Mar 9, 2007

Mice on the bus?

What's the big bump thing on the A380 center pedestal? It certainly looks like some sort of track-ball or mouse-like device. I also notice that the keyboard uses a QWERTY layout. That seems more reasonable to me compared to the layout used on the original A320 MCDU - which was merely a quadrant of alpha-numeric characters in sequential order But this raises a question. In the original A320 FMS, some complex approaches utilizing DME arcs were coded in such a way that an alphabet character would represent mileage. So we'd sometimes use the keypad characters to confirm we were about to program the correct procedure (5 characters/line on the keypad). Archaic for sure. It stems from the fact that the screens and software have limited room for characters. Can you say DOS* boys and girls? So now A380 pilots will have to find some other way to count sequentially through the alphabet.

Maybe someone will provide them with gloves that have the ABCs embroidered on the finger tips?

*If you have no idea what DOS is/was, Google it. And yes, this is being typed on a Mac! ;-)


Garrett said...

That sure does look like some sort of trackball/wheelie thingy.

I wonder why they went with that instead of touch screens...

Aluwings said...

I would guess that this trackball 'thing' is easier to use in turbulence... but just guessing.