VT Miltope

One thing IFEC shows are really good for – surprises, especially in technology. Case in point, the recent APEX EXPO in Long Beach. The surprise was router security and the folks at VT Miltope certainly caught us unaware – they were well along in the developmental relationship with a cybersecurity expert (RazorSecure) and have a clear view of the issues with hacking and the potential types of attacks that routers might face on flights that provide inflight internet connectivity. While IFExpress has been following the deluge of attacks on the ground, we have been watching Wi-Fi capable planes for over a year now and it is a  fact that the folks who make routers for IFEC are too. In fact, cybersecurity is becoming a “big deal” for aviation. As proof of this conjecture, check out this Cybersat17 Conference coming in November – Cyber Sat Summit, but this year is just a beginning of a bigger focus on cabin data technology and cabin hacking security efforts.

Getting back to the APEX show, the IFExpress graphic rectangle is a portion of an actual page from VT Miltope’s “Cabin Wireless Network: The Next Frontier” presentation and it opened our eyes! The VT Miltope team has been on track with understanding and protecting IFEC wireless hacking issues and is in the process of working with a partner – RazorSecure Software who will assist in the development of more cabin hacking issues.

As a quick visit recap, we took the opportunity during the expo to receive an overview of VT Miltope’s planned MAP3, with the following key enhancements over the nMAP2, 802.11ac WAVE 2, Enhanced CHT, Embedded Server Storage (2 TB) (Optional), RazorSecure Software (Optional). We should also mention that we have a link for the preliminary data sheet for the MAP3 product with future product details which should be available this year. It should be noted that the proposed product will be a takeoff from the successful nMAP2 and by adding WAVE 2 (IEEE 802.11ac hardware and software for upgrading speed and data throughput), CHT (Enhanced Cognitive Hotspot Technology (Optimizing wireless cabin wireless data communication), optional  2 TB of Data Storage, and RazorSecure (Optional) advanced cyber security intrusion detection – protecting data communications). We won’t go into all the new features but from a technology point if view, this router is going to be a big deal! Add the security additions from RazorSecure, and this will be a formable product! It’s security developments will protect against DOS Attacks, Physical Attacks, Remote Shell Access, Critical Configuration Changes, Authentication and Misconfiguration Issues – and more than we can cover here. Here is a link to some of the Wi-Fi security issues facing connectivity –  US Warns Of Security Flaw Which Can Compromise Wi-Fi Connections (Update)  Here is our message: If you have wireless cabin data communication hacking concerns, you had better call VT Miltope! (We should mention the Galgus team as another contributor to the included technology of the VT Miltope product!)


Gogo

Gogo has made Fortune’s “Future 50” list of companies best positioned for strong future growth. Fortune worked together with the Boston Consulting Group to create the list. To identify the Future 50, Boston Consulting Group examined 2,300 publicly traded U.S. companies and reviewed 15 years of financial results through year-end 2016. They divided the companies into two different groups—those above $20 billion in market value at the time of the screening and those below.

“We are very proud to have been selected to the inaugural Future 50 list as it validates our leadership and innovation as the Inflight Internet company,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO.  “We are connecting aircraft and leveraging that connectivity to develop cutting edge products and services that engage passengers and help our aviation partners run a safer and more efficient operation. Our latest technology innovations like 2Ku have us well positioned to fuel future growth.”

Gogo announced that it has been selected by LATAM Airlines Brazil to introduce inflight connectivity using Gogo’s 2Ku technology to 100 of its A320 aircraft, which operate flights in Brazil as well as to other countries in Latin America. Gogo’s inflight connectivity service will begin in the first half of 2018 and the roll-out of the technology is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. “We have selected the most modern and innovative in-flight internet technology available in order to offer an unrivaled and diverse onboard experience to our passengers in Brazil.  The new service will complement LATAM Entertainment, our wireless entertainment system, and will provide our passengers with the freedom to choose how they want to enjoy their journeys,” said Jerome Cadier, CEO of LATAM Airlines Brazil.

Gogo’s 2Ku technology is installed on more than 350 aircraft today and delivers proven performance of more than 15 Mbps to each passenger device, covering more than 98 percent of all flight hours around the world with 98 percent system availability. With an open architecture that leverages current and future Ku satellites, 2Ku offers unrivaled adaptability to keep airlines connected now and in the future. The equipment installed on LATAM’s aircraft will include Gogo’s new, performance boosting modem. The proprietary features of the new modem significantly increase throughput and reliability to and from the aircraft.


BOEING

Boeing just signed a big deal with Singapore Airlines for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s and 6 options of each…in the Oval Office. The deal is worth $13.8 B at list prices.

SIA, Boeing firm 777-9, 787-10 order at White House ceremony | Airframes content from ATWOnline

Also, it looks like the all Airbus Hong Kong Airlines is seeking to speed up growth to take on Cathay Pacific and will most likely get some Boeing 787’s. Last week, Reuters also predicted China Southern would buy 38 more Boeing planes worth $5.6 Billion at retail prices.

The company is investigating plans to double the B767 Everett production and apparently have an order which depends on a certain production rate of the planes. And, we understand that Boeing is looking at passenger version of the aircraft. The company has declined comment on the the airline but United Continental has been mentioned in the press. They have 51 B767’s that are quite old and some 77 B757’s that are around 20 years old.

On another front, There have also been rumors of a sale of 100 Boeing 767 freighters to Amazon’s growing Prime Air cargo fleet.


AIRBUS

The first A330neo took off August 19 at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 09.57 hrs local time, for its maiden flight taking place over south-western France. The aircraft, MSN1795, is a A330-900 and the first of three certification flight-test aircraft to fly, powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. The A330neo’s certification development program itself will last around 1,400 flight-test hours. This will comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to achieve its respective EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018; plus 300 flight hours for A330-800 version – which will be certified in 2019. Overall, the full A330neo Family flight-test campaign will be performed by three certification flight-test aircraft, plus the first production aircraft (the latter to validate the Airspace cabin prior to EIS).

Launched in July 2014, the latest generation of Airbus’ widebody family, the A330neo builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 per cent per seat. The NEO’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, accommodate up to 10 more seats, offer new “Airspace” cabin amenities, and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.


SITA

The air transport industry has cybersecurity as a top priority with 95% of airlines and 96% of airports investing resources into major cybersecurity programs or pilots over the next three years. Yet research released  from global IT provider SITA shows there is still room for improvement with only one third of boards at airlines, and a fifth at airports, having fully integrated cybersecurity into their business plans.

Speaking today at a gathering of European air transport industry leaders, Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, highlighted that while cybersecurity is the number one priority for almost all airlines and airports, it demands more attention and must be higher on industry board agendas.

Dalibard said: “Recent global cyber attacks demonstrate the risks and the need for a proactive approach. The air transport industry is highly connected and reliant on partners. We must work as a community to fight the global threat to cybersecurity. While we are pleased to see a 46% increase in the number of airlines prepared to deal with major cyber threats over the past year, there is still more to be done. The industry should move from dealing with common cyber threats to being prepared for major ones. As the technology provider owned by industry members, SITA is committed to invest in, and lead, the community effort to maximize cybersecurity. Together we can ramp up the industry’s defenses and ensure we remain one step ahead of any threat.”

SITA has conducted in depth research into the level of cybersecurity maturity at airlines and airports in the fight against this global threat. The results show that there are very high levels of security awareness among staff at airlines (82%) and airports (85%). This year, beyond cybersecurity protection, the industry is focusing on threat detection and response management. Already CIOs at 69% of airlines and 47% of airports are implementing security events and correlation monitoring, while security incident response management is being put in place at 77% of airlines and 60% airports.

Dalibard added: “Airlines and airports are building their critical defenses and preparing to deal with common threats but we must all bring it to the highest level and integrate cybersecurity at executive and board level. Together we must identify, detect and react to cyber threats and protect the industry’s assets from attack.”

Having identified the challenge, SITA earlier this year partnered with Airbus to address the air transport industry’s distinct concerns and created a unique CyberSecurity Aviation Security Operations Center (SOC). It acts like a cyber control tower with an integrated combination of processes, people and technology to detect, analyze, respond to, and report on cybersecurity incidents.

Markus Braendle, Head, Airbus Cybersecurity, said: “The air transport industry has unique cybersecurity challenges because of the varied and increasing use of smart end points across a largely distributed infrastructure. Digital transformation is enabling the air transport industry to deliver better services to its customers, but raising its threat exposure. Together SITA and Airbus CyberSecurity bring expertise and solutions to help airlines and airports monitor their digital assets to detect and respond to incidents.”

The SOC is part of a broader portfolio of SITA products and services that help airlines and airports identify threats and protect against, detect and respond to cyber attacks.

SITA also operates the Community Cyber Threat Center, a security information sharing service run on behalf of SITA’s more than 400 air transport industry members. It enables actionable information on cyber threats to be shared in a timely manner among key industry stakeholders.

These initiatives are part of SITA’s commitment to lead the air transport community fight against cyber threats and to improve the integration of cybersecurity into business plans at board level at airlines and airports.

SITA’s 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights are available here. Over the coming months, further insight into the results will be made available.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat is pleased to announce it has recently joined the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), the trusted international membership association for sharing cybersecurity information targeted at the aviation sector. As part of the A-ISAC, Inmarsat joins a global contingent of aviation industry companies working collaboratively to develop and share timely and actionable information related to best practices, protective measures, threats and vulnerabilities. A-ISAC members are located on five continents and are leaders in the airline, airport, platform, satellite, and equipment manufacturing segments of the industry.


SECURITY

The US government is getting very concerned about the potential misidentification of bad devices in laptops and US passengers and planes might come under a security ban for the larger devices in the aircraft baggage holds…and in some cases, in the cabin. The US FAA is suggesting a worldwide ban on laptops in checked bags for obvious reasons. The issue in the checked bags is related to lithium-ion batteries and related potential issues with fire and explosions. There is also concern that nothing larger than an iPhone will be permitted in the cabin. If the cabin becomes out of bounds for laptops, you had better get a reliable source of small, secure data storage and a lot of carry-on print matter. Perhaps iPads that have more capability will become common, but we think they have a way to go to get laptop-like usage. We will see!

That laptop ban could be about to get a whole lot worse for plane passengers


MORE STUFF

  • In case you didn’t know, FTE Asia is Nov.7- 8, 2017 in Singapore and the folks at IFPL will be there as well. They told IFExpress: “We will be showcasing their latest USB-A and USB-C power solutions and how they are delivering seamless seat integration to truly enhance the ergonomics and aesthetics of the seat. Further, in line with passenger demand for consumer technology on-board, IFPL will be demonstrating their latest range of USB-A and USB-C outlets, AC power outlets, inductive charge and their traditional audio jackpassenger control units and seat back payment terminal solutions. We invite you to visit stand A33.”
  • Lastly, we have a freebie for you! While looking for a recap of the the Delta-CS100-Boeing-Airbus story, we came across Jason Cottrell’s excellent weekly airline publication (Airline Weekly) and his Fleet Sheet story on page 3 is a great summary. We asked for Jason’s permission to share it with you, so here it is:‎ airlineweekly.com/102317.pdf We also suggest you consider a subscription if you are airline data oriented. You can find out how by contacting him at jcottrell@airlineweekly.com – a really great airline publication.

EFVS Rules Do Not Presently Exist for Helicopters Flying to Heliports

East Aurora, NY | July 11, 2017– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), through its wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Max-Viz, is collaborating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a research project to study operational concepts for the use of Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) in helicopters.

The study is designed to develop a basis for possible application of enhanced vision systems in helicopters flying into heliports. While EFVS rules exist for approaches to runways at airports, comparable regulations for EFVS do not exist for helicopters flying to onshore or offshore helipads at heliports.

“Astronics is very pleased to provide both a Max-Viz 1500 and a Max-Viz 2300 Enhanced Vision System (EVS) to the FAA for integration onto its Sikorsky S-76 medium-size commercial utility helicopter test aircraft for this study,” said Astronics Max-Viz’s Dale Farr, Manager of Sales and Business Development. “The Astronics Max-Viz EVS sensors will be used in flight tests and data acquisition for EVS and EFVS implementation,” he added.

Flight-testing is being conducted by the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, at the Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey. The center serves as the national scientific test base for the FAA. Programs include research and development, test and evaluation, and verification and validation in air traffic control, communications, navigation, airports, aircraft safety, and security.

The Max-Viz 1500 sensor will provide baseline testing, which will be followed with the installation of the Max-Viz 2300 for observation of LED lighting on the blended high resolution long wave infrared image. Flights are planned to occur in various weather and visibility conditions, day, night and twilight and via alternative approaches. Results of the study will be used by the FAA to evaluate the effectiveness of EFVS technology for helicopter flight safety and operational effectiveness.

Astronics’ top of the line EVS, the Max-Viz 2300, provides pilots with an unprecedented level of situational awareness and safety by enabling them to see more precisely during day or night in adverse weather conditions, such as haze, smoke, smog and light fog, even in the darkest night. At night, pilots can also see and avoid clouds for a smoother ride. Upon landing, pilots using the Max-Viz 2300 can view the runway and terrain clearly to avoid wildlife and unlit obstructions.

This advanced EVS is a lightweight, affordable, multi-spectral imager that blends the separate signal from a long wave infrared sensor with a visible light sensor to present pilots with a single, sharp, real-time image. The blended thermal image is black and white, but a separate color HD-compatible signal from the visible light camera is available for routing to a cabin entertainment system or cockpit for a complete color display. The Max-Viz 2300 system is certified to Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) DO-160G standards, which is the industry standard for the environmental testing of avionics hardware and is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the de facto international standard ISO-7137.

United Kingdom | April 25, 2017– STG Aerospace, a world leader in pioneering aircraft lighting technologies, is delighted to announce that it has secured FAA approval for the installation of its LED liTeMood® system on the Boeing 757 series of aircraft.

This announcement follows the earlier FAA approval given for the 737NG series back in 2015 and complements the existing approvals given by EASA.

liTeMood® has become the undisputed system of choice for operators of narrow-body Boeing fleets and is already delivering significant cabin transformations with multiple US and Latin American airlines.

The simple plug-and-play lighting system, requires no aircraft modification and is easily installed under a single STC, enabling operators to bring the lighting quality of non-LED equipped aircraft cabins up to a standard comparable to the latest new aircraft in just a couple of hours.

Nigel Duncan, STG Aerospace’s CEO, commented: “This is excellent news for the company and will help us to build substantially on our already market-leading position as the very best retrofit lighting solution for both the 737 and 757 series of aircraft.”

STG Aerospace is currently exhibiting at MRO Americas which is being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. On Stand 527, visitors will be able to see a wide range of the company’s photoluminescent and LED lighting products.

United Kingdom | March 29, 2017– STG Aerospace, the innovative aircraft cabin lighting company, is delighted to announce that it has secured FAA approval for saf-Tglo® blu across the majority of Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft types.

Combining critical safety performance with enhanced interior aesthetics, saf-Tglo® blu is the world’s first blue glowing photoluminescent emergency floor path marking system.

Recently awarded the prestigious title of ‘Best Cabin Innovation of 2016’ by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) it will soon to be added to the options catalogue for major OEM programmes, this approval allows airlines following FAA regulations to install the system.

saf-Tglo® blu will transform how airlines accomplish emergency way guidance, for the first time enabling this critical safety system to complement the aircraft cabin aesthetics. With the same choice of base colours to match the carpet and interior colour scheme as the original saf-Tglo® range, saf-Tglo® blu introduces a soothing blue glow in place of the traditional green glow. This works with an airline’s branding and the latest LED lighting installed in modern aircraft.

saf-Tglo® blu is based on the proven technology of the original and market-leading saf-Tglo® photoluminescent range and is available in the company’s SuperSeal UltraLite® (SSUL) system, which is the lightest, narrowest and highest performing photoluminescent system available. The simplicity of its design, its 100% reliability and being maintenance free with no life limit ensures that airlines can make significant operational savings too.

Dr Sean O’Kell, Director of Innovation at STG Aerospace, commented: “saf-Tglo® blu is the first blue glowing photoluminescent system to have ever been approved for any aircraft application. Following the EASA approval last year, we’re delighted we now have FAA certification for the leading aircraft types and we are already seeing significant interest in the product from both OEMs and airlines across the globe.”

STG Aerospace will be showcasing saf-Tglo® blu on its stand 6A28 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on 4th – 6th April 2017.

First 737 MAX family member on track for customer deliveries in coming months

Renton, WA | March 9, 2017– Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced today that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified the 737 MAX 8 airplane for commercial service. Boeing is now in the final stages of preparing for the first 737 MAX 8 delivery to customers in the coming months.

To earn certification for the 737 MAX 8, Boeing undertook a comprehensive test program that began just over one year ago with four airplanes, plus ground and laboratory testing. Following a rigorous certification process, the FAA granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate for the 737 MAX 8, verifying the design complies with required aviation regulations and is safe and reliable.

“This certification is a true testament to the dedication and commitment of our entire MAX team throughout the process, from airplane design to flight testing,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The Renton team looks forward to delivering superior efficiency, reliability and design to our customers as they start to receive their 737 MAX aircraft in the next few months.”

The 737 MAX 8 is the first in the family to be developed and meets customer demand in the heart of the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX 8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by an additional 14 percent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes.

The 737 MAX family of aircraft is designed to offer customers exceptional performance, flexibility and efficiency, with lower per-seat costs and an extended range that will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market. The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and discussion continue with customers on growing the family.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. It is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,600 orders to date from 83 customers worldwide.

  • Cobham SATCOM’s leading role in supplying next generation avionics and broadband communications to increase safety and optimise fleet performance reinforced by agreement to install AVIATOR 350D on new A321neo fleet

Lyngby, Denmark | December 5, 2016– Leading manufacturer of satellite communications solutions Cobham SATCOM has announced that its AVIATOR 350D system has been selected by Hawaiian Airlines (HAL) for installation on its new Airbus A321neo (new engine option) fleet.

The Cobham system, supporting Inmarsat’s IP-based SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service, will deliver satellite connectivity to the cockpit for all voice and data applications on Hawaiian Airlines’ new single aisle aircraft and will connect to Cobham HGA-7001 High Gain antennas that are being line fit by Airbus.

The next generation IP-based broadband capabilities enabled by the Cobham solution enhance airline safety and operations through better communications and the availability of real-time, in-air information for pilots, crew and air traffic management.

This selection means that the AVIATOR 350D will be installed on the Hawaiian Airlines A321neo aircraft via the Avionics Support Group, Inc. (ASG) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) (FAA STC # ST04150AT), which has been granted for the A319, A320 and A321 families of aircraft.

The new agreement expands the current partnership between Hawaiian Airlines, Cobham, Rockwell Collins and Inmarsat, established during on-going in-flight evaluations of Cobham’s purpose-built AVIATOR solution and Inmarsat SB-S on-board Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft, as part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supervised technology evaluation.

Brian Anderson, Air Transport Sales Manager, Americas, Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are delighted to announce this selection by Hawaiian Airlines, which is the latest demonstration of how we are continuing to lead the way in the development of the next generation IP-based safety service SATCOM systems.

“The selection is a direct result of our team’s recent success with the Hawaiian B767 program for the FAA evaluations of SwiftBroadband-Safety service which is affirming the reliability and performance of the Cobham hardware and the Inmarsat’s satellite network.”

Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, said: “Airlines with eyes on the big picture are seeking innovative ways to achieve efficiency gains and dynamically manage their fleets through the use of digital solutions. We are pleased that Hawaiian Airlines has experienced the benefits of SwiftBroadband-Safety delivered through Cobham advanced AVIATOR avionics and has now chosen to expand its commitment to high speed broadband in the flight deck with its A321neo’s. Clearly, the evaluation has been a great success.”

Both Cobham SATCOM’s next-generation AVIATOR S Series and SB-S have received a high level of industry support, including the recent selection by Airbus of the Cobham and Inmarsat solutions for its A320 and A330 aircraft families and the successful ongoing evaluations with Hawaiian Airlines.

Rockwell Collins provides the managed service between the Inmarsat ground stations that enable the aircraft to seamlessly communicate with HAL’s host systems, ground crews and regulatory agencies anywhere in the world without interruption.

SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) is Inmarsat’s next generation communications platform offering global, high-speed, secure IP connectivity for the flight deck. It represents a paradigm shift in aviation safety services, delivering “always on, always secure” applications such as flight data streaming (“Black Box in the Cloud”) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, including networked graphical weather.

  • Over 70 Airbus A320NEOs will be fitted with a full package of avionics components that include flight management system, T3CAS and Head-up Displays. Thales will also equip 110 Boeing 737 with the Low Range radio Altimeter.

California | November 2, 2016– China Eastern is one of the largest users of Thales/ACSS products in China. The Thales FMS system is the highest selling Flight Management System with over 90% market share in China. The T³CAS solution includes the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) with Class A Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), and Mode S Transponder updated for DO-260B with full ADS-B IN/OUT capability.

The T³CAS provides operators with proven performance and reliability of TCAS, TAWS, Mode S and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) functions with the benefits of reduced weight, size, power consumption and costs that come from an integrated platform.

The NXT-800 NextGen Transponder is FAA and EASA compliant to meet the global Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) mandate for aircraft that are required to have ADS-B Out capability. ACSS NXT transponders, installed on thousands of aircraft worldwide, are optimized for flight in the next generation air traffic environment and contribute to reductions in flight delays and fuel consumption.

Augsburg, Germany | October 25, 2016– Kontron, a leading global provider of Embedded Computing Technology (ECT), today announced that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the company’s Cab-n-Connect™ A100 cabin wireless access point (CWAP) its Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Supplement for multiple aircraft models including Boeing 737-700, 737-800, 767-200, 767-300, Airbus A330-300, A320-200, and Embraer ERJ 190-100. Receiving the FAA’s PMA Supplement certifies the Cab-n-Connect’s use on aircraft and streamlines their deployment in commercial aircraft installations worldwide.

“The award of the FAA PMA ensures our customers that they have the best connectivity products available, having passed rigorous reliability, safety and standards testing,” Kontron Head of the Avionics Business Line, Jim VandeSteeg. “Being certified also gives our customers a huge head start by avoiding the one to two years it would take them for certification. Kontron remains committed to helping commercial aviation companies use wireless technology to the fullest — not only to improve the customer experience but also to help them enhance and simplify operations.”

To protect against network attacks, the Kontron Cab-n-Connect A100 features state-of-the-art enterprise level wireless security based on the WiNG™ 5 software and Air Defense™. This integrated software provides a highly robust distributed architecture that extends QoS, security and mobility services on the aircraft enabling highly-secure direct routing and network resilience.

The Cab-n-Connect A100 is designed to deliver next-generation HD video streaming capabilities crucial for dense multiple client applications on aircraft. It features best-in-class performance based on the latest 802.11ac technology supplying significantly increased data throughput compared to 802.11n-based equipment. The integrated antenna solution reduces the overall size and installation complexity. Integrating breakthrough technologies such as 3X3 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO), the A100 supports 3-spatial streams of data that can be sent simultaneously to a single client device, substantially improving bandwidth efficiency and utilization. Additional enhancements in beamforming enable the most efficient path for data transmission between an access point and a client device. With the Cab-n-Connect A100, both the client device and access point work together to provide an optimized communication path for stronger and faster data transmission.

For more information on the Kontron Cab-n-Connect™ A100 CWAP and the company’s complete portfolio of commercial avionics IFE&C solutions, please visit: http://www.kontron.com/industries/avionics

Melbourne, FL | October 17, 2016– This official approval by the FAA marks SD as an authorized manufacturer for avionics, as well as an authorized maintenance repair and overhaul center for all SD avionics.

The certification was awarded for its development of the SD WiFi Hub, the standalone router and WiFi solution that enables onboard voice and data communications. Over the last five months, the associated processes, manufacturing quality manuals, and the physical setup at their World Headquarters location in Melbourne, FL, have been audited by the Orlando Manufacturing & Inspection District Office (MIDO), in order to gain the approval.

The PMA certification will allow SD to use Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) to quickly obtain approvals on future hardware developments.

“This milestone accomplishment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to aerospace manufacturing, and our continued efforts to expand our capabilities as a technology innovator,” said Ken Bantoft, SD Chief Technology Officer.

Museum of Flight at Boeing Field:

I recently had a meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Boeing Field. While my visit was business… I left the meeting… and lost my sense of time and history – because once you see an old aircraft that fought in a war, or provided the transportation for a historical event, or was the first of it’s kind, you just get lost… lost in time, and possibly lost in space. Interestingly, you become part of the event that the person, plane or spacecraft was famous for… or you become immersed in the art background and signage describing the history and achievement of the craft. One visitor told us that he and his kids were fascinated by the description and experiences of the museum’s individual plane tour guides, who in many cases had flown that aircraft. It is also easy to get wrapped-up in the in mood lighting surrounding the planes in the halls, especially in the periods like those in the WW1 Hall and WW2 Halls. While it has been a long time, as a child, I would have given anything to see what I saw last week at the Museum of Flight. One suggestion, however, don’t let your children say the same thing.

OK, if you want a fast tour of the Museum here it goes: Museum Galleries, Airpark, Great Gallery, Lear Gallery, Personal Courage Wing, Red Barn, & Space Gallery. That’s 7 galleries, many halls, 29 exhibits + a museum store, 140 real aircraft, 12 spacecraft, pre-1900s to 2010s types, from 73 manufacturers… and some 40 of 140 shown planes in the air and on the ground in the Great Gallery. Founded in 1965, the Museum of flight has been growing since it’s inception, but we think the real hero was T. Wilson… he made “The” museum building on Boeing Field happen.

As a bit of museum background, here is what the website says:
“Museum of Flight is devoted to the preservation and sharing of aviation and aerospace history and technology.
Founded as the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation in 1965 by a group of local Boeing engineers and aviation enthusiasts, the Museum’s collection was established out of a desire by the group to preserve artifacts and materials representing the entire evolution of flight and to prevent them from being lost, destroyed and forgotten with time. Since 1965, The Museum of Flight’s collection has come to be regarded as one of the best air and space museum collections in the world. The Museum’s collection contains over 150 aircraft, over 25,000 small objects (classified as anything smaller than an aircraft), over 90,000 books and periodicals, over 15,000 aircraft manuals and technical reports and nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival materials including an estimated four million images. As a Smithsonian Affiliate institution and an accredited American Alliance of Museums institution, we continuously endeavor to meet their standards and best practices in all aspects of our operations, especially in regards to caring for and preserving our collection.”

The Pavilion (across the street form the main Museum building) is incredibly large and hosts an many big planes in a covered outdoor building. One writer said it is larger than two football fields! The new “hanger” effectively doubles the museum foot print, in fact it adds 3 acres of aviation history floor space! It is home for some 19 iconic planes like the world’s first Boeing 747 Jumbo, the 787 Dreamliner, the British Airways Concorde (SST – the last to fly in revenue service), B-17, B29, and B-47 bombers. The site has a convenient “air” bridge to get you there. This inclined walkway is defiantly a better way to reach the Pavilion, not to mention, listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” playing on the loudspeakers there topped the experience. As with all airplanes, pictures never do them justice but here are a few shots we took that should give you a better idea of the flight scene there are here.

You can fly in on your own plane or in a commercial airline to Boeing Field or Sea-Tac, and if you have a child that likes aviation, you MUST take her or him to see the real planes. You might ask why is this trip worth the effort? The answer is simple: because they can climb in and touch and feel what aviation is all about… and it is about more than planes. It is about flying, it’s about education, and it’s about history… but it is also about fun!


Panasonic:

OmniAccess, a leading supplier of integrated communications solutions to super yachts and cruise-ships, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), today unveiled a tailored XTS “extremely high throughput” satellite network for multiple mobility markets. Details on this new communications service are available to key customers that visit the OmniAccess booth at the Monaco Yacht Show. OmniAccess and Panasonic began collaborating on XTS high-throughput satellite designs in September 2015 in order to bring unprecedented levels of capacity and performance to OmniAcess’ existing Super yacht and cruise customers. Through this agreement OmniAccess has secured access to Panasonic’s existing HTS capacity, currently contracted capacity and the future XTS satellite network, bringing industry-leading capacity and performance to its yachting and cruise ship markets. Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network, OmniAccess is already providing industry-leading connection speeds of over 200 Mbps to select individual customers.

Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We announced our partnership with OmniAccess at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, and since then, we’ve been able to develop solutions that have improved our operational efficiencies and also delivered higher performance and better service to OmniAccess’ super yacht customers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with OmniAccess to establish a new standard in high-bandwidth services for the mobility market.”

(Editor’s Note: Normally we wouldn’t place a news release that predominately refers to maritime in our publication. However, in this instance we believe it to have relevance as the relationship between Panasonic Avionics and OmniAccess refers to “multiple mobility markets”,  “XTS high-throughput satellite” and “Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network”. After all, a revenue stream is a revenue stream whether it is initiated from an ocean or the air! And we wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these relationships in our industry.)


IFPL:

APEX 2016 will see the very latest in connectivity, payment and power solutions from IFEC specialists IFPL, on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.

IFPL leads the way when it comes to deploying contactless payment systems NFC (Near Field Communication) on-board aircraft, with global OEM’s and airlines using this technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalization. APEX 2016 will see IFPL demonstrate its new NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high value off line transactions by removing the current low value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high value items thus increasing ancillary revenues.

With portable and wearable tech now widespread, visitors to APEX can also see IFPL’s USB- C and USB-A units, both providing hi-speed data and power.

As always, innovation from IFPL will be on display with the company demonstrating its new integrated seat arm concept. This will reflect its ability to customize peripherals to support the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.

IFPL will be demonstrating their ‘Charge-2-Charge’ solution for both inductive and USB charging – this will enable airlines to generate additional revenue from passengers wishing to charge their portable devices during flights. Demonstrations will also be available for their popular 110V A/C power outlet and its combination 110V and USB-A & C.

Solving the problem of broken headphone sockets are IFPL’s MagSignal Audio units. Cost neutral when compared with traditional sockets, MagSignal Technology allows the headset cable to be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment; reducing customer induced damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft.

As always IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to APEX 2016 in Singapore may have.


Gogo Partnering:

Gogo recently announced that it will partner with Air France-KLM to connect its existing long-haul fleet representing 124 aircraft, with an airline option to install the technology on additional aircraft in the future. The fleet of aircraft receiving Gogo’s 2Ku technology will include numerous aircraft types, including the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330s. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.” The first aircraft is expected to be in service end of next year, with the bulk of the installations taking place during 2018-2019.

Gogo Next-Gen:
The company also announced that it is developing its next generation ground-based technology to better serve the connectivity needs of business and commercial aviation in North America. This technology will offer a ground-like performance, including the ability to stream videos, for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. The new network will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna to produce peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps. This next generation ground-based network for the aero market will utilize LTE technology and leverage Gogo’s existing first generation North American network and infrastructure of more than 250 towers.

“Leveraging our first generation network is key to making this next generation network highly reliable and economical to deploy,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s CTO. “Gogo’s next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo’s first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo’s fthe two networks networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network.”

The benefits of this new network for commercial aircraft operating within the United States and Canada include: low equipment cost and weight, overnight installation, and low drag on the aircraft due to the small size of the antennas. It also has big advantages in terms of latency compared to satellite solutions.

Aircraft outfitted with one of Gogo’s earlier generation air-to-ground technologies will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.

The service is expected to be available in 2018. Great article this morning. Separately, we have got big news this morning from Gogo as we announce our next generation ground network to support IFC in North America. We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks. This will enable passengers to do everything they can do on the ground, in-flight. The network will use unlicensed spectrum and will require minimal updates for an aircraft.

(Editor’s Note: You should probably read this as well.)


SmartSky:

SmartSky Networks’ patented SmartSky 4G radio system completed the major milestone of receiving FCC certification, clearing the way for deployment of the ultra-fast SmartSky 4G air-to-ground network later this year, with nationwide service launching in mid-2017. Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO, stated, “After investing tens of millions of dollars and over five years of research and development effort, SmartSky’s now certified technology has unlocked enough spectrum to be able to offer, for the first time, the reliable use of a sophisticated, custom-designed 4G system that can deliver an office-like internet experience in the air for both business aviation and commercial aviation customers.”FCC certification is the culmination of work to develop and patent protect the multiple bodies of technology that uniquely enable SmartSky to make use of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band, all without causing harmful interference to or receiving interference from the operation of the same band on the ground. Despite the widespread assertion that aviation-related spectrum reuse in the unlicensed band would not be feasible, SmartSky has successfully solved the challenge by implementing new technical methods that are broadly covered by its robust and growing portfolio of 20 granted patents. Additional patents are pending.

Reed Hundt, SmartSky’s Vice Chairman of the Board and former Chairman of the FCC, remarked, “Long ago, the FCC authorized the allocation of large blocks of unlicensed spectrum to foster innovation and encourage competition. Today, we see the amazing results of that prescient regulation, which has resulted in ubiquitous Wi-Fi on the ground. By application of novel technologies using 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum, SmartSky’s breakthrough will finally give the aviation industry the superior connectivity now taken for granted terrestrially.”

Roberson and Associates, a highly regarded independent wireless industry consulting firm, investigated the ability of SmartSky’s radio technology to seamlessly coexist with terrestrial Wi-Fi. CEO Dennis Roberson, who is also Chairman of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council, commented, “SmartSky’s technology solution is transparent to Wi-Fi users on the ground, enabling the air-to-ground sharing of the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.”

SmartSky’s technology and patent portfolio is not limited to the unlicensed band. Most of the patents apply to any frequency and any waveform in any high speed air-to-ground network. Because these are broad patents, SmartSky enables underlying technical advances to be incorporated into its conceptual solution. “Over time, this will allow SmartSky to keep pace with the latest advances in computing, antennas, radios and networking while still being protected by our foundational patents,” said Griffin.


Rockwell Collins:

Continuing a relationship that has lasted over 70 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has renewed its Aeronautical Mobile Communications Service (AMCS) agreement with Rockwell Collins. Under the agreement, the company will continue to provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications, including position reports, aircraft requests and ATC clearances, between the FAA and aircraft flying in U.S. oceanic airspace.


Uber Transportation in Singapore!

Lastly, here is a Singapore treat from the nice folks at Uber, the transportation app company. It’s easy to use: In the app, choose your ride and set your location. Once you get matched, you’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, at the same time, you can easily track their estimated time of arrival on the map. No phone calls to make, no pick-ups to schedule. With 24/7 availability, request a ride any time of day. Here is how you can get started: Download the Uber app and register for an account. You’ll have the option to input your credit card or opt for cash payment. To enjoy a $15 FREE ride, simply enter the code IFEXPRESS into the Promotions tab! Hurry – the code is valid until 31 October 2016.

IFExpress: John, we assume you will be moving to the Chicago area… any expectations? Any trepidations?
J.W.: “Yes, I have relocated to the Chicago area and am thrilled to be joining my colleagues here to start launching the 2Ku era. As for trepidations, having spent the last eight winters in Colorado, I’m not quite sure what Chicago winters will bring, less skiing I’m sure.”

IFExpress: Regarding your new areas of responsibility (operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales) which do you think will give you the most challenges and which the most enjoyment?
J.W.: “The role in itself will present many challenges as well as enjoyment across all departments as we begin the journey of rolling out 2Ku to our airline partners. Making sure that deployment goes as smoothly as possible is a large part of my new role as COO.

Over the years, I have discovered I have a natural love for optimizing operations within organizations and am really looking forward to leading those functions within Gogo’s commercial aviation business.

For one of my challenges, I’d say learning to manage the folks in sales, as I used to be one myself.

Putting in place the foundation of 2Ku for our airline partners that have clearly recognized 2Ku’s operational excellence is certainly the most exciting challenge. More than 1,200 aircraft across 12 airlines have made commitments to this technology that will change the face of air travel on a global scale. To be leading that innovation is not only a huge milestone at Gogo, but in aviation as well.”

IFEXpress: From a bigger perspective, can you: A. give our readers the today view of Gogo, B. tomorrow’s view under your new leadership, and C. the product view of the next 5 years at Gogo.

J.W.: “Right now is really a very exciting time for Gogo. As the summer travel season comes to an end for the airlines, we are truly stepping into full 2Ku production mode. By the end of the year, we have committed to having 75+ 2Ku aircraft installed and into 2017 and 2018, we’ll be ramping up production quite a bit to get through our backlog of 1,200 aircraft. Given how quickly the airline industry has taken to 2Ku and recognized its technological advantages, I expect in the next five years that we will announce many global partnerships for 2Ku. Additionally, we will continue to expand our product offerings, focus on bringing the connected aircraft to life and develop our next generation regional ATG network that will be a big benefit to both CA (commercial aviation) and BA (business aviation).”

IFExpress: We understand that is some markets (biz jet?), Gogo offers a text/data service (low speed), why is that not offered for a low cost solution for the many users who want minimum service on a commercial service airplane?

J.W.: “We actually do have a messaging pass for commercial aviation (CA) passengers. For CA, this messaging application enables passengers to stay in touch with the ground with popular messaging applications including iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If passengers are T-Mobile customers, they can also take advantage of free in-flight texting on all Gogo equipped flights.

For BA and CA both, the service actually works on high speed networks. In general, we think that low speed networks will become increasingly more focused on the cockpit v. passenger services.”

IFExpress: Can you tell our readers a little about how the business aviation market differs from the commercial airline market and do you envision entering other markets like military, etc.?

J. W.: “If there is one major differentiator between BA and CA it’s in the size of the fuselage hence the antenna technologies which are applicable. With Gogo’s range of products for both BA and CA, Gogo is extremely well positioned to service both markets.

In terms of BA vs CA, from an operations perspective, there are striking similarities with the big difference being access to aircraft. Commercial airlines are not keen on taking planes down to change technologies, which creates challenges when you are delivering new technologies. But there are definitely more similarities than differences.”

In closing, John told IFExpress; “While I’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight years managing the BA group, I’m realizing my real passion is in the big airplane world. It’s truly great to be back in the airline world once again and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends in Singapore.”


digEcor:
With over 30 years in the aviation industry, Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all Sales and Marketing activities in the Americas’ region. Jorge began his aviation career in the areas of Business Aviation Technical and Support, subsequently moving into IFE where he held diverse Engineering and Sales & Marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. Mompo commented, “There are numerous growth opportunities in the Region where digEcor’s comprehensive integrated flight experience suite of products for IFE and cabin will be a perfect fit for current and future needs. I’m looking forward to continuing my close working relationships with all the customers in the Americas Region encompassing Airlines, OEMs and MROs.” Jorge will be at Singapore at the digEcor booth and you can contact him here: +1 (305) 781-9798 Mobile – +1 (801) 691-7257 Office


Thales/SES:
Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites. Thales signed an agreement with SES for tailor made connectivity services over the Americas optimized for commercial aviation.
With FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity solution, airlines will receive the best connection speeds for passengers and passenger entertainment using Ka-band HTS, they claim.
Two currently in-orbit satellites comprise the initial network for the Americas; a third satellite provided by Thales Alenia Space – will be launched in 2020 to meet anticipated market growth over the Americas.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress will have more on this deal soon.)


Other Aviation:

 

  • Paving the way for the delivery of the first A320neo with CFM LEAP engines in mid-2016

France | May 31, 2016– On 31st May 2016, the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft, the A320neo, received on-schedule the Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the second engine option to be certified – CFM International’s* LEAP-1A engine. This certification paves the way for the delivery of the first A320neo equipped with this engine type in mid-2016. This award follows by six months the initial Certificate of Airworthiness received from the EASA and FAA for the A320neo, powered by the Pratt & Whitney engine option. The first A320neo was delivered on 20th January 2016.

Fabrice Brégier, Airbus’ President and Chief Executive Officer said: “This key milestone for the A320neo programme, and its second engine option – the specially developed LEAP-1A, is a double seal of approval by the two major international governing bodies and comes after the A320neo Family had successfully accomplished a rigorous programme of certification trials. We look forward to the entry into service of LEAP-powered models in the very near future.”

The two LEAP-powered aircraft assigned to the flight test campaign have now successfully accumulated over 1,000 flight hours in more than 350 flights – including 150 flight hours completed with the same aircraft in an airline-like environment to ensure operational maturity at entry into service. Certification of the remaining aircraft/engine variants with LEAP engines will follow in the coming months. When all flight testing has been completed, the NEO development fleet (with both engine options) will have achieved a combined total of 3,000 flight hours.

The A320neo Family offers unbeatable fuel efficiency. Featuring latest engine technologies, Sharklet wing-tip devices and cabin innovations, the A320neo Family aircraft offers the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft delivering 15% fuel burn per seat reduction at entry into service in 2016, and a 20% reduction by 2020. Furthermore, everyone will benefit from the A320neo’s enhanced environmental credentials – which include a significant decrease in C02 emissions and a nearly 50 percent lower noise footprint.

The A320neo Family offers airlines an engine choice between the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM and the CFM LEAP-1A engines. With one aircraft in three sizes (A319neo, A320neo, A321neo), the A320neo Family, seating from 100 to 240 passengers, allows operators to match the right aircraft size to demand and seamlessly covers the entire single-aisle segment on low to high-density domestic to longer range routes up to 4,000nm. Thanks to their widest cabin, all members of the A320neo Family offer unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18-inch wide seats in economy as standard. Since its launch on 1st December 2010, the A320neo Family has received a tremendous market endorsement with more than 4,500 orders from over 82 customers, representing some 60 percent share of the market.

*CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.

EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland | May 25, 2016– The initial supplemental type certificate (STC) was received from the FAA allowing installation of the SD WiFi Hub on Citation CJ3 aircraft. Additional STCs are in progress for the Hub, the standalone router and wi-fi solution for small to mid-size aircraft and enhancement to the Satcom Direct Router (SDR) for larger aircraft. EBACE attendees can view product demonstrations at exhibit S115.

Introduced worldwide during the Aircraft Electronics Association Convention 2016, the SD WiFi Hub packs big technology into a small, easily-installed package. More than a wireless access point, it is the gateway for all voice and data communications on the aircraft. At 1.6 pounds, the Hub has the smallest and lightest router form factor in aviation.

“Meeting the connectivity needs for customers with airframes of all sizes was the driver for the development of the SD Wi-Fi hub. Receiving the first STC paves the way for the availability of the product to the marketplace,” said Ken Bantoft, Chief Technology Officer for SD.

The SD technology team is working with its dealers and MROs to expand the availability of STCs for other airframes.

“Citation” and “CJ3” are registered trademarks of Cessna Aircraft Company. Use of the name of that company and its trademarks are for identification purposes only. SD makes no claim to “Citation” or “CJ3”, and use here does not imply endorsement by Cessna Aircraft Company.

  • Tech gadget-friendly tray tables facilitate hands-free use of portable electronic devices while freeing up much needed space on conventional aircraft tray tables

East Aurora, NY | April 5, 2016– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, consumer electronics and semiconductor industries, today announced its collaboration with AirPac Enterprises (“AirPac”) and CIT Aerospace (“CIT”) in the deployment of SmartTray® tables onboard InterJet, the first commercial passenger Mexican airline to fly with SmartTray® onboard its Airbus 320 aircraft. AirPac is a leading provider of aircraft seating services and a FAA and EASA certified repair station. CIT Aerospace is a global leader in aircraft financing services.

SmartTray® tables feature an integrated, proprietary expandable groove mechanism that automatically expands and retracts to the thickness of Passenger Electronic Devices (PEDs) and smartphones. This configuration allows passengers to use their electronic devices inflight hands- free while freeing up much needed tray table space for other items and providing a significant improvement in comfort and convenience over conventional aircraft tray tables.

Dennis Markert, Director of New Business Development for Astronics, said: “We are delighted to have taken part in this deployment of SmartTray® with AirPac and CIT. Passengers instantly appreciate the simplicity and usefulness of SmartTray® which allows them to multi-task without juggling PEDs, drinks, food, and other personal items, making it a more productive and comfortable inflight experience.”

Mr. Markert added, “The study that we just completed in January of this year shows that more than 90% of travelers prefer SmartTray® over conventional aircraft tray tables. This high level of positive feedback tells us that this product has terrific potential.”

Lisa Rajic, President and Chief Executive Officer of AirPac said, “We’re very excited to collaborate with Astronics in deployment of the SmartTray®. As a leader in aircraft seating services, AirPac appreciates Astronics’ innovative power and entertainment solutions that dovetail nicely with our shared commitment to passenger comfort and an exceptional inflight experience. We both see SmartTray® as a sizable opportunity for us to work together. Airlines routinely replace tray tables, so why not provide a better traveler experience in the process?” added Lisa.

Germany | February 26, 2016– 328 Design GmbH (328DO), part of the 328 Group, the Germany-based refurbishment, completions and aircraft maintenance specialist, has successfully achieved the first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Dassault Falcon 50EX from the US FAA under the FAA/EASA bilateral safety agreement.

The STC covers extensive cabin refurbishment including the replacement of the legacy Cabin Management System/In-flight Entertainment (CMS/IFE) with Honeywell Ovation Select state-of-the-art Audio/HD Video Entertainment and CMS including T-PED (Transmitting Portable Electronic Device) connectivity via Wi-Fi. Additional features include a complete cabin refurbishment, replacing all hard and soft materials, the installation of new LED cabin lighting and galley modification.

The project was achieved in collaboration with USA-based Duncan Aviation at the company’s full service facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. This latest STC marks 328DO’s 21st collaboration with Duncan Aviation in the four years the companies have been working together.

The validation process posed a number of challenges as the project has been classified as a non-standard STC. However, following extensive collaboration and support from both EASA and the FAA, 328 Design GmbH was able to overcome the difficulties.

Leading the project was Jörg Gorkenant, Chief Operating Officer and Head of 328DO. He commented: “We are delighted to receive this first STC for the Dassault Falcon 50EX from the FAA. 328DO has become renowned for its expertise on certification capabilities and this represents another major milestone for the company.”

The awarding of the STC follows a significant track record of success in certification achievements for 328DO, who have to date amassed STCs and minor mods approvals on various aircraft types.

328DO has collaborated with Duncan Aviation on EASA STC approvals for aircraft including the Bombardier Challenger Series, Global Express, Dassault Falcon 900EX and 2000 as well as 7X and Citation 560XL.

  • Offers customers a “Total Aircraft Modification Solution” for both FAA and EASA certification!

Shanghai, China | February 2016– Global Aerospace Design Corp. (Global) is pleased to announce a partnership with Shanghai HaoTong Aviation Engineering Co., Ltd. (SHAE). Global recently signed an agreement with SHAE to form the very first European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Design Organization in China. As part of this agreement Global will be providing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification services to SHAE in support of projects that do not fall under their EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

“We are very honored to become the first third party EASA Part21 DOA holder in China”, explained Mr. Liang (Bill) Bai, Vice President of Quality at SHAE. “This is a major step in the development of Shanghai HaoTong’s business scope to provide our global customers with unparalleled cost effective and high quality aftermarket services.”

This partnership will provide customers with a total aircraft modification solution for both FAA and EASA certification along with the modification capabilities available at multiple facilities throughout China.

“This latest accomplishment by Shanghai HaoTong and Global underscores our commitment to widening and deepening our capabilities in China, the world’s second-largest and fastest growing aviation market.” said Mr. Sheming (Bob) Zhu, President/CEO of SHAE. “It is indeed a very successful milestone which forms part of a long term partnership with Global.”

“Global is excited about where this partnership with SHAE will take our company,” said Roger Witkemper, Vice President of Operations at Global. “Both organizations employ complementary resources which will increase our reach throughout the industry.”

Combining the SHAE and Global organizations grows and enhances the services provided throughout the world. From aircraft leasing to complete cabin interior upgrades, both SHAE and Global can now offer customers a high quality solution to their operational needs.

Munich, Germany | February 19, 2016– 328 Design GmbH (328DO), part of the 328 Group, the Germany-based refurbishment, completions and aircraft maintenance specialist, has successfully achieved the first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Dassault Falcon 50EX from the US FAA under the FAA/EASA bilateral safety agreement.

The STC covers extensive cabin refurbishment including the replacement of the legacy Cabin Management System/In-flight Entertainment (CMS/IFE) with Rockwell Collins’ Fusion state-of-the-art CMS/IFE including T-PED (Transmitting Portable Electronic Device) connectivity via Wi-Fi. Additional features include a complete cabin refurbishment, replacing all hard and soft materials, the installation of new LED cabin lighting and galley modification.

The project was achieved in collaboration with USA-based Duncan Aviation at the company’s full service facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. This latest STC marks 328DO’s 21st collaboration with Duncan Aviation in the four years the companies have been working together.

The validation process posed a number of challenges as the project has been classified as a non-standard STC. However, following extensive collaboration and support from both EASA and the FAA, 328 Design GmbH was able to overcome the difficulties.

Leading the project was Jörg Gorkenant, Chief Operating Officer and Head of 328DO. He commented: “We are delighted to receive this first STC for the Dassault Falcon 50EX from the FAA. 328DO has become renowned for its expertise on certification capabilities and this represents another major milestone for the company.”

The awarding of the STC follows a significant track record of success in certification achievements for 328DO, who have to date amassed STCs and minor mods approvals on various aircraft types.

328DO has collaborated with Duncan Aviation on EASA STC approvals for aircraft including the Bombardier Challenger Series, Global Express, Dassault Falcon 900EX and 2000 as well as 7X and Citation 560XL

Today in IFExpress we feature an interview with Mark Thompson whose company, Thompson Aerospace (TA), has rolled out a new product, and we note, it is not IFE related, but rather, it focuses on the “C” or connectivity part of our aviation interest. The product is the Secure Global Aircraft Tracking Unit (SGATU), a fully compliant tracking solution for commercial aircraft. As the release notes: “Thompson Aerospace created the Secure Global Aircraft Tracking Unit to provide the economic benefits achieved by real-time information and to meet the pending rules. The solution does not rely on any aircraft system to provide location, speed, altitude, attitude (pitch, yaw, and roll), vertical velocity, and cabin pressure. This truly remarkable product uses less than 2 watts under normal operation, and can be augmented with TrueBluePower battery technology, that will allow up to 14 hours of operation in flight in the event of total power loss.” You can find the news release here.

Q: Mark, to start off, our readers think of TA as an IFEC company based on products seen at tradeshows. This data effort seems new; perhaps you can explain your company’s new efforts and paint a picture of where you are going to be in the years to come?

ANS: Our first project was on B1 program for secure data management using IP networks, our second project was an in-seat power product that we worked on with some large airlines and an OEM.  So while our first announced program was our interactive in-seat IFE product, we had developed a lot of technology using our patented technology. We have always been a company focused on low cost, high reliable IP based networks, and as an IFE system is the largest consumer of data on an aircraft, our technology worked very well.  Due to our inability to secure a large customer base, we went back to focus on secure IP network technology and redesigned our network to be in compliance with RTCA new standards, DO-326, 355, 356, and FIPS 140-2.  We view making an aircraft a secure node on a private network to be the best economical solution for airlines. Once this is done, it opens up possibilities in many areas for increased revenues from passengers to reduce operational costs for airlines.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about your new product?

ANS:Our first new LRU based on these RTCA standard is our Secure Aircraft Tracking Module, it is fully complaint with the ICAO Tracking recommendation, EASA new tracking rule and also provides the airlines with real-time access to all critical systems data from their maintenance centers.  It is basically like a cell phone on a plane, except it uses the Iridium Network, and is able to operate without aircraft power for up to 14 hours in flight.  It has a dual channel GNSS solution so it does both GPS plus GLONASS, Galileo or Beidou system.  It is the first step in creating an aware aircraft using a very secure security solution.  We have embedded sensors built into the unit to allow us to determine pitch, roll, and yaw with no aircraft inputs, and can even do a ground monitor of the aircraft for up to 48 hours to allow the airlines to know aircraft status with no power, for items such as door opening, aircraft movement or if an aircraft has been hit on the ground. Our view is an aircraft should be at least as smart as my smart phone.”

Q: What is SATM?

ANS: “The new EASA regulations provides airlines options to meet the requirements: either a new real-time, robust data system or to equip the aircraft with an upgraded traditional Underwater Locating Device (ULD). While the second solution meets the requirements for this EASA rule, the rule did not address the core issue of what the aircraft condition is at all times. Thompson Aerospace’s view is that an advanced, secure, robust data solution providing enhanced tracking with real-time situation awareness of all systems provides more value. Thompson Aerospace created the Secure Aircraft Tracking Module (SATM) to provide the economic benefits achieved by real-time information and to meet the pending rules. The solution does not rely on any aircraft system to provide location, speed, altitude, attitude (pitch, yaw, and roll), vertical velocity, and cabin pressure. This truly remarkable product uses less than 2 watts under normal operation, and can be augmented with TrueBluePower battery technology, that will allow up to 14 hours of operation in flight in the event of total power loss.”

Q: You note the new EASA requirements in your news release, can you quickly describe them?

ANS: “They are as follows:
1. The Aircraft has to report its position.
2. The Aircraft has to report alerts.
3.  The Aircraft System has to be able to operate without aircraft power for the whole duration of the flight. If you can’t do this, you are not compliant (and I see no other compliant system on the market today). We meet all the existing EASA rules, plus the recommendations from ICAO.  It is important to understand that the EASA first rule is not fully compliant with the ICAO recommendation and we expect more rules to follow.   The other items are just different types of data that the airlines either do today or are things they could do if they purchased very expensive equipment.

Q: Was security an issue in the EASA requirements and is data speed (rate) and/or cost an issue?

ANS: “The rule by EASA did not address security at this time, but RTCA has created our guidance and it is best to follow this guidance.  The main focus is key creation, stowage and retrieve, and digital signatures.  If you have a robust means to manage this in a secure environment you will meet the requirements.  So for our solution we have chosen the Amazon Cloud, they provide very high level of security with their HSM products.  This required us to purchase some equipment and pay a usage fee, they provide the physical security as part of the fees. Airlines can choose to purchase their own equipment from companies such as SafeNet or Thales to meet the ground based hardware security requirements.  The hard part is how to manage the airborne part of the network. We have created a couple of solutions, we have built into our SATM a hardware security engine that is able to manage keys both for our tracking and other equipment thru an 100 BaseTX link.  This would allow us to provide protected keys from either our cloud or any third party to any other airborne equipment.  We can also check digital signatures thru a CA or provide this service ourselves using the same 100 BaseTX solution.” (Editor’s Note: We will have more on this later.)

“You are correct the link is very slow and very expensive to use, so you would not want to move large or even medium size data thru this link, hence it is not useful in moving large files.  While this product is able to provide the first step to security, managing keys and checking signatures, it does not protect the equipment on the aircraft from virus.”

“We can only check the data once it has been loaded and as such, it is impossible to provide a complete comprehension security solution.”

“We have another product that is intended as a security firewall, the CSUv2, this has (2) hardware security engines and the concept is all the data moves thru this unit prior to being loaded into another airborne unit.  This unit can insure that no data that is not approved in advance is moved into the aircraft domain, is able to keep all the data separate by domain.  This unit includes two LTE data chipsets, plus 3 processors, over 2T of stowage, and an Iridium Voice channel.” (Editor’s Note: More on this later, too.)

“This unit has more than enough processing power to provide over 500 streams of VOD in a single ARINC 600 complaint 2 MCU box while at the same time providing QAR/AID functions on all the Arinc717 and Arinc429 data.  Due to recent advances in chip technology, this unit is able to provide Gigabit Ethernet switching without using a COTS Ethernet switch chipset.  It is truly amazing what we are able to do today compared to what we did with our first unit, the CSU.”

Q: Mark, is there a value proposition in the data transmission or the security thereof?

ANS: “In addressing the airline partners we believe value is important and by leveraging the latest technology value-added features will save money beyond just meeting regulatory requirements. TA understands the value of data security and in the unlikely event data needs to be examined; the secure chain of trust assures data has not been altered. The solution is based on the latest in microelectronics technology, hardware security and Iridium technology to provide airlines with the best cost advantages in the market place to replace older technology.”

Q: Perhaps you can provide our readers with a bit more information about your security product(s) as noted in your SATM news release?

ANS: “Thompson Aerospace is a leader in securely protecting aircraft data and has securely moved over 500 million records between aircraft and secure ground locations. Our patented Hardware Security Module allows us to securely move any type of data to and from an aircraft using the most reliable and secure means. Our first product used Hardware Security to move data between the aircraft the cloud and was installed on (4) A320/A319 aircraft.  All the data from the cloud came into our hardware chipset located in our server before we moved it to the processor.  We also have Hardware Security built into each one of our monitors at the seat.  This allowed us to meet all the PCI credit card processing and MPAA security requirements.  All the records we moved from the plane including credit cards, content updates, passenger usage statics, and aircraft operation data were digitally encrypted and signed to validate that the data had not been altered.  We always have hardware security built into our product to separate the aircraft domains. This was the subject of our first patent.  When the new requirements for data security were published, we made a business decision to update our existing product line.  Due to advances in chip technology and lessons learned we were able to offer a solution that is more than twice as capable at a price 1/3 less today than we did 4 years ago. One of our ARINC 600 2 MCU servers has more than enough processing power to do most wide body aircraft… and with our enhanced patented technology, we can also provide QAR/AID functions at the same time.  While we are not focused on in-seat IFE market, we can provide a customer with a full VOD product for 1/3 less today than we did just 4 years ago.”

“The product now includes a fully complaint tracking solution, 2-channel Iridium capability, including voice and 2-channel LTE, plus wireless access points. The tracking product we have made is the first step to making an aircraft a secure node on the cloud. Once the airlines understand the benefits, we expect to change how we all view aircraft data systems. “

Q: What Thompson Aerospace product STC’s in this product line exist today? What is involved in a kit for this product?

ANS: “REF: “Thompson Aerospace, has partnered with JANA,  and ALOFT AeroArchitects, to provide STC’s for commercial and business aircraft. This partnership can provide STC approved kits for all model type aircraft in 2016 within six month of receiving an order.”

“We expect the STCs to be issued in March and are currently working with our partners JANA on the first STCs.  Our business jets STCs will follow once we have PMA on the SATM.  We will be able to deliver an optional SATM within 6 months after PO for any customer today. We are very happy to have two well-known companies to help us bring this product to the market as fast as possible.”

Q: When will the service be available?

Ans: “Thompson Aerospace (TA) of Irvine, CA is offering its secure aircraft tracking/data solution as the most economical and fully compliant means to meet the new EASA rules released on December 16, 2015. This solution is available to all aircraft types, with the first STC’s expected in March 2016 on B767-200, B767-300 and MD10 aircraft. The expectation is to have B777 STC’s in the second quarter of 2016 with other aircraft model types including business jets to follow during the year.

For more information contact Mark Thompson.

One company that seems to be a bit quieter about their connectivity solutions is Honeywell but that’s about to change. Last week, they sent out a release about their recent certification from the FAA for their inflight product, JetWave and their STC on a Boeing B757. Significant is their exclusive connectivity hardware for Inmarsat Global Express, high speed, Ka-Band inflight connectivity service.

At higher frequencies like Ka Band (26.5 – 40 GHz), operators can generally obtain more user bandwidth but a lot depends on antenna size & efficiency, users in the space, horizon height, weather, and more. But we digress.

Part of the attraction of JetWave is bandwidth as we just mentioned, but global coverage is another feature and we asked about that feature as well. Finally, we do believe, that the price per downloaded bit will be cheaper than those of lower transmit/receive frequencies… but that remains to be announced by Honeywell or airlines. Stay tuned on this one. If JetBlue’s solution with Thales & ViaSat is any indication, it ought to get interesting and potentially cheaper per bit.

Next, we had a few more questions and Honeywell provided answers for some as follows:

1. IFExpress: How long has this product been in development (antenna) and what new antenna technologies are included?

ANS: “Honeywell and Inmarsat signed a partnership in 2012 for Honeywell to be the exclusive hardware provider for Global Xpress Ka-band network. Honeywell also signed a master services distribution agreement for business aviation with Inmarsat. Since 2012, Honeywell has successfully developed the fuselage antenna for air transport aircraft and tail-mount antenna for business aviation aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band services.”

2. IFExpress: We know you make the antenna, but our readers would be interested in understanding if the Ka Band Amplifier/transmitter/receiver is part of the product line too and is it new?

ANS: “Honeywell is the exclusive hardware provider for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. The JetWave system includes the fuselage antenna for commercial airlines, tail-mount antenna for business aviation aircraft, the Modman (modem and terminal), KRFU (frequency converter and amplifier) and KANDU (antenna control and networking unit) hardware.”

3. IFExpress: What is the expected average user data rate (X Mbps)?

ANS: “JetWave and Global Xpress services can provide up to 33Mbps to business aviation aircraft and up to 50Mbps to air transport aircraft.”

4. IFExpress: Besides the test plane, is the unit installed on any other aircraft?

ANS: “There are over 15 different aircraft models/types working on installing JetWave to access the Global Xpress network across commercial, business aviation and government end markets including:

· Honeywell’s Dassault Falcon 900 test aircraft has installed JetWave for flight testing.

· JetWave hardware has been delivered to support the first A350 GX Aviation installation

· Bombardier is currently working on certifying JetWave on their Global Express aircraft”

5. IFExpress: Is Honeywell willing to talk price?

ANS:Service packages will be defined and managed by Inmarsat and our Value-Added-Resellers (VARs), who bring years of experience in developing and introducing tailored and cost effective connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”

6. IFExpress: As you might know, Gogo had a very successful Press demo of their Ku Band system, are you folks going to do the same?

ANS: “Yes definitely, we plan to demonstrate the system to customers and media in 2016.”

7. Can you talk a bit about the potentially lower data rate costs to consumers?

ANS: “Service packages will be defined and managed by Inmarsat our Value-Added-Resellers (VARs), who bring years of experience in developing and introducing tailored and cost effective connectivity solutions to airlines and their passengers.”

8. IFExpress: We assume the coverage is worldwide?

ANS: “Inmarsat Global Xpress is the first high-speed broadband network to span the world.”

9. IFExpress: Have you tested the Ka system in weather and what did you find?

ANS: “The certification of Honeywell’s JetWave hardware was achieved following more than 180 flight hours and multiple rigorous tests aboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 test aircraft, which showed that the system would stay connected to Inmarsat’s GX network at various altitudes, angles and speeds, through several different types of weather, and over land and water.”

10. Is the Ka service available over the US today?

ANS: “Inmarsat’s I-5 F2 satellite was launched on 1 February 2015 to deliver regional GX services for the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region.

11. IFExpress: Any customers bought/interested/US and/or overseas?

ANS: “See below:

  • Singapore Airlines has selected JetWave and GX Aviation system for their B777-300ER aircraft, followed by its A380-800s.
  • Lufthansa announced that GX Aviation has been selected for its short and medium-haul flights – the first Lufthansa aircraft will be fitted with the new technology in early summer 2016
  • Qatar Airways has committed to equipping their fleet with GX Aviation through the Thales A350 in-flight entertainment/connectivity program
  • Vietnam Airlines selected GX Aviation for its A350 fleet through Inmarsat and Honeywell partners, Thales and Gogo
  •  Air China will test GX Aviation on its A330 aircraft
  • Airbus is far along in the engineering and certification work to make GX and JetWave hardware option for new aircraft in production across its entire catalog, and numerous certification processes are engaged to ensure GX and JetWave hardware availability for retrofit applications
  • Honeywell continues to work with Boeing on its technical services agreement to confirm offerability for Boeing platforms including the 787, 777, and 737NG
  • For the business aviation segment, Bombardier has selected GX Ka-band business aviation service for the Global 5000, Global 6000, Global 7000 and Global 8000 platforms
  • Haitec Aircraft Maintenance signed an agreement to jointly develop an A319 STC for the corporate jet market

Honeywell is continuing to work with airlines around the globe and aircraft manufacturers to bring JetWave and Global Xpress services to passengers and operators.”

12. IFExpress: What is the biggest market you see for the products?

ANS: “In the coming years the de facto standard for in-flight comfort will be giving passengers the freedom to keep connected even while flying at 35,000 feet and we see this demand around the globe. JetWave and Global Xpress will provide truly global and consistent high-speed connectivity that will be demanded around the world – we see strong opportunities around the globe.”

13. IFExpress: What are some good weblinks for our readers to get more on your products?

ANS: “To learn more about Honeywell’s JetWave hardware, please visit

To learn more about Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, please visit:

Finally, Honeywell noted: The important thing to remember about JetWave and Global Xpress is that:

1. Global Xpress is the only global Ka-band network designed around the requirements of mobile assets, including aircraft. It has the ability to keep aircraft connected over land and water and throughout all phases of flight.

2. Inmarsat Global Xpress is the first high-speed broadband network to span the world.

3. It delivers seamless, globally available, high-speed broadband connectivity on land, at sea, and in the air – provided by a single operator.”


NEWS

A) The folks at RouteHappy developed a great infographic on inflight Wi-Fi: Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi | Routehappy

B) iPass Inc., a leading provider of global mobile connectivity, announced an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) to bring inflight Internet access to iPass customers on 23 international airlines. Under terms of the agreement, iPass, which provides convenient, secure, always-on Wi-Fi connectivity on any mobile device, will be available on more than 747 Panasonic-equipped aircraft that fly more than 32,000 routes monthly.

iPass, which has agreements with several inflight connectivity providers, now offers service onboard more than 2,700 aircraft. With this partnership, the company extends its service to passengers on airlines around the world, including Air Berlin, All Nippon Airways, and WestJet.

“Inflight Wi-Fi is critical for our business customers, and our partnership with Panasonic extends iPass’ inflight footprint to many of the world’s leading international carriers,” said Patricia Hume, the chief commercial officer of iPass. “Moreover, the partnership supports our strategy to offer iPass everywhere, so that iPass customers can move from airport to airplane to airport and beyond, with one, seamless, Wi-Fi first, Internet experience.”

“We are dedicated to giving our customers a frictionless Internet experience,” said David Bruner, Vice President of Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Our partnership with iPass brings convenient access to Wi-Fi connectivity to our customers through a single service, helping them stay connected.

C) Check out the FedEx blog about ORBIS, the sight saving flying hospital service. Remember that ORBIS is APEX’s official charity. We also mention, SIE, was the engineering firm and system integrator for the entire program. The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital should be going on its first medical/humanitarian mission in the next 8 weeks or so

D) Also, a good friend, Bob Bogash, has a wonderful website featuring the rebuilding of a an old Boeing B727 with great images – 727 Prototype

E) Lastly, congratulations to Thomas Lee of Zodiac Aerospace who is now Vice President – Product Marketing – Zodiac Cabin.

  • Paving the way to first delivery

France | November 24, 2015– The world’s best-selling single aisle aircraft, the A320neo, has received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 24th November 2015. The certified aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM engines.

The EASA A320neo type Certificate was signed by EASA’s Certification Director Trevor Woods and the FAA A320neo Type Certificate by Jeffrey Duven, FAA Manager of Transport Airplane Directorate – Aircraft Certification Service. The Type Certificates were handed over to Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion and Airbus A320neo Chief Engineer Pierre-Henri Brousse.

“This double seal of approval represents a great achievement for Airbus. It recognizes the hard work performed by all the teams at Airbus and Pratt & Whitney. It demonstrates the A320neo is meeting all requirements,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The A320neo is now cleared for its first delivery and ready to offer many airlines its winning combination of unbeatable economics and outstanding cabin comfort.”

The A320neo successfully completed a rigorous programme of certification which tested its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully met all airworthiness criteria.

The three flight test aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney engines successfully accumulated over 1,070 flight hours in some 350 flights. Of these 1,070 flight test hours, 300 were completed with the same aircraft in an airline like environment to ensure operational maturity at entry into service.

The A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines is the first variant in the NEO Family to receive Type Certification. The A320neo with CFM engines will be certified in the coming months, the A321neo and A319neo in both engines variants will follow.

The A320neo Family incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020 with further cabin innovations. Launched on 1st December 2010, the A320neo offers airlines an engine choice between the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP 1A engines. With more than 4,300 orders received from over 75 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

New York, NY | May 1, 2014/Marketwired/– JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) today announced that LiveTV received a supplemental type certificate (STC) and Parts Manufacturing Authorization (PMA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), necessary steps in the process of having high-speed Wi-Fi and LiveTV’s next generation inflight entertainment system installed on its new fleet of Airbus 321 all-core aircraft. The new LiveTV system, LiveTV 4.0, and JetBlue’s inflight Wi-Fi product, Fly-FiTM, will provide customers with a significantly enriched experience.

The Live TV 4.0 system has a larger screen (10.1 inches for the core experience and 15.6 inches for the Mint experience), and additional content options. Through JetBlue’s partnership with DirecTV, customers will have access to more than 100 channels of live television with optional closed-captioning, a new TV guide that displays current and upcoming program information, and two additional JetBlue Features, totaling eight features each available with English and Spanish audio tracks. Additionally, JetBlue’s SiriusXM satellite radio offering will have an improved home screen where all programming information will be displayed on one screen.

JetBlue also launched Fly-Fi last December on its Airbus 320 fleet, and currently operates 37 Fly-Fi enabled aircraft. The airline is up to 10 A320 Fly-Fi installations per month and is targeting to have its entire Airbus320 fleet complete by the end of 2014.

“We are very excited that LiveTV has received approval from the FAA and we can now commence the next phase in this process — installing LiveTV 4.0 and Fly-Fi on the other three all-core A321 aircraft, which have been flying since last December,” said Jamie Perry, director product development, JetBlue Airways. “The next step is to receive the certification needed for the first A321 Mint aircraft.”

JetBlue is known for its free innovative and industry-leading inflight entertainment since the airline took flight in 2000, and with a refreshed core product, true broadband Wi-Fi in the sky and an upgraded entertainment system on larger screens, that innovation will continue. The airline now has one A321 aircraft with LiveTV 4.0 and Fly-Fi installed which re-entered service on April 28, 2014. The remaining three A321 aircraft will undergo LiveTV 4.0 and Fly-Fi installation throughout the spring, with all four A321 core only aircraft expected to be in service with LiveTV 4 and Fly-Fi installed by the end of June.

As you can well imagine, the IFExpress offices has been awash with discussions about the state of inflight telephony affairs in the US and yes, we have tested some thoughts on PR types in our industry… those who are connected to companies that stand to benefit financially from the calling possibilities and those who are not. Basically, the division about the applicability of inflight cell usage in the US is where you would expect it – those who benefit like the idea and those who don’t – don’t. If they don’t benefit they tend to take the stance: “Flying is bad enough today, why make it worse?” Or, they don’t care. The answer is probably somewhere in between.

In a recent discussion, Our IFExpress Editor came up with a few ideas you might like to think about. “For a liberal democracy, this seems like a no brainer – but it definitely is not! The referenced case studies in other countries seem to make it a slam-dunk. But in the US, there is seemingly an overt, nasty dislike of the cell phone (voice inflight), possibly by travelers who obviously have had enough of the harried flight experience and do not want one more negative issue. Perhaps we should consider some of the issues and work this problem out logically if there is to be any resolution; however, at present there seems to be no clear-cut answer.”

  1. Airlines should surely do a test to see if the perceived issue is real, and note, that if the test is public there will be a lot of press attention.
  2. Asking for constructive solutions such as, passenger cell phone seating, may have value. Feedback is the key to this no-win situation.
  3. If you add “one more issue” to an uncomfortable situation you will not win; however, what about adding a good one at the same time? Some ideas are:  paying all passengers on a flight that has cell telephony by reducing charges elsewhere (baggage, free drinks, etc.) after all this is the US and money talks; publishing any good experiences (if there are any) during a testing situation; how about seating cell talkers on one side or possibly in a ‘worse’ seating location on the aircraft (Yes, that is the price one must pay). If money is a US driver, how about making the usage price high enough to discourage long talking (this one won’t be popular with the service providers) or at least to minimize the “Guess where I am calls”.
  4. Has anyone proposed a plan to suggest the type of equipment passengers could use to minimize the impact of travelers using their cell phones inflight, such as noise canceling headphones and headset/earphone(s) with built in microphones? While this may be impractical now there may be an eventual hardware solution. We seem to remember international planes equipped with older IFE handsets that had the satellite phone hardware at the seat built into a game controller – those devices and their attendant social issues never seem to have surfaced.
  5. While upper classes (Business & First) may be a good place to start cell voice implementation because of the passenger interspatial distance; the class/price perception may not permit it. At the same time, a cell phone usage permission only in coach may be considered a penalty for a lower priced ticket, which leads us to believe the following: A.) The airlines have to give up something to accommodate cell phone usage on flights like baggage fees or ticket price (Then why have it, you might correctly ask?), B.) There needs to be a way to accommodate the need to talk on the phone in the air BUT there also needs to be a way to prevent the mis-users from further degrading the flying experience, C.) If cell usage is permitted in the United States an aggressive public relations campaign will be mandatory, emphasizing positive scenarios where cell phone usage has benefited those onboard (think life saving advice from the ground) or a positive feedback has been received from travelers who have needed the service en route and communicated that message to the airline (in writing). One thing is for certain; if voice calls are allowed the service will most assuredly experience some extreme growing pains on this continent.

Lastly, since there is legislation afoot in the US to prohibit in-flight calling, we will all have to see if cooler heads prevail but until then, keep texting because you can!

If you are going to CES in Las Vegas (Jan. 7 – 10, 2014) you don’t want to miss the panel discussion on January 9, 2014, 10-11 a.m. LVCC, North Hall N254 entitled “Change is in the Air: New Policies for Using Consumer Electronics on Airplanes” an APEX/CES partnership event. Here is the description: Following an advisory committee’s report, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that airlines can safely expand the use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight. How has this decision been implemented and what should passengers expect when they travel this year? Does this new policy create new market opportunities for CE companies? How are various stakeholder groups, including policymakers, responding? Is this a catch-up policy for the United States or a new example for other regions to follow? Fasten your seatbelts and join this session to hear the latest on this popular topic.” Panelists include: Bill de Groh, Chairman, Aircraft Design and Operations Group, Air Line Pilots Association, International Kirk Thornburg, Managing Director, Engineering, Quality, Technology & Training, Delta Air Lines, Julius Knapp, Chief of Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, Ian Dawkins, CEO, OnAir, Timothy Shaver, Branch Manager, Avionics Maintenance Branch, Federal Aviation Administration, Chuck Cook, Manager, Fleet Programs and Technology, JetBlue Airways. And you can bet there will be a push for in-flight telephony but we suspect if they open the floor for comments/questions there will be some very divided opinions on the topic!

According to MSNBC, the TSA is going to increase your US trip by $5.60 next year. Meaningless travel caresses now have a price!

In case you were wondering about historic IFE, you might want to bet your drinking partners when the first in-flight movie was shown – It was in 1925 during a London/Paris flight on Imperial Airways. The Guinness record book claims that it starred Wallace Beery (apropos last name) and was silent… the movie, not the flight!

You probably have the Google Search app on your iPad or iPhone or Android device because it just works… very well. The search now contains Google Now and if you opt in (It’s on the opening page of Google Search – just swipe up) your will find that the Google folks have integrated the search capability into your life with notifications, flight information and reminders, arrival notifications, location oriented restaurants, theaters (and whatever), not to mention event items that you searched for but might have forgotten. It’s like the smart friend you never had in school because they weren’t cool!

Lastly, if you forgot to get some Christmas cards, this one is interactive. Send if you choose, but if you are not a fan of “cute” you might want to skip this one!

Geneva, Switzerland | December 12, 2013–

Ahead of today’s FCC meeting, OnAir  supports the FCC’s proposal  to revise outdated rules by allowing airlines to permit passenger use of cell phones services during flights. It paves the way for U.S. passengers to have the same inflight connectivity choices as passengers everywhere else in the world.

“Over four and a half million passengers use OnAir inflight connectivity each year and what is very striking is that there has not been one single complaint about disruption caused by phone calls,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Mobile OnAir is available on every continent apart from North America. People from all over the world, including Americans, use it every day.”

Passengers typically use Mobile OnAir, OnAir’s inflight cell phone service, for data – largely email – to update Facebook and Twitter, and for text messaging. Voice calls, which cost around $3-$4 per minute, account for slightly over 10% of total inflight usage and the average call length is under two minutes.

“Based on the factual evidence of six years of inflight cell phone usage around the world, I can be absolutely clear that there is nothing to fear from the use of cell phones during flights,” said Dawkins.

Mobile OnAir has flown with more than 25 airlines on hundreds of thousands of flights across the world since 2007, with the full backing of over 100 national authorities.

OnAir’s airline customers include world-leading global airlines such as Aeroflot, British Airways, Emirates, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. Mobile OnAir is currently on around 16,000 flights a month and 380,000 passengers connect to OnAir each month.

“Since the FCC first announced its plan to change the rules, lots of people in the US have made it clear they think voice calls shouldn’t be allowed on aircraft, including some politicians seeking to impose a draconian ban on inflight calls. We will of course oppose such legislation, based on the facts of six years’ experience,” continued Dawkins. “However, we do understand the concerns: we had exactly the same thoughts when we began developing the service ten years ago. That is why we included a feature that allows the cabin crew and pilots to turn off the voice element, for example during quiet times such as the plane’s night or during safety announcements.”

Positive action by the FCC would clear the technical telecoms hurdles to give airlines the option of installing cellular inflight connectivity systems. Airlines would decide whether to offer voice services, along with email, data, and text; they are in control of what services they offer their passengers. For the first time, U.S. airlines would be able to offer cellular services, as their international competitors have been doing for six years.

 

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.

Consumer Electronics

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.

DO-307 Tutorial

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.

  • Southwest is first and only carrier in the U.S. to offer the service to passengers

Los Angeles, CA | November 21, 2013– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT) announced today the availability of its Wi-Fi service to passengers gate to gate on Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV). Southwest is the first and only airline to offer its passengers a gate-to-gate Wi-Fi service because the airline uses Global Eagle’s satellite-based connectivity platform, which was optimized from the beginning to work in all phases of flight, including on the ground.

On October 31st, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruled that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight. The inflight Wi-Fi service provided to Southwest by Global Eagle harnesses the power of Ku-band satellite connectivity, which was designed for continuous operation at all phases of flight.

Now available on more than 435 Wi-Fi-equipped Southwest aircraft, the design of the system supported an immediate roll-out, making it available for use by more than 100 million passengers each year.

“Southwest has always been exceptional in terms of providing the services that both differentiate them within the market and truly provide a better experience for the millions of loyal Customers they serve,” said John LaValle, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. “As the only domestic carrier with active satellite-based Wi-Fi, they have yet again raised the bar. We are proud to provide the service that allows their passengers to stay connected to the web, and use their portable electronic devices to access the entertainment they love through all phases of flight.”

“Our ability to provide the best Customer Experience possible is now even more enhanced with our ability to offer onboard Wi-Fi from gate-to-gate,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer. “Global Eagle has been an outstanding partner, and their ability to offer the service in such an expedited and efficient manner has been a tremendous asset. Our inflight entertainment service is truly unmatched in the business.”