Cockpit Overview

Site: Open Flight School
Course: F/A-18C Hornet Basic Course (DCS)
Book: Cockpit Overview
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2024, 5:17 AM

1. Division into Subareas

The cockpit is divided into 5 general areas. We are using the designations from the DCS F/A-18C Manual so that it can be read parallel with this course without confusion.

  1. The Instrument Panel (IP) is subdivided into three parts:
    • Left Instrument Panel (IP-L)
    • Centre Instrument Panel (IP-C)
    • Right Instrument Panel (IP-R)
  2. Left Vertical Panel (LVP)
  3. Right Vertical Panel (RVP)
  4. Left Console (LC)
  5. Right Console (RC)
  6. Head-Up Display (HUD)
  7. HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick)

Subareas, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

2. Left Instrument Panel (IP-L)

The left side of the instrument panel is dominated by the left Digital Display Indicator (DDI).  

  • Very few functions of the DDIs are required during this Basic Course.

Below the DDI is the Integrated Fuel Engine Indicator (IFEI)

  • The IFEI displays the Engine RPM, the Fuel and allows the setting of a Bongo fuel quantity.  

F/A-18C left instrument panel, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

3. Centre Instrument Panel (IP-C)

In the Centre Instrument Panel are the Up Front Controller (UFC), the HUD control panel, the Multi-Purpose Colour Display (AMPCD) and the Lower Instrument Panel.

In this Basic Course only a few of the functions are needed. We will only discuss or use the functions for start-up and a safe circuit in this course.  

The rest will be discussed in the Advanced courses, but it is advantageous if you can orientate yourself with the whole cockpit from the beginning.

F/A-18C Centre Instrument Panel, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain{

4. Right Instrument Panel (IP-R)

The Right Instrument Panel is dominated by the right Digital Display Indicator (DDI) and the lower area.

The lower area contains the analog standby instruments.  These values are also displayed on the HUD (Head-up Display). However, if this fails, it is important to know where the standby analog displays are located.

F/A-18C Right Instrument Panel, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

5. Left Vertical Panel (LVP)

Some of the controls on the Left Vertical Panel will be used during the procedures in this course.

Others, such as the Launch Bar Switch or the Hook Bypass Switch, only become important in later courses when it comes to launches and landings on aircraft carriers.

F/A-18C Left Vertical Panel, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

6. Right Vertical Panel (RVP)

On the Right Vertical Panel are the controls for the arrestor hook and the wing fold only become of interest when operating from an aircraft carrier.

Key instruments to pay attention to are the radar altimeter and the right warning and information captions during startup.

F/A-18C Right Vertical Panel, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

7. Left Console (LC)

On the Left Console the throttle levers naturally dominates the picture, but it will be discussed later in a separate section and has been visually removed from the picture below to make the controls behind it visible.

The Flight Control System (FCS) Control Panel, the Axillary Power Unit (APU) and Engine Start Control Panel are used in this course during the Start-up procedure.

Left console, image from kaltokri, public domain

8. Right Console (RC)

On the right console we are interested in the power supply control panel, environmental controls and lighting controls.

Also the sensor control panel and the lighting panel we will briefly touched upon in the procedures.

Right console, image from kaltokri, public domain

9. Head Up Display (HUD)

The Head-up-Display (HUD) constitutes the upper part of the front instrument panel. The HUD is the front screen projection of the most important flight and weapon deployment information.

Here is an initial overview of the most important HUD displays.

F/A-18C HUD, image from kaltokri, in common

10. Controls (HOTAS)

The control system consists of the two pedals for the rudder and the HOTAS system.

HOTAS is the abbreviation for Hands On Throttle And Stick and describes a control concept for modern fighter aircraft. The pilot should be able to perform as many actions as possible without having to take his hands off the control stick or the thrust lever. This way he has the aircraft under his control at all times. This is made possible on the F/A-18C by many buttons, switches, four-way coolie hats, etc. on the control stick and thrust lever.

The stick (abbreviation HOTAS-J) is used to control the elevator and rudder. The thrust of the two engines is controlled with the two throttle levers (abbreviated as HOTAS-S). When the throttle lever is released by the finger lifts and pushed forward, the engines are ignited.

Required Switches and Buttons

For the basic course we only need some of the buttons and switches that are attached to the HOTAS. The positions are shown on the two pictures below. You can ignore elements labeled in gray for the basic course. They will be used in later courses.

Stick, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain

Thrust lever, Picture by kaltokri, Public Domain