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Should Gulfstream Try Airbus New Concept Design?  
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3579 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3558 times:

Should Gulfstream look at Airbuses recent glass roof design for future product? I was talking to my brother, and he like the design, so I think Gulfstream should look at the design for future product.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 929 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3544 times:

I think any engineer who looked at that concept just had a good laugh and went back to work as usual. Do you have any idea what is between the aircraft skin and the interior wall? Wires, ducts, insulation, pipes. Are you aware the skin is a structural element? Do you know of any skin material that is as light as aluminum that could take the pressure load and still be transparent while maintaining the stiffness of the structure? That kind of material is usually referred to as "unobtainium". Let us know where to find it.

The closest thing to the Airbus dream is something like a B-29 plexiglass nose. In that case the operational requirement demanded it, but that part of the aircraft doesn't support much load. That type of nose went out of fashion for good reasons. Today that place is usually occupied by a radar antenna sitting behind a plastic dome.


User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3579 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3528 times:

Before it is pointed, out I know that the topic heading is missed spelled, I was in such a rush that I did prof read my topic, but not the haeding.

Please foregive me.


User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8506 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3490 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 1):
Do you know of any skin material that is as light as aluminum that could take the pressure load and still be transparent while maintaining the stiffness of the structure?

Transparent aluminum, of course!


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3468 times:

Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
Should Gulfstream look at Airbuses recent glass roof design for future product?

Ignoring the structural and systems routing problems involved in such a design, what is there to look at through the roof of an aircraft that you can't see plenty of through the existing windows?



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User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3435 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 4):

Ignoring the structural and systems routing problems involved in such a design, what is there to look at through the roof of an aircraft that you can't see plenty of through the existing windows?

What about when the captain says "and for those sitting on the left of the aircraft you can now see a rocket launching from Cape Canaveral" and you are sitting on the right? Or if noctilucent clouds are appearing out of your arc of vision from the window?


User currently offlinetravelavnut From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 1607 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3417 times:

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 3):
Quoting aklrno (Reply 1):
Do you know of any skin material that is as light as aluminum that could take the pressure load and still be transparent while maintaining the stiffness of the structure?

Transparent aluminum, of course!

You need a Mac 1 and a Star Trek engineer to pull that one off  



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User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3311 times:

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
What about when the captain says "and for those sitting on the left of the aircraft you can now see a rocket launching from Cape Canaveral" and you are sitting on the right?

Only once in umpteen flights have I had a captain point out anything outside the aircraft- it was White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and it was indeed remarkable to see a patch of white sand in an otherwise brown desert, but it was quite visible from where I was sitting on the opposite side of the aircraft. Also, the most interesting part of any rocket launch happens near the ground; once the rocket is past the normal viewing arc of the windows all that can be seen of it is a vapor trail with a tiny speck of light at it's origin.

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
Or if noctilucent clouds are appearing out of your arc of vision from the window?

I'll admit that noctilucent clouds were something I'd never heard of as such before today (I know enough Latin to grasp the general meaning of the term, but I was not aware that it referred to a specific atmospheric phenomenon), but according to this source (http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2003/19feb_nlc/) true noctilucent clouds are only visible a few degrees above the horizon when the sun is a few degrees below the horizon, thus they would be visible out of existing aircraft windows. I have seen very similar-looking cloud formations directly overhead at just before sunrise and just after sunset, but since my latitude is far South of the one required for viewing actual noctilucent clouds I can only surmise that what I saw were just pretty clouds of an otherwise ordinary, relatively low-altitude variety.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for larger side windows on aircraft, I just don't see the point of overhead windows on aircraft.

Furthermore, even with shades in place and closed the solar temperature gain from a bunch of overhead windows on an aircraft would be phenomenal.

[Edited 2011-06-19 12:45:55]


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User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3273 times:
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Quoting TSS (Reply 7):
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for larger side windows on aircraft, I just don't see the point of overhead windows on aircraft.

Agreed. We need glass-bottom aircraft.



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User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3255 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
Agreed. We need glass-bottom aircraft

Or stick with the glass roof but authorise barrel rolls in revenue service.   


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19500 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3251 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 1):
I think any engineer who looked at that concept just had a good laugh and went back to work as usual. Do you have any idea what is between the aircraft skin and the interior wall? Wires, ducts, insulation, pipes. Are you aware the skin is a structural element? Do you know of any skin material that is as light as aluminum that could take the pressure load and still be transparent while maintaining the stiffness of the structure? That kind of material is usually referred to as "unobtainium". Let us know where to find it.

I'm no expert in materials science but I do know a thing or two. The lightest, strongest materials will probably be carbon-based. Carbon is a relatively low-density element with multiple covalent binding modes. The problem is that the strongest and most flexible carbon-based materials contain lots of double bonds. When these double bonds can be assembled into large systems of conjugated double bonds (when double bonds are placed in various configurations in which they alternate 1:1 with single bonds, they form "resonance" patterns where the double bonds delocalize throughout the system), they are very strong indeed. Problem is that large, conjugated systems also absorb light. A molecular layer of graphene (a material that I predict will become indespensible to airline manufacturers once it can be inexpensively manufactured in large sheets) absorbs 3% of incident light. A composite sheet with 100 layers of graphene will be plenty strong for an airplane skin (although it will need a frame underlying it for stiffness), but it will be almost opaque.


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3234 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 7):

If you thought I was supporting the idea, I should have been more clear. Its a publicity gimmick that will never work without the invention of force fields that can act as pressure vessels, I was merely suggesting scenarios where it could be a nice thing for the passengers to enjoy.

Also I'm a glider pilot so the greenhouse effect of a big bubble canopy is entirely familiar to me. I doubt I'd want to be in one with 300 other sweating people in the rush hour que at JFK...

We have the expertise to make windows bigger (and nowadays the will to take the associated weight hit to do so), but the only way I can see this concept working (and it feasible) is to use external cameras and either projection onto the walls or using the IFE screens to present the "virtual" outside world.


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
We need glass-bottom aircraft.

Yes! I would have no problem riding in the cargo hold of an aircraft as long as I had access to a decent-sized window that looked straight down.



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User currently offlineWingscrubber From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 848 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3169 times:

The 'transparent fuselage' idea is ludicrous. I can't believe anybody at airbus thought that it's a good idea, you can't build an airplane out of glass.

Conversely though, more external viewing cameras on and around the aircraft, like A380 would be cool, and potentially delete the need for real windows which would be a structural improvement, this will have to be the approach on a blended wing body airliner design where the majority of the occupants will not have a window seat.



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User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17015 posts, RR: 67
Reply 14, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3156 times:

It is a "concept", not an engineering model. Airbus is hardly flogging it as "this is the future". They're saying "here's a neat idea". The press, as usual, needs to sell copies so they say "40 years from now, you will fly like this".

Regarding feasibility, the design is not possible today. But in the future who knows. A hundred years ago an Airbus 380 would have seemed like a completely absurd idea.

History is full of examples where people say "impossible" only to be proven wrong later. For example, Napoleon ridiculed steamships: You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? Excuse me, I have no time to listen to such nonsense.

I'm not saying we're all going to be flying inside aquariums in 40 years, just that it is very hard to predict advances that far out. 40 years ago, who among us could predict the rise of the Internet?

Here are three of my favorite quotes on the subject.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposes. Third, it is accepted as self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them to the impossible" - Arthur C. Clarke

"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong" - Arthur C. Clarke



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19500 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3134 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 1):
I think any engineer who looked at that concept just had a good laugh and went back to work as usual. Do you have any idea what is between the aircraft skin and the interior wall? Wires, ducts, insulation, pipes. Are you aware the skin is a structural element?

The more that I look at the design, the more I like it. First of all, the aircraft is not completely clear. It consists of a transparent bubble supported by a solid, opaque frame. That frame could be made very strong indeed, and add the requisite stiffness. Cabin overhead services like ducts and electrical could be managed through the frame. An inner layer could be coated with some sort of opacifying display, similar to the window shades on the 787. That way, the operator could make the fuselage opaque in various portions at will. For example, the ceiling could be blocked out, or the portion of the fuselage facing the sun dimmed significantly.

The effect would be stunning! It would be like standing on a roofless platform in the sky in perfect pressurized comfort.


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9524 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (3 years 2 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
It is a "concept", not an engineering model. Airbus is hardly flogging it as "this is the future". They're saying "here's a neat idea". The press, as usual, needs to sell copies so they say "40 years from now, you will fly like this".

Exactly. All the manufacturers have people visualising concepts for future development and sometimes they make it to the media. To me, it's better that they should be creative enough to sometimes cross the boundaries of of practicality than be so cautious that they avoid going anywhere near them.


User currently offlinehal9213 From Germany, joined May 2009, 302 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2953 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 4):
what is there to look at through the roof of an aircraft that you can't see plenty of through the existing windows?

I highly doubt such superflous and costly features being incorporated in commercial aviation. VIP travel however focuses a lot on "have, because its cool". Especially Gulfstream is marketing with its "biggest passenger windows in a plane". A full-glas-cabin as in the Airbus concept is probably technically not feasible, but how about some glas panels in the roof ? It may cost more money and weight to reinforce the surrounding roof/skin, but can be marketed as the first and only VIP jet ever to have a "Sky-View" with natural Sunlight.
Equip it with electrically dimmable glas and its got even more "Coolness Factor".

Should Gulfstream try Irbus, eh, Airbus New Concept Design? No way possible.
Should Gulfstream (and others) try out some new outstanding ideas for future products, inspired by the concept design? Definately!


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3068 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2928 times:

Quoting hal9213 (Reply 17):
VIP travel however focuses a lot on "have, because its cool". Especially Gulfstream is marketing with its "biggest passenger windows in a plane".

Fair enough. In a similar vein, nobody needs exotic wood veneers laminated to an aluminum honeycomb substrate when simple aluminum stampings would work just as well for cabinets and cabin dividers, yet Gulfstream offers them... and apparently sells the heck out of them.

Quoting hal9213 (Reply 17):
A full-glass-cabin as in the Airbus concept is probably technically not feasible, but how about some glass panels in the roof ? It may cost more money and weight to reinforce the surrounding roof/skin, but can be marketed as the first and only VIP jet ever to have a "Sky-View" with natural Sunlight.

I can certainly see the value of a modern, light-weight version of the deck prism to provide natural light inside an aircraft cabin, and I suppose a few overhead windows might be a bragging point for Gulfstream owners.



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User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7949 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (3 years 2 months 20 hours ago) and read 2800 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 1):
Do you have any idea what is between the aircraft skin and the interior wall?

Yes. Do you have an idea how planes looked like less than a hundred years ago?

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 13):
I can't believe anybody at airbus thought that it's a good idea, you can't build an airplane out of glass.

Glass? What glass?

Quoting TSS (Reply 4):
Ignoring the structural and systems routing problems involved in such a design, what is there to look at through the roof of an aircraft that you can't see plenty of through the existing windows?

What? You would have the sensation of flying through the air without the tin can around. Imagine how spacious the interior would feel. Think of the light and the stars.

Guys, you need to dream more and allow designers to dream if you (and your company) don't just want to follow already beaten paths.

By the way: There's a concept for a yacht that features the voronoi design as well:
http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-69118-3.html



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