Dassault Aviation’s introduction of the Falcon 5X, the French OEM’s biggest business jet to date, was a major event at the NBAA Convention in October, but it was the unveiling of a cabin skylight as standard that caught the eye of those entering the mockup on display at the company exhibit.
Measuring 17 inches by 12 inches, it is located in the forward section of the galley, in the overhead adjacent to the passenger door, “adding brightness in a part of the cabin that is usually devoid of natural light.”
The skylight will incorporate EDW (electronically dimmable window) SPD-Smart window technology developed by Research Frontiers and produced under license by Vision Systems, rather than the more common manually or electrically articulated shades.
The principle is relatively simple. In the suspended particle device (SPD-Smart) window, millions of particles are in suspension within an emulsion. This emulsion is coated onto a thin film of a transparent, conductive material. When no electrical voltage is applied to the SPDs via the conductive coating, the particles are in a random pattern, blocking light from passing through the film. When a voltage is applied, the particles align, allowing light to pass through.
The amount of light passing through the film can be adjusted using a rheostat to control the amount of electrical current. Window products using SPD-Smart film can thus be clear or almost opaque and any level of tint between.
The “Zenith Window” in the Falcon 5X, said Visions Systems president and CEO Carl Putman, is from the Nuance Dual line of SPD-Smart technology in which two panels of particles in suspension are layered, ensuring the window will go 99.9975-percent opaque when desired.
The SPD-Smart window offers a number of advantages. It manages intense solar light, glare and heat entering the cabin, particularly at cruise altitude where solar rays, including ultraviolet radiation, are much stronger than on the ground. Even in the clear mode, SPD-Smart windows fully block ultraviolet radiation. “No mechanical blind could have been integrated in such a compact and critical environment,” added Putman.
Dassault is considering the single-layer Nuance windows, combined with the more common shade, for the remaining passenger windows, according to Vision Systems.
All 28 of the passenger windows are the same size as the skylight and are 10 percent larger than the windows in the earlier Falcon 7X. The larger passenger windows, said Dassault, will maximize the amount of natural light entering the cabin and enhance the feeling of space.