kjet12
Posts: 894
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2001 7:33 am

Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:04 am

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.
 
citationjet
Posts: 2251
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:11 am

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.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
Captain_777
Posts: 273
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:13 am

Yeah, would be just clouds and sky. But it would be nice for some natural light.
 
kjet12
Posts: 894
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:13 am

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.
 
VC-10
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:17 am

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.
 
doug_or
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:13 pm

Also, people don't always want more light
When in doubt, one B pump off
 
tu154m
Posts: 610
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:14 pm

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!
 
ted747
Posts: 190
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Windows In First Class Loo

Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:18 pm

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??!!
 
flybynight
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:34 pm

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!
 
DFWCapt
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:44 pm

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.
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:31 pm

A skylight in an airplane....WHOOOAAAHHHH  Smokin cool
 
morecy
Posts: 205
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:18 pm

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.
 
exitrowaisle
Posts: 236
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:40 pm

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!
 
LV
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:44 pm

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
 
flyboy36y
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:54 pm

There are also wires that run along the ceilling....
 
Goose
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:02 pm

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..."
 
Areopagus
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:13 pm

Goose, you are correct. But if I recall correctly, the aircraft was flown in that configuration only once, just before its retirement.
 
tokolosh
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:42 pm

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?
 
Goose
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:50 pm

Yeah, Aeropagus..... it's now beer cans.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
Trident
Posts: 477
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:55 pm

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.
 
N863DA
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 12:28 am

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
 
DFWCapt
Posts: 33
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 12:39 am

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.
 
vc10
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:36 am

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
 
sushka
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:41 am

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!
 
7E7
Posts: 141
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:00 am

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.
 
Olympus69
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:11 am

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 concerns about the new jet."

That is possible. Neville Shute - the book's author, was an aeronautical engineer, and may have been familiar with the Comet's design features well before it first flew in 1949. He started the aircraft manufacturing company 'Airspeed' before WW2. If I'm not mistaken that company was eventually taken over by De Havilland.

John.
 
Trident
Posts: 477
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 7:36 am

Am I right in saying Arthur Hagg designed both the De Havilland Albatross airliner and the Airspeed Ambassador?
 
flybynight
Posts: 1131
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:44 pm

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 flying overhead bin and didn't wake up until on the ground.

Heia Norge!
 
mirrodie
Posts: 6789
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:41 pm

Are there any photos on the database or on the net with views from that Tu-134 lav?

SOunds quite interesting!
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
Goose
Posts: 1771
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RE: Why No Skylights In Airplanes?

Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:51 pm

....... people might wonder what sort of problem you suffer from, if you take a camera into the bathroom....  Big grin
"Talk to me, Goose..."

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