How Are Aircraft Windows Designed?

Aircraft window seats are often the coveted placement of any plane. You can rest your head, be away from the aisle, and the outside view can be amazing depending on where you are flying above. Beyond the beauty and comfort they bring, aircraft windows also provide protection from the outside temperature and pressure which can be harmful. Because of this, aircraft windows are built to be very strong and follow many rules and regulations for design as set by authorities such as the FAA.

Aircraft windows consist of three layered panes including the outer pane, inner pane (with the familiar hole in it), and lastly a plastic scratch pane that is the innermost layer that passengers can touch. The scratch pane is actually not a part of the window, rather it is a separate installation to protect the windows from passenger damage. Aircraft windows are also not made from glass as some may assume. Instead, they are manufactured from stretched acrylic. This is due to the material being lightweight, resistant to hairline cracks, and having a higher impact resistance.

While the airplane window material often stays consistent airline to airline, the actual dimensions of the windows themselves may differ by plane. The outer pane is often about 0.4 inches thick, and the inner window 0.2 inches thick. Between them is an empty space that is around a quarter of an inch, though this also may vary.

The inner window also serves as a failsafe to the outer pane, though is rarely ever needed. It's more common function is its use of the small hole it features which maintains equal pressure as the aircraft ascends into higher altitudes. As pressure on the outside of the plane begins to drop, the hole on the inner pane allows for small amounts of air to escape into the pocket between panes. This slowly brings the pressure towards equalization in order to take the stress off of the outer pane. As the scratch plane is not airtight, air can escape the cabin and into the hole.

To ensure aircraft windows are fit for active flying, they are heavily tested before they are considered airworthy and permitted for installation. Windows undergo tests to ensure their resistance against pressures, strikes, temperatures, chemicals, and any other stressors that they may face. All of this is to ensure that passengers are safe and comfortable every flight.

At Fulfillment 3sixty, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find airplane cockpit window parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of window parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the window parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


October 27, 2022
September 26, 2022

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