The Airbus A320 cockpit comprises the area above the floor structure between frames 1 and 12.


The Airbus A320 cockpit is designed to achieve pilot operational needs throughout the aircraft operating environment, while ensuring maximum commonality within the Fly by Wire family.

A Forward Facing Cockpit Layout with ”Lights out” or ”Dark Cockpit” concept assisting the crew to properly control the various aircraft systems.

The cockpit has adjustable seats for two crew members, a third occupant seat and, depending on the configuration, a folding seat for a fourth occupant. Various furnishings and equipment are installed in the cockpit for the comfort, convenience and safety of the occupants.


The controls of most aircraft systems are located on the overhead panel.

The overhead panel is divided into two main sections:

  • a FWD section including the system panels,
  • an AFT section including mainly the circuit breaker panel.


The Flight Control Unit (FCU) includes the EFIS controls, and is used for control and monitoring of the Auto Flight System (AFS). It is located on the glareshield. The “Master Warning” and the “Master Caution” lights are also located on the glareshield.


The enhanced single aisle aircraft main instrument panel instrumentation has been updated. Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) replace the existing CRTs. A single integrated electronic indicator, the Integrated Standby Instrument System (ISIS) replaces the standby instrumentation: Standby horizon, Airspeed indicator and Altimeter.


The center pedestal ergonomic design of the SA family aircraft gives the flight crew efficient access to multiple system controls without compromising safety. The panels are:

  • Switching panel
  • ECAM control panel (ECP)
  • Multipurpose Control Display Units (MCDU)
  • Radio Management Panels (RMPs)
  • Audio Control Panels (ACPs)
  • Thrust levers and thrust reverser levers
  • Pitch trim wheel
  • Engine start panel
  • Air Traffic Control / Traffic Collision Avoidance System panel (ATC/TCAS)
  • Flap/slat control handle
  • Speed brake control panel
  • Parking brake control panel
  • Cockpit door lock panel
  • Landing gear gravity extension handle
  • Printer
  • Multipurpose Disk Drive Unit (MDDU)
  • PA handset at the rear of the pedestal


The Conventional Aircraft control yoke is noticeably missing in the Airbus Single Aisle aircraft. The Side Stick Controller (SSC) replaces the Conventional Aircraft yoke. There is one SSC for each pilot mounted in the side consoles. The Aircraft nose wheel is steerable. The flight crew operates the Nose Wheel Steering (NWS) by using the NWS tillers mounted outboard of the SSC on the same side console. Behind the most forward side console are installed several other compartments along the outboard sides of the cockpit. These side consoles are used as stowage space for documents, oxygen masks, fire extinguisher and microphone and headset connections.


Prior to the design of the A320 family aircraft, the designers examined previous generation aircraft cockpit system indications. A decision was made on the system indicator lights on the overhead panel that indicator lights do not come on when systems are in normal operation and there are no failures. This ergonomic design enabled the pilots to immediately see when a system is faulty or has been manually shut off.


System controls on the overhead panel make extensive use of pushbuttons, directly installed in the system synoptic. Whenever possible, pushbuttons used for corrective actions, have integrated status and failure indications.

Pushbuttons Positions (basic function) –

  • Pressed In – ON, AUTO, OVRD, OPEN
  • Released Out – OFF, MAN, ALTN, SHUT
  • Certain pushbutton lights have two dots, indicating that the corresponding part of the pushbutton is not used.
  • Certain pushbuttons do not remain pressed in. These are referred to as “Momentary Action” pushbuttons.


The pushbuttons light and annunciator lights are in different colors according to their function. In normal operation, only green lights and, sometimes, blue lights come on.

Pushbuttons Lights (color coding) – 

  • Warning: RED – A failure requiring immediate action.
  • Caution: Amber – A failure but does not call for immediate action.
  • Indications: 
    • GREEN – normal system operation.
    • BLUE – normal operation of a system used temporarily.
    • WHITE – 
      • abnormal pushbutton position; 
      • test result or maintenance information.

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