Astronics to Highlight New Power and Connectivity Technologies at Upcoming APEX, The Crystal Cabin Awards, Airframer News and Other

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Astronics plans to introduce new power and connectivity technologies at next month’s APEX in California. The company told IFExpress that the new technologies bring together a set of power, connectivity, and data solutions that help airlines and airframe manufacturers improve the passenger flight experience while providing cost and operational efficiencies.

New Product Offerings:

One innovation to be featured is the Edge Cabin Network Platform (think cabin Wi-Fi) to support IFE customers with a smarter, scalable hardware solution. The Edge is intended for wide bodies, narrow bodies and regional jets. “We’re taking inflight connectivity hardware to ‘the edge’ of innovation with this new IFE platform introduction,” said Michael C. Kuehn, President of Astronics CSC. “Our new Edge Cabin Network Platform employs the power of a distributed computing system architecture to eliminate weighty servers while improving the passenger Wi-Fi experience. With this new strategy of a distributed architecture, IFE providers can provide a scalable, secure system, offering airlines the option to deploy only as many as they may need to create the optimal, cost- and performance-effective configuration.”

To make future retrofits even easier, Astronics is introducing its EmPower Xpress product, an on-seat USB outlet housing solution for its EmPower in-seat power product line. EmPower Xpress easily adjusts to the seat rail, either forward or rear-mounted, for maximum flexibility. Attaching to the seat without affecting the seat structure means the installation can occur quickly and without the need for seat service bulletins. “With this new retrofit solution for in-seat power, the airlines now have a faster, easier, more configurable retrofit method than ever before,” explained Aaron Clarke, Vice President of Cabin Electronics for Astronics AES. “For very little extra effort, airlines can now offer the inflight charging services that today’s passengers expect on every flight.”

The latest version of its webFB Aircraft Interface Device (AID), which includes an extended Wi-Fi range to wirelessly connect to cabin IFEC systems, enabling real-time data collection and transfer to the ground will also be on display in their booth. Ultra compact and easy to install, this smart AID acts as a server and a router to provide a cost-effective AID solution without the need for aircraft mods.

Update: Future Technology Explorations

You can always count on Astronics to bring some innovative technology up for discussion any time you stop by their booth. This year, the explorations will continue in the Li-Fi arena plus feature alternate gesture control technology applications for use on aircraft. “We’re planning to show gig speed Li-Fi capabilities for potential cabin Li-Fi applications,” explained Mark Schwartz, Vice President of PDT, an Astronics company. “We’ll also feature alternate gesture control, which uses electric currents from your brain to move objects. And finally, we’ll show some Li-Fi gate data link applications, and how it can populate the CWAP with content according to your seat number.”

They will also be featuring their innovative, patented Smart Aircraft System is Internet of Things (IoT) network technology that autonomously collects and aggregates data from a wide range of sensors installed in the aircraft cabin. The system, demonstrated by Astronics throughout APEX, collects nearly any type of sensor data and wirelessly transmits this data to locations and applications where the crew can improve airline operational efficiency. For example, the system can sense seat occupancy and position, depletion of consumables like paper towels, and the status of safety equipment such as flashlights and lifejackets.

A primary application of this technology, the Intelligent Bin Solution, will be on display. This leading edge, patent-pending system is able to detect and report—in real-time—information about the status of overhead bins such as the percentage of fullness, which speeds aircraft boarding processes and reduces passenger stress. In addition, the system reports the temperature, humidity, pressure, and air quality within the bin, which helps detect outgassing events such as those that precede a lithium-ion battery fire. This early warning can increase safety and avoid costly aircraft diversions.

“Our new Smart Aircraft System integrates hundreds of advanced sensors with our webCS wireless communication server to collect and present meaningful data to crew members on their portable electronic devices,” explains Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “There are a multitude of uses for this new system, which brings new data and insights into the hands of the crew to increase efficiency, improve safety, and lower operating costs.”

The Intelligent Bin Solution is an APEX/IFSA Award Finalist, and they are expected to start airline trials later this year.

Tech Talks:

Throughout APEX, Astronics will feature Tech Talks in the booth. Topics include:

  • A Look Ahead at What’s Next for the Internet of Flight
  • Scalable Concepts for Integrating Portable IFE
  • Considerations When Selecting a Wireless Charging Solution for Commercial Aviation Applications
  • Securing, Deploying, and Managing the Next Generation Aircraft Interface Devices
  • Improving Cabin Efficiencies using Smart Aircraft Sensor Data

Visit Astronics at APEX Booth #1429.


CRYSTAL CABIN AWARDS

The finalists have been named for the Crystal Cabin Award special category, “Best Customer Journey Experience”. Nominees for the trophy, to be presented during the APEX Expo in Los Angeles, honoring the best integrated solution for passengers, are: the “Connected Experience” application from Airbus, a voice-controlled lavatory from Diehl, and light-based data transfer for Air France with “LiFi Power” from Latécoère.

A life without apps is barely conceivable, from controlling the lighting in our living rooms to cashless payment for pizza delivery. The “Connected Experience” from Airbus brings this comfort to the aircraft cabin. “Pasta or chicken” – passengers can order either, direct from their smartphones. And the app can also confirm whether or not the cabin baggage will fit in the overhead locker, avoiding unnecessary suitcase stress. Thanks to the networked cabin, the crew can regulate temperature and lighting as well as communicate with passengers.

“Please turn on the water faucet”: The “Voice-controlled Lavatory” from Diehl makes it possible to use the aircraft toilet without touching it, an attractive option both for passengers with restricted mobility and for the hygiene-conscious. From flushing the WC to operating the trash can, all essential aspects of the lavatory can be controlled by voice commands in several languages. And thanks to the modular system, this innovation from Hamburg, Germany can easily be retrofitted.

As light as light: Latécoère already presented “LiFi Power”, transmitting data using light, at this year’s Paris Air Show. Crew communication could soon be wireless, and data transmission speeds up to one hundred times conventional wiring will bring a whole new dimension to passenger entertainment and connectivity. Air France has already integrated this innovation in one of its cabins.

This category in the Hamburg Crystal Cabin Awards operates outside the regular entry phase, and will be presented on 9 September as part of the APEX Awards at the APEX EXPO and Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas trade fairs in Los Angeles. The award ceremony in LA also ushers in the new submission phase for the eight main categories of the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in Hamburg on 31 March 2020. Amongst the winners in 2019 were such renowned industry representatives as Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Recaro and United Airlines.

A complete overview of the finalists with contact details and images is available for download here.


AIRBUS

The first A220-300 for EgyptAir successfully completed its inaugural test flight from the Mirabel assembly line. The first of 12 aircraft EgyptAir has on order is due to be delivered to the Cairo-based airline in the coming weeks. The A220 for EgyptAir will provide passengers with superior comfort, its innovative cabin design featuring the widest economy seats of any single-aisle aircraft and panoramic windows for more natural light. The aircraft which is outfitted with a brand new cabin layout of 134 seats, will now enter its final phase of completion before delivery. The A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,300 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. nMore than 80 A220 aircraft are flying with 5 operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest addition.


BOEING

  • BOEING is increasing 767 production from 2.5 to three per month.
  • BOEING is planning to hire a few hundred temporary employees at Moses Lake, Washington to help prepare new 737 MAXs for delivery by installing new MCAS software and performing required maintenance and other updaters.

OTHER NEWS

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