Paris Air Show 2009: Video of the new Boeing 787 cockpit window

Yesterday we showed you how passengers on the 787 will have it ‘made in the shade.’ When I first heard about the electrically dimmable window shade feature, I asked Randy Baseler, then VP of marketing at Boeing, whether this type of technology might find its way into the pointy-end of the airplane.

Randy explained back in 2006:

Here is what we can tell you at this point. The flight deck on the 787 does not currently have dimmable windows. The demands of the flight deck are different from those for passenger windows, as would be the technology involved. We’re working hard on coming up with a way to do this in the flight deck, and we’re looking at a solution that might be retrofittable.

So when I saw a 787 window on display at the PPG booth at this year’s Paris Air Show, I just had to know. Will we finally be able to throw out our plastic stick-on shades or, worse yet, a newspaper, map or cabin safety briefing card? Pilots are desperately in need of dark shading on the sunny side of the airplane.

Boeing has in the past decade offered a sliding yellow shade that doesn’t really block much sunlight, and there have been various plexiglass shades previously, but these only supplement the passenger safety briefing cards and newspapers we cram into the window to block us from the sun.

Mark Cancilla of PPG explained that there’s a solar reflective coating on the 787 windows which would help reduce the temperature in the cockpit. He also pointed out the gold tint, caused by the thin-film gold that’s needed for the airplane’s anti-fog system.
I was a bit shocked to see how tinted these windows would be. How would that affect the photos I take from the cockpit at altitude? Looking closer, it seemed the white display behind the window highlighted the gold film, but when looking back toward the show floor this window appeared to be similar to other Boeings.

The anti-fog capabilities of the new windshield will eliminate the need for 50 m.p.h. air to blast across the windows, which will result in less noise.

Let’s let have Mark show you more about the 787 window:

After being awake for nearly 24 hours, Grant and I kept each other in good spirits with a few light hearted comments. When we saw the full size cabin shell for the A350, I noticed the cockpit windows were painted black, A shade that I jokingly found to be perfect on those early morning eastbound flights. Could this be Airbus’s answer to my frustrations?

Check out the rest of Gadling’s Paris Air Show coverage.