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Virgin Launches Glass-Bottomed Plane

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the every-seat-is-a-window-seat dept.

Transportation 91

Em Adespoton writes "Virgin has recently created the technology required to produce the world's first glass-bottomed plane. This technological innovation coincides with the start of Virgin Atlantic Airways' first ever domestic service to Scotland. They hope to trial the glass bottom technology with other Virgin airlines in time and have asked other Virgin companies to support this innovative trial and launch their new domestic Scottish route."

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91 comments

Comment prediction (3, Insightful)

ndogg (158021) | about a year ago | (#43332881)

"OMG, /. is so useless today (like it is every April 1), what am I doing here?!"

Re:Comment prediction (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43332949)

Why ask me? Ask yourself.

Every single day, please...

Re:Comment prediction (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#43334195)

Ha ha, April 1 is really Slashdot appreciation day. There's no real news for nerds here the entire day, so maybe you end up going to http://arstechnica.com/ [arstechnica.com] or http://theregister.co.uk/ [theregister.co.uk] or even http://fark.com/ [fark.com] . But inevitably you find that professional reporting is to dry and constrained or too british and sarcastic or the comments are just too much snark, and tomorrow you will inevitably return here, to your usual comfort zone for nerd-upism and troll abuse.

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332953)

im totally done with slashdot. sad cause ive been coming here for 10 years. slashdot is officially dead

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333055)

me too. fuck this stupid site. april fools day is fucking retarded and pointless.

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334201)

Has Netcraft confirmed it yet?

Re:Comment prediction (1)

Swarley (1795754) | about a year ago | (#43332987)

Seriously. I hate April Fools day because a large portion of the internet seems to become a barf bag filled with lame, obvious, and painfully stupid "fooled you!" articles that don't fool anybody. And especially don't fool anybody when EVERY post is lame nonsense. Google does this properly, everybody else should quit trying and let us read actual news.

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333245)

Joke's on you: the April Fool's joke here is that all of this is real!

Re:Comment prediction (2)

hahn (101816) | about a year ago | (#43333557)

Okay, so you don't find it funny. But why does it make you angry? Jeez people, relax. If April Fool's jokes give you this much stress, perhaps you should take a day off from the Internet?

Making people angry IS the joke. For some. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334241)

Making people angry IS the joke.

This has been going on since the start, and people keep falling for it. Essentially the entire purpose of Slashdot is to set people up for April Fools, then see how many angry/butthurt/crazy people can't help but spew "OMG, I'm so ANGRYYEEEEEE!!!!(!@#$*^@($*&)*&" on that day. Taco said at much in the first few years.

A significant number of people are sociopathic cowards, passively aggressively feeding of the anger/drama they can create and observe.

And people keep falling for it.

TLDR: Slashdot: Essentially a troll site.

Re:Comment prediction (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about a year ago | (#43342231)

What seems apparent to me is that April Fool's Day is being used here as an excuse. People these days seem to be angry. If not all the time then at least a large proportion of it and many can flip into a rage cycle at the drop of a hat.

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333081)

Wow for a second there I thought I was viewing the polish version of /.

Re:Comment prediction (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about a year ago | (#43342259)

oh shiny

Re:Comment prediction (1)

ergean (582285) | about a year ago | (#43333153)

I'm here for the ponies!

Re:Comment prediction (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43333641)

I'm here for the ponies!

You're a few years too late.

like when the teacher is not in class... (4, Interesting)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43333395)

Being on Slashdot on April 1st is like being in class when the teacher doesn't show up. Lots of random undirected conversations spring up, and everyone says that they are justified to leave since there's no teacher, but people kind of mill about for awhile nonetheless.

Re:like when the teacher is not in class... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334071)

Yeah, but nobody whines like a newborn puppy when the teacher doesn't show up.

Well, maybe the kind of people who whine about April Fools on Slashdot used to...

Re:like when the teacher is not in class... (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year ago | (#43334233)

Yeah, but nobody whines like a newborn puppy when the teacher doesn't show up.

You must have attended a school with far fewer nerds than mine. Or perhaps just a much less expensive one.

Re:Comment prediction (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43333411)

Look on the bright side.

You can get more work done today.

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333833)

That's what I keep telling my boss today. "I'm getting more work done than ever! I've installed Windows on machines more today than the whole last month combined!" Jokes on him... I set up one virtual machine today just so that I could say that...

Re:Comment prediction (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year ago | (#43333857)

Ah, but you didn't predict "it's already 2 April here in Australia!"

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334429)

"OMG, /. is so useless today (like it is every day), what am I doing here?!"

FTFY

Re:Comment prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43352231)

I just want to see out the front of the airliner. I want to watch the screen in the seat before me and be looking at the live feed from up front... I hate not seeing ahead for the 12hr flight to Shanghai!

WANT (3, Funny)

skarphace (812333) | about a year ago | (#43332883)

Please let this be real... Please let this be real... Please let this be real...

Re:WANT (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about a year ago | (#43333011)

I fucking hate the 1st April......... Total bollocks all over the interwebs, usually penned by dweebs who think they're so really funny....

Clue: Nope.

Re:WANT (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43333127)

How is that different to every other day?

Re:WANT (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year ago | (#43333863)

On any other day, they can't pretend that you're in on the joke.

Re:WANT (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year ago | (#43333107)

It's a joke, put your telescope away you pervert...

Re:WANT (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43333157)

Kid, it's called a B-17. All you've got to do is be ready to shoot back at Messerschmitts if you want to fly in one.

Re:WANT (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333185)

Yea, it really would be cool. I'd pay extra for a seat.

Re:WANT (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about a year ago | (#43333437)

This particular implementation isn't real - where would they put the luggage?

But with planes being built with more composite materials these days, I wonder if any of them can be made transparent, or at least translucent? Full side-windows and a skylight, maybe?

Then again, there's insulation to consider. It is very cold at 40,000ft (near space).

Re:WANT (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43333497)

This particular implementation isn't real - where would they put the luggage?

But with planes being built with more composite materials these days, I wonder if any of them can be made transparent, or at least translucent? Full side-windows and a skylight, maybe?

Then again, there's insulation to consider. It is very cold at 40,000ft (near space).

You put the luggage where no one likes to sit - the middle seat, and the middle aisle. Those passengers could sit below or above the luggage compartment, which sits in the middle of the plane. Of course, it doesn't have to be too big because really, with airlines dinging you on checked baggage, you're not going to have much baggage to check.

40,000 feet is nowhere near space. You may be in the tropopause near the equator, but the polar regions you're still in the troposphere. Most airliners fly higher - 50-60,000 feet isn't unusual. Even then you're really just in the tropopause.

Of course, at 40,000 feet, there's not much to look at - the tops of clouds I suppose?

Re:WANT (3, Informative)

hawaiian717 (559933) | about a year ago | (#43333813)

Most airliners fly higher - 50-60,000 feet isn't unusual.

Not unusual for Concorde, which would float up during transatlantic cruise starting around 45,000 feet up to its service ceiling of 60,000 feet. But most other civilian airliners top out in the low 40,000s; I think a few bizjets may get a bit higher:

  • 757: 42,000
  • 737NG: 41,000
  • A320: 39,000
  • A330: 41,100

Re:WANT (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43334307)

And a way to stop the wings snapping off. there's nothing to connect the two together. Either the glass would need to be a major structural part of the plane, in which case it would be pretty heavy because glass isn't light, or the plane would rip its belly open.

Re:WANT (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year ago | (#43334249)

Speaking as someone with a phobia of flying, your reaction could not be more different from mine... First April Fools' prank that has actually made me sigh with relief upon looking at the calendar :-P

Re:WANT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43335333)

Well for that design to be believable, they would need to move the wings & cargo to top... moving cargo on top could unstabilize the plane quite a bit, so don't expect to see this anytime soon on any plane design aiming for fuel efficiency. Not to mention that size windows being in the realm of science fiction for long time to come.

Re:WANT (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#43335391)

This is my thought as well.. I think moving the seats to the bottom of the aircraft and opening up the bottom to thick glass would be f-ing awesome. Though not sure about what that would do for safety... it would be really cool. Maybe in a few years.. then again, I see things every april 1 on thinkgeek I'd like to see made.

Re:WANT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43336221)

It is possible if you use transparent aluminum instead of glass. Aluminum oxynitride [wikipedia.org] can have a similar flex strength to series 7000 aluminum alloy (a type used in aviation). The material expense seems high - it's $10 per square inch, so you're looking at an additional $500,000 or more in material costs to install a single narrow strip in the aisles on a plane - not to mention testing, certification, and re-engineering. That cost is peanuts compared to the retail price of a 747 ($350-$400 million), so it just may be worth it.

Maybe a materials scientist needs to send Richard Branson a message.
He'd really do it if it was feasible.

Here's what the material looks like [ceramics.org] .

Lame (2)

biggaijin (126513) | about a year ago | (#43332885)

One article was funny. Doing this to all of them, all day, is lame. Give us a break.

Re:Lame (1)

leenks (906881) | about a year ago | (#43333013)

Not least because noon passed in every timezone some hours ago.

Re:Lame (1)

kernelpanicked (882802) | about a year ago | (#43333161)

Tha hell has noon got to do with anything?

And stop bitching already people! Get a fucking sense of humor already.

Re:Lame (1)

leenks (906881) | about a year ago | (#43333231)

Traditionally, you only have until noon to play an April fool prank. After that, the prankster is the fool.

Re:Lame (1)

kernelpanicked (882802) | about a year ago | (#43333361)

Well then. TIL

may I suggest science daily (4, Insightful)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | about a year ago | (#43332893)

may I suggest
http://www.sciencedaily.com/ [sciencedaily.com]

during today's slashdot news shutdown

Re:may I suggest science daily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332959)

Thank you....

I think this site will be replacing /. as my main nerd new site. The site's quality has declined precipitously lately, and this horrid April fools "prank" has pushed me over the edge.

Re:may I suggest science daily (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43333961)

Thank you....

I think this site will be replacing /. as my main nerd new site. The site's quality has declined precipitously lately, and this horrid April fools "prank" has pushed me over the edge.

This was badly thought out, degrading your content is f'kn stupid. There is a reason google doesn't mess with their search functionality.

Watch unique hits take a hit.

Re:may I suggest science daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332963)

I am okay with that

Virgin Creates Planes? (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year ago | (#43332897)

Since when has Virgin ever made planes? Don't they buy them from Boeing, Airbus, etc? Yes, I know this is an April fools POS article, but why not suggest that Delta is going to start manufacturing submarines. It's more believable. At least Submarines actually exist.

I would actually like to try that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332901)

Although on most flights I've been on recently, they pull all the shades so people can sleep, so the flight attendants would probably just cover it up.

Re:I would actually like to try that (3, Interesting)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#43333169)

A few years ago, I was flying back to the U.S. from Germany (via Paris). We flew over the UK, then Scotland, then the flight attendants dutifully asked us to pull down the shades so that people could watch the in flight movie. I, like the rest of the sheeple, pulled down my shade. A while latter, I broke the rules and lifted my shade only to see that we were just starting to come in over the ice flows of Greenland. Seeing the ice as it traced its way from the glacier fields into the water where it broke into small icebergs was an incredible experience. Not long later, the scene was entirely white as far as you can see like when you are flying just over the clouds -- only there were no clouds and it was entirely snow and ice. I managed to go to the back of the plane and watch it all through the back window for the next hour or so. For both myself and the flight attendant, it was one of the most awe inspiring experiences of our lives. They said that it always made them sad when they watched people missing out on this for a movie whenever she flew over Greenland.

A few hours later, we flew in over Labrador and it was just hundreds of miles of networks of rivers flowing over ice and gravel fields. I couldn't help but wonder if the plane went down how long it would take to walk out. There was an occasional road but no settlements, mines, or clear places where a dirt road would go out there. It too was one of my greatest life experiences. Way way better than watching Beverly Hills Cop 26 on the overhead.

Re:I would actually like to try that (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#43333475)

I've seen the view over Greenland once, it is indeed incredible. It only a year ago, so everyone had their own screen in the seat in front and the light from windows didn't really matter. Annoyingly, it was the first flight I've taken in the last five or so years when I've put my camera in my checked luggage.

The other 9 or so times it's been cloudy. I think you're lucky to see the mountains and glaciers.

South East England in the winter just after dusk is also amazing, on a clear day. There's so many trains snaking lines of light over the landscape, and lots of sparkling lighting from buildings and road vehicles.

This could be real. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332913)

Ya know, this isn't out of the realm of possibility. I for one would love it to be real.

It gets worse (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43332933)

and no barf bags

Hmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332935)

That'd actually be kinda interesting. Maybe do it "transparent via cameras and screens" style. Takeoffs and landings would be far more interesting.

Re:Hmm... (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#43333029)

You know, that would actually be pretty cool. Make the walls and ceilings transparent, too, while you were at it. People would totally buy that.

Re:Hmm... (1)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#43333197)

They could use some of the really cool transparent aluminum stuff they are coming out with.

--
Star Trek was a documentary.

aw fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43332965)

it's just a bad photoshop.

D-, you're better than this, Richard.

Argh (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#43332997)

I keep coming back every few hours, hoping for the insanity to stop. And it hasn't. Time to go read Reddit.

Re:Argh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333095)

Time to go read Reddit

So non stop insanity for you then ;)

The real joke... (1)

Zombie (8332) | about a year ago | (#43333005)

... for those of you who have never been to Scotland, is that you might enjoy its landscape when flying over it.

The only thing you can see when flying over Scotland is the top of the rainclouds.

Re:The real joke... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#43333503)

... for those of you who have never been to Scotland, is that you might enjoy its landscape when flying over it.

The only thing you can see when flying over Scotland is the top of the rainclouds.

I can only comment on the west coast, as that's the only part I've ever flown over, but I think the cloud tends to form at least a little inland.

I had nice views: http://i.imgur.com/cj5qwuT.jpg [imgur.com] (not very well photographed). It's very nice, lots of lochs, rivers and mountains.

...Slashdot? (2)

johnny5555 (2843249) | about a year ago | (#43333007)

So their joke is making their articles completely illegible? This is ridiculous. Way to drive down site traffic while smarter sites are driving it up.

Re:...Slashdot? (1)

davmoo (63521) | about a year ago | (#43333097)

It doesn't matter that their articles are completely illegible because none of them are real. This is the one day a year where Slashdot readers will be the very last to know about any real "news for nerds, stuff that matters". Slashdot is the only major geek news site that goes so overboard with it.

Re:...Slashdot? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43333103)

It's impossible for them to top OMG PONIES so they don't even try.

Note to self: (3, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43333009)

Slashdot is useless on April 1, Any Given Year.

Re:Note to self: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333073)

Slashdot is useless Any Given Year.

FTFY

Re:Note to self: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333235)

Actually, there was one year where the joke was that there was no joke, so on that April 1st, Slashdot was no more useless than normal.

Technically feasible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333019)

This is probably a silly question, but would something like this be technically feasible, or would a glass/plastic bottom affect the integrity of the plane in such a way that it would not be able to fly safely?

Re:Technically feasible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333149)

Well I expected the gag to claim the use of cameras with screens on the floor.

When they showed that the actual floor was transparant they should have noted the inventor was Montgomery Scott and that the material was transparant alluminium.

Re:Technically feasible? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43333357)

Yeah, I would LOVE flying in that kind of plane. Can we make it work?

Wonder Woman (1)

Maltheus (248271) | about a year ago | (#43333065)

Good luck getting it past her patent attorneys!

Phoning it in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333091)

Bad April fools. Anyone else get the feeling that they're phoning it in. How about some creativity?

Re:Phoning it in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333415)

A retarded lemur could come up with funnier stuff than this year's garbage.

Delta has the Glass Bottom Jet already (1)

klashn (1323433) | about a year ago | (#43333111)

What's funny about this April Fools Joke is Delta recently announced a Glass Bottom Jet feature where you can see what mountains, and cities are underneath you while flying. If you log onto Gogo In-Flight Internet while on board a Delta flight and use the Flight tracker on the iPhone/iPad you can see the attractions and terrain on your iPhone/iPad as you near them during the flight http://delta.thedigitalcenter.com/projects/8517-deltas-glass-bottom-jet [thedigitalcenter.com]

Re:Delta has the Glass Bottom Jet already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43335503)

That has been basic in-flight entertainment on Finnair for quite some time already. I fly to Asia from Europe quite often with Finnair and they have one camera facing straight ahead all the time and another one which faces straight ahead during taxiing and take-off and then when the aircraft is climbing it tilts down so you get a top-down view until some point during descent when it tilts forward again.

So we can see Luggage? (1)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43333123)

The bottom of every airliner is luggage, mail, and fuel tanks. So what are you looking down onto?

Re:So we can see Luggage? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#43333949)

Fuel tanks are in the wings, where the lift is.

Re:So we can see Luggage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43335515)

Fuel tanks are in the wings, where the lift is.

Actually there are fuel tanks in the fuselage as well. Fuel vapor in such a tank was ignited by a spark from old worn electrical cables when TWA 800 exploded mid-air.

a few good pranks are fun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333143)

but essentially locking down a popular news/discussion site like /. for a full day seems a bit much, I'm off to the reg, ars, or something that has handled the days event more casually so I can still get at least some content or discussion.

Editors Munged my submission... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43333177)

Come on... I submitted this ROT-13'd, and the editors went and converted it :P It was supposed to come out on the main page in plaintext, and only be ROT-13'd in the "decoded" version. Way to spoil a good joke, editors.

At least they had to ROT-13 it before reading and releasing :D

Re:Editors Munged my submission... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333431)

You should sue them for violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.

Stupid fucking slashdot janitors (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#43333323)

The ROT13 thing was funny once. It is now just irritating.

Please stop being such stupid unfunny fuckwits. Allowed HTML
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Slow Down Cowboy!

Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 1 minute since you last successfully posted a comment

Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: That's an awful long string of letters there.

Re:Stupid fucking slashdot janitors (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43334119)

Agreed.
Kindergarten.

So, what's this mean for all the real Scotsmen? (1)

Linsaran (728833) | about a year ago | (#43333601)

I mean, it just wouldn't be proper to wear anything under their kilts.

Annoying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43333605)

This is the worst type of April Fool's Joke.

It is not so wholy unrealistic sounding as to have a 'ha ha, fooled you' feel, and would be a legitimately desireable product.

Alternatives for April 1st (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43333755)

XKCD [xkcd.com] is running a fascinating comic today which is (among other things) encouraging people to prank Wikipedia as well as hosting a crypto-hash contest [xkcd.com] .

Fresh, interesting, and a bit insightful. Not at all transparent, childish, silly, or obvious.

One smart creative person outdoing a gaggle of Slashdot editors.

Am I just old fashioned or... (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a year ago | (#43333887)

Does "April fools" no longer end at midday on the day in question? Lawn, off, get, etc etc.

Better use (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#43333959)

Shouldn't Playtex be using this technology?

Today is the lamest day experienced on /. ever (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43334109)

Totally useless.

Anyone here thinks registered users should have a say
in how much non-humor can be tolerated?

Skating on thin ice. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334385)

Glass bottom, glass bottom, talk about fat dudes, my plane's got em, glass bottom, glass bottom, a fat dude reclined, and now he left the plane behiiiiiinnnnnd.

-bad joke.

please /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43334595)

Would someone pleeeease sudo rm-rf "Slashdot's Rot13 initiative"

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