Re: Cockpit Windows

Date:         09 Jan 98 00:51:00 
From:         ae562@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Eric Thomas)
Organization: The National Capital FreeNet
References:   1
Followups:    1
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Seth Heckard (sheckard@hotmail.com) writes:
> 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 upper cockpit windows were installed so that pilots could have the
option to navigate by the stars.  Also, when flying near the North Pole, a
compass tends to be unreliable, which makes cockpit sky windows all the
more necessary in order to use a sextant (naviagational tool).  However,
in this day and age of GPS, the need for these ceiling windows has
diminished.  Therefore, modern aircraft, especially commercial airliners,
tend not to have these extra windows as high tech naviagational equipment
has mostly eliminated the need for navigation by stars.