Why Is It Called A Cockpit?

Did you ever wonder why the control center of a plane is commonly referred to as a “cockpit”? Would you be surprised to learn that this nomenclature has nothing to do with the physical shape or size of the area itself?

In this article, we intend to explore the true origin of the name “cockpit” – tracing it back to its roots in historical naval warfare. You may be curious to learn that the choice of this nautical-based terminology is no accident or coincidence; it is, in fact, very much intentional and directly tied to the roles of aircraft pilots. From the Old English word “cok” meaning a rooster’s comb to the name “pit” referring to the sailor’s dugout, stay with us as we discuss why it’s called a cockpit.

Why Is It Called a Cockpit?

The term ‘cockpit’ is an old sailing term used to describe the area of a ship that housed a ship’s helm, which was usually located at the stern. This area was also known as a ‘fighting cockpit’ as it was where battles against other ships would be fought.

The term ‘cockpit’ has since been used to refer to the control rooms of other vessels, such as aircraft and spacecraft.

Early Aircraft Cockpits

The first aircraft to have a cockpit were built in 1910 and were known as ‘pusher’ aircraft.

Pusher aircraft featured a cockpit that was located at the back of the craft, which allowed the pilot to control the aircraft by standing or sitting in the open air. This style of cockpit was also found in the early planes used in the First World War.

Modern Aircraft Cockpits

Today, aircraft cockpits are much more sophisticated and contain a wide range of instruments and controls. Aircraft cockpits are designed to be ergonomic, allowing the pilot to easily access all of the necessary instruments and controls. The cockpit also includes many safety features, such as airbags and fire suppression systems.

The modern cockpit is also fitted with computerized systems which allow the pilot to access information about the current flight conditions.

The Commercial Airline Cockpit

Commercial airliners have a much more complex cockpit than the earlier aircraft.

The flight deck of an airliner contains multiple displays and controls which allow the pilots to easily access data about the aircraft performance and systems. In addition, the cockpit is designed with multiple redundancies which ensure that the pilots always have access to the necessary information and controls in order to keep the aircraft flying safely.


The term ‘cockpit’ is derived from its nautical origins, where it was used to describe the area of a ship that housed the ship’s helm.

Since then, the term has been used to describe the control room of many different vessels, including aircraft. Modern aircraft cockpits are highly sophisticated and contain multiple displays, instruments, and controls which allow the pilot to easily access all of the necessary data to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft. Citations: https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Aircraft_cockpithttps://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Pusher_configurationhttps://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Nautical_terminologyhttps://www. ftdichip. com/Support/Documents/DataSheets/Modules/DS_MCP2517FD. pdf

Leave a Comment