Re: Cockpit Windows

Date:         09 Jan 98 00:50:59 
From:         Colleen M Wabiszewski <>
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>Pardon me if this is a stupid question, but why do older planes (such as
>a Boeing 707, 727, or 737, and a DC-8 or -9 and MD-80) have an extra
>cockpit window (or two) on top of the main row of cockpit windows?  And
>why do newer, but similarly sized planes such as the A320 family and the
>757 have just one row of cockpit windows?

The extra windows are known as eyebrow windows (perhaps because they
supposedly look like eyebrows on the aircraft from the outside? who
knows where some of these terms come from).  In older aircraft they were
used for celestial navigation, before the advent of GPS and other
technological marvels.  They are no longer a requirement, although some
newer aircraft still have them for technical or sentimental reasons.  We
did a survey here of airline pilots and asked them how they felt about
removing the windows.  We expected the response to be positive, as many
pilots stuff the windows with paper to cut down on the glare in the
cockpit.  On the whole, however, most respondees said the windows can be
useful in watching out for traffic, they make the cockpit feel more
"open," and, to quote one pilot, "I like to look at the stars."