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!


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.)


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 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.

It is the time of year when the IFExpress team says “Thank you!” to all of our readers for their patronage and recommendations over the past 12 months. 2014 has been an eventful news year in the world of IFEC and we anticipate 2015 to be just as exciting for our industry. Your next issue of IFExpress will be in your ‘in-box’ on Tuesday January 6, 2015.

We will see you in 2015!

Patricia Wiseman | Editor & Co-Founder
Terry Wiseman | Publisher & Co-Founder
IFExpress &

Happy New Year and thanks for reading IFExpress, we have been providing free IFEC news for some 20 years now!

We want to start off 2014 like we do most years with some predictions, but first we thought you might like to see what other futurists predict 2014 might be like…  specifically the predictions of Isaac Asimov, the great American futurist. Over his long life (1920 – 1992) he was a noted author and biochemistry professor, but more famous as a futurist and science fiction writer. However, being a prolific thinker and futurist, he also wrote on astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, the Bible, and William Shakespeare’s writings. He was also the author of the famous “Three Laws of Robotics” that actually appeared in 1942 and definitely is a good read – while still being current today. We included his writings in this IFExpress because he was so far ahead of anyone. Some of Asimov’s predictions are relevant in the world of inflight entertainment and cabin developments and we thought it would be interesting to look at his productions some 50 years ago, as a result, we snagged an article he wrote for the 1964 Worlds Fair. We chose a few that relate to our industry so here we go:

“Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs.” – Think about the tablet revolution and on aircraft devices like Electronic Flight Bags and automated system tests on IFE LRU’s.

“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”
– If there was ever a truism for today’s connectivity and onboard computer usage, this is it… spot on!

“By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.” If there ever was a testimonial to the Boeing Sky Interior on the B787 and B737 interior lighting, this is it – not to mention the forthcoming developments in the OLED world that promise aircraft interior spot and location panel lighting.

“Vehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.” While aircraft autopilots (auto-takeoff and auto-land) have been around since at least the 1980’s, they have become an integral part of any new aircraft.

“Wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.” Cabin TV 3D demo devices have been shown at IFE hardware shows for many years now (Thales and Panasonic, in particular) but this year there might be a new push on the plane for that technology.

“Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on.” OK, so he didn’t get all of them right but today’s galley has to be pretty technical for a crew of 6 people to serve 300 inflight meals. We note he did not mention who would pay for them either.

“All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary Fortran.” Perhaps, this one slightly missed the mark but this writer can still write a Fortran loop but never a C++ loop!

And lastly, the one prediction that he missed completely but the one we are waiting for with great anticipation: “The most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work…” As he puts it “in a society of enforced leisure.”

Here are some IFEC predictions the IFExpress team dreamed up – and we mean “dreamed”!

  • The first US commercial meta-material microwave antenna will probably fly a test device this year.
  • Some US airline will debut a pay-to-use inflight cellphone test this year with a LOT of customer feedback.
  • Wearable technology will infiltrate the aviation business probably first in the stress detection/stress reduction area.
  • With Internet radio and TV, some hardware vendor will harness an IFE system based on the technology.
  • Unfortunately, the climate is right for a software hacking incident for inflight connectivity.
  • After seeing aircraft manufacturer relationship building with connectivity vendors (Boeing/Samsung) we see a future of airplane manufacturing that includes IFE/Connectivity in the delivered product… basic on the plane. What’s next, IFE?

While our previously mentioned Isaac Asimov prediction did not mention his comments on robotics – he did say: “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.” This led us to thinking about the personal cleaning robots like Roomba from iRobot and Neato Robotics products. Who says a robot can’t clean an aircraft floor overnight if it is programmed correctly?

Keep your eye on the ambient backscatter technology as it may have an airplane application that promises some device control without any additional power, wiring, or RF emissions.

Lastly, we should also note that the next issue of IFExpress will feature a number of predictions from our readers… and if you have not sent any in to IFExpress yet you still have time, and yes, they can be anonymous.

Today’s Hot Topic should really be titled “Bluetooth v3.0” but, to put the ongoing hardware convergence into perspective, we need to look at one concept driving PEDS, or in other terminology, Mobile Phones and Mobile Internet Devices (MID’s). And don’t worry, we have Inflight Entertainment impact…but we will get to that later.

The CS-LL concept can be described as the next movement in the mobile chip world who’s goal is to increase the “gozinta’s” and “gozouta’s” of mobile devices. As we rely more on portable electronics as our go-to device, the ability to interface with new sources such as cameras, Internet, DVD Players, iPODs, keyboards, mice, etc. and new output devices and locations like LCD screens, MP3 players, Internet, etc, your mobile device needs new connections at higher speeds, utilizing less power. Frankly, so does anything working with, talking to, and generally involved with IFE.

Remember the concept of hardware convergence in the first paragraph? Well the latest specification divulged by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group meeting, v3.0, really ramps up the possibility of much higher data rates…up to 24 Mbps! The new Protocol Adaption Layer mimics the 802.11 specifications and with 2 radios (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), the latest Broadcom devices allow bifurcated data channels that let the low speed information move thru Bluetooth connections and the high bandwidth content fly down the Wi-Fi highway. What once was 3 Mbps (v2.1) is now 24 Mbps, and by using the Wi-Fi protocols, better battery efficiency is an additional benefit.

Now, the IFE connection! Bluetooth v3.0 at 24 Mbps would have some potential for data loading. Assume that a 2-hour movie in H.264 or WMV might require 1.2 to 1.5GB of storage, so you can calculate the loading time based on the Bluetooth 3.0 level of deployment. With built in Wi-Fi protocols, one can imagine the flexibility of offering a data loader that operated in wired and/or wireless modes that could be offered as “one size fits all”…it adapts itself to the loading interface.

But the real interesting application is the one using your Bluetooth v3.0 MID on an airplane. That story has already been written and you can view that application in our premier edition of the IFExpress Special Edition – link below. Further, we really got interested in the cabin potential for this new version of Bluetooth after we wrote the story. So, we contacted Ron Chapman, the Australian IFE developer featured in the Special Edition about his expectations and view of Bluetooth in the cabin.

Ron told IFExpress, “The next generation 3.0 phone becomes your inflight video screen, particularly for those regional airlines that cannot afford to install the inseat or overhead IFE. Think of the weight, power, fuel, and cost savings! Safecell airlines will provide the very first step in this direction with some content capability. Both broadcast and individual download. Yes I know it’s a small screen but look at the Nintendo DS, where will it go with Bluetooth v3.0? When we created the Safecell concept in July 2006, I was of the opinion that if your cell phone can replace your camera and MP3, player then it will replace your DVD player – you don’t need to be Einstien to work that one out. So now, it looks like it can happen. With the amount content today’s generation handles and the integration of Bluetooth v3.0 into TV’s, all the IFE manufacturer needs to do is implement a short range low power chip in each screen/seat. Passenegers could then carry on thier own content and watch on the inseat screen (or vise versa) and no more cables to plug in. Obviously battery life is key, but at the moment phones are as good a DVD player and better than laptops on battery.”

I bet you expected us to write about the Airline Interiors Expo in Hamburg didn’t you? Ok, you’d be partially correct — we are going to touch on that subject. That’s not our big news though.

The big news — for us anyway — is that we’re launching a redesigned website and e-mail newsletter as part of our coverage of AIX 2009. This redesign is intended to be much more user friendly for you the reader, while at the same time providing us with the flexibility to post news and other information much more frequently.

The new software underlying our site will also allow us to add new features when we want to and enhance our ability to cover special events. You’ll find an example of that in our AIX Blog that is now available. In this section we’ll be posting occasional updates directly from Hamburg to give you a “behind-the-scenes” look at our team’s adventures in Germany.

Keep an eye on the new website and your e-mail inbox if you’re an IFExpress subscriber, we may have a few suprises in store for you as the week progresses. We’ll give you one little hint… think bluetooth.