The latest advance in air travel exclusively for the super-rich shows the gap between the rich and poor is getting bigger.
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.
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.
Airline food across the classes
Airline food across the classes
1/6 Virgin Upper Class
Clockwise from top right: Salted butter, malted wheat and oat roll, glass of Gardet Brut Premiere Cru Champagne
Thai beef salad, seared sirloin beef, dressed with a sweet chilli, lime and ginger dressing and crumbed roasted cashews. Created for Virgin by Lorraine Pascale
Italian buffalo mozzarella, heritage tomatoes and sweet pepper berries, drizzled with Italian extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze
Brioche and butter pudding, served with Madagascan vanilla syrup and double cream
2/6 Virgin Premium Economy
Clockwise from right: Chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry, with coriander rice
Asian slaw salad of carrots, celeriac, sweet chillies and slaw dressing. As well as Jacob's crackers, Croxton Manor Mature Cheddar, 1/4 bottle of wine
Apple & blackberry pudding
3/6 Virgin Economy
Clockwise from bottom right: Slow-cooked beef bourguignon, with rosemary, roasted root veg and mustard mash
Mediterranean orzo salad, dressed in a sun-blushed tomato and roasted pepper dressing
Gü Chocolate Orange. As well as Jacob's crackers, Boursin Garlic & Herbs, 1/4 bottle of wine
4/6 All Nippon Airways first class
Clockwise from top right: Miso soup
Pickles preserved in vinegar Japanese tea
'Koshihikari' brand rice from Nichinan-cho Hino-gun in Tottori Prefecture
Simmered sablefish in soy-based sauce
Seasonal salad with wasabi
Dressed asparagus and konjac with sweet sesame paste
Marinated salmon in piquant-vinegared sauce
Clear soup with a steamed prawn cake
Zensai, 'a selection of morsels' including Japanese omelette and sake-steamed abalone
5/6 All Nippon Airways business class
Clockwise from top right: Assorted pickles
A selection of morsels including dressed bamboo shoot and simmered octopus
Simmered duck and vegetables
Deep-fried sea bream with thick ponzu sauce
6/6 All Nippon Airways economy
Clockwise from top right: A selection of fresh fruit
A selection of traditional appetisers
Seafood curry with steamed rice
Japanese noodle with spring onions, served with soy-based sauce
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".
The Independent has contacted Windspeed Technologies.Reuse content