On an interesting aviation innovation note, Eric Torbenson has mentioned on the Airline Biz blog a recent story from the New York Post that Airbus is thinking of designing an “invisible plane.” According to the story:
At the push of a button the captain would a send an electrical pulse through a hi-tech ceramic skin making the main body of the plane see-through.
The extraordinary design would allow travelers to look down on cities and landscapes thousands of feet below or gaze up at the heavens, giving them the sensation of floating unassisted through the sky.
Eric pointed out though that while the material used for the fuselage could be made transparent, but the rest of the aircraft (the baggage, electronics, fuel, sewer lines etc.) are NOT going to be transparent. He also asked:
Would you like the material that is basically the only thing at 35,000 feet that’s separating you from air that has virtually no oxygen and is colder than anything you can imagine to be transparent?
Hence, maybe such an aircraft should be designed and built by Cessna as a general aviation aircraft!
The “invisible plane” idea is actually one of a number of ideas for aircraft of the future that were thought up by a team of engineers at Airbus. Other ideas included a self-cleaning and self-repairing aircraft or using the body heat of passengers themselves to power aircraft systems (For a complete slideshow of Airbus’s “plans” for the future, visit the Der Spiegel site).
However and after taking some of these (more) unusual ideas into account, we would like to ask you our readers what your ideas would be for future aircraft. Perhaps you have ideas that might be more “practical”?
Why not make the "windows" out of the stuff? Then you don't have a hole in the fuselage, but a structural material that can be made transparent or opaque at the behest of the passengers.