[video] Windowless Concept Airplane

People seem to be really freaked out by this. But this breaks down to dollars and sense, because they are hard at work to bring the cost down of gas which they are burning through quicker than a lit match to a piece of paper.

First off, these are all high-concept ideas; no airline is about to phase out its expensive window-lined 757s anytime soon.

Hope you’re not too attached to looking out the windows when you fly—the designers of tomorrow’s airplanes seem intent on getting rid of them. A Paris design firm recently made waves when it released its concept for a sleek, solar paneled, windowless passenger jet. Before that, Airbus proposed eschewing windows and building its cabins out of transparent polymers. Now, the Center for Process Innovation has floated its own windowless plane concept, and it’s attracting plenty of attention, too.

So, because an arbitrary rule someone made up says three makes a trend, I guess we have to seriously consider the prospect that flying in the future won’t include plexiglass portals to the outside sky.

But there’s a good reason for this proposed window-killing—sticking windows onto the sides of planes means you have to bulk up the fuselage, which makes planes heavier, and bigger gas guzzlers. There’s a reason cargo planes don’t have windows.

CPI estimates that for every 1 percent of weight reduction, planes see a 0.75 percent fuel savings. And that’s a big deal. Airlines burn hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel every month—easily the industry’s biggest expense. Cutting back the weight of a given plane by even 5 percent would have huge ramifications for an airline’s profit margins, and the cost of airfare.

In CPI’s design, the firm imagines replacing windows with low-energy OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) that could use cameras to realistically broadcast the outside environment in a panoramic view that could be toggled on or off by the passengers.


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