Kind of necro-posting a bit, and I apologize for that but I had an idea in regards to the cockpits. In the series Macross Plus the cockpits of the top of the line had digital cockpit systems meaning the inside of the cockpit was either the glass canopy or was lined by screen so when the system was operating it gave the impression that the pilot was simply flying in their seat with no cockpit around them. As the craft was damaged, parts of the display would fizzle out. I know it's a basically a pipe dream, but would something like that be possible?
This would be Ace Combat's COFFIN system, with screens all over the pilot. F-35 attempts to go one step in this direction with the helmet theoretically capable of giving you vision through the plane itself thanks to the Distributed Aperture System, but it's not that
useful in real life. The omnidirectional vision is mostly important for the plane's combat system itself rather than the pilot, to allow the computer to be aware of threats and act accordingly, dispensing flares, warning the pilot, calculating evasion routes, offering targets and so on, which is the route taken by Rafale's DDM-NG (two half-spherical IR cameras plugged in the combat system alongside EW, radar, laser warners, etc., rather than sending the pictures to the pilot).
Now, in Wing Commander where dogfight at visual ranges is king and 2600's cockpits are still full of physical buttons for everything and have a center-line joystick (whereas F-35
and the future aircrafts of the 2030s are already using touchscreens and a dual joystick system), this could be done, but is unlikely do be compatible with what we know of the crafts. Look at the Vampire:
A cockpit that looks more like F-14's than anything of the 1990s onwards, with a visibility that is pretty damn bad. However, if you consider the pilot's helmet:
This would be more than likely compatible with a HMD system, which would be cheaper and probably more reliable than such a virtual environment.
Same for the Devastator torpedo bomber, for which the cockpit's physical view is laughably awful:
Thing is, for a torpedo bomber which is designed to be tough, one could argue that the cockpit could be done away with entirely, replacing it with a much more armoured control pod from which the pilot could control the craft using cameras and stuff.