burchfiel
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Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:52 am

I had two enjoyable 788 flights with UA, but I didn't really fall in love with the windows.

I do think it's neat that you can dim the brightness of the windows, as it gives you something in between full-on sun and no light at all. However, what shades provide that the 787 windows don't is the option to block out some, but not all parts of the view.

Our eastbound return flight landed around the time that the sun set, so the sun was visible for most of the flight. I love to look out the window, take pictures/videos, etc. If the plane had regular shades, I could have just brought down the shade to block out the sun, leaving the rest of the view intact. On the 787, however, I had to dim the entire window if I didn't want glare from the sun, which meant I couldn't really see the landscape as I went by.

As a matter of fact, it wasn't my choice whether or not to dim the windows -- all the windows in our cabin dimmed automatically right after takeoff, and we had no control over the settings. I missed what would have been a wonderful view of Denver's skyline and the Rockies that way.

Another (small) disadvantage is that the windows seem to block out all GPS reception. I can usually get a very good GPS signal out an airplane window, but not with the 788's windows -- obtaining the satellites appeared impossible. This isn't a huge deal, but I like to have GPS location information to go with the photos and videos I take.

I think the solution would be pretty simple: keep the cool dimming feature, but also provide shades so that you don't have to dim the whole window if the sun is low on the horizon.
 
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Spacepope
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:06 am

First world problems.
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29erUSA187
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:53 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
First world problems.

Agreed 100%

However, It is interesting to hear an account of what the dimmers do to photos. Is is impossible, or do the photos just become lower quality?
 
Max Q
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:13 am

These windows are truly a gimmick, interested to see if they'll be installed on any future airliners.
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CXB77L
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:43 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
Another (small) disadvantage is that the windows seem to block out all GPS reception. I can usually get a very good GPS signal out an airplane window, but not with the 788's windows -- obtaining the satellites appeared impossible. This isn't a huge deal, but I like to have GPS location information to go with the photos and videos I take.

Isn't a GPS a transmitting device and thus prohibited for use in flight?

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
I think the solution would be pretty simple: keep the cool dimming feature, but also provide shades so that you don't have to dim the whole window if the sun is low on the horizon.

Trouble is, though, the moment window shades are installed, we'll be going back to the old ways when the shades down policy is strictly enforced and people wouldn't be able to see a thing out of the windows. Being able to see through tinted glass is infinitely better than not being able to see at all. I think the 787's windows are a fantastic innovation and I hope that it is adopted on other aircraft as well.
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a320fan
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:52 pm

I couldn't stop playing with them on my first flight tbh. And I was fortunate that there was still some view when my neighbour lent over and dimmed them on the return flight, if it was a shade I would have lost the view of some nice looking clouds completely. To be honest though, Im not convinced they will be incorporated into future models. Does Boeing have plans for them on the 737Max and 777X?
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rcair1
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:36 pm

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 4):
Isn't a GPS a transmitting device and thus prohibited for use in flight?

It is a receiver, not a transmitter.
Use or non-use is up to the airline - they can decide.
It really is not different than any non-transmitting electronics however, they (consumer grade) have not been specifically tested. All electronics emit RFI as a by-product of the circuitry and in that regard a gps is no different than any other electronics. Yes is a receiver will have an antenna that is not shielded, and it will also have some kind of oscillator. I suppose the antenna it could act as a radiation path (as in radiating RFI, not radioactive) where a non-receiver will not. However, that does not mean the GPS radiates more. In fact, I would guess it is no more, and probably less than say, a laptop. In fact, they are regulated just like any consumer grade electronics in terms of RFI emission.

Now- that said, there are GPS units that include transmitters for communication with nearby electronics, to be used as a mobile radio, cell phone, etc. Those would be different. For instance, I don't think I can turn on the GPS in my cell phone w/o turning off airplane mode - which means the transmitters will power up.
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boacvc10
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:57 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
Another (small) disadvantage is that the windows seem to block out all GPS reception. I can usually get a very good GPS signal out an airplane window, but not with the 788's windows -- obtaining the satellites appeared impossible.

Hmmmmm. Is it typical for a GPS receiver to be able to lock to a satellite at speeds typical of a civilian aircraft in mid-flight, or do you have a special GPS unit that does so?
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vikkyvik
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:54 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
First world problems.

Dude, we're on an aviation enthusiast website. All of our problems are first world problems.

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
Our eastbound return flight landed around the time that the sun set, so the sun was visible for most of the flight. I love to look out the window, take pictures/videos, etc. If the plane had regular shades, I could have just brought down the shade to block out the sun, leaving the rest of the view intact. On the 787, however, I had to dim the entire window if I didn't want glare from the sun, which meant I couldn't really see the landscape as I went by.

As a matter of fact, it wasn't my choice whether or not to dim the windows -- all the windows in our cabin dimmed automatically right after takeoff, and we had no control over the settings. I missed what would have been a wonderful view of Denver's skyline and the Rockies that way.

I haven't been on a 787 yet, and frankly, I'm not particularly interested in flying on one, for this very reason. I take tens - if not hundreds - of photos out the window on a typical flight.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 4):
Trouble is, though, the moment window shades are installed, we'll be going back to the old ways when the shades down policy is strictly enforced and people wouldn't be able to see a thing out of the windows.

I honestly can't recall a single time in the last 10 years when I've been ordered to lower my window shade. I'm courteous about it, and if the sun is directly out the window, I'll lower it at least halfway (or the whole way, and just open it occasionally for a photo or five).

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Reply 2):
However, It is interesting to hear an account of what the dimmers do to photos. Is is impossible, or do the photos just become lower quality?

It would likely do at least two major things:
1. Require much longer exposures or higher ISO, due to the reduced light.
2. Introduce horrendous color casts, as the windows seem to turn blue as they dim.

But again, I haven't been on a 787 so can't speak from personal experience.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
PGNCS
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:55 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
First world problems.

So what? It's allegedly a First World aircraft.

I found the dimmers highly annoying on my 787 flights as well, and totally agree with Max Q that they are nothing but a gimmick.
 
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flylku
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:44 pm

How dare you want to look out the window! The back of the person's head in front of you and that movie you have already seen three times is much more interesting than those icebergs, glaciers, aurora, sunsets, mountains, thunderstorms .... This our course was sarcasm . What is wrong with the human race? It is a glorious world out there and the perspective from the air is awesome and fleeting. We live in a remarkable time... and squander it.
...are we there yet?
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:00 pm

I'm always complaining to my optician that my photochromic spectacle lenses don't dim selectively to shade the sun rather than across the whole lens.  
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
I honestly can't recall a single time in the last 10 years when I've been ordered to lower my window shade. I'm courteous about it, and if the sun is directly out the window, I'll lower it at least halfway (or the whole way, and just open it occasionally for a photo or five).

I suppose it depends on the types of flight you take. On long haul flights in daylight it's very common to hear cabin announcements firmly requesting all blinds to be closed. I've seen cabin crew going to individual seats to enforce such a request if someone complains. Basically one open blind can flood the cabin with sunlight preventing large numbers of people in the vicinity from using the IFE. It also makes it harder for those who want to sleep.

On balance I think a dimming window is better than an open and shut blind. It reduces the glare of sunlight while allowing someone to still see out. Yes it's not great for photographers, but in my experience they are a small minority on board. The fact that the window dimmers will usually be controlled centrally rather undermines the Boeing publicity about them though. You should be able to take a look outside occasionally, especially if the view is good, as it can be in clear weather.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:02 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 11):

I take a decent number of cross-country redeyes, and generally they will ask you to lower the blinds so that the cabin doesn't suddenly get flooded with light 3 hours later when the sun comes up. But given that I don't usually go to sleep right away, I'll leave mine open - doesn't do any harm during the night, and if I decide to sleep I'll close it.

Day flights are a different story. If possible, I'll try and get a seat on the non-sun side (better for photography anyway). But it's one of those debates to which I don't really know the answer. I specifically get window seats whenever I can - I like looking out the window, and it honestly bothers me quite a bit if I can't.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 11):
Basically one open blind can flood the cabin with sunlight preventing large numbers of people in the vicinity from using the IFE.

Suppose it depends on the system, but I've rarely had a problem watching TV on the screen even with the window open (some of JetBlue's newer IFE systems have ridiculously bright screens - actually way too bright in my opinion, but even the older ones can be brightened enough).

Anyway, it's one of those debates on which I'm totally unsure of the answer. I get a window seat so I can look out the window, but I understand that it can negatively affect other passengers.

I think I'd prefer a shade - that way, I can open the window 1/3 of the way or so for a bit, and see what I want to see, while blocking much of the light.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 11):
The fact that the window dimmers will usually be controlled centrally rather undermines the Boeing publicity about them though. You should be able to take a look outside occasionally, especially if the view is good, as it can be in clear weather.

  
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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seabosdca
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:30 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 3):
These windows are truly a gimmick

The point isn't really passenger comfort. It's reduced maintenance expense and time. The electrochromic panel is pretty much unbreakable and the switch is far simpler and faster to replace than a shade, which requires a section of sidewall to be removed.

As a passenger, though, I see both sides of this, although I think on balance I'll prefer the electrochromic window. I'd rather be able to see out the sun-side window with less glare, and I don't usually take pictures.

[Edited 2015-02-25 16:31:18]
 
nomadd22
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:02 am

Quoting boacvc10 (Reply 7):

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
Another (small) disadvantage is that the windows seem to block out all GPS reception. I can usually get a very good GPS signal out an airplane window, but not with the 788's windows -- obtaining the satellites appeared impossible.

Hmmmmm. Is it typical for a GPS receiver to be able to lock to a satellite at speeds typical of a civilian aircraft in mid-flight, or do you have a special GPS unit that does so?


Normal GPS recievers won't work at supersonic speeds because they're restricted by design. You need militay type chips if you want to use one on a spaceship or SST or something. But airline speeds aren't a problem.
Anon
 
David L
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:53 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 14):
Normal GPS recievers won't work at supersonic speeds because they're restricted by design.

I had a Garmin GPS Map76 which, according to the manual, would only register speeds up to 999 kts. However, I took it on a couple of Concorde flights and it worked perfectly at Mach 2, even through those tiny windows. From memory, it registered a ground speed of about 1195 kts.

Ah, those were the days!
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:38 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 14):
Normal GPS recievers won't work at supersonic speeds because they're restricted by design. You need militay type chips if you want to use one on a spaceship or SST or something. But airline speeds aren't a problem.

That would be groundspeed though, right? You can get pretty close to, and even above, the speed of sound if you're talking groundspeed, even in an airliner.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
burchfiel
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:11 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 1):
First world problems.

Absolutely!

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 4):
Isn't a GPS a transmitting device and thus prohibited for use in flight?

The last time I checked, the UA in-flight magazine explicitly permits GPS receivers.

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 6):
For instance, I don't think I can turn on the GPS in my cell phone w/o turning off airplane mode - which means the transmitters will power up.

I think on my phone (Samsung Galaxy Mini S4), the GPS works both in airplane mode and in non-airplane mode. It certainly works in airplane mode -- as long as the airplane isn't a 787!
 
burchfiel
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:29 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
1. Require much longer exposures or higher ISO, due to the reduced light.
2. Introduce horrendous color casts, as the windows seem to turn blue as they dim.

Yes, this was my experience on the flight. The windows were auto-dimmed to what looked like their darkest setting. Maybe if you had an über-camera that could handle the dim light you could still get good photos, but my consumer video camera wasn't up to the challenge. And yes, they absolutely turn blue. Probably something you could correct via the computer, but it's still a hassle.

The 787 is still a really neat aircraft, and on the flight where the windows weren't automatically dimmed, I certainly enjoyed the flight. It's worth traveling on at least once if you have the opportunity.
 
David L
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:52 am

Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 17):
I think on my phone (Samsung Galaxy Mini S4), the GPS works both in airplane mode and in non-airplane mode. It certainly works in airplane mode -- as long as the airplane isn't a 787!

I'm glad this came up as it's something I've been meaning to find out, having wondered if Airplane Mode would be too "cautious". It seems that on my Sony Xperia Z2 the GPS system can be used in all modes. Airplane Mode removes wi-fi and network information (obviously) from the equation but leaves the GPS system available. Thus, in Airplane Mode the accuracy is only as good as the accuracy I was perfectly happy with before I started using mobile phones. Sorted!
 
nomadd22
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:43 pm

My iPhone GPS doesn't want to work in Airplane mode. I don't know why they do that since L.O. radiation is almost too tiny to detect from those things. It sounds like lawyers making technical decisions.
Anon
 
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glen
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:18 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 20):
My iPhone GPS doesn't want to work in Airplane mode. I don't know why they do that since L.O. radiation is almost too tiny to detect from those things. It sounds like lawyers making technical decisions.

I think it's not a precautionary meausure, but the technically most simple. Because at Apple models (at least on my iPad) the GPS-module is built into the Cellular-module. And the Airplane mode probably just shuts down the whole Cellular module.
"The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view." - Albert Einstein
 
David L
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:20 pm

I've noticed that the windows on trains these days often make GPS reception difficult, too. Something to do with the way they're tinted, I guess.

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 20):
I don't know why they do that

Well, if that's what Apple does then that must be what you want.   
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:06 pm

Quoting glen (Reply 21):
I think it's not a precautionary meausure, but the technically most simple. Because at Apple models (at least on my iPad) the GPS-module is built into the Cellular-module. And the Airplane mode probably just shuts down the whole Cellular module.

   If you use a dedicated GPS unit, it will work (not well because it can only see a small section of sky, but it will work).

Anyway, I love the 787 windows. On my only ever 787 trip (we flew SFO-HND-SFO), we left HND at midnight. Flying into the east, the sun rose at about 3AM. Inside the cabin, the crew had darkened the windows (although I could lighten mine, but I quickly learned that it got *very* bright even at the second-lowest setting). The cabin was cool and dark, although I could see out. It appeared that we were flying through an unusually brightly moonlit night, but the "moon" was a bit too bright to look at directly. The dust cover on the inside of the window and the wall on that side were slightly warm to the touch, but not the searing hot that you get on a conventional window shade.

My only complaint is that the windows are slow to change shade.
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crimsonchin
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:08 pm

A gimmicky answer to a question to no really asked.
 
baldwin471
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:35 pm

I don't *mind* them, but I'd probably not choose them over a conventional shade. The only 787 flight I've been on was the red eye from OSL-BKK, so I only caught the sun on my side of the aircraft for about an hour before it set. Even in that hour it was quite annoying, the glare even with the window fully dimmed was quite bad.
 
rwessel
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:55 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 14):
Normal GPS recievers won't work at supersonic speeds because they're restricted by design. You need militay type chips if you want to use one on a spaceship or SST or something. But airline speeds aren't a problem.

If the manufacturer wants to meet the CoCom limits (and it can be rather painful if they don't) for a civilian product, they'll prevent the GPS from working at over 1000kts or 60kft. And the limitation is usually pretty artificial, just software checking the results.

Many manufacturers of non-aviation GPSs, particular those who also make aviation units, have also implemented limits on their non-aviation devices. Again, purely artificial.

It's possible there are some GPSs so slow that they will intrinsically fail at high speed (or, more likely, just produce very large errors), but basically none of the common chipsets today should have a problem at any semi-reasonable speed.
 
rcair1
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:29 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 17):
I think on my phone (Samsung Galaxy Mini S4), the GPS works both in airplane mode and in non-airplane mode. It certainly works in airplane mode -- as long as the airplane isn't a 787!

Just checked on my Moto X (2nd Gen) and you are correct. My real time GPS ap works fine with airplane mode on.

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 20):
My iPhone GPS doesn't want to work in Airplane mode. I don't know why they do that since L.O. radiation is almost too tiny to detect from those things. It sounds like lawyers making technical decisions.

That's probably why I thought it did not. I had a work issued i-phone. Discovered that I never used it - just use my personal droid - so I dumped the i-phone and just went with my android. I've not tried the gps trick on the plane since I did that.

Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 18):
Probably something you could correct via the computer, but it's still a hassle.

Maybe, maybe not. What is happening is the window is not neutral. If I could take my spectra-radiometer up and measure it - and if they'd let me drill a hole so I could see the unfiltered sun - I could measure it. But - I'm suspecting not...

As for correcting it - it depends on spectrum of the 'filter'. If it is all in basically 1 filter band (as far as the camera sees), or if it is uniform, within each filter - and you shot raw - and you know the spectrum. You can build a matrix to fix it. If it varies dramatically across the response of one of the filters - then you cannot. You might be able to make it non-objectionable, but not corrected. That is because once the light hits the filters in the camera - the entire spectrum of the filter turns into 1 number. If '1/2' of the "red" is filtered, then when you correct the 'filtered' part, you are over emphasizing the "non-filtered' part.
rcair1
 
AM
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:53 pm

As someone who is really looking forward to his first 787 flight, I'm really disappointed in what many airlines are doing with the 787 windows.

I know that AeroMexico will dim the windows to the darkest setting during flight with no option of individually changing the setting. So what's the point of having really big fancy windows if you're not allowed to look outside?

What other airlines do you know of that do the same thing? Someone mentioned United...

BC
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Stitch
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:04 pm

Quoting AM (Reply 28):
I know that AeroMexico will dim the windows to the darkest setting during flight with no option of individually changing the setting. So what's the point of having really big fancy windows if you're not allowed to look outside?

Even at maximum tint, you can still look through them. Think dark sunglasses, not a brick wall.  
 
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sunrisevalley
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:46 pm

Quoting AM (Reply 28):
As someone who is really looking forward to his first 787 flight, I'm really disappointed in what many airlines are doing with the 787 windows.

Forget the windows, I was on BA93 yesterday most were clear but there was one nearby that was blue. Rather enjoy the shush as it cuts through the air without any rumble and the just a hint of engine noise in the background. It is a very nice airplane to ride in but the final experience is based on how well the operator fits it out.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:57 am

Does anyone know what the cost of a 787 window panel is compared to a standard window on other widebodies?
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:40 pm

Forget the 787 windows. Depending where I put my phone in my car, I can or can not get GPS signal.

What are the frequency of the GPS signal vs. Cell signal?

The other thing to consider is whether the graphite composite skin of the 787 impacts the signal transmission. Would be interested to see if cell phone GPS works on the A350 as well.

bt
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rwessel
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:50 am

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 32):
What are the frequency of the GPS signal vs. Cell signal?

You can find cell phones, of various types, in a fair number of bands between about 700MHz and 2.7GHz. The US GPS system runs 1559 to 1610 MHz.
 
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speedygonzales
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:06 am

The conductive layers needed for the dimmable windows will block all radio signals quite effectively. I don't know what's used in the 787's windows, but indium tin oxide, which is a common transparent conductor, is reflective from near IR and down.
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Rara
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:47 pm

I can get a GPS signal in a plane just fine, but I can't get one in a German high-speed train with its tinted windows. I imagine the reason is similar to why it wouldn't work in a 787.
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
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flyingclrs727
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:00 pm

So is the inability to obtain a GPS signal through the 787 windows a bug or a feature?
 
Rara
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:21 pm

Neither.. it's just one of these things that 99% of the flying public aren't bothered with, but which keeps us airplane nuts entertained.
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
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flyingclrs727
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:25 pm

But do airlines prefer that passengers not be able to use GPS devices?
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Not A Big Fan Of The 787's Windows

Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:20 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 37):
Neither.. it's just one of these things that 99% of the flying public aren't bothered with, but which keeps us airplane nuts entertained.

So here's a thought. The exit door have those ports. I don't supposed they have the dim-able function. So next time, take walk to the door and see if your GPS can pick up the satellites when placed at the port.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.

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