Futuristic design of an aircraft interior with lighting and other product solutions from SCHOTT. Today, SCHOTT already flies along in a significant number of airplanes and has strengthened its commitment to the aviation market by creating the so-called ”Aviation Plattform” inside which all of the company‘s activities are bundled. Photo: SCHOTT/T. Nowak
Frank Littek

Subtle Flight Attendant

The demand for more comfortable interior designs is growing all over the world, especially inside long distance airplanes. A fictitious flight illustrates the developments that passengers can soon look forward to – thanks to components from SCHOTT.

It is the middle of the night and Robert H. finds a starry sky sparkling above him. Of course, it isn’t for real. After all, Robert H. is sitting, or to be more precise, lying in the Business Class of a commercial aircraft on its way from Frankfurt to Singapore. The airplane is flying over the Indian Ocean at an altitude of 39,000 feet and is scheduled to land only two hours from now. Although it is still the middle of the night, a friendly flight ­attendant brings him a cup of coffee. Robert H. had asked her to wake him up. He adjusts his seat into an upright position and thanks her. ”The captain would be pleased to have you and Mr. Olthoff stop by the flight deck to say hello. Anytime during the next hour would be fine,” she says. ”I would love to,” he ­answers.

Peter Olthoff is responsible for the airline’s fleet and, therefore, one of the main decision-makers when it comes to buying and designing new aircraft. Robert H. works for the aviation division of the SCHOTT Group and has known him for years. Now, he is sitting inside an airplane whose interior, to a large extent, they both designed. On his way to the flight deck, ­Robert H. allows this to sink in one more time. Next, he decides to turn on the monitor in front of him to learn more about the local weather.
Photo: SCHOTT/T. Nowak
The data transmission for the entire infotainment system on board takes place using glass fibers and not copper wiring, as in the past. A rather effective and reliable solution, by the way; after all, glass fibers never experience short-circuits, therefore, there is no risk of fire. This was often a problem. The weather report is looking good: calm, 29 degrees Celsius outside and only 60 percent humidity – basically ”dry”, at least by Singapore’s standards.

Robert H. turns off the screen, stands up and follows the extremely thin, yet clearly visible stripes, which mark the way to the emergency exits. These are part of the intelligent new emergency system. Unlike the solutions used in the past, these are not fluorescent foils, but rather stripes illuminated by leds that make it possible to control the evacuation of the plane and avoid blocked doors. Otherwise, the cabin lighting is pleasantly dimmed, just as it should be at night. Only the seats and windows are marked by fine light-bands. Some passengers are busy reading. Their reading lights can be easily adjusted to make sure they don’t disturb their sleeping neighbors.
In addition to new, design-oriented lighting, such as reading lights and LightPoints™, glass-to-metal connections (on the bottom left) and optical filter glasses (on the bottom right) improve safety. Photo (on top): SCHOTT/Reich, Photo (on the bottom left): SCHOTT/R. Maier, Photo (on the bottom right): SCHOTT/A. Stephan
Comfort at the highest level

Robert H. takes the steps to get to the main deck and finds himself facing the economy class. The shopping mall is located here. While it might only be a small section of the aircraft, it is one of the airline’s marketing manager’s ”favorites”. Not a bad idea, one must admit, as duty free products are sold here. Robert observes that there are a few night owls taking advantage of the early hour to walk around. Almost immediately, a display cabinet filled with watches catches his attention. Thanks to anti-reflective glass Amiran®, no more annoying reflections get in the way of viewing. A film can be seen on top of the nearly invisible glass surface. At the touch of a finger, ­Robert H. is able to view the manufacturer’s full line of watches interactively on a display screen. The zone just ahead of him somehow leaves a pleasantly warm, even feminine, feeling. Just perfect for the perfumes that can be tried here. This environment is created with customized fiber optic and led lighting solutions. He keeps moving, passes by a large washroom area and enters First Class. By no means is anyone disturbed, ­because each passenger has their own personal area with ­customized Smart Glass surfaces that become transparent when the power is turned on, yet can be easily switched off for more privacy. As Robert H. arrives at the steps to the next level, he is surprised to see Peter Olthoff standing right in front of him. ”What a coincidence,” he notes and shakes Peter’s hand. As the two make their way up to the flight deck, Peter enthusiastically explains how he was able to follow the news on a monitor that was integrated into a mirror in the washroom.
The flight deck is surprisingly tight. Large displays are glowing in front of where the captain sits. All of the displays are pin sharp, without any reflections. A unique coating is what makes this possible. Used together with a fog-resistant coating and a filter, the contrasts are enhanced thereby providing a much better view of the instruments, even when the sun is shining brightly. A quiet gong sounds and an error message immediately appears in orange on one of the displays. Is it anything serious? Robert H. is afraid to ask. The captain turns around and casually says, ”Just a problem with the cooling in one of the freight compartments.” Things like this happen.
Data transmission via glass fibers or fiber optics is yet another field for the near future, in advanced infotainment systems, for example. Photos: SCHOTT/H. Fischer
”Most of the problems we experience are mechanical in nature, not electronic. Despite the fact that airplanes experience a great deal of condensation,” he adds. Here, thanks to the reliable protection that hermetic glass-to-metal packaging from SCHOTT Electronic Packaging provides for electronic components, moisture is unable to interfere with relays and other sensitive electronic components.

They continue their conversation. Then, the autopilot leaves the cruising altitude, preparation for landing begins and it’s time for the guests to leave the flight deck. Robert H. immediately notices that the lighting inside the cabin has changed and how! A reddish shade is in the air, although it is really hardly noticeable – much like a perfect dawn in the early morning. This pleasant lighting that closely resembles daylight is made possible by the combination of rgb lighting and the white flashed opal glass Opalika®, known for its exceptional light ­dispersion.
Ensuring access to precise information inside the cockpit is absolutely vital. Filter glasses and coated glass components offer a better view of the instruments and indicator lights. Photo: Getty Images
Peter has now returned to his seat and Robert H. says good-bye. They’ll both be meeting again soon to discuss new ideas from SCHOTT for the airline.

A few of the passengers can be seen stretching along the aisle. Although it is still dark, it is gradually getting brighter. Robert H. decides to return to his seat. Suddenly, he notices that the cabin has gained depth and gotten higher. Has it increased in size? Now, he should know better. The clever output of light is what makes this possible.

The plane shakes just a little, as it prepares for descent. As the final minutes of the trip begin, the fasten-your-seatbelt signs light up just above him. For the first time, during this very long evening, Robert H. is looking forward to spending the next few days in Singapore.
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