What is RDU on Boeing 737? (Remote Display Unit)

The Remote Display Unit (RDU) is an essential component of the Boeing 737 aircraft’s cockpit display system. It serves as a secondary means of displaying critical flight information to the pilots, ensuring redundancy and backup in case of primary display failures. The RDU provides pilots with access to critical flight data, system information, and control functions, enhancing the overall safety and efficiency of the aircraft.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the Remote Display Unit on the Boeing 737 aircraft, exploring its functions, features, and significance in the aviation industry.

The Role of the Remote Display Unit

The Remote Display Unit plays a crucial role in facilitating effective communication between the pilots and the aircraft’s systems. It serves as a secondary display for key information related to flight parameters, engine performance, navigation, and system status. By providing redundant displays, the RDU enhances the pilots’ situational awareness and allows them to make informed decisions in critical situations.

The RDU displays information derived from various onboard systems, including the Flight Management System (FMS), Air Data Inertial Reference System (ADIRS), and Navigation Display (ND). This information includes essential flight parameters such as airspeed, altitude, heading, vertical speed, and fuel quantity. The RDU also provides access to systems like the Autopilot, Flight Director, and Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) control panels.

The Remote Display Unit is typically installed on the central pedestal between the two pilots in the cockpit. It features a high-resolution display, enabling clear visibility even in challenging lighting conditions. The unit is designed to withstand the demanding operating environment of commercial aviation, including vibration, temperature variations, and electromagnetic interference.

Features and Functionality of the RDU

The Remote Display Unit incorporates several key features and functionalities to ensure seamless operation and reliability. Let’s delve into some of these:

1. Multi-Function Display

The RDU serves as a multi-function display, presenting a wealth of information to the pilots. It can display various pages, each offering different sets of flight information, system status, or control options. Pilots can navigate through these pages using the unit’s dedicated control knobs, allowing them to access the desired data easily. This flexibility enhances the pilots’ ability to monitor different aspects of the aircraft’s operation simultaneously.

For example, the RDU can display the Primary Flight Display (PFD), which presents the aircraft’s attitude (pitch and roll) and other flight parameters such as airspeed, altitude, and vertical speed. It can also show the Navigation Display (ND), offering information about the aircraft’s position relative to navigation aids, waypoints, and the chosen flight route. Other pages may include engine parameters, system synoptics, and flight planning data.

2. Backup System

The Remote Display Unit functions as a backup system for the primary displays, such as the Captain’s Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the First Officer’s Navigation Display (ND). In the event of a failure of these primary displays, the RDU can take over and provide the necessary flight information to the pilots.

This redundancy is crucial for flight safety, ensuring that the pilots have access to critical information even if the primary displays encounter technical issues. The RDU acts as a reliable backup, greatly reducing the risk of loss of situational awareness in the cockpit.

3. System Control

Another vital function of the Remote Display Unit is its ability to control various systems and settings within the aircraft. The RDU provides access to control panels for systems such as the Autopilot, Flight Director, and Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS).

Pilots can adjust autopilot settings, engage or disengage the flight director, and configure the EFIS display options through the RDU. This centralized control allows for efficient operation and streamlines the pilots’ workflow.

Significance in Aviation Industry

The Remote Display Unit plays a significant role in the aviation industry, contributing to the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the Boeing 737 aircraft. Here’s why the RDU holds such importance:

1. Redundancy and Backup

The RDU provides redundancy and backup for critical flight information displays, ensuring that the pilots have access to this information even in the event of a failure. This redundancy greatly enhances the pilots’ situational awareness and allows them to respond effectively to any unexpected situations.

The ability to switch to the Remote Display Unit as a backup reduces the risk of accidents or incidents caused by the loss of critical flight information. It serves as an essential fail-safe mechanism, further increasing the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.

2. Enhanced Situational Awareness

The Remote Display Unit provides pilots with an additional display source for flight information, system status, and control functions. This supplementary display enhances the pilots’ situational awareness by offering a different perspective on the same data displayed on the primary displays.

With the RDU, pilots can cross-reference the information displayed on the primary displays, allowing them to validate the accuracy and integrity of the data. This cross-referencing greatly reduces the likelihood of misinterpreting crucial flight information and enhances decision-making capabilities in critical situations.

3. Pilot Training and Familiarization

The presence of the Remote Display Unit in the cockpit of the Boeing 737 aircraft also holds significance in pilot training and familiarization. Flight crews undergo extensive training on the aircraft systems, including the use of the RDU and its various functions.

By familiarizing pilots with the RDU during training, they become proficient in operating the unit and leveraging its capabilities effectively. This familiarity enables pilots to utilize the RDU as a valuable resource in their day-to-day operations, leading to improved overall performance and safety outcomes.

The Remote Display Unit on the Boeing 737 aircraft is an integral component of the cockpit display system. It serves as a redundant display, backup system, and control interface for critical flight information and systems. The RDU’s role in enhancing safety, situational awareness, and pilot proficiency makes it an essential element of modern aviation.

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