12 September 2009
The windshield frame used on the Boeing 737NG not only traces its lineage back to 1958 and the first widely successful commercial jetliner, the 707, but it is an identical structure- the same windshield frame that fits any of the 6,106 737s (delivered as of July this year) will also fit any of the 1,831 727s built as well as any of the 1,010 707s built.
All that is about to change as Boeing and 737 windshield manufacturer PPG Industries are introducing for certification next year a design change in the windshield that should improve its bird strike resistance. While the actual glass technology has been updated since the first 707 rolled out, the frame and the hole patterns have remained identical through the 707, 727, and the 6000+ 737s so far. The newer design, however, will require a change in the framing structure for the first time.
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology, September 7, 2009. "Bag That Bird- A slight size change prompts PPG Aerospace to design a new 737 windshield" by Michael Mecham, p48.