Probably you have had a seat next to an airplane window very many times if you are a frequent flyer. Many would love to have a seat next to the aircraft’s windows because of many reasons. Sitting near the window offers you magnificent aerial views of the regions the plane is passing through.
You well know that each airplane window is rounded and that is their only shape for all aircraft around the world. Have you ever wondered why all of them are round-shaped and not squared? Well, to explain this we need to go back into aviation history. Early airplane designs had squared windows but a disaster struck! Two commercial jetliners fell apart in mid-air and their disintegration was blamed on square windows.
The squared airplane windows have sharp corners which can’t bear the external pressure. This is because they are literally weakened by the stress concentration from both inside and outside the plane. This weakness on all the four sharp corners of airplane windows spells disaster for its passengers.
On the other hand, the curved window panes do not have a focal point and this helps them to distribute air pressure build-up that also causes an enormous external stress. This reduces the chances of cracks or breaks developing in the window panes, unlike the square windows. Round window shapes are much stronger and have the ability to resist distortion or deformity. This also means that they can endure the extreme air differences in pressure between the inside and outside of the airplane.
Another mystery is the existence and purpose of the tiny holes in aircraft window panes. But did you know that these play a very important safety role while you cruise 40,000 ft above? Each aircraft window pane has this tiny hole which is known as the breather in the aviation industry. Its special purpose is to control the air pressure rate that flows in-between the window’s inner and outer panes.
The breather hole is there to ensure that the inner window pane doesn’t bear the extreme external air pressure which is the purpose of the external. The external pane bears the external air pressure strain on the airplane window. So this will enable you to continue breathing with ease even though you’re cruising more than 500kms per hour.
Another function of the breather hole is to prevent fog from forming on the window panes. It does this by wicking away the moisture that builds up in-between the windowpanes. So this is all about the aeronautic science of aircraft engineering to marvel at.
So next time you sit near the aircraft window, you would want to always give many thanks to the aeronautic engineers who have created all these amazing aircraft designs that withstand the perils of flying. The comfort and relaxation we all feel while flying are because of their gifted skills that keep us alive several kilometers while up, above the clouds.