December 15, 2015 weblog
Seating in the sky tops all others in SkyDeck concept
Windspeed Technologies, an aerospace engineering services company, is introducing its SkyDeck, which autoevolution described as "basically the aeronautical equivalent to a panoramic sunroof." You might also consider it an offer of luxury surround-sky seating in a dome.
Andrew Liszewski in Gizmodo summarized what this SkyDeck experience is about when two people are taking in the experience: "The upgraded aircraft will have a pair of seats, about as comfy as the ones you'll find in the average first class cabin, that can be raised from inside the cabin until they pop out of the top of the fuselage. A spacious, aerodynamic dome on top provides unprecedented views of the skies surrounding the aircraft for two privileged passengers."
The company said it believes SkyDeck "pushes the boundaries of the flight experience" in a design that givers passengers "an exhilarating view of the aircraft's external environment while in flight." Fundamentally, you are sitting in a bubble on top of the plane looking all around you instead of looking out of a tiny window.
Their target market are "VIP aircraft owners and the airline industry." Their business pitch for airline customers is that this could be "an additional source of revenue, as passengers could be charged on a pay-per-view basis."
Their design options could be access to the dome using an elevator or staircase; either design can be incorporated; takers also could specify for a single-seat (as for those VIPs in executive jets) or two-seat platform.
Will you be seeing these in the sky any time soon?
Mashable reported that Bruce Stewart, director of engineering at Windspeed Technologies, said "It would take a customer to order one to move forward." Several companies have expressed interest.
Viewers' comments over the video voiced questions about whether there would be any problems with glare, skin safety and bird excretions. However, the company appears to have done much homework. "The SkyDeck will be designed to withstand all load conditions, including flight loads and birdstrike impact loads," they stated. "The canopy will be made of similar high-strength materials as those used to build the canopies of supersonic fighter jets. We are currently in talks with a major aircraft canopy manufacturer, who will design, build, test and supply the canopies, fully certified and ready-to-install."
They also said that the canopies will come with a UV-protection coating.
"It has taken us over a year to design the details, including conducting feasibility studies in all aspects of the system which have included structural modifications, loading, system integration, interior modifications, aerodynamics and certification requirements."
SkyDeck was invented "to kill the boredom of long flights," the company's CEO, Shakil Hussain, told Mashable. "On a long flight, you're stuck inside of what's basically a can," he said, "and the only outside world you're allowed to see is through little puddles called windows."
In a July interview with Business Jet Interiors, he said the aim was to create it as "the next exciting experiential in-flight entertainment for VIP aircraft owners and the airline industry."
How much would it cost?
Hussain, in the July interview, said, "To pinpoint a price tag on the SkyDeck at this stage requires the consideration of several factors, including the aircraft type, the SkyDeck version chosen and the quantity of orders. The staircase version would generally cost less. However, current estimates are between US$8-25m installed and certified."
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