Why is it called a ‘Cockpit’?!

| Linda Brown | Word & Idioms

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In the times that Great Britain ruled the seven seas, British sailors used to entertain themselves with cockfights.

The fight took place in a compartment below the deck nicknamed ‘The Cockpit’. Later, the term became to mean the ship’s steering bridge.

During WW1, the term “ascended” from the high seas to the high skies and became synonymous with the pilot’s steering deck.

Presently, it also describes a vehicle’s control panel.

 

Bonus Fact: speaking of cockpits, the origin of the term ‘Ace’ was coined in France during World War I, when air warfare began to develop. The first pilot to win the title of an Ace pilot was the French pilot Adolphe Pegoud. The French press called him l’as, “the ace” or “the champion”, after dropping five German aircraft in air fights.

Mind you, the term l’as was used in the pre-war French press as a nickname for sports stars. Hence, it was only natural that after it had been accepted for pilots, it also became a nickname for those who have won successes in other areas of the war, such as those who sunk ships or destroyed tanks.

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And for those of you who are pilot-enthusiasts, here are some facts about aces:

In the WW1 German Empire, the practice was to grant the “For Le Merit” decoration (known by the unofficial name “Blue Max”, Der blaue Max) to pilots who shot down eight enemy aircraft. This decoration was the highest military decoration given in Prussia, and later in Germany, until the end of the First World War. 

The Germans did not use the term “ace”. Pilots who dropped ten enemy aircraft were called “Überkanonen”, “super-cannons”. Their name and number of victories were widely publicized, to raise the morale of the population.

Unlike the German Empire, in the British Empire until 1916 there was no orderly record of victories in air battles. Although such a record was kept by squadrons themselves. As a result, there was no official publication of pilots champions, however, some pilots gained fame thanks to a press release.

The Soviet Air Force was the only corps in which women were as Aces: The Jewish-Russian pilot Lydia Litbeck shot down 12 German fighter jets, and Katya Budnova shot down 11.

French pilot Pierre La Glowe is famous for shooting down four German aircraft, seven Italian aircraft, and seven British aircraft; The latter he shot down as Vichy France Air Force pilot. No other pilot dropped such a variety of aircraft.

The title ‘Ace in a Day’ was given to a pilot who dropped five enemy aircraft and more in one day. The first to receive this title was a pilot and machine gunner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They shot down five Italian aircraft in one day, August 22, 1916.

German Ace, Fritz Otto Barnert, shot down five enemy aircraft in only 20 minutes (April 24, 1917). Amazingly, Barnert paralyzed with one hand, which makes the achievement far greater.

The number one ace of the jet era is General Giora Epstein of the Israeli Air force who shot down 17 Egyptian fighter jets.

And for those of you who are pilot-enthusiasts, here are some facts about aces:

In the WW1 German Empire, the practice was to grant the “For Le Merit” decoration (known by the unofficial name “Blue Max”, Der blaue Max) to pilots who shot down eight enemy aircraft. This decoration was the highest military decoration given in Prussia, and later in Germany, until the end of the First World War. 

The Germans did not use the term “ace”. Pilots who dropped ten enemy aircraft were called “Überkanonen”, “super-cannons”. Their name and number of victories were widely publicized, to raise the morale of the population.

Unlike the German Empire, in the British Empire until 1916 there was no orderly record of victories in air battles. Although such a record was kept by squadrons themselves. As a result, there was no official publication of pilots champions, however, some pilots gained fame thanks to a press release.

The Soviet Air Force was the only corps in which women were as Aces: The Jewish-Russian pilot Lydia Litbeck shot down 12 German fighter jets, and Katya Budnova shot down 11.

French pilot Pierre La Glowe is famous for shooting down four German aircraft, seven Italian aircraft, and seven British aircraft; The latter he shot down as Vichy France Air Force pilot. No other pilot dropped such a variety of aircraft.

The title ‘Ace in a Day’ was given to a pilot who dropped five enemy aircraft and more in one day. The first to receive this title was a pilot and machine gunner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They shot down five Italian aircraft in one day, August 22, 1916.

German Ace, Fritz Otto Barnert, shot down five enemy aircraft in only 20 minutes (April 24, 1917). Amazingly, Barnert paralyzed with one hand, which makes the achievement far greater.

The number one ace of the jet era is General Giora Epstein of the Israeli Air force who shot down 17 Egyptian fighter jets.