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action and the color was not tied to an operational need. The result witnessed
during a certification project was pilot distraction from a primary task to respond
to the indication.
The use of colors that did not adhere to the overall color philosophy decreased the
informativeness of the display, therefore not supporting its intended function.
Format and applications appearing on newly installed equipment that did not
adhere to the existing flight deck color philosophy led to pilot confusion and error.
Text and symbols used as overlays on maps were unreadable when the same color
on the map moved under the label or symbol, such as red traffic symbols moving
over red terrain on a map display.
Retrofit: Equipment added to an existing flight deck used a different color
philosophy than the one on the existing flight deck, which led to confusion during
normal or failure mode use. For example, a line-select key Control Display Unit
(CDU) interface in an existing flight deck was replaced by a touch screen interface,
but did not apply the same color coding used in the rest of the existing flight deck
to differentiate between automated versus pilot-entered data.
Approved Design Examples
Examples of previously approved uses of red, yellow, or amber that met an
operational function include:
o Weather radar display (for areas of severe/hazardous weather conditions that
should be avoided)
o Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) terrain display (for terrain
relative to the current altitude)
o Caution and warning bands/tick marks on engine gauges per 14 CFR 23.1549
/ 25.1549 Powerplant and auxiliary power unit instruments and 14 CFR
27.1549 / 29.1549 Powerplant instruments
Use of black halos around every character stroke or symbol or adding a semi-
transparent black background to the text or symbols when overlaid on a map has
been used to prevent them from blending with similar colors on the map.
Non-discrete color coding was applied as the graduation of colors/shading of
terrain on maps and synthetic vision system (SVS) displays.
Redundant coding, such as traffic display symbology that used both symbol shape
and color to distinguish proximity of traffic to ownship has been applied to aid
quick interpretation of traffic.
Colors, particularly red and yellow/amber are used to convey the criticality of
information in the cockpit. 14 CFR 23.1322 / 27.1322 / 29.1322 Warning, caution,
and advisory lights, 14 CFR 25.1322 Flightcrew alerting, ACs 25.1322-1
Flightcrew Alerting, 27-1() Certification of Normal Category Rotorcraft Section
27.1322, and 29-2() Certification of Transport Category Rotorcraft Section
29.1322 provide direction on what colors are associated with the criticality of
system failures and system status. According to 14 CFR 25.1322(f), “Use of the
colors red, amber, and yellow on the flight deck for functions other than flightcrew
alerting must be limited and must not adversely affect flightcrew alerting.” AC
25.1322-1 requires the consistent use and standardization for red, amber, and
yellow to retain the effectiveness of flightcrew alerts. This includes alert color
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