Real Answers from Real Pilots

Glass cockpit

Hi guys,

I am working on getting my PPL right now with a school in my locale. Unfortunately (fortunately?) none of their aircraft have a glass cockpit. Does this hinder anything down the line either entering into ATP or trying to get on with an airline?


Good question and no it does not matter, not in the slightest. People tend to make a big deal out of glass cockpits or six packs, but at the end of the day they really all display the exact same things. In fact, if you look closely at a glass cockpit you will notice that the instruments are in the exact same configuration as a glass cockpit has them.

Training on “steam gauges” will in no way affect your ability to get into ATP or get hired by an airline. In fact, I highly doubt that anybody will ever even ask you what type of cockpit you trained in.



I agree with Chris for the most part. However, there are Major airlines that will ask about your glass experience but by that point you’ll have plenty from ATP and/or your first Regional so not to worry. Personally I’m on the fortunately side and believe EVERYONE should have some non-glass experience. Don’t get me wrong, glass is awesome and provides a tremendous amount of information to the pilot creating a much higher level of situation awareness (which is vital). That makes the transition from steam to glass much easier than going the other way. The fact is there are still Major airlines flying planes with steam gauges (MD-80’s(88, 90), many older 767’s are a mix, many turbo-props and cargo 747-200) and there’s a chance you could find yourself sitting in one. I’ve jumpseated on some of these planes and I spend some time scratching my head and I flew a 6-pack for years. If you’ve never seen or flown one it can be VERY challenging. From my point of view I say it’s a positive.