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A cockpit is the place from which the operator controls a machine. The cockpit is usually enclosed and either has electronic monitors, a panoramic 360 degree view, or see through materials for the operator to view the out of. There are complex control systems with varying combinations of joysticks, throttles, foot pedals, and psycommu systems. Cockpit safety features can include a floating seat to absorb G-forces, shock balloons positioned around the cockpit to protect the pilot from violent decelerations, and ejection systems.
Cockpit Designs by Era
Cockpits during the Universal Century started out very simple as they were based more on fighter jets prior to the start of the Universal Century calender. However, even then, many knew that a basic cockpit such as this was going to be a troublesome obstacle. Starting with the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex", mobile suits were soon fitted with what is known as a panoramic cockpit, creating a 360 degree field of vision for the pilot, though this wouldn't come into standardization until the mid U.C. 0080s.
Around that same time, a new kind of seat was devised, the Linear Seat. Mounted on a special bar, it was designed to reduce the shock and whiplash caused by damage taken. By the U.C. 0090s, the Linear Seat added in a special airbag of sorts to aid in said cushioning.
Cockpits in the Future Century varied greatly due to many factors - the type of pilot, the type of suit, the country, etc.
Mobile Fighters were designed with the idea of allowing a fighter to fight as one with his or her suit. The Mobile Trace System was that, granting a pilot full control of the suit and all of its actions. Many military-based Mobile Suits utilize standardized Mobile Suit cockpits while more personal (and usually sillier) Mobile Suits have varying cockpits. For instance, the NEL-75C Butler Bensouman has a cockpit set up like an automobile, complete with steering wheel.