invisibleSHIELD HD ® – Can It Fly With Passengers?


Since in-seat IFE screens were introduced in the late ‘80s and now installed on thousands of passenger seats, there has been an ongoing airline maintenance and customer service problem about scratched and damaged LCD screens in the seatbacks. IFE providers have done a good job providing good quality screens but the inevitable wear-and-tear scratching, and the less common screen vandalism, does occur.

This lead-in brings us to the Hot Topic subject that began with an attempt to protect an iPad screen from the inevitable screen and scratch problem that plagues so many portable devices. On a recent trip to a mall just south of Seattle we found the solution in a Ghost Armor kiosk and the installer happily told us about the mindset of the users who were lining up to drop anywhere from 20 to 35 clams to get their iPods and iPads clad with a clear plastic screen protection sheet (and back too). “Why?” I asked, “to keep the value” was the most common reply. “No scratches or screen divots means better resale value.” One user told us he spent $100 for a new screen for his $380 iPod – cheap insurance. Watching the installer, it was obvious that some skill was required to correctly place the shields and squeegee them in place. This was particularly true on the back more so than the front. We tried to contact Ghost Armor but it might as well haven been ‘Ghost Company’, so we sought out the ‘big dog’ in the industry – ZAGG. Their invisibleSHIELD-HD product works the same way so we contacted Nate Nelson at ZAGG and he told IFExpress, “We have over 5,000 different designs for various devices, with significant efforts in design and R&D on our end, and that we would certainly be willing to consider custom designs for big customers.” Custom designs, hmmm!

Then it hit us. This might work on aircraft? Probably not a new thought but the first issue would certainly be certification. So, we contacted the aviation certification experts at Chatsworth, CA-based SIE to determine if a new screen protection product, ZAGG’s invisibleSHIELD-HD, would be suitable for installation on passenger aircraft from a certification point-of-view. The answer is “YES,” according to John Courtright, SIE’s head of Sales and Program Management Director, noting that all aircraft cabin materials must meet applicable flammability and toxicity test criteria called out in 14 CFR 25.853, Part 1 of Appendix F. “However, since the invisibleSHIELD product, being a .2mm thick plastic film overlay, has already been installed as screen protection for avionics on military rotorcraft and aircraft, invisibleSHIELD undoubtedly underwent and passed MIL-Standard testing and thus would be permissible for commercial air transport applications.” Also, there is a possibility that the product would fall under the FAA’s small part waiver for cabin interiors compliance for flammability/toxicity testing. “But since the military is already using it, there should be little problem in satisfying the regulatory requirements for cabin safety,” says Courtright. He adds: “I think it would be a great product to have because it would likely reduce the number of screens needed to be replaced by ground personnel and that translates to a big savings in manpower and spares provisioning.”

If this concept rings your bell, contact Nate Nelson at ZAGG for more information about invisibleSHIELD custom made for your IFE seat-back screen solution or your handout player. If certification is your issue, you might contact John Courtright… and yes, tell them IFExpress sent you.

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