We continue this week with some interesting people and products we saw during AIX in Hamburg at Astronics and Rockwell Collins.


Astronics:

When you were at AIX you surely would have seen the latest ‘lightweight’ inseat power system from the folks at Astronics. What really caught our attention was the weight of the ‘Direct Current Power Supply’ itself – but we will save that data for the Astronics spokesperson, Ken Adwan, Senior Business Development Manager, who told IFExpress: “The DCPS is actually capable of supporting (30) USB outputs operating at 2.1 Amp simultaneously. The zone-based DCPS, which provides DC power to the seats weighs in at 3.8 lb. (nominal). The result is that a typical narrow body system, providing (175) total High Output USB Power ports to the passenger seats will have a shipset weight and price that are 30% to 40% lower than a traditional seat-based power supply architecture. That system would be comprised of a total of (8) zone-based DCPS units.” (Be sure to check out the high level system graphic for the USB UltraLite system and data sheet for the P/N 1375-2 DC Power Supply Unit (DCPS).) What really caught IFExpress’s attention was the statement on the data sheet: “Power conversion efficiency greater that 85%,”…and that has to be some kind of record for an airborne AC to DC converter. Typically they run about 80% or less!

Rockwell Collins:

“Hi there, I’m Jeff Sare” was our first introduction to the new Vice President, Sales & Marketing Air Transport Cabin Solutions Commercial Systems at the Rockwell Collins booth. IFExpress was told: “We were really impressed with Jeff when he was a consultant to Rockwell Collins and we brought him on board to help out the IFEC efforts. Jeff brings a wealth of industry knowledge about in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions, an area of growing interest for airlines to keep up with fast-changing passenger requirements,” said Scott Gunnufson, Vice President, Commercial Sales, Marketing and Support at Rockwell Collins. Further, from the Rockwell Collins news release about Jeff; “For more than two decades, Sare has served in a number of leadership roles in the air transport in-flight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity marketplace, from IFE manufacturers and connectivity providers to airline marketing. In his new role, Sare will lead a sales and marketing team focused on Rockwell Collins’ complete portfolio of PAVES IFE and connectivity solutions that meet the passenger engagement needs of any airline, including seat-centric IFE, broadcast and wireless IFE, high-speed broadband connectivity, moving map and passenger services systems,” stated the company. We note, Jeff is a very pleasant, easy to talk to person and we encourage folks in our industry to say hello.

During the interview, we asked where the IFE industry is heading and Jeff indicated the following: “IFE seems to have stabilized. We are seeing appropriate and significant growth in both wide and narrow body aircraft markets. At the same time, IFE Wi-Fi growth is also explosive. The demand for connectivity and some control over your environment is on fire. There is a demand for end-to-end connection to the passenger. Further, new technology opens up new opportunities. B-2-B is driving innovations that help airlines manage their business. Our customers are the airlines… full stop!

“Rockwell Collins’ inseat video has gone into service line fit at both OEMs. In-seat availability is running near 100%. In fact, Biman Bangladesh launched in late November 2015 and they are flying at 99.98% – the .02% was a pinched wire,” said Sare.

We also asked about IFE in the aviation ecosystem and Mr. Sare went on: “There are two business case studies worth mentioning: What Apple did was to build an entire ecosystem that explained their vision for the iPhone and what it could do – think apps here,” he noted. “Further, Tesla is doing the same in the automotive industry.” The company sees that solution, and Jeff implied that Rockwell Collins will take advantage of their IFE solution, and with their acquisition of ARINC, will leverage the aviation communication platform. He went on to say: “There are fourteen thousand commercial aircraft, some five thousand business jets, one thousand airports and some three hundred and sixty airlines in this environment… Rockwell Collins sits in the middle of this aviation ecosystem.” We get it!

We should also note that Rockwell Collins was awarded an Airbus supplier trophy for “Cabin BFE Supplier Support in 2015” at Aircraft Interiors and the team was rightfully proud of their efforts in winning. The awards followed Airbus’s supplier support rating process, which drew in-service feedback from more than 133 of Airbus customers worldwide.” The news release also said, ‘Rockwell Collins, which was also top ranked in the category last year by Airbus customers, was credited for its ability to continuously provide reliable equipment and complementary technical support, its effectiveness of operational support services and finally, customer feedback on cost of ownership.”

If you didn’t get the big picture, one of the big Rockwell Collins focuses is on data. They note: “By 2030, the number of active air transport and business aircraft is expected to grow to 85,000 (Editor’s Note: Given that today there are around 30,000) – with 80 percent of those equipped with new information-management systems. These developments are making a seamless secure and integrated aviation ecosphere a reality.” Aviation and information, two pre-separated words, now have a reality that Rockwell Collins see’s as a future reality. The flow of data along with the future is where Rockwell Collins is placing their bets. Here is a list of future information solutions they see:

1. Intuitive, information-enabled flight decks and aircraft that use data from on-board and external sources to provide new levels of analysis and awareness for pilots, airlines and manufacturers
2. Cabin solutions that change the paradigm from passenger entertainment to passenger engagement while helping airlines achieve their goals
3. Airport operations that streamline passenger processing, increase efficiencies and enhance revenue
4. A robust and flexible network that pairs bandwidth to manage information across the aviation ecosphere with the necessary security to keep our passengers and our airspace safe.
5. A future airspace that leverages the flow of shared information to address the congestion of today with a new model of aircraft and airspace management.

So, if information is the future of aviation data, then they expect massive amounts to infect our aviation space – Massive Amounts! This includes maintenance, scheduling, freight, airplane performance, and much more in networks on and off the aircraft. Rockwell Collins has four Principles when it comes to handling all this data:

Principle 1. Match the Right Data With the Channel.
Principle 2. Interoperability Matters.
Principle 3. Make the Best Use of Data.
Principle 4. Peace of Mind is Paramount.

We also wish to point out the paramount importance of security, and when this subject is addressed by Rockwell Collins, they say: “As systems become increasingly interconnected, interdependent cyber security has become a growing concern in civil aviation. Network security threats are diverse and persistent; a large part of the data that traverses private aviation networks is sensitive and relates to passengers’ reservations.”

They go on: “In this environment, security is essential Today, private aviation networks like those from Rockwell Collins are outfitted with multiple firewalls and security mechanisms to ensure that the security of critical communications is airtight, and that policies and protections align with IATA security rules and mandates. As we explore new channels of communication to meet the needs of the information age, we must ensure that they can support those same levels of security at every moment of transmission.” We couldn’t agree more.

Further they state: “But peace of mind goes beyond ensuring messages are protected at every point of transmission – it’s also about ensuring the information arrives at its intended destination in a timely manner. Even as our industry embraces new technology like ACARS over IP and standardized, web-based applications like XML Web Services, we believe the curation of message delivery is a critical component of information management – knowing exactly where a message is at any given moment, and if something goes wrong, where that error occurred and what backups are available to ensure the message arrives at its destination.”

In conclusion, Rockwell Collins notes: “In aviation’s information age, an ever-increasing volume of data streams across the sky and around the earth. Developing faster ways to transmit, store, process and access that information – leveraging the latest ground- and satellite-based communications technologies – will be necessary to ensure our industry can take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.” Stay Tuned In on this one as aviation data will be taking a big uptick of storage and connectivity in the future… for almost every reason!


Other News:

  • If you have not been following TMF Associates Blog, you might start here: TMF Associates blog » The exploding inflight connectivity market?
  • You might want to watch “The Age of Aerospace,” a multi-piece aviation documentary sponsored by Boeing… now on YouTube
  • If you are planning on attending EXPO Asia and APEX in Singapore at the end of October, be sure to check out the ‘View Location Map‘… and bring your credit card because the Ferrari dealership is a short walk away!
  • If you are in charge of airline food, you probably want to see what foods are trending in favor and declining. Here is a good source of info: Google Food Trends Report. And yes, it might be true in your kitchen as well!
  • We got an interesting email recently that went: Per the following link,  I have a few questions:
    1. I wonder if Airbus also invested in BOC’s aircraft leasing firm?
    2. Does an investment in BOC give Boeing an advantage when selling airplanes into China?  (Duh!)
    3. Is this the cost of doing business, i.e. selling airplanes, in China?
    In answer to the above we found the following:
    1. China will become the “single-most important market” for plane-leasing companies over the next five years, Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Dublin-based lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd., said in an April Interview.
    2. Coy as ever, Cook’s somewhat cryptic remarks naturally led to an avalanche of speculation, particularly given rumors that Apple is  developing its own electric car. Other commentators took the position that Apple’s investment was simply an old-fashioned way to curry favor with the Chinese government. (Check out the full article here)