CHAPTER 2. Electronic Flight Instruments

Primary Flight Display (PFD)

A PFD presents information about primary flight instruments, navigation instruments, and the status of the flight in one integrated display. Some systems include powerplant information and other systems information in the same display. A typical primary flight display is shown in Figure 2-1.

Primary Flight Instruments

Flight instrument presentations on a PFD differ from conventional instrumentation not only in format, but sometimes in location as well. For example, the attitude indicator on the PFD in Figure 2-1 is larger than conventional round-dial presentations of an artificial horizon. Airspeed and altitude indications are presented on vertical tape displays that appear on the left and right sides of the primary flight display. The vertical speed indicator is depicted using conventional analog presentation. Turn coordination is shown using a segmented triangle near the top of the attitude indicator. The rate-of-turn indicator appears as a curved line display at the top of the heading/navigation instrument in the lower half of the PFD.

Cross-Checking the Primary Flight Instruments

The PFD is not intended to change the fundamental way in which you scan your instruments during attitude instrument flying. The PFD supports the same familiar control and performance, or primary and supporting methods you use with conventional flight instruments. For example, when using the primary and supporting method to maintain level flight, the altimeter is still the primary instrument for pitch, while the attitude indicator is a direct indicator and the vertical speed indicator provides supporting information. However, you need to train your eyes to find and interpret these instruments in their new formats and locations.

Common Errors: Altitude Excursions and Fixation

Pilots experienced in the use of conventional flight instruments tend to deviate from assigned altitudes during their initial experience with the PFD, while they adjust to the tape display presentation of altitude information. Another common error is the tendency to fixate and correct deviations as small as one to two feet at the expense of significant deviations on other parameters.

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