Supersonic passenger plane to use giant screens instead of windows

Passengers on long haul flights often while away the hours starring aimlessly out the windows at the passing scenery however, the group behind the world’s first commercial supersonic plane have decided it is best if they do without windows.

Instead Spike Aerospace has decided to use giant screens inside the passenger cabin which will show what is happening outside the plane.

It says that removing windows will reduce the challenges in designing and constructing the aeroplanes fuselage. Windows require extra support and add to the number of parts that are needed as well as the overall weight of the plane.

Also a smoother outer skin of the plane will help to reduce the drag when flying at high speeds.

In a post on its website Spike Aerospace say: “The interior walls will be covered with a thin display screens embedded into the wall. Cameras surrounding the entire aircraft will construct breathtaking panoramic views displayed on the cabin screens.”

Passengers will be allowed to dim the screens if they want to sleep or be able to change it to any number of images stored in the plane’s system.

This could cause problems for those wanting to sleep when others are working or wanting to eat. It’s not worth considering how uninspiring the plane will be if the screens break.


The new supersonic jet will allow passengers to reach destinations in half the time it currently takes, the company claims. It says flying from New York to London will take three-four hours instead of the six-seven hours it currently takes and it says LA to Tokyo will take eight hours instead of 14-16.

At present commercial airliners fly at speeds of around 567mph, but the planned Spike S-512 plane is targeting speeds of 1,060-1,200mph for its slights.

The company say: “We expect the first customers for the jet will be businesses and their management teams that need to manage global operations more efficiently.

“They will be able to reach destinations faster, evaluate more opportunities and have a bigger impact on their enterprises.”

In short, the jet is being designed for the select few on corporate accounts who will be able to afford the flight costs in the initial stages.

But it appears virtual environments aren’t only going to be used for the super wealthy as only weeks ago cruise ship company Royal Caribbean announced its latest cruise shop would play host to ‘virtual balconies’ for those in the worst rooms.

The ship company intends that virtual balconies will comprise of an 80-inch LED screen on the wall of 373 rooms in its latest boat, the Quantum of the Seas.

If the company’s images are to be believed sea-goers will be able to enjoy the best views around the boat without having to put up with sea air or, if caught in a storm be able to change their view to that of a sunny day.

Image courtesy of Spike Aerospace.

Scientists crack the £3.5bn potato disease

Scientists have produced a series of genetically modified potatoes that are resistant to one of their biggest threats – a disease that costs the world up to £3.5bn ($5.8bn/€4.2bn) each year.

In a three year study scientists managed to boost the resistance of Desiree potatoes to stop the onset of blight, which was responsible for the Irish Potato famine in 1845. It is hoped their work will reduce food wastage as well as producing environmental benefits due to a reduction in chemicals being sprayed on crops.

As a result of the study, during which the scientists used no fungicides, The Sainsbury Laboratory at the John Innes Centre produced a potato that was immune to late blight.

The study came to a head in 2012 when the test potatoes experienced ideal conditions for late blight. The scientists did not inoculate any plants but waited for traces of late blight to blow into the testing area naturally.

All of the genetically modified plants were resistant to the blight until the end of the experiment when all of the non-modified plants were infected.

The developments could significantly change the potato industry, which currently experiences more than £3.5bn of losses on an annual basis. This could not only lead to environmental benefits but help to increase the overall world food supply.

In the UK farmers spray fungicides 10-15 times to reduce losses to blight, which releases chemicals into the environment. It is hoped that growing blight-resistant crops will reduce the crop losses to the disease and reduce the number of times they need to be sprayed.

Scientists hope to replace chemical control with genetic control, though farmers might be advised to spray even resistant varieties at the end of a season, depending on conditions. Other blight-resistant potatoes already exist but are not widely available in the market because of other deficiencies.

For future development and to try and bring the research into the commercial potato market the scientists will now work with American potato company Simplot and the James Hutton Institute to develop the resistant genes. They hope to fully develop Desiree and Maris Piper varieties that will resist late blight.

Professor Jonathan Jones from The Sainsbury Laboratory said: “Breeding from wild relatives is laborious and slow and by the time a gene is successfully introduced into a cultivated variety, the late blight pathogen may already have evolved the ability to overcome it,”

“With new insights into both the pathogen and its potato host, we can use GM technology to tip the evolutionary balance in favour of potatoes and against late blight.”

The full research, which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and The Gatsby Foundation, is set to be published today in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Image courtesy of Szczel (Flickr).