NASA is currently working on a supersonic plane X-59 shaped like a pencil which doesn’t have a front-facing window for the pilot to look out of.
NASA revealed the design in a statement ‘The 4K monitor, which is part of the aircraft’s eXternal Visibility System, or XVS, displays stitched images from two cameras outside the aircraft combined with terrain data from an advanced computing system.’
The two portals and traditional canopy are real windows however, and help the pilot see the horizon. The displays below the XVS will provide a variety of aircraft systems and trajectory data for the pilot to safely fly.
The XVS is one of several innovative solutions to help ensure the NASA X-59 supersonic plane design shape reduces a sonic boom to a gentle thump heard by people on the ground.
Though not intended to ever carry passengers, the X-59 boom-suppressing technology and community response data could help lift current bans on supersonic flight over land and enable a new generation of quiet supersonic commercial aircraft.
NASA began supersonic plane tests in November on its next-generation passenger airliner, dubbed the ‘Son of Concorde’ by aviation fans.
The X-59 is part of the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration mission, an initiative with the goal to make sonic booms not so ear-splittingly loud.