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I’m no where an expert and don’t know anything but I gave it a bit of thought. It seems to me that there are two types of vehicles or two types of operations. Instrumental and visual. So if a system is operated in instrumental mode, like instrumental flight, when all the information necessary is available in the screen in front of you, it seems to me that it would be more efficient to make interactive and turn the screen into touch screen. You’re only looking at the screen after all. But when you operate something in visual mode, when you have to monitor surroundings, the controls should be knobs and buttons, ones that you know from your muscle memory and can operate without looking.

For planes that means that controls required during normal flight can be touch controls. After all on Concord and TU-144 pilots didn’t even have visual. However during departure and landing, pilots need physics buttons and switches as it is visual flight.

Another conclusion is that fighter jets can’t have any touch controls, they are supposed to be in visual all the time.

Scene from a movie that comes to mind is the one from District 9, when they are starting the spaceship in the end. He’s totally focused on the screen, everything is happening on the screen so it totally makes sense to be a touch screen. Same goes for Star Trek, I suppose the operators don’t actually have visual on that big screen it’s just for comfort and reference.

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