A concept image of the interior cabin of a windowless plane.
If a window seat on a flight makes you nervous, you might want to avoid a new kind of plane that could fly in as soon as a decade. (Video)
UK-based tech innovation company Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) hopes to be among the first to design a windowless aircraft. Instead of windows, the plane would have high-definition, flexible screens to show what’s happening outside, as it soars through the air.
In other words, there are no actual windows in the plane’s passenger section; the displays create the illusion that the cabin walls are transparent.
The concept for windowless aircrafts with displays isn’t entirely new. A Paris-based company has a similar project in development, and there’s also a design in the works for a windowless jet. But CPI believes the vision could become a reality within 10 years.
The imaging you’d see from the panels would come from mounted cameras outside of the aircraft that the developers say could offer an unobstructed panoramic view, meaning no visible wings or engines. Users could adjust the settings and use the displays for in-flight services, the company said.
The plane would use OLED screens (a high-end, thin-film display technology) with protective coatings made to preserve the displays for its lifetime.
Passengers would also be able to see and set their screen to show a live stream of outside surroundings from a completely different portion of the plane.
But this isn’t just about a sleek new flight experience. CPI has made some pretty substantial claims about what this sort of technology could do for the flight industry. For starters, the plane walls would be thinner, more lightweight and stronger than what we have now.
It’s also cheaper, CPI said, which could lead to less costly flights for consumers. According to its calculations, each time plane weight reduces 1%, there’s a 0.75% savings in fuel cost, so the passenger, manufacturer and the airline will save money.
Of course, what the company said will happen and what actually happens could be very different things, but if you aren’t flat-out terrified of this plane model, it could be a fascinating development for commercial aircrafts.