Modern-day aircraft are continuously being improved and changed, ensuring that safety and efficiency is maintained. Aircraft cockpits in particular have seen many improvements, including the switch from conventional CRT displays to liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. To better understand how much impact this has on the aviation industry, this blog will cover LCD panels, their characteristics, and their advantages.
To begin, a CRT display is a specialized vacuum tube wherein images are generated when an electron beam strikes a phosphorescent surface. Because they are an older technology, most CRT displays will not provide good quality images or displays when compared to LCD panels. LCD panels, on the other hand, are superior to CRT display units in terms of space, view ability, weight, reliability, power consumption, and many other reasons.
LCD panels first found use in military aircraft, but have quickly taken over the commercial airplane field. In passenger airplanes, LCD panels are rapidly garnering popularity. LCD panels are constructed using the same methods as those used in personal computers and other devices. However, the LCDs for aircraft are made to withstand harsh environmental extremes, such as temperature, barometric pressure, vibration, impact, and more. Beyond such expectations, LCDs are also required to have performance characteristics specific to the cockpits of aircraft.
LCD Performance Characteristics
In general, the cockpit has six displays that the captain and co-pilots are responsible for controlling. LCD panels must take a few things into consideration to accurately convey information to the pilots. For instance, a wide viewing angle allows the captain and co-pilots to mutually check information on the display screen. The displays must provide high contrast at a wide viewing angle so that they can see with ease.
Next, chromacity, which is the quality of color independent of brightness, is incredibly important. Accurate color identification and recognition are integral aspects of flight information. This is especially important for halftone colors which may not be readily seen on the display. More than that, one must take into account changes in chromaticity. For example, if the chromaity of a display is different at varying angles, flight information can be mistakenly identified, presenting a problem for flight safety. Changes in chromaticity are detailed in the SAE Standards ARP4256, an international LCD display standard for aircraft.
Lastly, displays are required to deliver high quality view ability in environments with wide-ranging light conditions. At night, an LCD panel can achieve optimum brightness with regard to the surrounding environment by reducing the luminance of the backlight at the rear of the LCD panel. In the daytime, the luminance can be raised to increase display brightness. If sunlight strikes the display directly, a glare may present itself, making it hard to see. As a result, the LCD display surface should have a low reflection coefficient.
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