What is PFD on Boeing 737? (Primary Flight Display)

The Primary Flight Display (PFD) is an essential instrument found in the cockpit of Boeing 737 aircraft. It provides the flight crew with crucial information regarding the aircraft’s flight parameters and performance, allowing them to monitor and control the aircraft safely. The PFD is a key component of the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), which replaces traditional analog flight instruments with digital displays. This article will explore the functions and features of the PFD on the Boeing 737, highlighting its significance in modern aviation.

The Primary Flight Display

The PFD on the Boeing 737 is typically located in the center of the pilot’s instrument panel, directly in front of the flight crew. It consists of a high-resolution color display that presents various flight parameters and navigational information in a clear and organized manner. The PFD integrates data from multiple aircraft systems, including the aircraft’s attitude and heading reference system, air data computer, and navigation sensors, to provide a comprehensive view of the aircraft’s current status.

The PFD displays several key pieces of information that aid the flight crew in controlling the aircraft:

  • Aircraft Attitude: The PFD shows the aircraft’s pitch and roll attitudes, allowing the pilots to maintain the desired flight path and attitude during various phases of flight.
  • Airspeed: The PFD provides real-time airspeed information, enabling the flight crew to monitor the aircraft’s speed and ensure it remains within safe operating limits.
  • Altitude: The PFD displays the aircraft’s current altitude, helping the pilots to maintain the correct vertical profile throughout the flight.
  • Vertical Speed: This parameter shows the rate at which the aircraft is ascending or descending, providing the pilots with valuable information about the aircraft’s climb or descent performance.
  • Heading: The PFD presents the aircraft’s heading, which is the direction the aircraft is pointing, allowing the pilots to navigate accurately.
  • Flight Director: The PFD can also display a flight director, which provides guidance to the pilots in following a specific flight path or performing maneuvers.

In addition to these primary flight parameters, the PFD also incorporates other information such as navigation aids, weather radar displays, and engine instrumentation, depending on the specific configuration and options chosen by the airline. This comprehensive display allows the flight crew to have all the necessary information readily available, reducing their workload and enhancing situational awareness.

Advantages of the PFD on the Boeing 737

The Primary Flight Display on the Boeing 737 offers several advantages over traditional analog instruments:

  • Enhanced Situational Awareness: The PFD presents flight information in a clear and organized manner, making it easier for the flight crew to interpret and process critical data during all phases of flight.
  • Reduced Workload: By consolidating multiple flight parameters into a single display, the PFD reduces the flight crew’s workload. This allows pilots to focus on other important tasks, such as communication with air traffic control and monitoring systems.
  • Improved Safety: The PFD enhances safety by providing the flight crew with accurate and up-to-date information regarding the aircraft’s performance. This enables them to make informed decisions and respond promptly to abnormal situations or emergencies.
  • Customization and Flexibility: The PFD can be customized based on the airline’s preferences and regulatory requirements. Airlines can choose to display specific information or enable additional features to meet their operational needs.

It is important to note that the PFD is just one component of the overall flight instrument system on the Boeing 737. It works in conjunction with other displays, such as the Navigation Display (ND) and Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS), to provide a comprehensive and integrated cockpit experience.


The Primary Flight Display (PFD) on the Boeing 737 plays a vital role in modern aviation by providing flight crews with essential information regarding the aircraft’s flight parameters and performance. As a key component of the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), the PFD offers numerous advantages over traditional analog instruments, including enhanced situational awareness, reduced workload, improved safety, and customization options.

The implementation of the PFD on the Boeing 737 demonstrates the continuous advancements in aviation technology, aimed at making flying safer and more efficient. By leveraging digital displays and integrating data from various aircraft systems, the PFD revolutionizes the way pilots monitor and control the aircraft, contributing to enhanced flight safety and overall operational excellence.

For more technical information about the Boeing 737’s Primary Flight Display, you can visit https://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/2010_q3/3/

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