The CL-215T cockpit has been substantially improved. Both pilots have electronic flight-instrument systems, while liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) show engine and systems data. Subtle changes have improved the aircraft's user-friendliness. New handgrips above the windscreen make it easier to reach the seat, and there are extra padded grips on the back of the centre pedestal. The control wheels are more oval than circular, like those of the Convair CV-440, to give better single-handed leverage.

The individual rudder-pedals are now readily adjustable via knobs on the padded ledge under the instrument panel. The louvred air-conditioning outlets have been moved to avoid directing air into the crew's eyes, and the map spotlight has been moved from beside to above the crew.

With two radio-tuning units serving all navigation and communication duties, best use is made of the small central control pedestal, under which is the access-way to the bow hatch and anchorage. A separate "clearance" radio overhead serves as a standby.

The central coaming switch-panel, with the water-drop controls, is recessed and re-organised, with a clearer layout: its slightly longer horizontal top helps in establishing a wings-level attitude. Most importantly, an angle-of-attack gauge sits by the pitch trim repeater on the pilot's side coaming, putting two important parameters directly in his lower vision.

The rugged side windows are delightfully simple to open, unlocking inward with a half turn of the handle; they are released rearwards by claws at their forward edges, which also engage in stop-holes in the frames for partial opening.

Even though many of the individual equipment items have their own built-in test cycles, the full pre-flight check is still so extensive that it is mainly done in advance, so that the aircraft can be ready at fire-standby for instant engine starting. The lamp unserviceability check is good: the working bulb of any failed dual filament switch light flashes.

The three LCD displays show primary engine data, secondary engine readings and systems information. Even at the best brightness settings the "black" background is more dark gray, but the colours are crisp enough to compensate for this.

Readings on the vertical engine scales are marked by carets, with digital values shown alongside; limits and restricted bands are colour-coded. There are even red warnings and amber cautions, boxed on the secondary engine LCD, to warn of flooding in the bilges of the 12 separate compartments of the watertight hull.

Source: Flight International