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Why No Skylights In Airplanes?  
User currently offlineKjet12 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 975 posts, RR: 8
Posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5475 times:

I was wondering after looking at some cabin photos, why airlines don't put in skylights in the ceiling? Would it cause structural problems to the fuselage? Nowadays, it would be a cost factor, but could it be possible? Thanks for your help!

Kris


AA - Doing what we do best.
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2368 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5425 times:

Sure, it would be possible, but I don't think anyone would look out them very much. The view would not be very exciting. Just blue sky or clouds, and not able to see the ground.
On large aircraft like the 747, the existing ceiling in the passenger cabin is not very close to the top of the aircraft. This is based on seeing inside the shuttle carrier 747 aircraft and seeing how tall the fuselage frames are when their is no interior in the airplane.



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User currently offlineCaptain_777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 295 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5417 times:

Yeah, would be just clouds and sky. But it would be nice for some natural light.

User currently offlineKjet12 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 975 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5412 times:

I was thinking along the lines of single level planes or even narrow bodied a/c with a smaller diameter.

Kris



AA - Doing what we do best.
User currently offlineVC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3695 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5381 times:
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Any cut-out in the fuselage is a structural weak point so such a design would be increasing the risk if structural failure. If the designers had their way there would be no windows in the pax cabin of any aircraft.

User currently offlineDoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3378 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5293 times:

Also, people don't always want more light


When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineTu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 673 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5287 times:

Tu-134s have them in the lavs!!!! It's the small circular window near the engines in the back!!!!
S



CEOs should swim with cement flippers!
User currently offlineTed747 From Australia, joined Jul 2003, 195 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 5283 times:

A friend of mine crews first class on QF and there is a window in the toilet in the first class cabin on 747-400 - she says many people insist on the window being kept closed - wonder why at 39,000 FT ?? My wife recently flew 1st on BA from SIN - LHR must check is they had a window in 1st class??!!

User currently offlineFlybynight From Norway, joined Jul 2003, 1005 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5233 times:

I think problems along the lines of the original Comet could become an issue with too many windows.
It's sort like body flex in a convertible. Drive, say, a convertible Mustang and then drive a hard top. You'll notice a lot more flex in the convertible. Also, due to the flex, convertible have more weight added to reinforce the lost structure. Same would probably hold true in planes.
But, it sure would be cool to look and maybe see a plane flying by.



Heia Norge!
User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5189 times:

You're right about the Comet I. Too many windows too close together...the thing unzipped like a cheap windbreaker.

The story of the Comet disasters and investigation is a fascinating look into the world of aeronautical engineering. I'm not familiar with any particularly good books about it...but I'll look.

By the way, the Jimmy Stewart motion picture "No Highway in the Sky" is loosely based on the Comet. It's the story of a fictitious revolutionary British airliner, the "Reindeer," which has an unfortunate tendency to lose its tail at cruise. Stewart plays the engineer who knows their's a problem but can't prove it. Great film.


User currently offlineHlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5124 times:

A skylight in an airplane....WHOOOAAAHHHH  Smokin cool

User currently offlineMorecy From United States of America, joined May 2000, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5082 times:

I flew on a Vietnam Airlines TU-134 once and had no idea about the skylight until I visited the lavs. What a fantastic view of the tail and sky.

I was under the impression that the Comet problem was not due to the number of windows or their proximity, but the square shape and resulting right angles that were prone to stress. Windows on jets since this discovery are rounded off.


User currently offlineExitrowaisle From United States of America, joined May 2000, 264 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5039 times:

Morecy, you are correct...the Comet's fatal design flaw was its original square windows. After too many pressurization cycles, fatigue cracks formed at the corners. Once they became large enough, the plane's structural integrity was compromised, and the fuselage essentially blew apart from the pressurization in the cabin. I researched this in college for a paper.
Back to the original post, I doubt the benefit of a skylight (natural light, view of blue sky) would be worth the extra cost of installation and reinforcing the fuselage. Besides, as pointed out, there is a gap between the cabin ceiling and actual top of the plane, so you probably would have a tunnel effect. Also, is the flight attendant going to pull a shade over it for the movie?
As an interesting (to me) sidenote, in the early 70s, Boeing came up with an idea for a 747 lower deck lounge with a porthole in the FLOOR so people could look at the ground going by. No airline ever bought it though, since the lounge would use up valuable cargo space!


User currently offlineLV From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 1914 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5033 times:

Not to mention the increased radition exposure and the fact that if the sun and the plane are at just the right angles it could really blind pax and fa's

User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5013 times:

There are also wires that run along the ceilling....

User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 15, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4993 times:

Disclaimer; I really don't mean to make fun of this sad event.... but it instantly popped into my head when you talked about skylights in aircraft. I probably need more sleep.

For the record, there was one 737 with a skylight;




..... and I know that's in really bad taste. Sorry.....

[Edited 2003-09-03 08:04:28]


"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1368 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

Goose, you are correct. But if I recall correctly, the aircraft was flown in that configuration only once, just before its retirement.


User currently offlineTokolosh From Netherlands, joined Sep 2001, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4921 times:

VC-10 is right, airliner manufacturers would rather have no windows at all, but not just because of structural rigidity. Glass is heavy.


Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4904 times:

Yeah, Aeropagus..... it's now beer cans.


"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineTrident From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 484 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4901 times:

Pne of the test Concordes was fitted with skylights in 1973 so telescopes could be mounted in the fuselage. The aircraft then chased the moon's shadow across the Atlantic during a total solar eclipse.

The NASA Lockheed C-141 flying laboratory also had skylights in the roof for telescopes and other test equipment.

It can be done in needed.


User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4751 times:

RE: DFWCapt and the film, "No Highway In the Sky"...
The book was written in 1948 - a year before the Comet first flew, and the film was made in 1951 - a year before G-ALYP made its first commercial flight.

The novel and film are both prophetic, but they were not based on Comet experiences, since they were written before the fact.

N 8 6 3 D A


User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4710 times:

N863DA wrote: "RE: DFWCapt and the film, 'No Highway In the Sky'...
The book was written in 1948 - a year before the Comet first flew, and the film was made in 1951 - a year before G-ALYP made its first commercial flight."

I wasn't aware of that! Thanks for the correction.

That's really weird, then, because the stories are indeed quite similar...almost makes me wonder if the book was a product of someone's concerns about the new jet.


User currently offlineVc10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1397 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4629 times:

The original Lockheed Constellation had a window in the roof, it was called the astrodome and was used by the navigator to sight the stars. After this most long haul aircraft had a pressure seal mounting in the roof so that the navigator could use his periscope sextant to sight the stars. On the VC-10 aircraft there was a periscope mounting at the rear of the passenger cabin so the crew could view engines and tailplane during the flight. The only time I used it there was a line of passengers, who wanted to see the outside of the aircraft in flight, so perhaps a window that allows this might be popular

Regards little vc10


User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4601 times:

Tu134s have skylights in the rear lavs. You can see the tail if you stand up on the toilet.
I wish I could find a picture.



Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offline7E7 From Australia, joined Aug 2003, 159 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4543 times:

There is one concern that no one has mentioned:
It is radiation!
Passengers/Crew are already under exposure of high levels of radiation (during day flights of course), and you would not want to increase that risk.

A proposition could be made to replace the current windows with polarized ones (or coated with polarizing layers), as this would also minimize the risk when looking outside. I suppose this is a very expensive proposition to implement.

Just like you have mentioned skylights, why wouldn't be floor windows :P
A good thing to have is additional cameras (with some degree of precision/quality) that show 'the above' views just like those current cameras that show you below.


25 Olympus69 : DFWcapt wrote "That's really weird, then, because the stories are indeed quite similar...almost makes me wonder if the book was a product of someone's
26 Trident : Am I right in saying Arthur Hagg designed both the De Havilland Albatross airliner and the Airspeed Ambassador?
27 Flybynight : Almost forgot about that Hawaiian Air 737 (or maybe it was Aloha Air). My father actually knew somebody on that flight. The dude got knocked-out by a
28 Mirrodie : Are there any photos on the database or on the net with views from that Tu-134 lav? SOunds quite interesting!
29 Post contains images Goose : ....... people might wonder what sort of problem you suffer from, if you take a camera into the bathroom....
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