A multi- function display (MFD ) is a screen in an aircraft that can display important flight routes and environmental parameters. It is important that the Multifunction display only the screen itself is meant, not the computer, which is used for providing information.


Multifunction displays were first used in the military sector of aviation. The advantage of that time was concentrated gathering information and displaying different screens for different tasks on one screen. How could the amount of time a pilot had to concentrate on aeronautically irrelevant things to be reduced, and the cockpit was more space in space created by the absence of other instruments. Development was accelerated by the mid-80s incipient trend towards two - man cockpit, where the former third man was omitted in the function of the flight engineer. In the further course of development, the idea of a multi- function displays also led to the development of head-up displays and its use in commercial aircraft, which enabled the principle of selective presentation of information in the field of view of the pilot.

Nowadays, not a modern airliner more is delivered without a Multifunction display.

Function and Mission

The since the mid- 90s in commercial aircraft fitted as standard MFDs typically have dimensions of approximately 6 " x 8 " (inches). In the ads since the late 1990s are LCDs, which have replaced the previously common CRTs.

Earlier glass cockpits as the Boeing 737 Classic were installed (except early 737-300 ), 757, 767, Airbus A300 -600 and A310, showed only the altitude and navigation information, the speed in the air and on the ground was still with made traditional indicators clearly (glass cockpit 1). Later glass cockpits, such as those found in the Boeing 747-400, 737NG and all newer models of Boeing and Airbus have all the mechanical gauges and warning lamps in the integrated EFIS (glass cockpit 2).

The primary task of Multifunction displays in a commercial aircraft is the representation of flight state. In this mode, the MFD takes over the task of the so-called Primary Flight Display ( PFD) and shows the pilot essentially an artificial horizon, the current altitude, vertical speed and heading. In the so-called navigation display mode ( ND ), the instrument the pilot a view of the flight path and the possible insertion of beacons, waypoints from the Random Area Navigation or airfields. Many Multifunction displays can (if available) also represent data from the TCAS and weather radar data, ie which are present in the environment airplanes on this map representation ( map mode ).

Furthermore, various ambient and flight parameters are displayed. These include the following: (these data are system-dependent and therefore not the same on every system. )

  • Outside temperature
  • The data from the Flight Management System such as starting weight, pre-calculated thrust, gravity, etc.
  • Flight time to destination
  • Speed ​​over ground
  • Amount of fuel reaching the target
  • Next waypoint and time consumption to the

In this context, it should again be mentioned that it is ( ND) only are virtual devices, so display modes at the Primary Flight Display ( PFD) and the navigation display, while the term Multi Function Display (MFD ) means the actual electronic display device.

In the cockpit of an Airbus A320, for example, there are a total of six multi- function displays.

  • Ever, an MFD as ND for the captain and the first officer
  • Ever, an MFD as the PFD for the captain and the first officer
  • Two MFDs in the center console as a system, engine and warning
  • Military technology
  • Aeronautical engineering