On-Board – Ban Ki-moon flies KQ
At the end of February Kenya Airways was proud to fly Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, from Dubai to Nairobi and onwards to Bujumbura. The Secretary-General was flying into Burundi to support the UN’s efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis.
Why do aircraft have rounded windows?
Well, the simple answer is: to keep you safe. Passenger aircraft fly at altitudes above 30,000 feet, where the air pressure is very low. As an aircraft climbs, the pressure inside the cabin becomes higher than that outside. The stress that this causes concentrates towards the edges of an object, meaning windows with square corners would crack easily.
Rounded corners, however, avoid this problem because they distribute the stress across the whole pane. Additionally, aircraft windows are built in a three-layer structure: a convex external pane, shielded by a middle layer that is, in turn, buffered by an acrylic screen on the passenger side. There’s also a pinhole in the middle layer, which helps to equalise the pressure between the panes and the cabin. This means that if the pressure did get too much, it is only the outermost window that would crack – ensuring the plane returns to the ground safely.