<!--This article is in US English-->An aircraft canopy
is the transparent enclosure over the cockpit of some types of aircraft
. The function of the canopy is to provide a weatherproof and reasonably quiet environment for the aircraft's occupants. The canopy will be as aerodynamically shaped as possible to minimize drag.
Very early aircraft had no canopies at all. The pilots were exposed to the wind and weather, although most flying was done in good weather. Through World War I
most aircraft had no canopy, although they often had a small windshield to deflect the prop wash
and wind from hitting the pilot in the face. In the 1920s and 1930s, the increasing speed and altitude of airplanes necessitated a fully enclosed cockpit and canopies became more common.
Early canopies were made of numerous pieces of plate glass held in position by a frame and muntins
. The muntins reduced visibility, which was especially problematic for military aircraft. Also, glass canopies were much heavier than acrylic
canopies, which were first introduced shortly before World War II. The acrylic bubble canopy
was used on aircraft such as the F4U Corsair
and P-51 Mustang
, which gave better all-round visibility and reduced weight.
In the 1970s, US aviation artist Keith Ferris invented a false canopy to paint on the underside of military aircraft, directly underneath the front of the plane, the purpose of which was to confuse an enemy so they do not know in what direction the aircraft is... Read More