This article first published on Travel at 60.
Have you ever looked out the window of a plane and wondered why the windows are round, rather than square like the windows at home? Well, there’s a very good reason why and it comes down to safety.
After the commercial airlines took flight in the 1950s, there was a need to produce faster and more economical forms of air travel, which led to planes flying at higher altitudes than ever before.
In order for passengers to survive such high flying, the cabins needed to be pressurised. But in order for the air pressure to be distributed evenly, the windows had to be changed otherwise the pressure would build up at the corners of the windows and cause stress on the edges.
But it wasn’t until a few fatal accidents occurred that it was realised and changes were made.
“We often learn the most from our failures, this is particularly true for advancements in the field of engineering,” YouTuber and former research and design engineer Brian McManus wrote on his YouTube channel, Real Engineering.
“Unfortunately for the engineers in the aviation industry, the prices to pay for failure are high.”
Three planes experienced fatal mid-flight complications, which led to the entire fleet being grounded until the cause of the accidents were determined.
“The flip-side of this unforgiving industry, is that it consistently provides learning opportunities for engineers, because failure is not an option when people’s lives are at risk.”
Take a look at McManus’ video below: