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Ask the pilot: Can the windows really be opened?

How do you start a plane? How fast do commercial jets fly? The best people to answer your questions about the wonders of aviation are SAS pilots.


When I was boarding my flight, it looked like a window in the cockpit was open. Can these really be opened?

Yes. On most passenger aircraft models, some cockpit windows can be opened. On the Airbus A320, for example, there are two windows that can be opened, one on the captain’s side and one on the co-pilot’s. The entire window assembly, including the frame, slides inwards. When the window is closed and locked, it is sealed shut.

The main reason for having opening windows is for the pilots to be able to use them as exits in case of an emergency if the cockpit door is blocked. On some newer aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, it’s not possible to open the windows. Instead, there’s have an emergency escape hatch.  

As a pilot on the Airbus A320, I find it handy to be able to open a window to communicate with ground staff and also to get documents, for example fuel receipts. And sometimes it’s also nice to open the window to get some fresh air when the aircraft is parked between flights! 

Rasmus Ilsø Olsen
Chief Pilot

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