From Square To Round: The History Of Finding The Perfect Shape For Airplane Windows

Date December 27, 2017

If you did not know, planes have been around for a long time already. Since they started to be manufactured for commercial use it already had undergone several modifications and upgrades until we get to the today's models. These changes were made both to provide more security and to reduce the cost of flights in order to accommodate more people. For example, did you know that the airplane windows have not always been rounded?

The first Comet plane was produced in 1949 in Hatfield, England. It was considered futuristic as it had a reflective structure and four engines. Internally it had two environments with 36 passenger seats. The first class seats were around tables. The plane also had a large kitchen, luggage storage areas, and men's and women's bathrooms.

But a few years later some problems with the aircraft's fuselage started to become noticeable.

The planes could reach speeds up to 807 km/h (500 mph), and it was not comfortable at all for those seating on the ends. Also, flights without any incident were rare. Some problems with electrical circuits and navigation were considered risk factors, as well as blurring windows and the plane's low fuel economy - a full tank could last only 4 hours. But these were not the worst problems...

Structural weaknesses in the fuselage resulted in two fatal crashes in 1954 killing 56 people. After some investigations, they found out that the square windows caused the surrounding metal to experience pressure two to three times greater than elsewhere in the cabin.

Aircraft designs have been changed, but British aviation has never fully recovered from the flaws of the early models. The last Comet made its final flight in 1997 with rounded windows and thicker structure.

Could you have imagined that a "simple" window shape would make so much difference? The world had to witness horrible accidents to shape the future as it is today.

Source: Fatos Desconhecidos