The idea of electronically dimming aircraft windows is not new. Competitors Boeing already offers this option as standard on the 787 Dreamliner, and the new 777X will also be equipped with it. Until now, Airbus did it with traditional sun protection, but that may change in the long term.
A prototype of the A350-900, currently used as an ‘Airspace Explorer’ to test cockpit innovations, is the first Airbus to be equipped with blackout technology. With the push of a button, the windows change from completely light to completely dark. “So you’re talking about 99.9 percent darkness,” said an Airbus representative during a demonstration on the plane.
Light and efficient
Not having dozens of window sliders on board saves a lot of weight, Boeing previously concluded. Airbus shares that thought. Also, the system is fairly easy to maintain (window slides sometimes break) and the cabin crew can operate all windows remotely at the same time. This is useful if the cabin needs to be put into night mode.
Airbus reportedly follows Boeing with the technology, but says it has improved the system. The downside to existing technology is that windows can be dimmed to a deep dark blue at most. “Now we’ve figured out how we can really make them black.”
The ultra-dark window photographing was on board the ‘interdit’ (prohibited) test aircraft, but the image below shows a slightly dimmed window from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
It is not yet known if and when Airbus will offer dimmable windows to airlines.
“Total social media fan. Travel maven. Evil coffee nerd. Extreme zombie specialist. Wannabe baconaholic. Organizer.”