Dubai-based airline, Emirates, has become the launch customer for the aerBlade window shade from Aerospace Technologies Group (ATG). The blind systems will be installed in the airline’s upcoming Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X fleet.
As Emirates’ A350s enter service in 2024, the aerBlade dual blinds will be fitted in the business class and premium economy class cabins, and the single blind versions in economy class.
The aerBlade is an electronically operated shade system that gives window seat passengers push-button control of the incoming light, from clear, to sun blocking, to full blackout. Crew members can use a control panel to automatically lower and raise all window shades, so they don’t need to walk through the cabins before take-off and landing to check the shades are open.
How aerBlade works
As opposed to electrochromic dimmable windows, as found on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the aerBlade uses electronically operated shades – a flat material that aircraft owners and operators can customise to match their cabin décor schemes. The inboard passenger side of both the dual and single blind versions has a protective clear lens.
The dual-shade version features a second translucent shade with a tint that allows passengers to partially block bright sunlight while still enjoying views outside the aircraft. ATG says that when the aerBlade’s opaque shade is lowered, full blackout of external light is achieved, with the operator’s choice of pattern displayed in the window aperture rather than the ‘black hole’ effect.
Behind the scenes
The aerBlade system is equipped with ATG’s NextGen electronic controls, which provide IoT functionality and connectivity to on-board maintenance and cabin management systems, enabling the transfer of performance metrics, remote diagnostics, and programming updates without removing the shade from the aircraft. The electronic controls feature self-learning algorithms and sensor-less control to extend the shade life and provide quiet operation.
The aerBlade can be configured to be removable and serviceable from the inside of the cabin without detaching it the aircraft sidewall. Some versions can be retrofitted onto aircraft sidewalls without any cuts or sidewall modifications, and mounted in place of the existing manual shade within minutes.
ATG plans to offer future models of aerBlade for commercial aircraft including the Airbus A330, A321LR and A321XLR. A version for the Boeing 777-9 (777X) will be released in the third quarter of 2024.
These options will add to the current lineup. Today, ATG electric window shades can be found on small, mid, and large cabin business jets as well as the premium class cabins of certain Boeing 777-300ER, A380 and A350 aircraft.