Fighter Pilot Explains Functions Of Every Button In F-15 Eagle’s Cockpit

Fighter Pilot Explains Functions Of Every Button In F-15 Eagle’s Cockpit
The cockpit of the F-15C Eagle with the new Passive Attack Display. (Screenshots from the Ars Technica YouTube video)

The Ars Technica YouTube channel published an interesting tour of the F-15C Eagle cockpit.

The cockpit tour, which features an F-15C of the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard, is hosted by retired United States Air Force Col. Andrea Themely, a former pilot with over 3400 flight hours in her 23-year long career, including 1100 flight hours in the Eagle.

Col. Themely starts off her tour by breaking down the cockpit’s over 250 buttons and features based on their function: most used features, emergency features, weapons and defense, cockpit customization, navigation, and communications and backup features.

F-15 Cockpit Layout

Here are 21 of the most important cockpit instruments in the F-15 Eagle.

  • Multi-Purpose Color Display (MPCD) – lives in the lower left portion of the instrument panel. The MPCD displays the number of external fuel tanks, the current state of weapons, and countermeasures.
  • IAS and Mach Meter – lives to the right of MPCD. It shows the indicated airspeed and the Mach number.
  • Vertical Situation Display (VSD) – or “radar scope” lives in the upper left corner of the instrument panel. It displays the air situation in front of the aircraft, detailing information on other aircraft detected by the radar.
  • Attitude Director Indicator (ADI) – lives in the central portion of the instrument panel. The rotating sphere shows the current pitch and bank angles.
  • Vertical Velocity Indicator (VVI) – indicates the vertical aircraft speed (the climb and sink rate) in thousands of feet per minute.
  • Altimeter – Lives to the right of the ADI and shows the barometric pressure altitude and is displayed in units of 20 feet.
  • Fan turbine inlet temperature indicators (FTIT) – lives below the tachometer. The indicator scale graduates each 100 degrees Celsius. The indicator arrow in the red zone shows dangerously high turbine gas temperature.
  • Engine Tachometers – indicate engine RPM. They show percentages of the maximum RPM, and a red zone corresponds to the “afterburner” zones.
  • TEWS Display Unit – lives in the upper right corner of the instrument panel. It displays info on radars illuminating the F-15. The information is presented as symbols that indicate radar type and direction, also self-protected jammer activity.
  • Fuel quantity indicator – measures how much fuel is available in both internal and external tanks. Fuel amount is measured in pounds.
  • Chaff and flare lights
  • Landing gear control handle
  • Landing gear position indicator
  • Angle of Attack (AoA) indicator – lives on the instrument panel under the IAS and Mach meter. It indicates the current AoA value within the limits of 0 to 45 units. The AoA-indicated values do not correspond to actual degrees.
  • Accelerometer – shows the current values of positive and negative G loads.
  • Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) – lives in the lower center of the instrument panel. The HSI shows a top-down view of the aircraft superimposed on a compass. The aircraft’s heading always appears at the top of the display. The course arrow, on the outer edge of the display, shows the direction of the next waypoint.
  • Clock
  • Engine fuel flow indicators – measure and show the current values of the fuel flow for each engine. Fuel flow is measured in pounds per hour.
  • Engine exhaust nozzle position indicator – lives in the lower left corner of the instrument panel. The two indicators show the nozzle position (opening rate) of each engine in percent from the fully opened position. In afterburner mode, the nozzles are fully opened.
  • Cabin pressure altimeter – shows the altitude at which atmospheric pressure is equal to the current cockpit pressure.
  • Caution lights panel

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