Rumors Redux – Lumexis

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Wow, the Internet has been buzzing about the Lumexis install on US Airways A320 demo plane. We have been getting unsolicited input from our spy network and we thought our readers would like to get up to speed. 

Firstly, the Lumexis fiber optic system has been installed on airplane T/N 680 in Rome, New York. With work beginning on Jan. 5, 2009 it took some 23 days to complete it. All seats have been equipped for a total of 150 stations. A FAA flight test was performed last week. Insiders state that installation supplier, Inflight Canada, exclaimed that Lumexis is the easiest retrofit of this level of system they have ever performed!  One source noted that one of the installers said that with a bit of pre-installation effort on “A” checks, planes like A330’s and A340’s could be retrofitted in 7 days! Think about it, cable placement has been made a lot easier because of the complete disregard for EMI/RFI issues – cable placement and noise are a thing of the past because of the under floor seat boxes and dedicated cable “tubes”.  

We also understand that Inflight Canada designed the iCache system, which uses a patented beam (stringer) grabber that greatly did away with the drilling, rivets and sealing used in normal mechanical installs, and yes, we asked our spies about the fiber optic cable installation in the seats. It seems Smallhorn went to the Canadian Military to get smart on these processes and we hear they got a real education. The military uses a lot of fiber and has developed a skill set with this technology. This probably contributed to the easy seat modification that ensued. The system needed no special ATE or test equipment… they plugged in cables and it worked! About the only note we feel should be made is with respect to weight. While the Lumexis system itself is probably the lightest installed, full capability in-flight entertainment system, the added boxes and tubes of the full installation package no doubt raised the final number. 

The Inflight Canada and Lumexis folks aren’t talking but we think there is another North American customer in the works. As soon as the final DCN’s are submitted and approved, the system will be certified to fly un-placarded and powered up with passengers. We hear the plane is in service today, flying out of Phoenix. Additionally, we understand a full offering is planned for each seat when in service. Specially trained flight attendants will explain and promote the system to passengers. Pax usage data is to be downloaded to the airline’s operations center after landing. The EV-DO, cellular-based Secure Data Bridge facility (cell phone network) that supports the data gathering was tested during the FAA-mandated verification flight. We understand it worked extremely well and may be the new standard of data IFE download (Yes, we know it is not new). 

Here is a great blog for more insider stuff:
http://www.usaviation.com/forums/index.php?s=05b9be18f7bb021586142309f44e477a&showtopic=44898

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