Did the Concorde and the Tu-144 have darker window glass than subsonic airliners, to protect from the Sun when flying above 9/10 of the atmosphere? Or were the crew and passengers at higher risk of eye damage if looking towards the Sun from cruise altitude?

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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall Thank you. I would upvote your comment now if I had the rights. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2022 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


Concorde had tinted nose visor glass to withstand the heat and pressure produced at the cruise speed it could achieve. It was a laminate with a gold layer in the middle, thus the tint. I don't believe the passenger cabin glass was tinted.

  • $\begingroup$ Passenger windows were so small that passengers probably couldn't normally see the sun except when quite low in sky? $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2022 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer Would it matter if they see the entire solar disk or a part of it? Isn't it almost equally dangerous? One shouldn't look into the Sun during an annular eclipse either. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2022 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Betternottell -- I wasn't implying that the disk would be partially hidden by the horizon, just noting that what little atmosphere is there has more of a darkening effect when the sun is quite low in the sky. Actually I think this whole question could be grounds for a much more general question about whether viewing the sun is significantly more harmful when flying at high altitude than otherwise, and what if any measures have typically been taking to deal w/ this, other than telling crew/ passengers "don't look at the sun". Well, actually, even including that one. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2022 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer The higher the altitude the brighter the Sun is and the less filtered UV radiation is by the thinner atmosphere, but if I understood you correctly you mean that in Concorde windows the Sun would only be visible low enough so when looking through enough atmosphere it wouldn't be more dangerous than on the surface. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2022 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ It should be noted that glass is reasonably effective at blocking UVB and UVC radiation, which cause sunburn and might reasonably be blamed for permanent damage to the eyes (visible light can cause bleaching of the optical receptors but this is reversible). $\endgroup$
    – Frog
    Jan 29, 2022 at 19:19

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