Why is it called a Cockpit?

It is a common part of our vernacular. The cockpit. The place where the pilot and co-pilot steer the aircraft from. If you give it a little more thought, it is quite a strange name. In a car there is a driver’s seat, stands to reason, that in a plane there would be the pilot’s seat, yet we call it a cockpit.

The simple answer is that on a Royal Navy Ship, the quarters for the ship’s captain was called the cockpit, as the captain of the ship was called the coxswain, but legend tells of a far more interesting history to the name cockpit.

The midshipmen’s quarters below decks were the residence of men who spent many long days at sea. Long days at sea and mischief, are almost synonymous and these men were always looking for an extra-curricular activity to excite themselves with. Lo and behold, in these very quarters of the midshipmen’s was set up pits for aggressive cock fighting. While this story is only legend, it is from here that it began to be called a cockpit.

If you pay careful attention, you will notice that aircraft staff deter from calling it the cockpit and instead refer to it as the flight deck. The flight deck is perhaps the more proper way to refer to the pilot’s area in the plane, yet it is more commonly referred to as the cockpit.

While many pilot’s have tough jobs, most would agree that the best views in the world are at their offices. Right from the cockpit of a plane.

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