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October 2005 edition

Cockpit Engineering by DN Jarrett. Published by Ashgate Publishing. Price: £50 Hardback

By Arthur Eldridge

True to the title Cockpit Engineering by DN Jarrett, a thirty-year veteran of investigating aircrew workplace environments, is a rich and varied compilation of data for cockpit systems and crew interfaces bridging several scientific disciplines. Over the course of several decades he has participated in both the research and design aspects of cockpit engineering with emphasis on the ‘human component’ sometimes missing from the engineering design equation. Jarrett provides a unique and valuable first-person glimpse into cockpit engineering offering up-close narrative details and descriptive figures which may crystallize an otherwise obscure point. Jarrett is a skilful tour guide through the seemingly complicated arena of cockpit designs encompassing concept, reasoning and purpose for the aircraft and its crew.

Not only does he give fascinating insights into the designs and the designers, but also chronicles his personal challenges. Jarrett is a credit to his profession; thoughtful, lucid, and self-effacing, he is concerned more about the complete engineering than the specific design, his own or others, and that encourages credibility for the research he presents. If I had one grievance with the book it would be this: I would have loved to have had this book in my own aerospace engineering and physiological studies. This work is an excellent resource, which would have been a valuable tool to both my colleagues and myself. Others in my current work who are not that familiar with aviation or cockpit engineering would also benefit greatly from this book. Jarrett provides an overview of cockpit engineering, which encapsulates the evolution of cockpit systems and design and demonstrates drastic changes in aviation crew and their operations, including why it was engineered and how it functions with emphasis on the crew performance and limitations. The book’s compelling graphics and photos greatly enhance the factual evidence presented by linking theory with vivid details. The information is aptly explained and expounded upon by a man who was not only an observer of aircrew cockpit principles, but also one who participated in the engineering himself.

The book is an essential resource for anyone from student to engineer and will be useful for years to come.

Arthur Eldridge is assigned to the Charles Taylor Department of Aviation Maintenance Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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