Thursday 8 December 2016

The new first-class air travel for the super (super) rich

The SkyDeck will ‘provide an exhilarating view of the aircraft’s external environment while in flight’

Kate Ng

Published 14/12/2015 | 08:19

The SkyDeck system visualisation by Windspeed Technologies Windspeed Technologies, YouTube
The SkyDeck system visualisation by Windspeed Technologies Windspeed Technologies, YouTube

The latest advance in air travel exclusively for the super-rich shows the gap between the rich and poor is getting bigger.

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Windspeed Technologies, which bills itself as a “premier aerospace engineering services company”, has released details of a system called SkyDeck that allows passengers to observe the view in-flight from on top of the plane.

The system features a semi-external glass “teardrop canopy”, or a pod, protruding out the top of a plane, where passengers can sit. The company says it will "provide an exhilarating view of the aircraft’s external environment while in flight” and will be available soon.

There are two different designs, one includes an elevator to transport the passenger into the canopy, and the other installs a set of stairs going up into the canopy in the roof of the plane.

The innovation follows another patent that has shot to prominence this month - although this one seems exclusively designed for the cattle class.

Plans released by French aircraft manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace show passengers seated in a windowless baggage hold.

According to the company, only 37 per cent of cargo space on modern planes are being used because more people travel on budget airlines which charge extra for checking in baggage.

President and CEO of Windspeed Technologies, Shakil Hussain, describes the SkyDeck as “the next exciting experiential in-flight entertainment for VIP aircraft owners and the airline industry”.

In an interview with Business Jet Interiors International, he said the patent for the design is currently pending, but estimates for cost would be between US$8m (£5.34m) and US$25Mm (£16.6m) installed and certified.

Windspeed Technologies thinks the SkyDeck could result in additional revenue for airlines if they charge on a pay-per-view basis, allowing airlines to charge an exorbitant premium on the experience.

Mr Hussain reportedly said in the Robb Report: “The concept attracted a lot of attention at the recent conference of the National Business Aviation Association in Las Vegas.

“A large aircraft manufacturer in Europe plans to start offering the SkyDeck to potential customers soon.”

Windspeed Technologies says it has developed the SkyDeck to withstand all the elements, flight loads and potential impacts, such as potential bird impacts.

They guarantee the design does not interfere with the plane's tail mechanism, and any additional drag would be "small to negligible".

Independent News Service

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