This Week – Meetings, Fires, Colliding Satellites, and Royal Connectivity!


Have you ever wondered what all the MPEG4 settings mean? With names like Video Input (Interlaced/Progressive), Field Order (TFF-BFF), Pixel accuracy, Slice, and about 20 others, what’s a technologist to do? Well, the next WAEA Tech Committee meeting is for you. Michael Childers and Mark Thompson are said to be preparing a session on MPEG4 settings to educate WAEA members up to a “level playing field” such that the TC can ultimately make an informed decision on whether it’s worth it to standardize on any settings for IFE. Accordingly, if you have ever mused over the use of Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) for IFE (The use of multiple wavelengths of light to multiply the channels available over a single fiber optic cable) this meeting is also for you.  Without a doubt, the industry has been moving rapidly to get things standardized in preparation for the use of fiber in IFE and avionics in general. Further, Dan Martinec will be leading a session to describe the requirements document that has been prepared while others will present their technology and products for use in airborne fiber systems. He plans to bring folks up-to-speed on the WDM LAN work that AEEC is doing which should be interesting too. Additionally, if you are interested in the latest happenings in the world of onboard connectivity, David Coiley has a panel of presenters prepared to give a view of what’s currently flying and trialed. They will address some of the long misunderstood issues about satellite and air-to-ground systems (like latency, etc.). This is a session designed to help airlines and suppliers alike understand the state-of-the-art in airborne connectivity. Throw in a few other sessions like Best Practices for IFE and Closed Captioning, and this meeting is shaping up to be one not to be missed. Plus, insiders tell us that pre-registration is at an all-time high (read networking opportunity!).   Take a look at the upcoming WAEA TC agenda (February 24-25) at – and if you can’t get out of the office for two days you can register to attend via real-time webcast – you can’t beat that!  

Next, we have secured a special website for our readers with incredible space graphics from the AGI folks. It links to the best graphic depiction of the satcom Iridium-Cosmos collision over Russia – bar none. For more information contact . 

Did you watch the Sir Richard Branson video on AirCell? We asked Brenda Chroniak (AirCell PR) about the system capability to send video and she noted; “For a bit more detail, what I meant by the system being designed to scale is that Aircell has a proprietary compression technology that substantially enhances the throughput on the network. Handling 30, 40 or 50 passenger sessions on a flight – or a live TV broadcast – are well within its capabilities. Though compression techniques are fairly widespread in the Wi-Fi world, Aircell’s was built-in as a fundamental part of the network. AirCell knew the demand that was coming when they developed the system, and it’s certainly paying off, as demand has been higher than expected.” Here are the links:

Now, with regard to the recent wildfires in the Melbourne, Australia, we asked long IFE’er Ron Chapman (ASIQ) to chime in on their status and he wrote: “Dear IFExpress Readers: We are OK, The fires were coming in our direction and about 8K away when the wind changed and sent it north up to the mountains. Major disaster up there! The wind change happened so fast no one in the path had a chance. It was 48.5 degrees at my place and blowing a gale. Week before we had three days at 44+ degrees. Everyone knows friends that lost homes and unfortunately some did not survive. We are still waiting to hear – they say it might be high as 300 and the fires are still going. We are used to bush fires but this was a firestorm that no one could imagine. What is uplifting is the way the community is pulling together. That’s life in the bush, Ron”  

Lastly, we are working on a big airframe expose story that will blow your mind….Stay Tuned!

Image courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc. (

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