ABWN, Panasonic, Boeing and Other Interesting News of the Week

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ABWN

IFExpress talked with Earle Olsen about Airborne Wireless Network (ABWN) announcement on March 12, 2018 and that they have arranged for light Aircraft for their Second Flight Test. On March 6th they entered into an agreement with Sough Bay Aviation of Torrance California for two Cessna aircraft with “the primary intent of this testing to utilize the inherent unstable platform of light general aviation aircraft to establish and maintain a robust self-healing Optical / RF link between two airborne aircraft.” ABWN added that this second test will expand on its initial RF proof of concept test, from May of 2017 with two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and a mobile mast that emulated a ground station. They intend to conduct the test by modifying the two aircraft with their Infinitus Super Highway Technology that will incorporate the RF controlled Free Space Optics underlying its patent application they filed on July 25th 2017. The Company intends to create a high-speed broadband airborne wireless network by linking commercial aircraft in flight. It is projected that each aircraft participating in the network will act as an airborne repeater or router, sending and receiving broadband signals from one aircraft to the next and creating a digital information superhighway in the sky. The Company intends the network to be a high-speed broadband internet pipeline to improve coverage and connectivity. The Company does not intend to provide retail customer coverage to end users but, instead, act as a wholesale carrier with target customers, such as internet service providers and telephone companies. Currently, the world’s connectivity is achieved by use of undersea cables, ground-based fiber and satellites. They believe that the Company’s airborne digital highway may be a solution to fill the world’s connectivity void. Their network, once developed, should provide low cost, high-speed connectivity to rural areas, island nations, ships at sea, oil platforms, in addition to connectivity to commercial and private aircraft in flight, they told IFExpress. For further information see: www.airbornewirelessnetwork.com


Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems, with its wireless BoardConnect IFE solution, and partner castLabs will soon enable browser-based playback of DRM-protected movies on iOS devices. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and regulates the copy protection of digital movie files. This new technology means that passengers will no longer need to pre-install an app to enjoy movies and TV series on their own iOS devices while on board a flight.

The latest version of iOS from Apple, 11.2, allows protected video content to be played on smartphones and tablets in the Safari browser. Previously, this was only possible with the help of a separate player app. “If passengers can simply enjoy our entertainment offering on their own devices as they wish instead of having to install an app before departure, we believe this will increase the number of users,” said Jan-Peter Gaense, Head of Passenger Experience Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This not only improves the passenger experience but also creates a larger potential target audience for the airline’s advertising activities and ancillary revenue opportunities. Airlines also benefit from greater usability, as they no longer need to offer a separate app for their entertainment offerings.”

Different operating systems and device suppliers currently use different encryption formats for video file copy protection. This means that the same content has to be stored in several different formats for all passengers to be able to access it regardless of which device they are using. The new DRMtoday Onboard solution from castLabs changes all that. castLabs uses the Common Media Application Format (CMAF), which has a secure encryption converter. This means that airlines will only need to store a single encrypted video file on the aircraft for each movie or TV series that can then be safely used on any device.

“We are delivering technology that makes DRM-protected movie files playable on all devices, and in BoardConnect, Lufthansa Systems has a proven and comprehensive IFEC solution with which to provide its entertainment offering – a perfect combination,” said Michael Stattmann, CEO of castLabs.

Both companies are currently working on integrating DRM today’s new functionality into BoardConnect to give passengers app-free access to onboard entertainment in the future. Passengers simply connect their own devices to the aircraft’s WiFi and are automatically taken to the airline’s entertainment homepage. From there, they can watch all content through their browser, regardless of their device’s model and operating system.


Boeing

Boeing’s new 737 MAX 7 successfully completed its first flight on March 16, 2018 (See rectangle image above). The airplane remains on schedule and now begins a comprehensive flight test program leading to certification and delivery in 2019. “Everything we saw during today’s flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “I know our airline customers are going to enjoy the capabilities this airplane will bring to their fleets.”

Piloted by Boeing Test and Evaluation Captains Jim Webb and Keith Otsuka, the airplane completed a successful 3 hour, 5-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:17 a.m. Pacific, and landing at 1:22 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field. The airplane was put through tests on its flight controls, as well as checks of its systems and handling qualities.

The airplane is the third and newest member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family to be produced, with a maximum capacity of 172 passengers. The MAX 7 has a range of 3,850 nautical miles, the longest of any MAX family airplane. It is designed for exceptional performance for airline customers flying out of airports at high altitudes and hot climates. “The MAX 7 will provide airlines an efficient product for opening and flying thinner markets and accessing challenging airports, while enjoying all the benefits of being part of the 737 MAX family,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The MAX 7 also carries 12 more passengers 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7 percent lower fuel costs. The 737 MAX family incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,300 orders from 93 customers worldwide. For more information and feature content, visit

Here are some specs:

  • Seats:138 – 153
  • Max Seats: 172
  • Range: 3,850 mi (7,130 km)
  • Length: 116 ft. 8 in (35.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 117 ft, 10 in (35.9 m)
  • Engines: (2) LEAP-1B, CFM intl

www.boeing.com/commercial/737max.


Panasonic

In order to provide coverage to their Asian markets, Panasonic has reached a capacity agreement with APSATCOM’s new APSTAR-6D satellites with the goal to deliver Extreme Throughput via satcom to the Asian mobility markets.


Global Eagle Entertainment

We understand that they secured $150m investment from Searchlight Capital Partners which will be used to repay a $78m debt and the rest to fund growth.


Astronics Ballard Technology

The company was selected by SITAONAIR to provide webCS wireless aircraft communications server in an integration with its e-enabled application software. The goal is to deliver a connected aircraft ‘smart core’ for better airline operations.


US – Stay Alert

“A disruption of the airline and private-aircraft systems could have enormous economic and psychological effects. In recent years, several airlines have had to halt operations and suffered millions of dollars of lost revenue when their computer reservation systems crashed, for example. Terrorists have long targeted aviation because of its out-sized impact on society. Russian hackers attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017 as part of the broad assault on the nation’s sensitive infrastructure. The attack had limited impact and the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion, Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said Friday. Troy wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the breach and declined to identify specific companies or the work that was involved.”

Alan Levin March 16, Bloomberg


Other News

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