Business Traveller

Dazzling new airplane patent offers seats on top of aircraft

Barry Neild, CNNUpdated 4th January 2016
(CNN) — At last, a new airplane seating patent that doesn't try to squeeze more humans into a smaller space.
Instead, this concept aims to give passengers an even better view of the skies than the pilot's by seating them on top of the plane, inside a transparent bubble-style canopy.
U.S. aerospace technology company Windspeed says its SkyDeck design can be installed on a variety of aircraft, from private jets to wide-bodied commercial planes.
Passengers access the seats, either via an elevator or staircase. Once inside they can rotate the twin or single seats through 360-degrees, enjoying incredible sky vistas.
"Current inflight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades," Windspeed says. "We wanted to come up with a product that would provide a higher level of entertainment to reduce the boredom of long flights."

Pay per view

The company says the seats could "create the next exciting experiential inflight entertainment for VIP aircraft" or could be used to create revenue on commercial flights through a pay-per-view basis.
While the SkyDeck patent is still pending and has yet to be subjected to practical testing, Windspeed says its design is viable and won't interfere with an aircraft's handling.
It says the canopy would be made of materials used in supersonic fighter jets -- strong enough to withstand birdstrikes and other stress factors.
An aerodynamic "teardrop" shape will help reduce the drag factor.
Anti-condensation film will be applied to stop it fogging up and a UV-protection coating will stop passengers being frazzled by the sun.
No timescale yet on when -- if it gets approval -- the SkyDeck might begin punching its way through an airplane fuselage near you.
Until then, we can only stare glumly at the seat-back in front of us and dream.