Why have windows on a plane when you can have cameras showing passengers the sky? That's the philosophy behind Spike Aerospace's S-512, a planned supersonic jet that will zoom up to 18 passengers from London to New York in less than four hours; it's set to travel up to 1,370mph, Wired notes. Windows, says the Boston company, mean glare for passengers; more importantly, they make planes heavier owing to the construction demands presented by the need to maintain cabin pressure and have the windows remain intact. Without them, a plane can move faster and save on fuel. So the S-512, due in 2018, will instead have screens covering the walls and showing either the view, entertainment, or documents for in-air meetings, the Telegraph reports. Passengers will be able to control what's on, the firm says.
"Most of the time while flying, you can't see much anyway," the company says, estimating that within 20 years, no new aircraft will have them. Boeing isn't so sure, a rep says. "We're not looking at going windowless," he notes, confirming that the 777 X due next decade will have them. "We've found that passengers want windows." Adds a pilot: "Placing yourself in a sealed metal tube, flying faster than the speed of sound at great altitude with no spacial awareness would prove disturbing for most, and as a pilot, I can see huge safety issues." For instance, he notes, windows aren't just there for passengers, "but also to allow emergency workers to see in."