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Transportation Patents

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View 468

Zothecula writes Imagine showing up at the airport to catch your flight, looking at your plane, and noticing that instead of windows, the cockpit is now a smooth cone of aluminum. It may seem like the worst case of quality control in history, but Airbus argues that this could be the airliner of the future. In a new US patent application, the EU aircraft consortium outlines a new cockpit design that replaces the traditional cockpit with one that uses 3D view screens instead of conventional windows.
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @12:58PM (#47400711)

    They fly via instrument flight rules.

  • Re: Failsafe? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @01:09PM (#47400859) Journal

    If the system is down so far as needing that, then it's already crashing i'd suspect.

    Not necessarily.

    Even 'fly-by-wire' systems are always at least dual-redundant (quad-redundant if it's a military jet), and it *always* has a source of backup power (EPU/APU, batteries, etc).

    These screens we don't know about, and always have a single-point of failure: the screen itself. So if power dies off, at least with glass windows, the pilots can still see out and glide to a 'dead-stick' landing (even if it's not on a runway) using the backup power to the flight controls.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @01:11PM (#47400887) Homepage Journal

    Simple []

    "In 1929, he became the first pilot to take off, fly and land an airplane using instruments alone, without a view outside the cockpit. Having returned to Mitchel Field that September, he assisted in the development of fog flying equipment. He helped develop, and was then the first to test, the now universally used artificial horizon and directional gyroscope. He attracted wide newspaper attention with this feat of "blind" flying and later received the Harmon Trophy for conducting the experiments. These accomplishments made all-weather airline operations practical."

    And yes it was the Jimmy Doolittle. If you do not know about him you should read up on him.

  • Re: Failsafe? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2014 @01:13PM (#47400901)

    There are numerous ways a view screen could be disabled (object smashed it, software error, etc.) even though the plane is perfectly fit for flying otherwise.

    There are numerous reasons pilots can't see out real windows. Things like clouds, fog and night. Yet pilots can flight on instruments just fine and it is routine. Planes land on instruments only every day.

  • Failsafe? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @01:19PM (#47400963)

    Did you ever land in fog? Noticed that in commercial airports, they usually don't bother with removing the fog?

    Planes land with zero visibility all the time.

  • Re:Failsafe? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cowclops ( 630818 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @01:34PM (#47401119)
    They don't touch down in zero visibility - you have to be able to see the runway before you get below IFR minimums or else you go around and circle till the fog clears or go to another airport. However, its still true that the other 98% of the flight, they don't need any visibility and a 3d display is just as good as anything else they could use in IFR conditions.
  • Re: Failsafe? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @02:01PM (#47401385) Journal

    The worse thing that could happen to a view screen is that it gets so smashed up

    Well, no, the worst thing is that it falls out, and so does the pilot. []

  • Re:Failsafe? (Score:4, Informative)

    by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @02:04PM (#47401433) Journal

    It depends on the airport, pilot & airplane.

    If all are certified, yes they can land in zero visibility to 0' AGL.

  • Re:Failsafe? (Score:4, Informative)

    by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @03:08PM (#47401913)
    This is true. The strongest category is CAT IIIc and the need for visibility is not existent. The so-called decision height for landing is also not existent. IIIc is not in use though, so I to IIIb are used. []
  • Re: Failsafe? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday July 07, 2014 @04:03PM (#47402359)

    Last time I checked passenger planes could glide about as well as a brick.

    You should read about an incident that has become known as the Gimli Glider []. That was a 767 (passenger plane) that was piloted with no working engines to a safe landing with only minor injuries during the evacuation.

    The glide ratio reported there was 12:1, which is actually better than the Cessna 172 (9:1) or 182 (10:1). Those numbers are approximations since they depend upon the best glide speed, which depends on aircraft weight and condition. In any case, much better than "a brick".

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.