Whether it’s for a short, medium or long-haul aircraft, the range of windscreen thickness is the same. It varies between just under an inch to 1.2”. Therefore, a passenger plane windscreen is on average four times thicker than a car windscreen which is 0.23” thick. It is also much stronger.
Cockpit panes have to withstand two forces: cabin pressure and bird strikes. To gauge their strength, a slew of tests are carried out. Sylvain Mourlhon, Saint-Gobain Sully’s marketing director explains: “an aircraft windscreen has to be able to withstand a 4lb-chicken being thrown at it at more than 370 mph.”
To achieve this, windscreens are made from a type of glass designed specifically for aeronautical purposes as well as plastic. A total of six alternating layers of these two materials are required.