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Windowless airliner

Because the technology is already there...
  (+12, -2)(+12, -2)
(+12, -2)
  [vote for,

Some of the newer airliners come from the builder with integrated seat-back video. Some air carriers are fitting these same aircraft with external cameras (Emirates may have been the first) so that every person on board can have a "window seat".

Yet the manufacturer still carves a series of holes in the side of the fuselage, which weakens the structure; then puts in a substantially heavier piece of plastic. Great effort is then expended to assure that it doesn't leak or fall out. Finally, another piece of plastic is fitted so that the passenger adjacent to the window can veto the idea.

So - don't cut the hole. Don't put in the window, or the shade. Save the money. The plane is now safer, lighter, less expensive, more fuel efficient... and my "window seat" can give me a view from the FRONT. (or the bottom. Or either side...)

lurch, Sep 25 2002

(??) the best place on an airliner to have a window... http://www.sasfligh...toilet/Dscn0054.jpg
[mihali, Sep 25 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Airbus Crackpipe 440A http://www.independ...f-2050-2296899.html
Absolutely what [bristolz] predicted. How did you know, [bris]? [lurch, Jun 14 2011]

IXION Windowless Jet Concept http://vimeo.com/78458486
We quickly settled on the controversial yet interesting idea of removing the windows from the cabin and using existing or very near future technology to display the exterior environment on flexible screens, which cover the walls and ceiling of the cabin, via external cameras. [xaviergisz, Aug 24 2014]

The Windowless Fuselage http://www.uk-cpi.c...elage/#.VE7K3_nF9tV
from the Center for Process Innovation [xaviergisz, Oct 28 2014]


       But . . . but . . . you couldn't wave out the window.
bristolz, Sep 25 2002

       <Responding to now vanished [Mephista] anno on making the entire airplane from glass, re [UB]'s "Glass House">
So do you mean that, from a distance, my plane would look like a pair of wings being led through the air by a pair of potties, with a batch of seated people behind? </Response>
lurch, Sep 25 2002

       Airbus Crackpipe 440A
bristolz, Sep 25 2002

       Lurch: I was thinking more like a dotted outline, like Wonder Woman's jet..
Mr Burns, Sep 25 2002

       [bris] - at the risk of me seeming a hypocephalic damfool - <puzzled>huh?</puzle>
lurch, Sep 25 2002

       You've probably never seen a crackpipe. They're all glass and perhaps a little aeronautical in appearance, if you squint. Okay, so it was very weak.
bristolz, Sep 25 2002

       You could take off from the' See- through runway '
skinflaps, Sep 25 2002

       [bris] - <hand cranked neuron sputters to life, belching clouds of smoke> Thanks, I'm on track now, sorry for the delay. From posts I had seen on other sites, I feared the Airbus word might invite flaming... I think I'll go hide while our EU friends come on line.   

       <Responding to now-vanished [blissmiss] anno on obsolescence of business suits for female air travelers>   

       [bliss] - the airlines wouldn't miss the chance for an advert - just be sure to be seated over the logo.   

       </Responding - p.s., you're missed, [bliss]...>
lurch, Sep 25 2002

       [But . . . but . . . you couldn't wave out the window.]   

       Why not make the external skin of the aeroplane out of some form of plasma screen display. This would let you project any images you like on the outside. Give everyone on the inside a camera; they could then wave at it and have the image displayed on the outside.
DenholmRicshaw, Sep 25 2002

       Airlines could save a lot of money by just simulating the entire flight while in reality the passengers are riding a bus.
bristolz, Sep 25 2002

       I've seen a couple of passenger planes from Cuba without windows, however, I doubt it was done for the reasons above.
senatorjam, Sep 25 2002

       //Airlines could save a lot of money by just simulating the entire flight while in reality the passengers are riding a bus.//   

       Begin the simulation at the "airport" and passengers could in many cases reach their destinations as quickly as by boarding an aircraft.
supercat, Sep 25 2002

       [D-R] - That would be great for airlines doing code-sharing, too...   

       I just read somewhere that the drive/ride time actually favors driving for distances under 500 miles. For overseas, however, I think you will have to simulate a lot of holding pattern.   

       Didn't UPS convert some of their cargo planes to passenger config for weekends, OUAT?
lurch, Sep 25 2002

       I like this - it would give airlines a lot more flexibility about how they arrange seats inside the aeroplane. Also, if they can't see out, passengers are less likely to be opposed to sitting in rear-facing seats (which are safer in the event of a crash).
hippo, Apr 08 2003

       //Also, if they can't see out, passengers are less likely to be opposed to sitting in rear-facing seats (which are safer in the event of a crash).//   

       During takeoff and ascent, rear-facing seats are very uncomfortable. If the entire seats (not just the backs) were constructed so as to recline it might not be so bad, but put 3" blocks under the rear legs of a chair and tell me if you'd like to sit in that for an hour.
supercat, Apr 08 2003

       How about window shaped LCD screens instead of windows, cameras mounted on the outside of the aircraft show the usual taxiing and take off. After takeoff, when the aircraft is above the clouds computer control lengthens or shortens the day/night cycle, ensuring that the right time of day/weather etc are displayed on the screens during approach and landing at the end of the flight thus reducing the effects of jet lag.
Micky Dread, Apr 08 2003

       This is a great idea! But I also like what DenholmRicshaw said.   

       //Give everyone on the inside a camera; they could then wave at it and have the image displayed on the outside.//
bmwrox, Aug 06 2003

       For an extra fee, they could show you "outside the aircraft" video from a flight to someplace more interesting than where you're really going.
gardnertoo, Aug 23 2003

       Assuming reliable display systems, great idea; the cockpit could be similarly reinforced. Are there any structurally adequate materials that can change opacity when subjected to a particular light wavelength, a la sun-darkened eyeglasses? If so, one could make windows in various spots just by projecting infrared shapes on the wall, &c.
n-pearson, Aug 24 2003

       This is one of the reasons "Blended-Wing-Body" aircraft haven't been developed and built yet. It's not a question of technology, but a question of what the passengers want. The airlines don't seem to think the passengers want a windowless plane, and they certainly won't buy a plane that they don't think they can fill.
Freefall, Oct 16 2003

       but a big part of fear of flying is the claustrophobia you get when that big door closes. no windows would make it even worse. although a camera showing what the pilots see out of their window would maybe alleviate it and also give you the illusion that you are in some control. like a backseat driver. does anyone else feel they have to stay awake during a flight to make sure the plane stays up?
aquamarine, Oct 16 2003

       [misare] - not true, humans well restrained can survive very significant crashes and there are very few crashes that kill all passengers no matter how servere.
PiledHigherandDeeper, Oct 16 2003

       I don't know... Windows can give passenger sunlight if it is needed... If the plane use only lightbulb, passenger might get irritated... Also, windows might make the airplane lighter, and therfore can carry more passengers...
Simon7788, Feb 03 2004

       don't they make you open the window shades during take off and landing for safety reasons?
theircompetitor, Feb 03 2004

       [Simon7788] windows actually make the plane heavier. If they had a suitable backup lighting system then you wouldn't need the shades up at landing.
PiledHigherandDeeper, Feb 03 2004

       [PiledHigherandDeeper] I don't know if what you said is ture about windows making it heavier (since I think that they uses light material than normal glass windows)... but doesn't windows also prevent any crack porpagation due to fatigue and pressure?
Simon7788, Feb 09 2004

       I thought this was part of the Boeing flying wing design.
FloridaManatee, Jun 03 2004

       The aircraft manufacturers might use material that's lighter than standard window glass, but the whole assembly is most definitely heavier than the little slab of aluminum that it replaces. Add to that the extra reinforcing that's needed around the window to prevent cracks from forming and propagating (remember, the fuselage skin is a structural member), and windows are definitely a big weight penalty. There's a reason the cargo airlines don't put windows on their planes, and it's got nothing to do with the cargo not being able to see.   

       If the windows were in fact lighter and stronger than what they replaced, we'd see airplanes with many more, possibly bigger windows. The 7E7 is slated to have bigger windows than any previous model.   

       Even with seat-back video, I still wouldn't want to fly in a plane with no windows.
Freefall, Jun 03 2004

       Windows don't inhibit crack propogation, but the frames supporting them do. Any hole in the pressurised fuselage has to be strengthened significantly (even if the window material happened to be lighter). The frames around doors were tough as old boots once apon a time (with weight penalty to match), but now they use truss framework to reduce the weight without reducing the strength (updated design principles, not materials). Have a look in a book like "Airframe Structural Design" by Niu to see how complicated (and heavy) a cabin window is.
jared2, Aug 04 2004

       I don't know about this one. If I was on an 18 hour flight, I would get awful tired of the same scenery over and over again. Then again, the four hours over the ocean wouldn't be much better. Then again, if I was ever on an 18 hour flight, I doubt the windows would be enough to keep me happy anyways. I think the jet-jag reduction that [Micky Dread] mentioned is a very good idea. With computers as advanced as they are today, you could easily fool passengers into believing they are looking at real scenery. +
sjruckle, Aug 04 2004

       Fish for not understanding aircraft structural design. Windows don't weaken anything. Double fish for not grasping the real beauty of flying.
zigness, Aug 04 2004

       [zigness] have you read any of the annotations that clearly explain why windows do make the plane heavier - fish to you for being obtuse
PiledHigherandDeeper, Aug 04 2004

       But they didn't have video screens then. I'd feel much better about having legroom on an airplane, but this is clearly not a design consideration. Put a few windows in 1st class for the people who feel they need them.
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       I appreciate your quality-driven attitude toward design. I like my window. But our current market is driven toward cost minimization. They've already taken all of the legroom they can. Every time I fly they have managed to book every seat. They are in the process of removing food service from all but long flights. Give the market another decade and I bet you'll see an economy airline ask Boeing for a windowless airplane, both for cost of manufacture and fuel.
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       So can we agree that the answer is "it depends", mainly on how much not putting in windows saves? If it's a few cents a flight, nobody's going to care. If it's even $20 a flight, people will.
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       Windows: a) Increase weight (to simply keep the same strength) b) Complicate the structure c) Increase drag (and fuel comsumption) d) Sometimes crashes and rewards you with a blue screen (Or was that a different Windows?) Ban windows! Eliminate windows! Just sedate the passengers so they sleep the flight off, they will not care about looking outside while sleeping. Like it. Bun.
finflazo, Aug 06 2004

       Very useful for avoiding panic. Say engine 1 is on fire. No problem, switch (and mirror) video of engine 2 to passengers to the screens on the other side of the plane. They won't know any better. .. and yet, for some strange reason I would not want to fly in it ...
ixnaum, Jun 14 2011

       Perhaps there could just be a couple of big windows where people could go and look out.   

       The doors would look cool made out of 2 layers of 1" plastic with the locking mechanism visible inside.
marklar, Jun 14 2011

       Theoretically this is a very good idea. [+] and a (comparatively) easy potential market to test given that cargo aircraft don't usually have windows.
FlyingToaster, Jun 14 2011

       //Yet the manufacturer still carves a series of holes in the side of the fuselage, which weakens the structure;//   

       Actually, it doesn't; the fuselage is full of 'holes' already to keep it lighter. Eliminating windows has no effect on the safety or structural integrity of the airframe.   

       //then puts in a substantially heavier piece of plastic. //   

       Agreed; better to just cover over with alum skin and insulation. Not disputing the idea, just an erroneous detail of the argument for it.
Alterother, Jun 14 2011

       //fuselage is full of 'holes' already// Stringers and frames, yes. Outer skin, no. That's the main pressure vessel for the aircraft; the fewer holes in it, the better.   

       The main reason I bumped this old thread is the video in the <link> above, which is from Airbus - and recalled [bristolz]'s sense of humor so hard it brought tears to my eyes.
lurch, Jun 14 2011

       If that's the best "concept plane" Airbus can come up with for 2050, I'm not impressed.   

       All they've done is show a slightly weird plane with a low seating density, which will never be done or, equally, could be done today if you really don't want to make any money.   

       And the walls of the plane will be made of a "plant based material which becomes transparent"? Well, that's OK then. They've clearly got it all worked out.   

       As to the idea itself, people like windows. That's why they have them in houses and things. It's also a safety issue: in the event of a crash, the would- be rescuers can look in and confirm that everyone's already dead, thereby saving themselves the danger of trying to go in.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 14 2011

       Too claustrophobic. The camera view is 2D, inferior, and interrupted by the Pilot's inane announcements. Also, you have serious safety issues (not knowing what's outside) in an emergency. Have a sardine-can fishbone for giving airlines a horrendous idea that they will now go petition Boeing for (-)
cowtamer, Jun 15 2011

       Dun be silly: while flying, knowing "what's outside" is pretty irrelevant to the passengers, and while on the ground you can just crack a door... maybe the door should have a porthole... not sayin' I'd want to travel on a windowless aircraft given 'druthers.
FlyingToaster, Jun 15 2011

       This was kind of done as demo for a car in about 2003, it had outside cameras and projected onto the inside of the car. Supposed to make it easier to spot bicycles sneaking alongside or something like that.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 24 2014

       //easier to spot bicycles sneaking alongside //   

       Automatic target aquisition, cool !
8th of 7, Aug 24 2014

       [bristolz] a fleck camera embedded in the LCD will replace the airline logo, on the LCD crystals coating the outside, with your wave. If you have paid.
wjt, Aug 25 2014

       //If that's the best "concept plane" Airbus can come up with for 2050, I'm not impressed//   

       That's just part of the longer term strategy. Once they get to 2050, they wheel out the plans for a supersonic transatlantic aircraft. There will be doubters, but Airbus dare to dream. By 2075, after 60 years of feverishly replacing logos, they'll have a full set of plans for this "Concorde" dream... Everyone will agree that it's a masterpiece, aviation experts will marvel as they realize that the technologies used to make it have been employed all over legacy Airbus designs... "a perfect storm of clear aeronautical lineage" is one sentence an aviation columnist might shoehorn into an article.
bs0u0155, Aug 25 2014


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