Eyes through the HUD

One of the oldest challenges in aviation was scanning the instruments in the cockpit whilst simultaneously looking out the window at where you are going. Military aircraft solved this problem long ago and this solution now finding it’s way into modern passenger aircraft like the 787 Dreamliner.


The Head Up Display, or HUD, allows us to keep our eyes outside whilst still being able to monitor all our flight parameters. It makes for a great photo at altitude but really comes into its own on landing. Starting from the bottom left…

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.845 – our actual Mach number. In effect 84.5% the speed of sound

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282 – our actual airspeed. The speed of the air over the wings.

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.850 – our demanded Mach number

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68 – the wind direction and speed in knots

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SPD | LNAV | VNAV PTH – the FMAs, or Flight Mode Annunciations. These tell us which modes the autopilot is following.

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A/P – shows that the Autopilot is engaged.

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H286 – current magnetic heading

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36000 – demanded altitude/Flight Level

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36000 – our actual altitude

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STD – Standard altimeter setting used when flying in the cruise.

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