What is PB on Airbus A320? (Push Button)

When you step inside the cockpit of an Airbus A320 aircraft, you will notice an array of buttons and switches that play a vital role in the operation of the aircraft. One of the most commonly used control elements is the Push Button (PB). The PB is a simple yet important component that allows pilots to interact with various systems and functions on the aircraft.

Push Buttons are present throughout the flight deck, from the overhead panel to the glare shield and even on the center pedestal. They are designed to be easily accessible and provide pilots with a quick and intuitive means of controlling various functions, such as electrical systems, hydraulic systems, and flight management systems.

In this article, we will explore the different types and functions of Push Buttons on the Airbus A320, and how they contribute to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft.

Types of Push Buttons (PB) on the Airbus A320

The Airbus A320 is equipped with several types of Push Buttons, each serving a specific purpose. Let’s dive into some of the most common types:

1. Momentary Push Button

The momentary push button is the most basic type found on the Airbus A320. As the name suggests, it is designed to activate a particular function only for the duration the button is pressed. Once the pressure is released, the button returns to its initial position. This type of PB is commonly used for functions that require temporary activation, such as turning on/off lights, initiating built-in tests, or selecting a specific mode.

For example, the momentary push button can be used to control the cockpit lighting. By pressing the button, the pilot can toggle the lights between different brightness levels, and when released, the lights will remain at the selected level. This allows for easy adjustment of lighting conditions as needed during different phases of flight.

2. Latching Push Button

The latching push button, also known as a toggle switch, is another type commonly found on the Airbus A320. Unlike the momentary push button, the latching button remains in the position it was last set until it is physically toggled to the opposite position.

These buttons are typically used for functions that require a persistent state, such as arming or disarming an autothrust system, engaging autopilot modes, or configuring system settings. The latching push buttons on the A320 are designed to provide a clear visual indication of their state, with different colors or illumination to distinguish between active and inactive positions.

Important Functions Controlled by Push Buttons on the Airbus A320

The Push Buttons on the Airbus A320 play a critical role in controlling various essential systems and functions. Let’s explore some important functions that can be controlled using these buttons:

1. Electrical System Control

The electrical system of the Airbus A320 is responsible for powering the aircraft’s essential components, systems, and equipment. Push Buttons are used to control various electrical functions, such as:

  • Turning on/off external power
  • Starting and stopping the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
  • Isolating electrical systems in case of faults

The electrical system control buttons are typically located on the overhead panel, within easy reach of the pilots. Pilots rely on these buttons to ensure a stable and uninterrupted power supply throughout the flight.

2. Hydraulic System Control

The Airbus A320 relies on hydraulic systems to power essential flight control surfaces, landing gear, and other vital components. Push Buttons are used to control different hydraulic functions on the aircraft, such as:

  • Controlling the hydraulic pumps
  • Configuring the hydraulic system for normal or alternate operation
  • Isolating hydraulic systems in case of leaks

The hydraulic system control buttons are usually located on the overhead panel or the center pedestal, making them easily accessible to the pilots. Proper control and monitoring of hydraulic systems are crucial for the safe operation of the aircraft.

3. Flight Management System Control

The Flight Management System (FMS) is an integral part of the Airbus A320’s avionics, aiding in flight planning, navigation, and performance calculations. Push Buttons are used to control various aspects of the FMS, such as:

  • Selecting different phases of flight (climb, cruise, descent, etc.)
  • Engaging and disengaging autopilot and autothrust modes
  • Activating and configuring flight guidance modes

The FMS control buttons are generally located on the glare shield panel or the center pedestal. These buttons allow pilots to manage and fine-tune the automation features of the aircraft, ensuring accurate navigation and efficient flight operations.


The Push Buttons on the Airbus A320 are more than just simple control elements; they are powerful tools that enable pilots to operate and manage critical systems and functions on the aircraft. From controlling electrical and hydraulic systems to managing the Flight Management System, these buttons offer pilots the means to ensure safe and efficient operation throughout every flight.

Understanding the different types and functions of Push Buttons is essential for anyone aspiring to be a pilot or seeking a deeper understanding of aircraft operation. By mastering these control elements, pilots can confidently navigate the complexities of an Airbus A320 cockpit and contribute to the seamless and reliable performance of the aircraft.

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