNBAL" upon the lower indicator face if the fuel contents of TANKS 1 , or TANK 2 or TANK 3 are out-of-balance according to predetermined policy or regulation.

Figure 8-1, also includes a fuel dump control switch 102m switch. When actuated, and regardless of ECIS control switch 101a or 101b actuation, fuel dump switch 102m initiates the jettisoning of on-board fuel by actuating pumps 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e, 102f, 102g, 102h and 102i. Additionally, and via separate control, switch 102m activates separate fuel dump valves and nozzles which are part of the aircraft's fuel jettison system and causes the word ON to illuminate. When switch 102m is not actuated, the word OFF appears in the upper left quadrant of the switch. The word "RATE" appears in the lower half of switch 102m whenever the rate of fuel jettison falls below a predetermined level. The jettisoning of fuel may be automatically terminated by

DIUs 60 when the total amount of remaining fuel reaches a predetermined level (e.g. as established by a user via interface with the PERFORMANCE page at display device 40a, 40b, or 40c noted above).

The hydraulics management panel 103 of Figure 8-2 provides an alternate means of managing the aircraft hydraulic subsystem and comprises the following: for SYSTEM A, a quantity/pressure indicator 103e, an overheat indicator 103f, pump controls/indicators 103a and 103b, and fluid shutoff controls 103c and 103d; for SYSTEM B a pressure/quantity indicator 103g, pump control switches 103h and 103i, and pump overheat indicators 103j and 103k, and Standby System ON-low Quantity Indicator 1031, and overheat indicator 103m. When the ECIS override switch 101a or 101b is actuated, System A pump 1 switch 103a and pump 2 switch 103b are enabled as well as A pump 1 fluid shutoff switch 103c and A pump 2 fluid shutoff switch 103d. Engine Pump and 2 switches 103a and 103b may be pressed to actuate their respective relays and cause the word ON to appear in the switch face when the relay is closed and the word OFF to appear when the relay is open. Switches 103a and 103b also serve as low pressure indicators and will display the word PRESS in the lower switch half if low pressure output is sensed from the respective pump. A system fluid shutoff switches 103c and 103d act as toggle switches and are blank unless actuated at which time the words "Shutoff CLOSED" appear on the switch face indicating the closure of pump 1 or pump 2 shutoff valves, respectively.

As is further depicted in Figure 8-2 of the embodiment, System A indicators 103e and 103f are operational regardless of ECIS Control Switches 101a or 101b actuation. If System A quantity is depleted below a preset valve the words "SYS PRESS" will appear in the upper portion of indicator 103e. Indicator 103e will display the word "QTY" if System A hydraulic quantity is depleted below a safe threshold. System A overheat indicator or 103f will display the words "SYS OVHT" if an overheat condition from A pump 1 or A pump 2 is sensed. The displays appearing in A System indicators

103e and 103f will extinguish if the respective trigger conditions no longer are sensed.

As can be further seen in the Figure 8-2 illustration of the hydraulics management panel 103, a System B pressure/quantity indicator 103g is provided whereby the words

"SYS PRESS" or "QTY" are displayed if System B low pressure or low quantity is sensed by the ECIS logic unit(s). Additionally, hydraulics panel 103 provides B System Pumps 1 and 2 controls/indicators 103h and 103i. When ECIS Override Switches 101a or 101b are actuated, hydraulic B pump switches 103h and 103i are enabled. By depressing switch 103h or 103i, the corresponding pump relay is actuated turning the pump ON and causing the word ON to appear. Pushing Switch 103h or 103i again turns the respective pump OFF and causes the word OFF to appear and illuminates the word ON. If B pump

1 or B pump 2 low output pressure is sensed (e.g. if the monitored pressure is less than a predetermined value), switch 103h or 103i respectively will display the word "PRESS." An overheat of B pump 1 (e.g. when the monitored temperature exceeds a predetermined level) will cause indicator 103k to display the word "OVHT." An overheat of B pump

2 will cause indicator 103k to display the word "OVHT." Illumination of B System pressures or overheat conditions will in turn cause illumination of glare shield discrete operator warning lights 130 as will be described in relation to Fig. 10 below.

As can be further seen in Figure 8-2, hydraulics panel 103 provides ON QTY indicator 1031 and OVHT indicator 103m for the aircraft Standby Hydraulic System.

Indicators 1031 and 103m are indicators only and provide no control functions and are thus continuously operational. If the Standby Hydraulics System is ON, the word ON will appear in indicator 1031. If the Standby Hydraulic System quantity falls below a preset value, the word QTY will appear in 1031. Likewise, indicator 103m will display the word "OVHT" if an overheat condition in the Standby Hydraulic System is sensed

(e.g. when the monitored temperature exceeds a predetermined value).

Operation of the ECIS electrical management panel 105 will now be described in further detail. As with the ECIS fuel panel 102 and the ECIS hydraulic panel 103, the electrical panel 105 switches can only be actuated once ECIS control switch 101a or 101b is activated. As with the indicators on the fuel panel 102 and hydraulic panel 103, indicators displaying state position or performance data on the 105 panel are continuously available regardless of ECIS control override switches 101a and 101b actuation.

As can be seen in Figure 8-3 of the present embodiment, the ECIS electrical panel 105 is comprised of BUS TIE 1-2-3 control indicators 105a, 105b, 105c, generator breakers 1-2-3 controls-indicators 105d, 105e, 105f, generator fields 1-2-3 controls- indicators 105g, 105h, 105i, and generator 1-2-3 volts-freqs fail indicators 105j, 105k, 1051. Additionally, panel 105 comprises CSD 1-2-3 disconnect controls and temperature/pressure indicators 105p, 105q, 105r and CSD 1-2-3 fail indicators 105s, 105t and 105u.

Once ECIS panel 100 control functions are enabled by actuating ECIS switches 101a or 101b, electrical switches 105a, 105b, 105c, 105d, 105e, 105f, 105g, 105h and

105i are enabled. Depressing any of the above switches causes the closed relay to open (or trip). Pressing the same switch again causes the opposite action by the associated relay. For all switches 105a-105i, the word "TRIP" or the word "CLSD" will be displayed on the switch face in the state corresponding to the relay position. As can be further seen in Figure 8-3, the electrical management panel 105 provides KWATT indicators 105m, 105n, 105o in a scale format depicting the electrical loads carried by aircraft generators 1 , 2 and 3 respectively. The scaled light bar each KW load output illuminates to a greater degree as the generator load approaches its defined maximum. If a respective generator's load limit is exceeded, the far right section of the indicator (105m, 105n, 105o) illuminates in amber and causes illumination of the ECIS warning lights 130.

The CSD 1-2-3 controls/indicators 105p, 105q, 105r depicted in Figure 8-3 are available to the operator continuously and are independent of the ECIS 100 system except that individual CSD temperature and pressure performance data is supplied to the indicators via the RIU 70u sensors. As can be seen in Figure 8-3, the generator controls/indicators are presented in vertical alignment grouped under engines 1 , 2, and 3 respectively. CSD fail indicators 105s, 105t and 105u illuminate once the respective CSD has been disconnected by depressing switch 105p, 105q, or 105r. Additionally, if a high "in" or "rise" CSD temperature is sensed by the respective CSD performance exceeding a predetermined safety threshold, the words IN or RISE on switches 105p,

105q, or 105r will illuminate and in turn cause the illumination of the discrete operator lights 130. Operation of the ECIS pneumatics management panel 108 will now be described in further detail. As with fuel panel 102, hydraulic panel 103, and electrical ECIS panel 105, a pneumatics management panel 108 is provided to serve as an alternate/back-up means of controlling certain pre-determined flight critical pneumatics functions. Like the other ECIS Management Panels (102, 103, 105), the pneumatics management panel 108 provides continuously available indicators, and control function availability only with prior actuation of either ECIS override control 101a or 101b. Left Pack Switch 108a and Right Pack Switch 108b are toggle switches which permit the respective packs to be turned ON and OFF. Indicators on switch 108a and 108b display

ON-OFF states as appropriate, and display the word "TRIP" if the respective pack trips due to aircraft internal circuitry sensing. A pack reset switch 108c is provided as a push button switch enabling the operator to reset a "tripped" pack. A cargo heat switch 108d is provided which, when pushed, acts as a toggle switch to control the open (or NORMAL) or closed functions of the cargo heat outflow valve. The state (NORM or

CLSD) is displayed on the switch 108d face as appropriate.

As can be seen in Figure 8-2, the pneumatics management panel 108 provides bleed control switches 108e for engine 1, 108f and 108g for engine 2, and 108h for engine 3. Switches 108e, f, g, and h are toggle switches with indicator functions. Switches 108e and 108h display the valve position (open or closed as appropriate), and display the word "TRIP" if a bleed trip for engine 1 or engine 3 bleed valve occurs. A bleed 1 or 3 trip also causes illumination of the ECIS warning lights 130. Engine 2 switches 108f and 108g control the number 21 and 2r isolation valves as toggle switches, display the valve's state (OPEN or CLOSED) and indicate an overheat condition if sensed by displaying the word "OVHT" on the 108f and 108g switches.

Figure 9 illustrates another embodiment of an ECIS unit 1100 that may be positioned in the overhead area 30 of a cockpit (see Fig. 1). The ECIS unit 1100 may include a fuel management panel 1102, an LED display 1104, a selector switch 1106 for selecting the type of information set to be displayed on LED display 1104, and a pneumatics management panel 1108.

The fuel management panel 1102 provides an alternate means of managing fuel and comprises an automatic mode command switch 1102a, three boost pump control switches 1102b, 1102c, and 1102d, and three fuel cross-feed switch switches 1102e, 1102f, and 1102g. In normal operation, when the multifunctional display units 140a, 140b and 140c are operational and capable of controlling the aircraft's fuel system the automatic command mode switch 1102a is illuminated and the switches 1102b, 1102c, 1102d, 1102e, 1102f and 1102g are inactive. To activate the switches 1102b, 1102c, 1102d, 1102e, 1102f and 1102g (e.g., in the event that display units 140a, 140b, and 140c become inoperable to manage fuel functions), the automatic mode select switch 102a may be depressed, thereby activating and enabling switches 1102b, 1102c, 1102d, 1102e, 1102f and 1102g to assume control over their associated functions.

In the illustrated embodiment, control over three primary aircraft fuel tanks is provided via pump switches 1102b, 1102c, and 1102d. When any of these switches are depressed from an off to on position, the lower half of the switch face illuminates displaying the word "on." This indicates that the boost pump relays for that tank are closed. The "off ' command is issued by pushing the ed switch. When a particular pump is "off," the corresponding boost pump switch goes out. A dark lower half switch indicates that all boost pump relays for the corresponding tank's boost pumps are not closed. In this regard, each boost pump switch 1102b, 1102c, and 1102d controls at least two boost pump relays. Cross-feed valve switches 1102e, 1102f and 1102g become toggle switches when the automatic mode switch 1102a is depressed. In this regard, the cross-feed valve switches 1102e, 1102f and 1102g indicate an open state by displaying the word "OPEN" on the lower half below their corresponding number. In addition, open valves cause the switch face to fully illuminate (i.e., both upper and lower halves illuminate). When the switch is depressed from "open" to "closed," or when the valve is otherwise in the closed position, the lower half of the switch face does not illuminate, thus indicating the relay controlling the valve is not activated to the open position. The "CLOSE" command is issued to the cross-feed relay by pushing the ed switch. When the valve is closed, the switch lower half is not illuminated. Selector switch 1106 provides for the selective display on display 1104 of a plurality of different types of information sets. In the illustrated embodiment, such information sets pertain to testing of the ECIS unit 1100, and aircraft fuel parameters, pneumatic parameters, hydraulic parameters, engine generator parameters, CSD parameters (i.e., generator constant speed drive), and pilot readings). Dimmer switch 1110 is provided to control the intensity for the various illuminated aspects of the ECIS unit 1100. When switch 1106 is in the lamp test position 1106a, all s on the unit 1100 are illuminated to insure operability. The switch 1106a is spring loaded to automatically return to the fuel position 1106b when released.

When the fuel position 1106b is selected, the display 1104 provides fuel quantities for the fuel tanks of the aircraft (e.g., left, center and right fuel tanks). By way of example, the quantity information may be displayed beneath tank labels which appear in a top line of the display 1104. Additionally, a total fuel quantity may be displayed in the second row of display 1104. In this regard, the value for total fuel may be captured from a total fuel logic component comprising the fuel system. A part of display 1104 may also be utilized to display an appropriate indication (e.g., "low") in the event that a fuel tank pressure is below a predetermined value.

When selector switch 1106 is in the pneumatic switch position 1106c, display 1104 may provide specific bleed information and specific pack information. Such information may include information regarding whether a specific pack has been tripped, whether or not a particular bleed valve has been tripped, and whether or not a particular bleed valve has overheated.

When the selector switch 1106 is in the hydraulic switch position 1106d, information corresponding with the main hydraulic systems and standby hydraulic system may be displayed via display 1104. For example, the display 1104 may provide the quantity and pressure for each of the primary hydraulic systems as well as the standby system provided by the aircraft. Additionally, for the standby system, the display 1104 may indicate whether such system is in an "ON" or "NORMAL" state. In this regard, the standby pump may be controlled via a separate switch above the captain's seat in the overhead panel 30. When switch 1106 is in the engine generator position 1106e, display 1104 may provide information regarding the aircraft engine generator. For example, the information may include frequency data, voltage output data, and the state of the fuel relays for the engine generators.

When the switch 1106 is in the CSD position, display 1104 will provide information regarding the "in" and "rise" temperature indicators for each CSD (i.e., generator constant speed drive). If a low CSD pressure is sensed, a visual indication (e.g., the word "low") may be displayed. Additionally, a low CSD pressure may also be indicated by an ECIS discrete warning (to be described).

When the switch 1106 is positioned in the pilot position 1106g, a user may observe pilot and static heat data on display 1104. Additionally, "on" and "off states may be displayed with respect to static heat circuits provided on an aircraft.

Operation of the pneumatics management panel 1108 will now be described in further detail. As with fuel management panel 1102, the pneumatics management panel 1108 may be activated via depression of automatic mode command switch 1108a. Upon activation, four bleed control switches 1108b, 1108c, 1108d and 1108e, two pack switches 1108f and 1108g, and one cargo heat or pack switch 1108h may be controlled.

The heat switch contains an upper and lower illumination half. The upper half of each switch is labeled and the label appears continuously regardless of the position of the automatic mode select switch 1108a. When a switch is activated or the associated equipment relays are in the on or open or normal position, the lower half of the associated switch illuminates. When a bleed valve is open, the word "OPEN" appears on the lower half of the respective switch. When the packs are on, the word "ON" appears on the lower half of the left or right pack switch (e.g., 1108f or 1108g). When the cargo heat valve is not closed, the word "NORM" appears in the lower half of the switch 1108g and the switch fully brightens. All switch lower halves are inactive until the automatic mode select switch 1108a is moved out of the "AUTO" position. With the auto switch 1108a off, the green "AUTO" of switch 1108a goes out and the switches 1108b - 1108g assume authority over the bleed valves, packs and cargo heat outflow valve. If such switches are in the "ON" or "OPEN" position when the panel is activated, the corresponding switches will be illuminated. In addition to unit 100 or unit 1100, the ECIS system may further comprise an interface unit 120, and discrete operator warning lights 130. The interface unit 120 serves to interface the ECIS system with RIUs 70u, 701 and/or directly with the analog sensors/control lines comprising the various aircraft operation monitoring/control subsystems corresponding with the various functionalities provided by the ECIS unit 100 or 1100. The interface unit 120 comprises analog-to-digital converters for the signals received from the RIUs 70u, 70f or analog sensors/controls, and further comprises the necessary look-up table memory, LED driver and discrete logic function drivers and/or field programmable gate array(s) to drive ECIS unit 100 or 1100. As noted while the various indicator/parameter display functionalities provided by the ECIS units 100 or 1100 may entail an analog-to-digital conversion and digital logic functionality, the equipment control functionality provided by the ECIS units 100 or 1100 (e.g. to control the on/off or open/closed state of equipment) may be accomplished via a direct analog signal interface (e.g. wherein the manual activation or turning-on of a given ECIS switch directly causes an analog signal to be sent via analog-to-analog interconnections (e.g. RIUs 70 to the corresponding analog-driven aircraft operating subsystem for the given piece of equipment). The discrete warning lights 1130 are positioned to provide visual alerts to the pilot/co-pilot and are correspondingly positioned near the light assemblies 80a and 80b of the Crew Alerting System, as shown in Fig. 1.

The above-described embodiment and features are for purposes of illustration only. Numerous additional modifications and extensions of the various aspects of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such modifications and extensions are within the scope of the present invention.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; and at least one display means for selectively displaying, via use of a corresponding user interface, a predetermined information set corresponding with at least one aircraft operation subsystem, said aircraft operation subsystem being operable for monitoring at least one operating condition upon an aircraft, wherein said predetermined information set includes information acquired by said aircraft operation subsystem through said monitoring; wherein said user interface of said display means is positioned at a location between said two pilot seats, said location being selected to allow at least one operator seated in each of said two, side-by-side pilot seats to visually access said user interface.
2. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 1 , wherein said location of said user interface is selected to allow said operators seated in said two, side-by-side pilot seats to manually operate said user interface.
3. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 2, wherein said location of said user interface is selected to allow each of said operators to manually operate said user interface.
4. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 1 , wherein said at least one aircraft operation subsystem is selected from an operation subsystems group consisting of: an aircraft engine subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; an aircraft fuel subsystem; and an aircraft hydraulic subsystem.
5. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 4, wherein said at least one display means is operable to display, via use of said corresponding user interface, at least one of said predetermined information sets corresponding with each of a plurality of different aircraft operation subsystems selected from said operation subsystems group, said each of said plurality of different aircraft operation subsystems being operable to monitor corresponding different ones of said at least one operating condition.
6. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 5, further comprising alert means for providing at least one alert signal to said operators when at least one of said plurality of monitored operating conditions differs from a corresponding predetermined value by more than a predetermined amount.
7. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 6, wherein said alert signal provides to said operators an identification of said at least one of said plurality of monitored operating conditions differing from said corresponding predetermined value.
8. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 7, said interface means being operable by said operators to display a remedial actions information set corresponding to said at least one monitored operating condition differing from said corresponding predetermined value, wherein said remedial actions information set includes predetermined responsive actions information to allow said operators to follow pre-approved remedial plan.
9. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 6, wherein said alert signal is at least one of an aural signal and at least a first visual signal.
10. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 9, wherein said visual signal comprises readable data displayed on said display means in a different manner from the display of other information displayable on said display means.
11. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 10, wherein said different manner includes displaying said readable data of said visual signal in an illumination boldness differing from said other information displayable on said display means.
12. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 11 , wherein said different manner includes displaying said readable data of said visual signal in a color differing from said other information displayable on said display means.
13. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; and at least one display means for selectively displaying to operators seated in said pilot seats, via use of a corresponding user interface, a predetermined information set corresponding with at least one aircraft operation subsystem, said aircraft operation subsystem being operable for monitoring at least one operating condition upon an aircraft, wherein said predetermined information set includes information acquired by said aircraft operation subsystem through said monitoring; wherein said at least one display means is selectively operable in at least a first and a second mode, wherein in said first mode said predetermined information set corresponding with said at least one aircraft operation subsystem is displayed in a display portion, and wherein in said second mode other flight-related information is displayed in said display portion.
14. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 13 , wherein said other flight-related information is selected from a flight information group consisting of: flight navigation information; aircraft maintenance information; and an information set corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems.
15. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 14, wherein said predetermined information set displayable in said first mode is automatically selected to correspond to one of a predetermined plurality of different flight phases.
16. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 15, wherein said predetermined plurality of flight phases is selected from a group consisting of: an initial setup phase; a preflight phase; a before engine start phase; a monitor phase; an after start page; a taxi phase; at take off phase; a flight phase; a parking phase; and a termination phase.
17. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 16, wherein said predetermined information set for at least one flight phase comprises state information corresponding with operational states of operation control componentry, and wherein said user interface is operable by said operators to selectively change said operational states of said operation control componentry whereby said operational control componentry controls corresponding operational states of interconnected aircraft equipment.
18. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 17, wherein said user interface is operable by said operators in response to said state information to initiate a predetermined aircraft equipment reconfiguration in which select ones of said operational states of said operation control componentry and said corresponding operational states of said interconnected aircraft equipment are automatically changed to agree with operational states in a predeteπnined operational state information set corresponding to said at least one flight phase.
19. An aircraft cockpit comprising : at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; at least one display means for selectively displaying to operators seated in said pilot seats a predetermined information set corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems, each of said aircraft operation subsystems being operable for monitoring at least one operating condition upon an aircraft, wherein said display means includes a user interface comprising a display portion to display said predetermined information sets on corresponding display pages and to receive input from said operators; and a processor means, communicatively linked with said display means and said aircraft operation subsystems, for providing menu-driven operation of said display means, said processor means being operable to link each of said display pages, whereby said operators may operate said user interface to selectively display one of said predetermined information sets corresponding to said aircraft operation subsystems.
20. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 19, wherein said display means is operable to display, on each of said display pages, a corresponding menu items set in a predetermined spatial relation to a displayed one of said predetermined information sets.
21. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 20, wherein said displayed menu items set includes a page link set corresponding to said displayed one of said predetermined information sets, said page link set including information as to which of said display pages accessible, via said processor means, from said display page.
22. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 21, wherein said display portion of said user interface includes a plurality of touch-sensitive devices located in corresponding spatial relation to said page link set, said touch-sensitive devices receiving page selection input from said operators, said display means transmitting said page selection input to said processor means, and said processor means retrieving a predetermined information set corresponding to said page selection input and operating said display means to display said retrieved predetermined information set in said display portion on a corresponding display page.
23. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 22, wherein said aircraft operation subsystems are selected from an operation subsystems group consisting of: an aircraft engine subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; an aircraft fuel subsystem; an aircraft hydraulic subsystem; an aircraft air conditioning subsystem; an aircraft auxiliary power unit subsystem; an aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; an aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; an aircraft doors subsystem; an aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; an aircraft oxygen subsystem; and an aircraft pneumatic subsystem; wherein, a predetermined quantity of said predetermined information set corresponding with each of said aircraft operation subsystems is displayable by said display means on a selectively-linked series of said display pages.
24. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 21, wherein said predetermined quantity to be displayed on said selectively-linked series of said display pages includes unique display pages corresponding with an aircraft operational information group consisting of: aircraft flight phases; aircraft navigation; aircraft maintenance; aircraft performance; emergency conditions; external communications; flight-related reference libraries; crew address reporting; and out-of-limit reporting to crew.
25. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 24, wherein said page link set corresponds to a mode of operation of said display means, said mode of operation being selectable, via said user interface, by said operators.
26. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 25 , wherein said mode of operation is selected from a group consisting of: operation mode, systems mode, global positioning mode, automated crew addressing and reporting mode, aircraft performance data mode, maintenance mode, and emergency mode.
27. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; and at least a first and a second display means positioned between said two pilot seats for displaying, via use of corresponding user interfaces, a corresponding first and a second predetermined information set, each of said first and second predetermined information sets corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems, wherein said aircraft operation subsystems are operable to monitor a plurality of operating conditions upon an aircraft; wherein said corresponding user interfaces of said first and second display means are located to allow operators seated in said pilot seats to visually access said user interface.
28. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 27, wherein said first and second display means are operable to concurrently display said first and second predetermined information sets.
29. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 28, wherein said first and second display means are operable by said operator to select said first and second predetermined information sets to be displayed on said corresponding user interfaces, whereby said operator can selectively monitor said operating conditions upon said aircraft.
30. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 29, wherein said first predetermined information set differs from said second information set.
31. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 29, further comprising a third display means positioned between said two pilot seats for displaying, via use of a corresponding user interface, a third predetermined information set corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems.
32. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 31, wherein said third display means is operable for concurrently, with said first and second display means, displaying said third predetermined information set, said third predetermined information set being selectable via said corresponding user interface.
33. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 32, wherein said particular one of said predetermined information sets displayed on said third display means differs from said first and second predetermined information sets, whereby said operator can monitor at least three of said operating conditions.
34. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; and at least a first display unit, including a corresponding user interface, for selectively displaying a first predetermined information set corresponding with at least one aircraft operation subsystem, said aircraft operation subsystem being operable to monitor at least one operating condition upon an aircraft; wherein said user interface of said at least one display unit is operable by at least one operator seated in said pilot seats to selectively transmit control signals to said at least one aircraft operation subsystem corresponding to said displayed first predetermined information set.
35. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 34, wherein said control signals are received by said at least one aircraft operation subsystem and are used to change a state of operation of at least one piece of equipment monitored by said at least one aircraft operation subsystem.
36. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 35, wherein said control signals are used to automatically change said state of operation of a plurality of said equipment in a predetermined sequential order.
37. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 36, wherein said predetermined sequential order is based on identification information corresponding to said aircraft and on a currently monitored phase of flight of said aircraft, said phase of flight being one of an initial setup phase, a preflight phase, a before engine start phase, a taxi phase, a flight phase, a parking phase, or a termination phase.
38. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 35, wherein said aircraft operation subsystem is selected from an operation subsystems group consisting of: an aircraft engine subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; an aircraft fuel subsystem; an aircraft hydraulic subsystem; an aircraft air conditioning subsystem; an aircraft auxiliary power unit subsystem; an aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; an aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; an aircraft doors subsystem; an aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; an aircraft oxygen subsystem; and an aircraft pneumatic subsystem.
39. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 38, wherein said first predetermined information set displayed on said user interface of said first display unit includes at least one state of operation corresponding to said equipment monitored by said aircraft operation subsystems.
40. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 39, wherein said user interface displays said state of operation in a first manner and other information included in said first predetermined information set in at least a second manner.
41. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 40, wherein said first manner includes displaying each of said states of operation in a predetermined color.
42. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 41 , wherein said states of operation include active and inactive and wherein said predetermined color for said active state is green and said predetermined color for said inactive state of operation is white.
43. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 39, wherein said user interface includes at least one touch-sensitive device located in corresponding spatial relation to said displayed state of operation, said touch-sensitive device is operable to accept input from said operator, said input being used by said user interface to transmit a control signal corresponding to said displayed operation, whereby said state of operation is remotely changed by said operator via said aircraft operation subsystem.
44. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 43, wherein said first predetermined information set includes pre-established clearance required information in a spatial relation to corresponding ones of said states of operation for which third-party clearance is necessary prior to said operators transmitting said control signal to change said states of operation of said monitored equipment.
45. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 44, further comprising a second and a third display unit, including corresponding user interfaces, for displaying a second and a third predetermined information set corresponding with select ones of said aircraft operation subsystems.
46. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 45, wherein at least two of said first, second, and third predetermined information sets correspond to different ones of said aircraft operation subsystems.
47. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; at least a first display unit positioned between said pilot seats to be visually accessible by operators in said pilot seats, said first display unit including a user interface for selectively displaying, via a corresponding display portion, a predetermined information set on a display page, wherein said predetermined information set corresponds with at least one of a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems operable to monitor operation conditions upon an aircraft; an alert means for providing at least one alert signal to said operators; and a processor means, communicatively linked to said aircraft operation subsystems and said alert means, for comparing said monitored operation conditions with a pre-established acceptable operation values corresponding therewith and for activating said alert means to provide said at least one alert signal upon determining at least one of said monitored operation conditions differs from said corresponding pre-established acceptable operation values.
48. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 47, wherein said aircraft operation subsystems are selected from an operation subsystems group consisting of: an aircraft engine subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; an aircraft fuel subsystem; an aircraft hydraulic subsystem; an aircraft air conditioning subsystem; an aircraft auxiliary power unit subsystem; an aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; an aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; an aircraft doors subsystem; an aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; an aircraft oxygen subsystem; and an aircraft pneumatic subsystem.
49. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 47, wherein said pre-established acceptable operation values are based on identification information for said aircraft and on a currently monitored phase of flight of said aircraft, said phase of flight being one of an initial setup phase, a preflight phase, a before engine start phase, a taxi phase, a flight phase, a parking phase, or a termination phase.
50. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 49, wherein said alert signal is at least one of an aural signal, a first visual signal, and a second visual signal.
51. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 50, wherein said first visual signal comprises illumination of at least one light positioned separately of said display means and forwardly of said pilot seats.
52. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 51, wherein said alert signal includes at least one of said aural signals, at least one of said first visual signals, and at least one of said second visual signals.
53. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 52, wherein said alert signal includes two of said aural signals and two of said first visual signals.
54. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 53, wherein said alert means includes a reset device for each of said aural and said first visual signals, said reset device being operable by said operators to reset said aural and first visual signals after returning said monitored operation condition to agree with said pre-established acceptable operation values.
55. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 54, wherein said alert means is operable to monitor a plurality of said monitored operation conditions and to provide an alert signal while at least one of said plurality differs from a pre-established acceptable operation values.
56. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 55, wherein said second visual signal comprises readable data displayed on a secondary display portion of said display page displayed on said display portion of said user interface, said readable data including information to identify said monitored operation condition and said corresponding aircraft operation subsystem.
57. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 56, wherein said readable data is displayed in a color, said color differing from other colors used on said display page.
58. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 57, wherein said color is yellow.
59. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 58, wherein said user interface includes at least one touch-sensitive device, located in corresponding spatial relation to said displayed readable data on said secondary display portion, for accepting input from said operator, said user interface being responsive to said input to display a fault information set, corresponding to said monitored operation condition differing from said pre-established acceptable operation values, on a fault page in said display portion.
60. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 59, wherein said user interface includes at least one touch-sensitive device, located in corresponding spatial relation to said fault information set, for accepting input from said operator, said user interface being responsive to said input to initiate a pre-established remedial process, said remedial process being based on identification information for said aircraft and said monitored operating information for said equipment.
61. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 60, wherein said pre-established remedial process includes sequentially displaying select ones of said predetermined information sets in a pre-established order.
62. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 61, said select ones of said predetermined information sets selectively including state information, said state information corresponding with operational states of operation control componentry associated with said aircraft operation subsystems corresponding to said alert signal.
63. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 62, wherein said user interface is operable by said operators to selectively change said operational states of said operation control componentry whereby said operational control componentry controls corresponding operational states of interconnected aircraft equipment.
64. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 63, wherein said user interface is operable by said operators in response to said fault information set to initiate a predetermined aircraft equipment reconfiguration in which select ones of said operational states of said operation control componentry and said corresponding operational states of said interconnected aircraft equipment are automatically changed to agree with operational states in a predetermined operational state information set corresponding to said phase of flight of said aircraft.
65. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; and at least one display means positioned between said pilot seats for selectively displaying, via use of a corresponding user interface, a predetermined information set corresponding with a plurality of aircraft operation subsystems, wherein said predetermined information set includes operation information of predetermined equipment included in each of said plurality of said aircraft operation subsystems; and a processor means for selecting said predetermined information set to display based upon one of a predetermined plurality of flight phases.
66. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 65, wherein said predetermined plurality of flight phases is selected from a group consisting of: an initial setup phase; a preflight phase; a before engine start phase; a monitor phase; an after start page; a taxi phase; at take off phase; a flight phase; a parking phase; and a termination phase.
67. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 66, wherein said user interface is operable by an operator seated in one of said pilot seats to initiate a reconfiguration process to change operating states of select equipment in select ones of said aircraft operation subsystems, said reconfiguration process being automatically selected by said processor means based on a currently detected of said flight phases.
68. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 67, wherein said reconfiguration process includes displaying a select number of said predetermined information sets in a flight phase appropriate order and wherein said user interface is operable by said operator to initiate a change in said operating states of said select equipment.
69. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 68, wherein said predetermined information sets include pre-established clearance required information in a spatial relation to corresponding of said operation information for which third-party clearance is necessary prior to said operators initiation of said change in said operating states of operation of said select equipment.
70. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 67, wherein said reconfiguration process includes initiation by said operator of an automatic process, controlled by said processor means, to change said operating states of said select equipment, said user interface being operable to accept input from said operator to begin said initiation.
71. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 66, wherein said user interface is operable by an operator seated in one of said pilot seats to initiate a safety verification process to verify operating states of select equipment in select ones of said aircraft operation subsystems, said select equipment being automatically selected by said processor means based on a detected one of said flight phases.
72. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 71 , wherein said operating states of said select equipment monitored by said aircraft operation subsystems are displayed on said user interface of said display means.
73. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 72, wherein said user interface includes touch-sensitive devices in spacial relation to said displayed operating states, said user interface being operable, in response to said touch-sensitive devices being manipulated by said operator, to display a particular one of said predetermined information sets corresponding with a select one of said displayed operating states.
74. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; at least one display means positioned between said two pilot seats for selectively displaying, via use of a corresponding user interface, operating information corresponding with at least one aircraft operation subsystem, said aircraft operation subsystem being operable to monitor operating conditions upon said aircraft; and a processor means, including a data storage means, for selectively storing a maintenance subset of said operating information corresponding to a predetermined number of said operating conditions.
75. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 74, wherein said display means is operable, via use of said corresponding user interface, by an operator seated in one of said two pilot seats to retrieve and display said stored maintenance subset from said data storage means.
76. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 74, wherein said at least one aircraft operation subsystem is selected from an operation subsystems group consisting of: an aircraft engine subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; an aircraft fuel subsystem; an aircraft hydraulic subsystem; an aircraft air conditioning subsystem; an aircraft auxiliary power unit subsystem; an aircraft engine fire detection subsystem; an aircraft cargo fire detection subsystem; an aircraft doors subsystem; an aircraft ice monitoring subsystem; an aircraft oxygen subsystem; and an aircraft pneumatic subsystem.
77. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 76, wherein said maintenance subset of said operating information is pre-established based on aircraft identification information and phases of flight of said aircraft, said phases of flight including an initial setup phase, a preflight phase, a before engine start phase, a taxi phase, a flight phase, a parking phase, or a termination phase.
78. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 74, wherein said user interface includes an input means for receiving operator information from said operator, said user interface being operable to store said operator information in said data storage means for retrieval with said maintenance subset.
79. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 78, wherein said operator information is displayed on said user interface and wherein said user interface is operable to change said displayed operator information prior to storage in said data storage means.
80. An aircraft cockpit comprising: at least two pilot seats positioned side-by-side; at least one processor-driven display means, positioned between said at least two pilot seats, for selectively displaying, via use of a corresponding user interface, a predetermined information set corresponding with at least one aircraft operation subsystem, said aircraft operation subsystem being operable for monitoring at least one operating condition upon an aircraft; at least one backup device positioned overhead at least one of said two pilot seats, for allowing user control of over the state of at least one component comprising said at least one aircraft operations subsystem.
81. An aircraft cockpit as recited Claim 80, wherein said at least one aircraft operation subsystem is selected from a group consisting of: an aircraft pneumatics subsystem; an aircraft hydraulics subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; and an aircraft fuel delivery subsystem.
82. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 80, wherein said at least one processor-driven display means provides for selective user control over the state of said at least one component comprising said at least one aircraft operations control subsystem.
83. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 82, wherein said back-up device provides an analog control signal for control of said at least one component and said display means provides a digital signal for control of said at least one component.
84. An aircraft cockpit as recited in Claim 3, wherein said at least one aircraft operation subsystem is selected from a group consisting of: an aircraft pneumatics subsystem; an aircraft hydraulics subsystem; an aircraft electrical subsystem; and an aircraft fuel delivery subsystem.
PCT/US1999/010618 1998-05-15 1999-05-13 Enhanced aircraft cockpit configuration WO2000000388A9 (en)

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