Airbus A320 & Boeing 737 NG Guide Advice


Finished the (incredibly long) process of doing the cockpit layout for both the 737 and the A320…

Man, I had never realized how cluttered the 737 cockpit really is! :open_mouth:


Warned you! :wink:

Sit in a real one if you get the chance, the physical layout and dimensions of all the switch panels and visual styles is so… disconnected from eachother compared to a modern boeing aircraft or a airbus cockpit!


I meant cluttered as in “messy” more than “oh my god there are so many switches”. I see a couple of 737 simulator cockpits at work, but I never paid much attention to “how” the switches were positioned. As an example, there are landing gear indicator lights both on the overhead and on the front panel (I can understand why it’s been done like that but it makes it all disjointed)… or there are wiper switches right in the middle of the APU control panel.

From an ergonomical point of view, Airbus seemed light years ahead at that time.


Yes, that is what I meant too. I wonder if Boeing plans on ever upgrading the 737, I just checked for 737 MAX FD pictures, and it appears that it mostly knicks the wonderful displays of the 787, but other then that not much of a difference.

Looking forward to your guides! Good luck writing them, I am sure they will be a massive succes!


You guys can knock it but keep in mind that the 737 is super simple, very dependable and quick to get loaded and pushed off the gate. The flight deck is not going to wow any knowledgeable cockpit visitor. It is not pretty, sexy or particularly comfortable. But you can learn it quickly and either go fly or go fix, depending on your role. And the cockpit isn’t so sporadic as some of you are implying. Like all airliners, electrics are grouped here, bleed, pneumatics, pressurization are over there. Whether one must push a PB or flip a switch to get an action is a fairly meaningless distinction in the scheme of things.

Don’t count on a great deal of modernization with the Max. So long as it shares a type-rating with the pre-NG 737s, there is only so much Boeing can do with the lipstick.


…and the overhead gear lights serve as a secondary gear indication and eliminated the need for viewing ports in the event of a gear-unsafe indications. That’s the only time you would ever need to look up. Same is true with the flap/slat status lights.


I agree with you, the 737 isn’t a bad plane or does not have a bad cockpit by any means (just look at russian cockpits… Har har!) … However, credit goes where credit is due to Airbus for some aspects of their plane, ergonomy being one of them. I’m just discovering both aircraft little by little and making observations as I go, being neither a Boeing nor an Airbus fanboy. There’s stuff I like with Boeing too! (the way caution messages are displayed during malfunctions for instance).


Oh I certainly am not saying it’s a bad plane, it has its quirks and design decisions that make you think “What the actual F did you think would happen?!” but overall it’s a relatively reliable aircraft. It’s just that its old compared to modern contraptions designed by Boeing :wink: . I especially fancy the 788 cockpit, and yes I know I am comparing the latest and greatest with tech designed before the advent of modern computers.


Great Owl! If you have any specific questions or would like suggestions on simplified flows for diferent phases of flight, feel free to ask.


For sure. The “lights out” philosophy was perfected on the A320 and is still superior, I think, to the 777. Boeing has never seen a need to keep a lot of commonality between fleets. Even when the type-ratings are shared (737OLD/737NG, 757/767/767-400) there is much less commonality than exists even among the non-shared-type Airbus FBW fleets. I also agree with Airbus in eliminating the yoke (an unnecessary trick-**** forced on Boeing by United (the launch customer))


Just wasted half an hour in the Airbus unsuccessfully trying to deploy spoilers while being static on the ground…

Until I finally realized that I had to be either landing or in a rejected takeoff in order to compress the landing gear… which sends the signal for the ground spoilers to deploy. You really HAVE to read the manual for that one, whew!


I don’t quite get the obsession with Boeing and keeping the Yoke, it looks like it was mostly a design consideration from the time when you still needed to create a force to move the controls.


You certainly need it for non-FBW configurations like the 737. The interplay between stabilizer and elevator plus the forces needed during manual reversion make utilizing a stick (that isn’t 20 feet long) difficult at best. I had heard, as I hinted above, that Boeing gave a great deal of deference to input from United and other initial customers. And that’s a good thing. The 777 is damn near perfect. But the yoke was a throwback to conservatism and a way to differentiate the plane from the still-simering doubts about the A320. The yoke, associated drives and interconnects add weight, complexity and a comprimised cockpit.


Ahhh! You’ve discovered those LGCIUs! :grin:

All Hell in a cacophony breaks loose alarm-wise if you have to ever reset them. Only ever done on the ground, of course, according to the QRH reset table. They are tied up with so much. It would be positively dangerous to do it in flight, LOL!

I was just thinking about this, insomuch as your guide goes, and reading between the lines of your post. There are a lot of these types of “gotchas!” with the Airbus that could really send your work (and readers) down many needless rabbit holes if you stray off SOP. It is not that I am assuming by any means that you are trying to reinvent the wheel, in the least, but the Airbus is one aircraft that is flown strictly by the book. For example, if you were trying to test the spoilers on the ground for function, then the SOP control check does this for you (excepting only the inboard spoiler, which in a way are being tested because they are being commanded to not function by their respective SEC. Welcome to Airbus logic!). In short, your best bet is to stick to the procedures as the FCOM establishes, and make them “interpret-able” to sim users of other types. They make sense, and cover all that you need to fly safe and efficiently.

It is my two cents, to save you such headaches. :slight_smile:

(Of course, if you are doing those deviations for your own comprehension, familiarization, and synthesis, then it can only be encouraged. However, I would avoid taking your guide readers there. If they are curious enough, they’ll research it themselves once you’ve hooked their interest, LOL!)


Being a systems guy by trade, I just have to toy with everything to understand the aircraft inside out. Part of the fun is to figure out my own mistakes by myself, I can’t help it :wink: Of course, it may be futile, I know…, but for every guide I made I always had to smash my head against a brick wall a couple of times before feeling comfortable enough to start explaining stuff in simple terms. I just stubbornly refuse to blindly follow SOPs without knowing why I do what I do. Looking back at my previous example with the ground spoilers doesn’t mean that I’ll write 10 pages on the spoiler system… however I can simply mention that spoilers will only be deployed in certain conditions, meaning that spoiler actuators won’t systematically deploy when you move the lever.

I don’t intend to start going on tangents… it defies the purpose of what I do. There’s the real FCOM for the juicy deets.


A man after my own heart! Well said!


Too much information or not enough?


Just a little note. 320 speedbrakes differ slightly from 319 in flight. 320 (in flight with autopilot engaged) will only deploy half speedbrake even if full speedbrake is selected. Disconnecting autopilot will give you access to full speed brake.

So a little wise man once said, “in a 320 with autopilot engaged, it may be a better idea to not select more than half speedbrake. Because you may get a surprise if the autopilot drops out and suddenly you have a lot more speedbrake than what you had before”


Are you positive it’s called an airbrake? From what I’ve always been taught in classes is that the airbrake, spoiler, and flightspoiler and distinctly different things. With the feature of the airbrake being that it does not disturb the airflow over the wing but is more a device to increase drag at the (usual) rear end of the aircraft.

I do see you only refer to it as the airbrake in the drawing and not in the writings, where you go into the operational modes of the control surface, so perhaps I am misreading this?


BTW Chuck, your guides are really clear and, well, …pretty. I am not sure if “airbrake” applies either but if that’s what the FCOM says then go with it. You probably mention this elsewhere but as long as you are covering the functionallity of the spoiler panels, by far the most common function (for some panels) is roll control. And a more obscure function that is probably not modeled by the sim is Load Alleviation (LAF).