This week we have a lot of stories that will interest you and we thought we would start our offering with a light interview we recently had with a really nice guy, Cyril Jean of PXCom, located in France. Some three years ago, we met Cyril at an APEX luncheon where he joined our table with an introduction, a business card, and a conversation loaded both with future hope and enthusiasm. Whats not to like? So, after the few years of starting an inflight entertainment company we asked via email how it was going and he wrote the following answers. We thought you, our readers, might find them interesting:
1. Cyril, how many airplanes do you have service on today?
Answer: “We have 71 for Eurowings and 20 for Iberia Express.”
2. OK, what airlines can you mention that you are providing service to?
Answer: “For the moment Eurowings & Iberia. I think that within one month we will be able to operate on 3 new airlines.”
3. Please tell our readers how long have you been in the IFE business?
Answer: “PXCom was created 3 years ago, and yet we have been working in the IFE business for 10+ years.”
4. Cyril, could you please name you products/services for our readers.
Answer: “Our destination guides (see the image above) do not have a specific name. Also, the advertisers pay for a PXPage (interactive page integrated directly in the guide) or for a PXApp (microsite that can be accessed directly from the guide).”
5. Perhaps you could tell our readers where are you located and if this affects whom you service?
Answer: “We are located in Bordeaux (FRANCE), but our first customers (advertisers) are within Europe. With the upcoming additional airlines we intend to develop in Asia, Middle East and Americas.”
6. Please more completely identify your “products” or services for our readers as we know you are developing some interesting IFE solutions?
Answer: “We supply destination related services: from informative content (destination guides) to destination services (taxi booking, hotel pre-checking) – when we have the opportunity to supply onboard aircraft equipped with connectivity. We have also a second activity, soon live on the first airlines, which is Digital Inflight Advertising. Please note that this latter mentioned product will be subject to a specific PR release when it becomes live.”
7. Can you now give our readers an updated airline/product picture?
Answer: “For the moment it’s Eurowings our launch airline for the interactive guides, and we also provide Iberia Express with destination related advertising offerings. We have currently 7 other airlines in process for product integration, among which, 3 of them will be unveiled before end of September.”
IFPL celebrated a major milestone this year supplying their two-millionth industry part to a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Now in their 20th year of trading, IFPL reached their two-millionth unit, just four years after the first million, demonstrating their continued sustainable growth in leading the way in IFEC peripherals. Chief Operating Officer, Tim Young, proudly accepted the two-millionth unit from the company’s Head of Production, Marcus Baker. Tim says, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.” The innovative IFPL two-millionth unit is IFPL’s Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155). IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology is designed to minimize cabin background noise – ensuring that aircraft passengers enjoy a more relaxed and restful journey, while also benefiting from clarity of sound via the passenger Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. Passengers may still use their own noise-cancelling headphones, however IFPL’s INCAM enables the airline to provide noise cancelling to all its passengers by simply relocating the costly and complex headset electronics into the jack module. Therefore noise-cancelling headsets are not required, only the addition of inexpensive microphones in the ear cups that are used to pick up the ambient noise. This improved technology enables all aircraft passengers to benefit from a more enjoyable and enhanced in-flight experience. The 1155 Noise Cancelling Audio Jack is part of an extensive range of IFPL products and IFEC solutions, which includes the new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagSignal audio and the latest in NFC contactless payment technology.
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans. The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
The Future Travel Experience Global show is “Vegas” on Sept 7 – 9 and you can get all the info here. Noted Daniel Coleman: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am very proud and excited by the plans for FTE Global 2016, with our valued event partners making great contributions to bringing the event to life: McCarran International Airport, APEX, ACC, AAAE and Airport Terminal of the Future.”
AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time. This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day. Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available. “86 percent of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE. These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
We wanted to point out one writer who weekly features the present and future of satcom usage and his name is Tim Farrar… a writer, speaker, and aficionado of that venue of connectivity. We thought you might find one chart that he has posted and since it talks about “who has what” in the satcom universe, you might find it interesting… a little bit of research on his site might also be useful… especially the SES chart he has included on the above mentioned link. But, there is a lot more there.
Global Eagle Entertainment has entered into a global distribution agreement between GEE’s Entertainment in Motion and The QYOU, a leading provider of curated and hosted online short-form content for the Video Everywhere age. The broad-based deal gives GEE and its affiliated companies access to The QYOU catalog and new production targeting distinct passengers with peppy morning, family afternoon and late-night styled content. The video segments will cover various categories including extreme sports, artist spotlights, dance, beauty, and comedy. Content will be accessible on airline seatback portals and personal entertainment devices enabled by airlines and cruise liners. The agreement grants exclusive and worldwide airline and maritime distribution rights, and non-exclusive distributions rights in other U.S. and Canada non-theatrical markets.
On another GEE front, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a new interactive data dashboard designed to provide the traveling public with access to aggregated flight operations information for U.S. airlines and airports across the country. The dashboard, displayed at airlines.org, was produced in partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) and will provide the current operation status for the top 30 U.S. airports by passenger volume.
A4A partnered with GEE to develop this dashboard as a resource for industry partners and others who have a need for aggregated on-time performance data at the airport level or based on current weather patterns. The dashboard, tapping into GEE’s unsurpassed aviation data analytics capabilities, is complete with scroll-over maps, real-time flight departures, completions, cancellations, on-time performance and weather conditions at the national and local airport level. This new resource also provides a detailed, rolling 30-day analysis of completed and canceled flights. GEE’s solution will enhance this offering by adding current analysis tools of all U.S. flight operations.
Phoenix, AZ | August 22, 2016– Honeywell (NYSE: HON) achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave™, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans.
The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
JetWave has also been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency for safety, environmental and installation standards.
“Inmarsat’s certification of our JetWave hardware means that customers don’t have to wait for a high-speed, global connectivity service. It’s available and ready for installation now,” said Carl Esposito, vice president of Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “A recent Honeywell survey found that 84 percent of travelers say that it is important to have an in-flight Wi-Fi experience identical to what they have at home or in the office, and airlines around the world will now be able to meet their customers’ demands with GX Aviation.”
“GX Aviation is the ultimate broadband solution for the skies. It is a truly global service that has been engineered with aircraft mobility in mind, ensuring that airlines, business aviation operators and leading aircraft companies can offer high-quality connectivity even at 40,000 feet, using a single network from a single provider,” said Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation president. “We are delighted with the performance of Honeywell’s JetWave terminals, which have been designed for ease of installation and maintenance to ensure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market. This final certification is an essential part in opening the doors to this exciting new era of in-flight broadband, available to our customers anytime and anywhere, with absolutely no limits in terms of deployment to their fleets.”
- Ground-breaking solution, engineered to meet the needs of complex and evolving airline route systems, passes rigorous testing of European Union’s aviation safety agency
- Latest STC supports expected go-live of GX Aviation on first Lufthansa aircraft in October 2016
- GX Aviation on track for linefit and retrofit certification on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe
United Kingdom | June 27, 2016– Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as linefit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe.
The Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) authorises GX Aviation’s Ka-band antenna to be installed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, which form the backbone for around half of the world’s aircraft fleets. In total, more than 6,500 Airbus A320 family aircraft are currently in operation, representing over three quarters of the overall Airbus aircraft currently being flown worldwide.
Inmarsat’s partner Lufthansa Technik obtained the STC after its design team developed a highly efficient installation process that includes all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. Installation can be completed within only four days or during regular maintenance schedules, with components integrated into the cabin infrastructure in such a way that they are virtually invisible to passengers and easy to operate by cabin crew.
Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of over 150 aircraft, with additional Lufthansa Group aircraft being added in due course. After obtaining the STC, the first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October this year and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018.
GX Aviation is the world’s first in-flight broadband solution with seamless global coverage, delivered through a single operator. It will allow Lufthansa’s European passengers to browse the internet, watch videos, connect to their company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), download files and more, with a similar quality of fast and reliable connectivity as they receive on the ground.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is a game-changer that trumps all other connectivity solutions in the market today, allowing airlines to significantly enhance their passenger experience and gain a valuable competitive advantage. EASA’s certification is an important milestone towards the service launch this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors. In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years. This highlights the vast market opportunities opened by this STC, especially as Inmarsat is positioned as the only provider that can serve A320 aircraft on a global basis throughout their lifecycle.
“It is also concrete evidence of the service’s growing maturity. We have developed GX Aviation over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component, from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support, has been engineered with mobility in mind to provide a high quality experience for airline passengers. With all key components now in place, we are in the final stages of testing and as a single network operator, we can commit to a uniform high quality of service wherever the aircraft may go.”
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LEADS TO STEP-CHANGE IN AIRLINE CONNECTIVITY
The GX mobile satellite network entered commercial service in December 2015, providing seamless global coverage. Inmarsat has reinforced its commitment to building additional network capacity, with plans already announced to increase its dedicated Ka-band payloads to seven.
Airlines will connect to the GX network using next-generation JetWave terminals produced by Inmarsat partner Honeywell Aerospace, with over 300 aircraft already committed to the system and more to come. The exclusive new terminals are designed for ease of installation and maintenance to assure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market, allowing installation with minimal labour and using standard tools available in maintenance hangars.
JetWave has been fully optimised to deliver full performance across Inmarsat’s coverage of almost every airline route in the world, including at northern and southern latitudes above 40⁰, where competing terminals see substantial performance deterioration, and even service outages. In addition, it is the only aircraft terminal to include dual receivers, enabling critical ‘make before break’ handoffs between satellite beams. Other solutions have built-in outages every time a terminal needs to be handed off, adding significant service interruption and downtime for users.
The latest STC, which follows certification for GX Aviation on the Boeing 757 and Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft, has also highlighted the success of a long-term partnership established between Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems. The companies have combined their market-leading capabilities to provide Lufthansa with a multifunctional, end-to-end connectivity solution that will enhance the airline’s passenger experience and brand value.
With many years of experience in aircraft modification, Lufthansa Technik is responsible for installing the systems and components required for GX Aviation on Lufthansa aircraft, as well as the required work for aeronautical and statutory regulations. In addition, Lufthansa Systems, as the aviation IT specialist, makes the required infrastructure available onboard the aircraft and provides the innovative FlyNet portal for passengers based on its BoardConnect product line.
“Other airlines can also benefit from this partnership solution,” added Mondale. “It offers today’s passengers what they want – connectivity, content and services on their own wi-fi devices – and complements the aviation industry’s current in-flight entertainment model, which is often impacted by obsolete technology that delivers dated content with high installation and operational costs.”
Panasonic at AIX:
One of the big deals at AIX was seating, and Panasonic showed their New Waterfront seat, developed in a consortium by Panasonic, BEAerospace, TEAGUE and Formation Design Group, which was rolled out earlier this year at CES. The team took a lot of cues from the coach JAZZ seat they developed last year and applied it to setback and cushions, even with passenger adjusted temperature control. Not to mention they fold down flat for comfortable sleeping. The seat features a 24-inch 4K screen high definition for viewing and we reported on the new product in our March 1 issue of IFExpress. Seeing the seat and noting all the features in real-life is quite and impressive and in case you didn’t see our report, here is a summary of the product:
Waterfront Features IFEC & SEAT function:
- 24-inch 4K touchscreen monitor with edge-to-edge glass structure
- Virtual Local Storage per seat group
- Streaming Content from Head-End
- Gigabit Ethernet backbone
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Passenger controls via:
- PED (via an airline companion app)
- Light ID
- Mini PCU
- Tablet pop-up
- PED (via an airline companion app)
- Tailored GUI interface
- Inductive Charging (Qi)
- AC POWER
- USB Power Ports
- PED connectivity supported by: Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC
- An IFE User Interface coupled to hundreds of individually controlled LEDS with:
- Full Spectrum LED lighting
- Multiple modes that coordinate seat position, light intensity and color.
- Passengers can tailor the lighting, temperature and the rest of their environment depending on what they are doing. For example they can create a “theme” environment for watching a movie, eating dinner, or sleeping… just to name a few!
- An innovative seat mechanism with individual head, leg, and back rest adjustments.
- Full range of motion – upright to a flat 79-inch bed
16.7 inches in the foot-well
- Individual articulation of the head, back, and leg rests
- Fixed presets
- Capacitive touch controls
- Customizable presets via the IFE interface.
- Pop up storage compartment
- Full coverage sliding door
- Herringbone design allows for high-density seating configuration
- A large, single piece tray table
- A large fixed side table
- Cable pass-through areas for electronic devices
- Individual temperature control
- Thermoelectric modules in the shell, foot-well, and seating surfaces allow for controllable ambient and direct heating and cooling.
- An independently heated or cooled side storage compartment
- Note: Panasonic will also be using Virtual Local Storage (VLS) storage in this seat and while SD card memory is common storage, VLS has 5 – 6 times the storage capacity, and further, they feel that they will be able to double that capability in the next generation system.
- Stay Tuned on this one , this seat will make flying an enjoyable experience again!
IFEC News Releases of Note:
EAST AURORA, N.Y., May, 23, 2016 — Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced today it has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) for its webFB Wireless Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) device for use on Boeing 737 aircraft. This approval represents the first time a wireless Aircraft Interface Device (AID) has been certified for use in the flight deck by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The ultra-compact webFB easily fits in the palm of the hand, yet incorporates the capabilities of both an AID and a wireless server. The built-in AID safely gathers essential data from the aircraft’s ARINC 429 and 717 databuses and conveys it to custom software or EFB apps hosted on the internal server. Using a wireless connection to portable EFB tablets, the webFB securely delivers this valuable information right to the fingertips of the flight crew.
Software partners are currently developing a variety of enhanced EFB applications for the webFB that are focused on increased operational efficiencies including fuel and time savings, electronic tech logs and real time QAR monitoring and event notifications. For software vendors, the webFB provides a rapid and practical solution for developing applications and deploying them into the flight deck and beyond.
Along with the webFB, this STC also approves the installation of the Astronics EmPower® system in the flight deck with USB outlets for charging portable EFBs while in flight. Also available are several choices of ARINC 828 compliant fixed EFB mounts.
More Industry News:
- The folks at Apple, the maker of the iPhone, one if the most popular devices brought on board planes, have been showing a lot of activity in the world of wireless charging. In fact, you can read more about their efforts here: Report: Apple acquiring wireless charging expertise – FierceWirelessTech . Today, their Apple Watch is powered by a technology that is called Qi technology. This 5 watt charging solution is better explained here: A Qi wireless charger: Resonant as well as Inductive and Qi Wireless Charging Standard | Inductive Technology | Tutorial but the effective distance is around 40 mm at 110 to 205 kHz. But who worries about charging watches on planes? Now, what about those iPhones we mentioned. Of course, today, it’s 5 volts DC, but why do we bring this up? Because, Apple is looking at wireless charging with a new standard ultrasound solution. And, how many iPhones do you see charging on airplanes… lots! Wireless uBeam charging technology is based on ultrasound frequency technologies (45 kHz to 75 kHz) but the charger distance can be a lot farther from the phone. uBeam Declassifies Secrets To Try To Prove Wireless Power Is Possible | TechCrunch, and while we don’t know of any issues today, we are concerned because there can be more power and charging distance involved. Further, we wonder what the lower frequency impact on a flying airplane might be? Perhaps, an iPhone backup plug-in solution might be a thought here. Anyway, you might want to stay on top of this one!
- Consider carrying 2 sets of headsets on a future flight and here is why – Inflight headsets make good neighbors – Travelers United
- A friend recently sent an epistle on the future and while we tried to find the originator, there were too many links to the writing to discern the author. While little aviation is mentioned, this one caught our attention is probably real, and possibly illegal: Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports.
Honeywell hosted a meeting at their headquarters ostensibly to discuss inflight connectivity in connection with their JetWave product: Boeing, Inmarsat on What to Expect for Future Connected Aircraft – Via Satellite – While standards are in the process of being developed, we asked Mark Thompson, CEO of Thompson Aerospace (who has developed a small, light data connectivity solution) to comment on the subject and he told IFExpress:
“This is the issue as I see it on what Boeing is doing. To carry the antenna on a single aircraft will cost about 70K a year in fuel at $70 dollars a barrel, this right off the bat is nonstarter for some airlines. The system Boeing has created has a lot of bandwidth that is great, but it also uses a lot of power and is not on the emergency bus, hence it does not meet the ICAO tracking requirements. If you put it on the emergency bus, it does not meet the requirements as in an upset event it never would stay locked on the satellite, hence, like recent flight incidents. It is a great solution for normal flight mode for passengers to attach to the internet, but not sure it is good business.
Our operational requirements are as follows: ICAO requires normal, abnormal and distress mode tracking including in the case of loss of aircraft power and system has to be very reliable. This statement everybody seems to ignore, but I’m not sure why. Normal mode is easy, any aircraft with ACARS or FANS can do this with no issues, hence, normal made does not require any new equipment on most widebody aircraft.
Abnormal mode, however; means you have to be able to detect the alert, hence, the best place to get the data is the output to the flight data recorder, you could get the data directly, but this has a huge installation cost to run all the wires, and it increases the cost of the unit. This what ADS-b did, and reason the avionics guys love, it – expensive equipment, and lots of wires. But once again, it does not meet the ICAO tracking requirements.”
- Certification of Honeywell’s first airborne JetWave hardware for Boeing 757 marks start of global, high-speed Wi-Fi revolution
Phoenix, AZ | January 2016– Honeywell Aerospace’s (NYSE: HON) JetWave™ wireless in-flight connectivity system has received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval for the Boeing 757. Honeywell’s JetWave is the exclusive hardware for aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress, the only high-speed broadband satellite network spanning the globe that will provide fast, seamless and reliable connectivity over both land and water.
The certification validates the reliability and capability of Honeywell’s hardware to connect to Global Xpress (GX) Aviation service to provide passengers with the same high-speed Wi-Fi experience they get at home or in the office while traveling at 35,000 feet. JetWave and GX Aviation will enable fliers to have seamless access to onboard Wi-Fi to browse the Internet, check emails, stay connected on social media, watch videos and more, even on transcontinental flights. It also simplifies the path for U.S. government approval for the use of JetWave hardware on other aircraft.
“The ability to connect with others is not a luxury anymore; it’s an expectation of both passengers and pilots alike,” said Jack Jacobs, vice president of Safety and Connectivity at Honeywell Aerospace. “This first commercial certification for Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is a leap forward in making the system available commercially and accelerating access to reliable and fast connectivity for airlines and passengers traveling across the world.”
“Airlines have previously struggled to meet the expectations of modern-day passengers for reliable, efficient, high-speed connectivity on board flights due to the lack of available technology,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “However, the entry into service of GX Aviation this year will mark an important turning point, allowing passengers in the air to browse the Internet, download files and watch videos online, just as they would on the ground. The certification of Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is a key milestone in the program and we congratulate our partner on this achievement.”
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.
Broader access to onboard connectivity has increased in-flight productivity and completely changed the modern flight experience. With GX Aviation, passengers and pilots will have access to Wi-Fi speeds that bring the same experience using mobile devices aboard aircraft as on the ground.