A revolutionary new in-flight entertainment product
The SkyDeck is a system designed to provide an exhilarating view of the aircraft’s external environment while in flight, from a safe semi-external location. The aim was to create the next exciting experiential in-flight entertainment for VIP aircraft owners and the airline industry. For the airlines, it could be an additional source of revenue, as passengers could be charged on a pay-per-view basis.There are several combinations of design features that can be incorporated into the SkyDeck. For example, either an elevator or a staircase can be incorporated, and either a single- or two-seat platform can be specified.
The SkyDeck can be installed on a wide variety of aircrafts, ranging from wide-bodies to smaller executive jets. For the smaller executive jets, perhaps the single-seat option would be the way to go. Current in-flight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades. We wanted to come up with a product that would provide a higher level of entertainment to reduce the boredom of long flights.
Conceptual designs of the different versions have been completed and the SkyDeck is currently patent and trademark pending. It has taken us over a year to design the details, including conducting feasibility studies in all aspects of the system which have included structural modifications, loading, system integration, interior modifications, aerodynamics and certification requirements.
The initial concerns were the potential interference with the aircraft’s tail performance. Studies have shown that a teardrop canopy design and engineering the optimum height of the canopy mitigates that concern. In addition since the SkyDeck will generally be positioned towards the rear of the aircraft, additional fuel burn due to any added drag will be small to negligible. CFD analysis or wind tunnel tests will be performed to address these concerns.
As with any installation, there will be an increase in the aircraft’s weight. The amount will depend on the version of SkyDeck. However, for wide-body VIP aircraft, the total take-off weight with the SkyDeck installed will still be way lower than the aircraft’s original design MTOW and therefore weight increase will not be an issue in this case.
The SkyDeck will be designed to withstand all load conditions, including flight loads and birdstrike impact loads. The canopy will be made of similar high-strength materials as those used to build the canopies of supersonic fighter jets. We are currently in talks with a major aircraft canopy manufacturer, who will design, build, test and supply the canopies, fully certified and ready-to-install.
The problem of condensation on the canopy surface, that could cause fogging, will be resolved with the application of an anti-condensation film on the surface of the canopy, according to the canopy manufacturer. In addition, the canopies will also come with a UV-protection coating. The requirements of ingress/egress by the certifying authorities will be built into the design of every SkyDeck.
The cost of a SkyDeck depends on several factors such as selecting between the options of a single or double-seat version, elevator or staircase version, wide bodied or narrow bodied aircraft, etc. In general the single seat coupled with a staircase version for a narrow bodied aircraft will be substantially cheaper than that for a wide bodied aircraft.