Skip to main content

Airplane windows replaced by ultra-wide screens on new Supersonic jet

A company developing a supersonic jet is planning to throw airplane windows on the scrapheap in favour of screens that stretch along the length of the cabin.

Related: Faster Internet for commuters on the way after Ofcom approves use of ESOMPs

Spike Aerospace, the plane designer, plans to use cameras recording the outside of the plane to project images onto screens and passengers will be able to change the image or dim it, and the move is not simply being made for aesthetical reasons.

“There are several reasons for removing the windows from the cabin. It has long been known that the windows cause significant challenges in designing and constructing an aircraft fuselage. They require addition structural support, add to the parts count and add weight to the aircraft. But until recently, it has not been possible to do without them,” stated a press release from the company.

Removing the windows also eliminates structural issues and the smoother external structure results in the drag being significantly reduced when up against regular planes.

The S-512 is being built by a team based in Boston and made up of an experienced team of engineers that have expertise in both aircraft design and building.

The experience for passengers will undoubtedly be a different one and an expert in space and aerospace engineering has already questioned whether the finished article will be completely safe.

"There will be no natural light - it will all be simulated - so it will be a bit like being in a tube. And how would it work from a safety perspective? If there was an accident how would you know which way the plane was facing, and where you had landed, when the cameras have failed?" Dr Darren Ansell, an expert in space and aerospace engineering at the University of Central Lancashire told the BBC.

It’s estimated that the plane will cost in the region of $80 million [£48 million] to build and have a cruising speed of Mach 1.6 and maximum speed of Mach 1.8, which is double the Mach 0.8 cruising speed of the Boeing 777-300.

Related: Government unveils proposals to boost mobile broadband on trains

If the plane makes it off the ground it will be able to ferry up to 18 customers from New York to London in three to four hours – significantly less than the six or seven it currently takes.