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Windowless Aircraft Could Enhance In-Flight Experience & Reduce Operational Costs


New technology could turn windowless aircraft into an immersive experience, displaying views through high definition screens.

The days of struggling to get a window seat could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to modern technology. Mashable reports the U.K.-based Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is developing a jet design that could turn air travel into an immersive, windowless experience.

CPI is working on technology that would replace windows on commercial airliners with high-definition video screens that would act as windows. The screens would display a real-time view of the outside, from takeoff to landing. The flexible screens could potentially cover every surface of the aircraft, creating the illusion of wall-to-wall windows.

According to the Mashable report, the screens would be developed using OLED screens, providing a thin film that would line the interior surfaces of the airplane, including the ceiling, walls and seatbacks. Each of the screens would be treated with a special coating to preserve them for their functional life.

According to CPI, the new technology would improve more than just the customer experience while flying. Utilizing the OLED screens instead of windows could potentially mean lighter aircraft made of stronger materials. And as the aircraft’s weight decreases, operational costs would also decrease.

“For every 1 percent reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75 percent.” CPI writes on their website. “And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost.”

The project is similar to another windowless aircraft project currently being developed by French technology company Technicon Design. However, CPI believes that their technology could be ready to deploy in the next 10 years.

[Photo & Video: Centre for Process Innovation]

Comments are Closed.
UncleDude October 30, 2014

Reminds me of parts of the Old Eastern Airlines Ride "If You Had Wings" at Walt Disney World

Spoddy October 29, 2014

The first step towards this will be windows replaced with equivalent sized 1080p screens that the window seat passenger can brighten/darken. The second step will be 4K screens. 4K because it's so much harder to see the pixels; and it'll start at the pointy end of the passenger section first. The third step will be larger screens... and so on until this full wrap around technology comes out (in >10, probably 20 years.) Of course as sdsearch says, we'll still have real windows by the exits for safety and emergency purposes. This however all depends on the screen weight vs window weight. Not to mention the amount of additional work/cost to blank the window on the fuselage during maintenance, too.

sdsearch October 29, 2014

This design doesn't show how exit doors fit in, nor does any of the reporting about this mention whether it would be approved on safety terms by the FAA and its equivalents. Currently, exit doors (and/or exit row seats next to exit doors) must have a window so you can look outside to see if there's a fire (because you shouldn't open the door if there's a fire right outside), and I doubt virtual windows would be allowed to replace that (if a power outage on the plane would cause them to fail). It also doesn't show how I would shade my seat if I didn't want the virttual window "open". One of the reasons I like window seats is to be able to control the window shade, not to always be looking out the window!