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Zinovy Khokhlov
Zinovy Khokhlov

Fighting Cockpits 1914-2000: Design And Develop... _TOP_

The word cockpit seems to have been used as a nautical term in the 17th century, without reference to cock fighting. It referred to an area in the rear of a ship where the cockswain's station was located, the cockswain being the pilot of a smaller "boat" that could be dispatched from the ship to board another ship or to bring people ashore. The word "cockswain" in turn derives from the old English terms for "boat-servant" (coque is the French word for "shell"; and swain was old English for boy or servant).[3] The midshipmen and master's mates were later berthed in the cockpit, and it served as the action station for the ship's surgeon and his mates during battle. Thus by the 18th century, "cockpit" had come to designate an area in the rear lower deck of a warship where the wounded were taken. The same term later came to designate the place from which a sailing vessel is steered, because it is also located in the rear, and is often in a well or "pit".[4][5][6]

Fighting Cockpits 1914-2000: Design and Develop...

The largest impediment to having closed cabins was the material used to make the windows. Prior to Perspex becoming available in 1933, windows were either safety glass, which was heavy, or cellulose nitrate (i.e.: guncotton), which yellowed quickly and was extremely flammable. In the mid-1920s many aircraft manufacturers began using enclosed cockpits for the first time. Early airplanes with closed cockpits include the 1924 Fokker F.VII, the 1926 German Junkers W 34 transport, the 1926 Ford Trimotor, the 1927 Lockheed Vega, the Spirit of St. Louis and the passenger aircraft manufactured by the Douglas and Boeing companies during the mid-1930s. Open-cockpit airplanes were almost extinct by the mid-1950s, with the exception of training planes, crop-dusters and homebuilt aircraft designs.

Ergonomics and Human Factors concerns are important in the design of modern cockpits. The layout and function of cockpit displays controls are designed to increase pilot situation awareness without causing information overload. In the past, many cockpits, especially in fighter aircraft, limited the size of the pilots that could fit into them. Now, cockpits are being designed to accommodate from the 1st percentile female physical size to the 99th percentile male size.

In the book Fighting Cockpits 1914-2000: Design and Development of Military Aircraft Cockpits (L. F. E. Coombs - 1999), it is mentioned that the origin of 'cockpit' as part of aviation terminology is uncertain. However, the book tries to explain the transition of the nautical term cockpit to aeronautics by saying that the designers and pilots who were also keen on sailing applied the term.

It so happened that many of the pre 1914 flying machines provided no protection to the pilot from the elements. Eventually the sides of the fuselage were raised and those designers and pilots who were also keen on sailing applied the nautical term 'cockpit' to their aircraft's control position. In the sailing world 'cockpit' is specified as a depression in the deck for the tiller and helmsman. Another meaning comes from the bloody sport of cock fighting. In the Royal Air Force Communiques of 1918 we find 'cock-pit'. Aviation etymological research can lead to many origins. 041b061a72

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