A breathtaking 360° all-round view above the clouds is what Windspeed Technologies is offering. This American aerospace engineering company, founded in 2006, in Everett, northwest United States, has patented a concept for both business jets and commercial aircraft.
The principle is similar to that of the well-known 1930’s - 40’s Consolidated PBY Catalina seaplane. A teardrop canopy would be integrated into the aircraft’s upper fuselage, towards the rear. Passengers would access the platform via a retractable staircase or even a lift, and obtain a panoramic view of the external environment by manipulating the joystick control of the either single- or two-seat pivoting arrangement.
With this system, airlines could charge passengers on a "pay-per-view" basis, similar to, certain tourist attractions. According to the company, whom we contacted, Airbus might well be interested enough to offer it to their customers soon.
All that remains to be seen is whether there is any real interest in the concept, since it would induce a necessarily increased fuel consumption, plus the fact that the installation of such a system would require grounding an aircraft for three to four months. Moreover, the additional cost is estimated at between 8 and 25 million dollars for a wide-bodied long-haul, or 3 to 6 million for a short-haul.
Whether or not this passengers’ dream becomes reality, we will certainly keep you posted - from 2017.