Our lightweight window plugs are used in many applications...
- Passenger-to-freighter conversions
- Retro-fit or pre-installation ahead of conversions
- VIP conversions
- Interior reconfigurations
- Custom design
The concept to convert used passenger airplanes to freighter airplanes was introduced in the late eighties and became very popular by the early nineties. It was this development that provided the catalyst for LiteAir to take a fresh look at window plug design; particularly with a view to weight savings as the need for many tens of thousands of window plugs would now be required.
Typically window plugs weigh more than the acrylic windows that they replace, but LiteAir designed a window plug assembly that weighed just one third of the weight of the acrylic windows providing an effective fuel savings that would pay for the window plugs in less than two years in many instances. In addition to significant weight savings LiteAir eliminated the need for a bonding strap and any acrylic elements thereby reducing the time and cost of installation and maintenance.
The following table illustrates the cost savings due to the reduction in weight by replacing the existing windows with lightweight window plugs for some passenger-to-freighter programs.
|Airplane Type >||B747‑400||B757‑200||B737||B767-300|
|Number of windows replaced by window plugs||185||85||65||113|
|Weight saving per window (pounds)||2.7||2.4||2.4||2.7|
|Total weight saving per airplane (pounds)||500||204||156||305|
|Fuel saving per year (gallons)||11,300||5,200||5,200||5,500|
|Cost savings per year||$33,900||$15,600||$15,600||$16,500|
Note: Based on a fuel cost of $3 per gallon and a utilization rate of 10.2 hours per day.
LiteAir supplies lightweight window plugs to support B747, B757, B737, B767, A300, CRJ-100 and Q400 passenger-to-freighter conversion programs, however not all converters use LiteAir window plugs.
In some instances where the passenger-to-freighter converter does not use LiteAir window plugs the end user or operator has elected to install LiteAir window plugs either before or after conversion to replace the "heavy" window plugs installed by the converter thereby taking advantage of the fuel and cost savings available by the installation of lightweight window plugs. When this is performed after conversion, which is the most common, this is usually scheduled at a maintenance check such as "D" Check.
The interiors of airplanes converted for use as VIP airplanes are typically divided into many compartments for various uses and therefore it is usual that a large number of the passenger windows are plugged. Many VIP converters use LiteAir window plugs because they are less expensive, easier to install and require less maintenance than the OEM alternative, although the weight saving is an advantage it is not the main attraction.
In this type of application the window plug is often installed in an area where access is limited, such as behind a galley or toilet. In such applications it is advantageous to reduce maintenance by eliminating all acrylic elements and this can be achieved by installing a spacer ring in lieu of a middle pane.
In many instances VIP converters are working on new passenger airplanes for which there are no passenger-to-freighter conversion programs available yet such as the B777 and the B747-8. Typically LiteAir develops lightweight window plugs well in advance of the passenger-to-freighter program.
The inside of passenger airplanes are always being changed to suit the latest new seating configuration or the installation of new monuments etc. and many companies perform the engineering and certification work necessary for the airlines. LiteAir sells its lightweight window plugs to such companies.
The weight advantage is always much sought after by the airline and the less expensive component, ease of installation and lower maintenance is attractive to the engineering company and installer. In this type of application the window plug is often installed in an area where access is limited, such as behind a galley. In such applications it is advantageous to reduce maintenance by eliminating all acrylic elements and this can be achieved by installing a spacer ring in lieu of a middle pane.
LiteAir is available to custom design, certify and manufacture lightweight window plugs for any application. Typically this is to support a new or ongoing passenger-to-freighter conversion program. LiteAir developed custom lightweight window plugs for Cascade Aerospace Inc to support their CRJ-200 and Q400 passenger-to-freighter programs, which we continue to supply.