It may be surprising that something as simple as the pilot’s seat positioning can play a key role in the safe flying of an aircraft. This is why it is important to pay close attention to the seat adjustment phase during the “Before pushback and start” part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
This article will describe the principle of Eye Reference Point and how this is pivotal in the design of an Airbus aircraft’s cockpit. It will also illustrate how a pilot seated in the correct position will avoid the potential consequences from operating the aircraft with a poorly adjusted seating position.
A pilot who is between 1.58 m (5ft 2 inches) to 1·91 m (6ft 3 inches) tall shall have easy access to all of the aircraft’s controls in the cockpit and this is stipulated by EASA CS 25.777. This requirement ensures that the design fits to the vast majority of pilots
Modern aircraft cockpits are built around the eye reference point. It is used to size the cockpit windows and define the location of all the controls, displays and instruments.
When the pilots align themselves with the eye reference point, they will have adopted the optimum position to operate the aircraft.
The cockpit is designed so that when the pilot has aligned themselves to the eye reference point; all of the instruments and displays on the front panel are in their field of view.