The design of the flight deck of a modern commercial airliner starts with the concept of the pilot's “design eye reference point (DERP).” This point allows for a finite reference enabling the precise determination of geometric entities that define the layout of the cockpit. While ideal from the design context, the reference point proves to be impractical. The DERP is an elusive point in space that pilots find difficult to adjust to.
The consequences of failure to place the pilot's eye in the proper position include a decrease in the visual segment of the ground during approach or obscuration of vital flight displays, which could have an effect on flight safety. These factors are presented in some detail in this paper. In addition, a potential design solution that employs a modified automotive “eyellipse” concept is discussed. The effect of this new design methodology on existing cockpit geometry is also demonstrated.