For you mobile device addicts, SITA announced recently that JetBlue is using the SITA Mobile Boarding Pass API for Apple Passbook. JetBlue customers can now simply check-in online and choose to store their boarding passes automatically on their iPhone to use at the airport. Passbook makes it easy for passengers to use mobile boarding passes because it automatically displays the right boarding pass on the passenger’s phone as they arrive at the airport. SITA’s Mobile Boarding Pass API, available from SITA’s API platform, developer.aero, simplifies boarding pass distribution for an airline by allowing them to send passes via email, SMS, push notification and now, Passbook. JetBlue is one of the first airlines to go live using the API and SITA’s technology research team, SITA Lab, is now working with other major airlines and ground handlers to help them offer this service to their customers. We asked Leidar’s Charlie Pryor about device capability and he told IFExpress, “Mobile boarding passes can be delivered to any mobile device. It needs some form of connectivity, typically WiFi or a cell phone network.” Enough said. Check out the opening image for an example of what you can expect on your mobile device.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST03276CH, which approves the installation of the Zodiac Inflight Innovations RAVE system on the Air Niugini Boeing 767 aircraft. We contacted Global Aero’s Todd Hamblin for a bit more information and he told IFExpress, “The installation and certification was made easy because of Global’s 30 years of experience doing these types of modifications. Air Niugini wanted a cost effective cabin upgrade that would best serve their customers for years to come and Global was focused on bringing it to them. Our engineers and tech’s greatly appreciated the trust and respect Air Niugini gave us during the program and the Zodiac product really puts them in a better position to compete with other airlines in the highly competitive business travel market entering Papua New Guinea. Airlines seeking new IFE equipment need to make sure they select the IFE solution that best fits the needs of the customers but, most importantly, they need to find an integrator that puts the needs of the customer above all others. Finally let me mention that our team is very good at these complex projects because our experience and dedication sets us apart from all others.”…. no sales pitch, we note. For more information, please contact Todd Hamblin at +1 513 444 4049, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know about our love of infographics for conveying information, check out this one on airport IT trends and note if you ask IFExpress the world of apps is upon us and if you don’t carry a mobile device in the future, you could get a surcharge on your ticket!
Regarding inflight cell calling, it would not surprise us to find a tekkie frequent flier or two with a cell phone scrambler tucked away for use on a plane. Hey, they exist and are regularly used on buses. Our tech genius has been showing them to us for years! And yes, it is probably illegal.
RUMOR CENTRAL – A small flying creature told us that the Row44 folks should probably learn some Mandarin!
And finally perhaps, the best safety video ever from Virgin, of course!
- Focused on streamlining complicated projects!
Milford, OH | November 2013–
Global Aerospace Design Corp. (Global) is pleased to announce the issuance of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST03276CH, which approves the installation of the Zodiac Inflight Innovations RAVETM system on the Air Niugini Boeing 767 aircraft.
“Global is privileged to have been a part of this program,” said Rex Nystrom, Vice President of Engineering at Global. “Our focus is on safety and reliability, and we are pleased to accomplish this for Air Niugini by providing their passenger’s access to RAVETM.”
“It was a pleasure working with Global and the other suppliers on this project to provide Air Niugini with a superior IFEC product. Their passengers can now enjoy a variety of entertainment selections on a state-of-the-art, high-definition display. RAVE’s proven passenger-centric design goes beyond providing a simple system architecture; Zodiac Inflight Innovations also brings an innovative approach to software development that lowers cost, reduces development times and helps ensure successful product launches”, stated Harry Gray, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Zodiac Inflight Innovations.
This STC is a culmination of several months of hard work and extensive aircraft testing to ensure passenger safety and comfort. This program installed the RAVETM System Control Unit (SCU) into the existing aircraft video control center. This single LRU interfaces to the aircraft systems and loads content to each of the seats, however, each seat is able to operate autonomously during flight allowing for a high rate of reliability and an enjoyable passenger experience. With RAVETM, Air Niugini is better suited to support its growing customer base to enjoy their journey to Papua New Guinea and beyond.
- TE Connectivity’s Pioneering Connector System Features field Terminable, Crimp-Snap, 10GbE Technology
Harrisburg, PA | December 10, 2013–
TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity, announces the CeeLok FAS-T connector is now available in square flange receptacle shell versions for both wire-applied and printed circuit board-applied applications. The
CeeLok FAS-T connector easily meets 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds, with ample headroom for even the most stringent link budgets. The connector achieves outstanding signal integrity due to the patented T-shaped pin pattern that provides noise cancellation and decoupling to minimize cross-talk. The CeeLok FAS-T connectors have been designed for optimum performance in some of the harshest environments in military, commercial aerospace and marine/offshore applications.
“The square flange receptacle measures just 0.913 inch on each side and provides an outstanding choice for customers seeking high-speed signal transmission in environments where high vibrations may preclude the use of a jam nut style shell,” said Earle Olson, Business Development Manager, Global Aerospace, Defense & Marine, TE Connectivity. “This new small form factor, rugged, field terminable I/O connector enables a wide cross-section of industry uses from in-flight applications for commercial and military platforms, to meeting ground-based and marine-based needs.”
The CeeLok FAS-T connector provides an easy to terminate, high-speed/bandwidth interface that delivers on the demand of size and weight reduction, while satisfying ever-increasing performance needs.
This new receptacle shell configuration is available in electroless nickel or low reflectivity black zinc nickel plating. Additionally, TE now offers a range of lanyard-attached, sealed, EMI-resistant protective caps for use with both plug and receptacle CeeLok FAS-T connectors. The protective caps have been designed to pass IP67 and, like the connectors, are available with electroless nickel or low-reflectivity black zinc nickel plating.
The CeeLok FAS-T connector easily meets today’s high-speed signal requirements for both cat 5e and cat 6a cabling and is a true 100 Ohm impedance connector compatible with various other high-speed protocols. It features crimp-snap contacts that enable easy termination and field repairability. Its unique integral backshell provides 360-degree shielding and drives down weight and cost, while significantly improving overall system performance.
For more information on TE’s CeeLok FAS-T connectors, visit www.te.com/en/product-launch/
December 10, 2013–The organisers of Aircraft Interiors Expo – Reed Exhibitions – has confirmed that the 2014 Passenger Experience Conference will include for the first time a stream dedicated to aircraft interiors Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). Taking place on Monday 7 April at the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg – this addition clearly cements Reed Exhibition’s intention to support the professional growth and development of individuals within the aircraft interiors and passenger experience industry.
The stream, entitled ‘Protecting the Brand: cabin maintenance’, will be chaired by Mike Kotas, Director of Cabin Maintenance at Delta Air Lines and will focus on how airlines can avoid the pitfalls of spending too much money fixing poorly designed elements of its cabin and will consider strategies for ensuring that the cabin product is robust and sustainable throughout its lifecycle.
Vern Alg, Consultant for Aircraft Interiors Expo, said, “According to a recent forecast by Visiongain, the world commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul market reached $48.8 billion in 2012. MRO is vital in not only ensuring the desired life expectancy of an aircraft, but it also has a direct correlation with passenger satisfaction”. Vern went on to say, “The traditional role of the MRO providers has also changed over the last few years as airlines opt for a total support function rather than a one-off approach. A vital component of this is ensuring engineers are included in the design stages to warrant a more straight-forward maintenance process throughout an aircraft’s operating shelf-life; historically this has not been the case. I’m really excited about this addition to the Passenger Experience Conference.”
Following the opening remarks the agenda will drill down and address ‘Designing for ease of future maintenance’. All too often the design of the cabin components are already procured before the maintenance team is asked for its input, so this session will debate how to insert the topic of maintenance into the design process, promote and educate cross communication on specific needs, in order to achieve the panacea of design and development teams actively obtaining sign-off from maintenance teams.
The agenda will then focus on the relationship between the cabin and brand values of the airline. ‘Setting the standard – keeping the condition of the cabin up to spec’, will offer conference delegates the opportunity to listen in on industry experts imparting their knowledge on how to ensure a cabin’s interior is a fresh embodiment of brand values, and importantly how to sustain this on each journey, for every passenger, over a long period of time.
Materials and their reliability play a key role in MRO and the final session will look at ‘Improved products for wear resistance’.
The Passenger Experience Conference will open on Monday 7th April 2014 with two plenary sessions looking at both ‘The Future for Passenger Experience’ and ‘Challenging the status quo – new directions for the passenger experience’. The afternoon programme will then split into four breakout sessions: ‘Protecting the Brand: cabin maintenance’; ‘Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity: a voyage of discovery and opportunity’; ‘Hospitality & Service – making the onboard experience memorable’; and ‘The Cabin: getting smarter about space and comfort’.
December 9, 2013– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, announces the successful launch of first Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress®satellite. It was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 8 December on a Proton Breeze M rocket. The launch is a major milestone in the development of GX Aviation, which will provide the world’s airlines and aircraft operators with the first global high speed mobile broadband service.
Inmarsat is the owner and commercial operator of the Global Xpress constellation. By the close of 2014, the fleet will comprise three high throughput satellites and GX Aviation will offer a unique combination of seamless global Ka-band coverage from a single operator, consistent performance of up to 50Mbps, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned. In addition to passenger communications, it will support real-time TV and live feeds from the internet, for example, and will offer airlines future-proofed connectivity with ample broadband capacity for growth.
Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation said: “We are getting closer and closer to the introduction of GX Aviation. It will revolutionize inflight connectivity for both passengers and crew. The successful launch of this satellite means that we are well on track to providing the world’s first globally available, high speed mobile broadband service in 2015.”
The I-5 satellites are built by Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc., based on the proven 702HP design. Inmarsat-5 F1 is part of a US$1.6 billion investment by Inmarsat into the next generation of global mobile broadband communications.
The satellite was correctly acquired by the Inmarsat Paumalu station at 17:48 GMT on December 8. Over the coming two weeks, the Inmarsat controllers will command the satellite to perform seven chemical burns to raise it to its geo-synchronous elliptical orbit. By the end of December, the satellite will have completed deployment of its solar arrays and reflectors. This will be followed by the electrical orbit-raising phase, taking the spacecraft to its final geostationary orbit. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, ready for the start of payload testing at the beginning of February.
The satellite weighed over six metric tons at lift-off and has 89 Ka-band beams. It is designed to generate approximately 15 kilowatts of power at the start of service and, to generate such high power, the spacecraft’s two solar wings – with a similar span to a Boeing 737 – each employ five panels of ultra-triple-junction solar cells.
- New kiosks will shorten queues and enhance passengers’ travel experience
Mishref, Kuwait | December 9, 2013–
Kuwait International Airport’s seven million annual passengers will enjoy new self-service check-in kiosks in a deal with air transport IT specialist, SITA. The new kiosks, which are in the final stages of testing, are part of an eight-year contract renewal for SITA’s AirportConnect Open passenger processing platform.
Fawaz El Farah, President of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Kuwait, which sponsored the agreement with SITA, said: “Kuwait International Airport is growing at a rate of 5% annually. SITA’s self-service technology provides an efficient way to help manage these extra passengers, while enhancing their experience in the airport.”
Mohammed Hariri, Chairman of the Airline Operating Committee, Kuwait International Airport, said: “SITA’s passenger processing platform gives us more flexibility and enhances our operational efficiency as passenger numbers continue to rise. We’re excited to take this technology one step further and offer self-service kiosks in the airport for the first time.”
SITA’s AirportConnect Open enables airports, airlines and their handling agents to access their respective IT applications in real time on shared equipment. It also allows any airline to use any agent desk, gate or self-service kiosk for passenger check-in and boarding. Kuwait’s AirportConnect Open renewal with SITA covers some 200 positions at check-in desks, transfer and reclaim and 12 common-use self-service check-in kiosks.
Hani El-Assaad, SITA President Middle East, India and Africa, said: “The combination of SITA’s AirportConnect Open platform and the new kiosks will help reduce queues, while giving passengers more control over their journeys. In fact our studies have shown that the kiosks can help increase passenger processing speed by up to 25%, while making more efficient use of an airport’s limited physical space and infrastructure.”
Also included in the deal are SITA’s PassengerHandler, BagManager and PassengerBagdroptechnology. PassengerHandler helps reduce the complexity of check-in and boarding transactions for ground handlers and airlines. By providing access to multiple departure control systems over a single graphical user interface, it helps facilitate on-time departures. SITA’s BagManager provides comprehensive baggage management, including delivering real-time information on baggage status and helping resolve baggage issues quickly and efficiently. It reduces the number of mishandled bags by 10-20%.PassengerBagdrop is a software application that allows ground handlers who are using Common Use Terminal Equipment to quickly check bags for passengers using self-service check-in.
More than 300 airlines use SITA’s AirportConnect Open to process millions of passengers every day in more than 400 airports around the world.
Atlanta and New York | December 4, 2013–
SITA announced today that JetBlue is using the SITA Mobile Boarding Pass API for Apple Passbook. JetBlue customers can now simply check-in online and choose to store their boarding passes automatically on their iPhone to use at the airport.
Passbook makes it easy for passengers to use mobile boarding passes because it automatically displays the right boarding pass on the passenger’s phone as they arrive at the airport. SITA’s Mobile Boarding Pass API, available from SITA’s API platform, developer.aero, simplifies boarding pass distribution for airlines by allowing them to send passes via email, SMS, push notification and now, Passbook. JetBlue is one of the first airlines to go live using the API, and SITA’s technology research team, SITA Lab, is now working with other major airlines and ground handlers to help them offer this service to their customers.
Jim Peters, CTO, SITA, said: “The latest SITA Passenger Survey reports that 76% of passengers are carrying smartphones; they want mobile boarding passes and Apple have made it really easy to use them on its devices. With the popularity and simplicity of Apple’s iPhone and now Passbook, it is more likely than ever that passengers will adopt mobile boarding passes in a meaningful way.
“The challenge for some airlines is that they might not have the enough resources within their internal IT team to fully enable Passbook quickly, and this is where SITA’s API comes into play. At SITA we’ve worked out all the details to enable fast implementation of Passbook, or any mobile boarding pass, by the world’s airlines.”
Michael Stromer, Vice President, Customer Connections, JetBlue, said: “Passbook is a great addition to our digital offering for customers. We are constantly seeking new ways to enhance our customer’s travel experience. Passbook will encourage greater use of our mobile boarding option, which has already been well received. For us the ability to add this service by using SITA’s new API was great.”
Peters added: “Our developer.aero platform is a community service for the air transport industry; we invite others to try out the API to see how quick and easy it is to use.”
SITA’s Mobile Boarding Pass API represents a step change in the way services are deployed in the airline industry. There is no legacy departure control systems (DCS) integration required, developers have the APIs they crave, and the airlines have a self-service interface to manage their brand look and feel on a fully IATA- and TSA-compliant boarding pass.
Here is a short video giving an overview of developer.aero illustrating how airlines can simply provide Apple Passbook functionality to their passengers.
London, UK | November 22, 2013– Longstanding Bluebox Avionics customer British Airways and its French subsidiary OpenSkies have chosen to upgrade their iPad passenger entertainment offer on participating transatlantic flights.
Both airlines opted to enhance the IFE experience for passengers with a new purpose-designed Content Carousel user interface for their secure iPad solution Bluebox Ai.
Content Carousel delivers a more engaging and intuitive navigation experience for users, and greater flexibility for depth of content and filtering options. It also makes best use of iOS gestures functionality, recognizing that business travellers today are savvy tech users who expect smart and elegant solutions from any device they interact with.
BA deploys Bluebox iPads aboard A318 aircraft on its Club World London City service, offering all-seat business class flights between London and JFK. Similarly, OpenSkies, the premium airline connecting Paris to New York, provides each passenger with a Bluebox iPad for IFE.
“The new Content Carousel GUI provided an excellent opportunity for us to enhance the look and feel of the iPad deployment”, says Bluebox Project Manager Kevin Birchmore. “The upgrade went in with ease and we’re really pleased with how it looks.”
“We were really impressed with the look and feel of the new Bluebox GUI; it was an easy decision to move forward with the upgrade. Our passengers will now benefit from a more intuitive user interface, coupled with a tailored selection of programmes to fit our ‘Paris-Yorkers’ clients’ expectations as we’ve also just enhanced our entertainment offer”, adds Karin Drylie, Marketing & Product Manager at OpenSkies.
East Aurora, NY | December 3, 2013– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems Corp. (Astronics AES), will be supplying Bell Helicopter with the Secondary Electronic Power Distribution System (EPDS) for the new Bell 525 Relentless.
Astronics designs and builds modern electrical distribution systems, which safely and efficiently manage aircraft power. The secondary EPDS selected by Bell Helicopter employs Astronics’ electronic circuit breaker units. These units, with solid state circuit breakers, are smaller and lighter than their conventional counterparts and can also be conveniently located throughout the aircraft. This placement creates a more evenly distributed system, thereby reducing wire weight. This is the third announced aircraft of five current programs for which Astronics has been selected to provide its EPDS products.
The new Bell 525 Relentless is the first commercial helicopter to define the super-medium product class by combining best-in-class performance characteristics and passenger amenities while integrating step-change technology throughout the aircraft. It provides unparalleled crew situational awareness through the use of a fully integrated glass flight deck, coupled with an advanced fly-by- wire flight control system, resulting in enhanced safety levels and mission capabilities. With its advanced aerodynamic design, the Bell 525 Relentless’ payload/range performance and cabin volume make it ideal for the oil and gas industry, especially for deep-water missions. The aircraft is expected to make its first flight in 2014.
“This award validates the viability of the Astronics EPDS to improve safety, reduce crew workload and reduce weight in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft, while improving electrical system reliability,” noted Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO of Astronics Corporation. “We are pleased to work with Bell on the exciting and innovative 525 program.”
Known for innovative technology and personalized customer response, Astronics has offered efficient power system management and integrated solutions for over half a century.
The Closed Caption Working Group (CCWG) of the APEX Technology Committee will have until 25 August 2014 to issue its final comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on that agency’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) requiring the use of closed captions on inflight video, according to announcements made at the APEX Technology Conference held in Newport Beach, California, on 19-20 November by CCWG chair Jonathan Norris and APEX TC chair Michael Childers.
This was one of a wide range of topics covered by the Technology Committee at its annual fall conference. Additional topics included a keynote address by Doug Johnson, VP technology of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); a final report from the APEX representatives to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Portable Electronic Device (PED) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC); a Seat and IFE Integration Workshop; a DO-307 Tutorial on Front Door and Back Door PED Emission Testing; a report on the Entertainment Identifier Registry Association (EIDR) by the Metadata Working Group; an update by the HD Working Group on APEX 0403 1080p standardization; a report on off-aircraft and inflight connectivity; an update from the ARINC Cabin Systems Subcommittee; and a report on how social media is helping to shape Southwest’s inflight Wi-Fi strategy.
The APEX Closed Caption Working Group (CCWG) is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to represent the IFE industry’s issues as the DOT decides on the scope of the requirements, and the technologies that might be codified by the agency, CCWG chair Jonathan Norris, and APEX TC chair and APEX board member Michael Childers told IFExpress.
The DOT’s original NPRM requiring closed captions on all videos on aircraft flying in and out of the U.S. was issued in 2006, but was tabled in early 2009 after the DOT and APEX (then WAEA) reviewed the state of closed caption technology as of that time. Referring to the reports of APEX, IATA, and the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), DOT concluded that closed caption technology circa 2006-2009 could not be implemented practically in IFE.
However, citing a timeline provided to the agency by APEX in 2006, DOT followed up for the maturation of these technologies with the result that the NPRM has been re-issued and APEX has once again engaged with DOT. The biggest difference between the state of closed captioning in 2006 versus today, according to Norris and Childers, is that new IFE installations today are based on MPEG-4 platforms that support Timed Text captions versus the MPEG-1/2 platforms of a decade ago that began supporting bitmap (“rendered image”) captions around 2007.
Among the issues, according to the CCWG report, is that while most of today’s IFE installations are MPEG-4, there are still more MPEG-1/2 files delivered today in IFE because of the preponderance of legacy systems. Therefore the CCWG will seek to ensure that the current APEX 0403 bitmap closed captioning standard is at least grandfathered, while Timed Text may also be included.
Other closed captioning issues include:
- Since closed captions are more plentiful in North America than in certain other regions, the CCWG is considering a proposal that allows for closed captions to be required on an agreed percentage of content—particularly on non-US carriers—rather than on all content.
- Certain kinds of short content—like ads and movie trailers—are generally not closed captioned in other markets, so the CCWG will seek a category of content to be excluded from the rule.
- The definition of captioning is the conversion of audio dialogue into text dialogue in the same language, plus descriptions of certain non-dialogue sounds. The CCWG will seek clarification that there is not an expectation that non-English languages be converted to English.
Just prior to the TC Conference, the DOT confirmed to the TC that it has changed its NPRM Publication Date to 26 June 2014 and the end of the comment period to 25 August 2014. This will allow the WG more time to prepare its recommendations and to further engage with DOT.
High Definition Working Group
In a report from the High Definition Working Group (HDWG), Bryan Rusenko, formerly of Technicolor, announced that additional work was needed to reach consensus on a security solution for 1080p, with the result that this modification to APEX 0403 was not voted on during the TC Conference. Rusenko, and HDWG co-chair Pierre Schuberth of Thales, will attempt to find consensus by the May TC Conference.
In his keynote address to the TC Conference, CEA VP Technology, Doug Johnson, said that CEA predicts that the percentage of adults buying technology gifts during the 2013 holiday season will be 64 percent, the highest ever and up from 62 percent in 2012. As recently as 2010 his number was just 49 percent. He also said that the number of mobile devices purchased in this category will continue to grow, and that 50 percent of consumers will use a mobile device to help them shop for tech this year.
Johnson also said that the hottest trends at the 2014 CES in January will be wireless & wireless devices, integrated home/connected home technologies, and lifestyle electronics.
One of the best-received presentations at the TC Conference was an RTCA D0-307 Tutorial by Billy Martin, Principal Engineer, at Cessna Aircraft Company, a member of the FAA PED ARC along with Rich Salter and Michael Childers of APEX. Martin explained that all electronic devices have spurious RF emissions and that interference with aircraft receivers is possible if:
- The RF emissions have high enough amplitude
- The RF emissions occur at the aircraft radio tuned frequency
- The path loss between the PED and the antenna is low
He also explained that any electronic device can have RF emissions (these are not due to intentional transmitters), and that they can affect sensitive aircraft radio receivers through their antennas. This is called “front-door coupling.” DO-307 defines minimum (or Target) Interference Path loss between PEDs and the aircraft antenna connector at the radio receiver. Aircraft that demonstrate Target Interference Path Loss (Target IPL) have tolerance to PED front-door interference.
As for “back door interference,” Martin explained that a tabulation of all equipment and qualification D0-160 Categories or HIRF Certification can be reviewed and maintained. This listing can be used to compare with other installations and be used to approve the equipment to backdoor tolerance.
Southwest reports on entertainment portal, social media
Angelo Vargo, Manager Product Development, at Southwest Airlines, used the occasion to announce that Southwest has begun permitting the use of PEDs from gate-to-gate. Southwest currently has 440 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft via Row 44, consisting of 75 percent of its fleet. Over 2 million passengers visit the Southwest portal each month to use Wi-Fi, live TV, VOD and messaging.
Thats the Spirit! “I’ve made friends at airports because I carry with me a cheap $4 extension cord with multiple outlets (5). I can plug it into one of those charging stations and power up my own laptop and then share the rest of the outlets with other travelers. Makes for interesting conversations at times. Best $4 Home Depot investment I have made to date.” – Ken Lew, Thales.