Forget your dials, gauges and clocks, the liquid crystal display panel is king at Le Bourget this year as a trip around the halls will confirm.

Once the domain of cheap watches and children's games, the LCD has moved on from its "only available in greeny-black" days to give excellent quality and dependability.

But it was the development of a totally different type of display - the active-matrix LCD - that paved the way for today's flat panels cockpit displays.


Very thin, and much lighter than previous types, the AMLCD needs much less power and no forced air cooling. It doesn't flicker or disappear in bright sunlight either.

Smiths Industries' Peter Jones says there are good reasons why digital displays appeal to the aviation industry.

"We produce one panel that replaces up to 30-odd traditional analogue dials in one older aircraft. The mean time between failure (SMTBF) for the whole unit used to be about 70 hours. Now it's over 3,000 hours which makes a big difference to the maintenance load.

"An AMLCD offers much better clarity than cathode ray tube displays and they are so much more versatile," he says.

"A display can be a moving map one second, then a FLIR display, engine management, radar or high resolution video display the next."

Source: Flight Daily News