Perhaps in summary, the digEcor company is summed up in three words: Integrated Flight Experience. digEcor is redefining the expression “IFE”. Their entertainment solutions, power, LED lighting and connectivity for customers and crew is redefining the integrated suite of products that extends the company portfolio outside the realms of IFE only. And this is what new digEcor CEO and Managing Director David Withers (2 years now) told IFExpress recently at an industry trade convention and what he told us here is for our readers evaluation. Make no mistake, David is an ambitious guy, and his personality and drive will be expressed in the products, service, and the philosophy of the “new” digEcor heralding a new era for the company and setting them up as a key market player for years to come.
Let’s look at the three pieces we mentioned in our Hot Topic title separately; New Concepts, New Company, and the New CEO, David Winters.

First, the issue here is NEW Concepts, or new products, which we note include new ideas on new products and new features on existing ideas/products. We contacted the company for help and they gave us a “running” description that we include for your edification.

Obviously Glide is our cornerstone product and it is a game changer. The lightest and cheapest seat back solution on the market today is also the easiest to install with only 3 components none of which need a rack. We are really proud of Glide, we’ve got a great engineering team and they’ve turned out a superb product at a great price. We design and manufacture everything in house so we have complete control over the functionality, quality and cost. I know others have been making noises about price but our similarly priced product is developed and ready for installation. Glide is available in 8”, 10”, 12”, 15” and 21” screen sizes. But, Glide is just part of the product range.”

One of the challenges we’ve faced is that digEcor as a brand was historically known for its Portable IFE devices. However, we are now so much more. Our integrated suite of products across the flight experience positions us in a much broader territory and we’ve had to work hard to get the message out. All of our products are either certified or on a certification path with a launch customer. It has been a busy two years!” That said, portables remain an important business for us and we’ve recently launched our fifth generation of purpose built portable media player, the NV series available in 8”, 10” and 12” screen sizes and with content storage from 64GB to 2 TB. Being purpose built they are rugged and have an exchangeable battery without losing any of the style of a contemporary tablet.”

In-Seat Power
Passenger surveys keep telling our airline clients that power is becoming essential for their customers in every class. Passengers expect power in the seat and digEcor has the right solution at the right price for both 110VAC and USB2.1A. Our USB power solution is very lightweight and fits in the audio seat box provisions on most seats making it surprisingly easy to install and certify. Airlines also have the ability to drive ancillary revenue through selling in-seat power on our system with an optional Cabin Management Panel (CM) where power is selectable at each individual seat by the cabin crew.”

Cabin Lighting
In Hamburg this year we launched our LED Lighting product range. This new feature of digEcor’s embedded Glide inflight entertainment system, allows passengers to control their in-seat lighting service by manipulating over 4 billion color settings to choose their preferred shade and intensity. It is easy-to-install, replaces existing light assemblies, operates through Glide and runs efficiently from existing power. It is configured for sidewall and ceiling use and is easily controlled by cabin crew.”

“Of course our focus is on the Integrated Flight Experience and our Engage crew connectivity solution exemplifies that. It brings the wealth of knowledge most airlines have on their frequent fliers buried away in ground systems on to the aircraft in a user friendly application for cabin crew. Qantas loves it and use it on every flight now.”

Tape Replacement Solution
digEcor’s Tape Replacement Solution is installed in place of the video control cabinet and connects to the aircraft’s existing audio/video systems to consolidate tape decks, PRAM and video controllers into a single unit. It mounts on a convenient galley or cabin wall and frees up overhead bin or galley space. It features up to 1 TB internal storage and is updated via SSD content drives, USB or 4G modem transfers. Because digEcor’s Tape Replacement Solution is the actual video control panel for Glide, our embedded IFE system, installing a seat centric system in first class, business or all seats becomes easier and more cost-effective should future needs drive such a change.”

Next, lets take a look at the New Company. In a discussion with Mr. Withers, he told IFExpress: “We pioneered portable inflight entertainment in 2003 when Bill Boyer, a baggage handler at Alaska Airlines, decided to take entertainment into his own hands. In 2004, the digEplayer 5500 won IFE Product of the Year at the IPEC Inflight Online Awards. The company was renamed digEcor and moved to Springville, UT. Over the coming years digEcor released the digEplayer XT, XLP, L7, L10 and now the new NV. It used the same innovation to develop Glide, it’s signature embedded inflight entertainment solution. In 2013 digEcor was acquired by Total Aviation Solutions and is now headquartered in Australia with offices in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

David went on; “What the new company means and why… We now have offices in London, Australia and the US and provide 24/7 customer support. Our management structure follows our customer philosophy i.e. we are organized around our customers and we have been very successful in recruiting excellent leaders. For example Paul Thorpe our president Europe, Middle East and Africa operating from our London office has had a very successful career selling for and supporting the customers of some of the industry’s biggest players. But it wasn’t just his experience that I was looking for, it was his attitude towards the customer, his desire to take responsibility and be held accountable and above all else his ability to lead in a humble way. He is a typical digEcor employee and I love working with him and all the other members of the digEcor team.”

To give our readers an idea of the fallout of the new products and redirected team efforts here is what has been happening at digEcor HQ, here are a couple recent announcements:

  • AZUL: “digEcor is pleased to provide its L7 digEplayer solution to Brazilian carrier, Azul and Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airline. Its agreement with Azul to provide 1,100 L7 portable digEplayers also involves the provision of maintenance support and content integration services ensuring the airline can offer its passengers movie, television and audio programs from all the leading Hollywood studios and independent distributors. “digEcor is proud to work with Azul to deliver this portable IFE solution,” said digEcor Sales Director Americas Josh Rasmussen. “Azul is a leading airline in Latin America and we look forward to growing our relationship with them by providing first-class IFE service and support.”

Readers note that digEcor rents L7 portable media players for a low all inclusive daily rate, provides all the required hardware, content and a perpetual warranty. Every 60 days the players are swapped out with a fresh set containing updated content.

  • Sun Country Airlines: In further news, digEcor is very happy to be working closely with our valued customer Sun Country Airlines, who are bringing 700 portable L7 digEplayers back into service on all of their schedules services. “It’s a clear demonstration of the durability and reliability of the L7 system and a much appreciated acknowledgement of the quality and flexibility of digEcor’s content management program,” said Mr Rasmussen. “Sun Country Airlines always deliver excellent passenger service, we’re proud to help them do it.”

And finally IFExpress should mention a bit more about the NEW CEO David Withers. David founded digEcor’s parent Total Aviation Solutions in 2009 and has over 25 years’ experience in the aviation industry. He is a former President of Boeing Australia and was the Asia Pacific Managing Director for Smiths Aerospace (now GE Aviation) after completing his time with Qantas Airways. David has a Masters of Business Administration, an Honors degree in Communications Engineering, trade qualifications in aircraft maintenance and is a commercial pilot. He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management.

From the IFExpress perspective, it is obvious that David is passionate about building great businesses based around great teams, with great products… and all focused on delivering value to customers. Cliché? Perhaps, but it is what drives him… and he is driven. In the two years since acquiring digEcor he has brought to market a huge range of new cabin technology products all designed for a new and better passenger experience.

So where to from here? David told IFExpress; “Having achieved so much in the past two years we could be easily forgiven for taking some time to consolidate, but I’m a builder by nature and won’t rest until we’ve carved a place in history for digEcor. This is the tip of the iceberg, there is a large market to capture and we are well on our way to do so. Watch this space…

STG Aerospace

There were a lot of new LED Cabin Interior suppliers at AIX and an interesting trend we observed was the simplification and down-colorizing of the solutions… white, blue and red were the primary solutions we found. Designed as a cabin lighting retrofit solution, LED’s provide light, reliability, and the promise of color while lowering weight and power requirements… not to mention cost. What’s not to like?

Now, let’s talk about one vendor we visited – STG Aerospace. In the past we visited STG Aerospace but never got the full story – this time we did, and boy what a thoughtful and precise pitch on the STG Aerospace solution it was… it is called liTeMood®. We can’t say enough about their CEO, Nigel Duncan. If you ever get the chance to hear STG Aerospace’s side of the LED argument, don’t miss it. Nigel had to be from Marketing because his idea of a presentation is exactly what airlines need to see. Features, Advantages, and Benefits – STG Aerospace’s point was simple… since 94% of air travelers are coach fliers – with slim profit margin fliers, do airlines need to spend up to $3 million for “sky-like” a complete interior retrofit when well-designed LED lighting solutions in limited colors can provide significant improvement to the passenger experience at 1/nth the cost?

Putting the costs in perspective, Mr. Duncan’s version of “Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Pyramid” said it all. Quoting Bubb’s Discomfort Pyramid (2008) and pointing out the relative location of “visual vs. biological needs”, he noted the order of least to most disruptive environments to humans from top to bottom goes: Ambience, Anthropological, Temperature, Acoustic, Vibration, Light, and at the bottom, Odor. Put simply, as long as there is no bad odor in the cabin, poor quality lighting is the next most important cause of passenger discomfort.

Yes, STG Aerospace notes, “as Light is way down the discomfort pyramid as one of the impactful to humans so why,” STG Aerospace asks, “It is good there is attention finally being paid to cabin lighting; but do airlines really need expensive and complex multi-colored lighting solutions to improve the economy cabin need to spend so much for it…good question? “To be a light solution most effective,” Nigel noted: “that the lighting needs to be uniform and aesthetically pleasing and has to work with the airline’s brand. Further, it needs to have visual impact but still manage the passenger’s well-being. Additionally, each area of the cabin lighting needs to be task optimized then combined with a holistic cabin view – it must look good.” Lest we forget he noted that it must also be in regulatory compliance with the photoluminescent floor-path charging regime.

The point here is to ask two basic lighting questions: What do passengers really need – and – How much should it cost? With some 10 sources and points of aircraft interior lighting perhaps the trick here is to “optimize but do not over-customize and avoid unnecessary color complexity which may not yield meaningful benefits to passengers or the airlines”.  Thus STG Aerospace struck out and built a blue-white system that is simple, cost effective, non-invasive, non-software driven – a light solution that has human factor benefits, is brand positive, is simple to install and operate, while still having future programmable capabilities. STG Aerospace’s Lighting System really impressed us.

We asked Nigel about future aircraft interior lighting issues and he had a few ideas that our readers might like to hear:

• Health concerns may drive hands-free control of lighting…think motion or voice activated.

• Data transmitted thru light sources – modulated LED sources

• Passenger centric lighting…not aircraft interior-centric.

• Cabin density increase and the effect on passenger interior lighting

• The change from in-seat IFE to BYOD and the lighting required.

• Unknown but stronger regulatory requirements.

Finally, Mr. Duncan pointed out that their liTeMood®. LED lighting product is true a plug-and play retrofit with no aircraft modification. It meets all regulatory requirements and offers a significant 40% weight improvement, not to mention 70% reduction in cabin lighting power, and last, but not least, a patented wireless program-ability function.


Of the more “interesting” sides of the reporting business, referral-based based stories are always interesting and this is one of them. At least two industry knowledgeable sources told IFExpress that we “had” to interview the avionics company we are about to disclose here. While their motives were most probably based on sales potential we felt there must be more – you be the judge. The company is called SKYFE and is a combination of people from two Turkish technical companiesHavelsan, who, we understand is the 32 year-old Turkish software/tech company (1200 employees) that has inroads into the Turkish military, and Turkish Technic which deals in new technology hardware.

Their prime new commercial product, as far as we can determine, is a wireless IFE portable device/system (outside IFE products) inflight entertainment solution that has been in development for 2 years. We note that they showed a server (WQAR – Wireless Quick Access Recorder, which looks quite impressive, by the way) that has cell connectivity antennas for ground connectivity updates. We were told that the IFE system is in the final rounds of EASA certification. SKYFE did not mention whose wireless router was involved (nor was it shown in their booth and the server was probably a variant of the one shown) but we assumed that they do not manufacturer the router and the “Kontron” name came up, we note. Their inroads with Turkish Airlines (Turk Hava Yollari) are assumed to be quite good and with 263 commercial aircraft under Turkish wings, SKYFE is assumed to have a high market potential there, at least for their first IFE attempt.

SKYFE also displayed a few rows of seats with seatback IFE in operation. They did note that the seatback demo was only a mockup of a system to be developed and rolled out later. The existing server unit we saw was part of a system development that included a ground 3G station used presently for aircraft data collection and management – IFE seemed a natural extension for that server. SKYFE mentioned that their prices were competitive, hardware fully customizable, and they have an in-house certification, installation, and maintenance capability

The first wireless unit install is, as we said, awaiting certification and SKYFE is looking for a first customer as well (unless you assume the first unit will be for Turkish). We suspect the Turkish Airline fleet is in their sights, but if their product line grows, they will be another IFE contender, especially in their corner of the world. Not only because they build equipment, but because they install it as well. One of their software management team was in our interview and we were quite impressed with his grasp of the IFE challenge. We also note that all the show business cards were from Havelsan employees but that their website is still in development, we assume. Further, the message here is these folks have an inside line on a lot of potential IFE and thus you vendors know exactly what to do. We also guess you will hear more about SKYFE so Stay Tuned.

Here is an inflight texting update and it is partially being driven by Gogo and TMobile because their customers can text free on over 2000 US aircraft today. While not commercially launched, the service is still running with free text and picture messaging and visual voicemail today. Saying “talking is becoming a thing of the past,” Gogo Inflight Connectivity CEO Michael Small told investment analysts and its Talk and Text product is generating “substantial” business on the business aviation side. “It’s on many aircraft,” he told reporters, “we actually are seeing some interesting things like a very high percentage of our BA customers have chosen to add it,” he said, in a Seeking Alpha transcript. He further noted, “The world has moved on from talking. It’s emailing and its texting. Talking is becoming a thing of the past.” Sure is… especially when the other is free. Our only complaint is that there is not enough info about the availability before or during the flight because it is not an “offerable product” yet. Expect to see this solution popular for even-more-expensive satcom calls.

Utah | April 16, 2015– On the back of this week’s launch of its ‘IFE – Integrated Flight Experience’ modular product range, new NV digEplayer and LED cabin lighting, digEcor is continuing to push the envelope with research and development of future technologies.

“Our focus is to deliver more passenger experience for less cost,” said digEcor CEO David Withers. “Less cost, greater efficiency and enhanced passenger experiences are the key areas of development for our next-generation Glide system.”

“The cost of ownership when operating and maintaining IFE systems in the fleet can be significant, so digEcor’s Glide was developed as an innovative solution to overcome the inherent issues in legacy systems and to answer concerns around head end server reliability and redundancy and the storage and distribution of files,” he said. “We’ve done that and are now focused on reducing the cost whilst increasing the available on board content size.”

“The seat box we are currently installing has the capability of moving the storage of files from the screen into what we call the cabin network layer.”

“By using modern cluster technologies, we can tie together the processing and storage capabilities of the many seat boxes in a typical IFE installation to form a large and redundant cabin ‘supercomputer’,” said Mr Withers. “There is no longer a need to replicate each and every audio and video file in every seat, nor to rely on single copies of content stored on head end servers susceptible to many single points of failure.”

“This leads to storage capacities in the tens of terabytes enabling the carriage of huge content sets at a lower cost than current systems,” he continued.

“Initial testing also suggests that the faster processing power may enable individual watermarking of Wi-Fi streams to achieve early window Wi-Fi to passengers own device certification. The seat boxes already contain a low power Wi-Fi Access Point.”

“At the same time the market is calling out for a low cost solution to move from overhead to seat back digital systems driven through ancillary revenue.

“Again the modular design of our products allows us to bring a low-cost, low-part-count solution to the market very quickly,” Mr Withers said. “Our 8 and 10 inch 16:9 format screens are perfect for narrow-body aircraft seats and are priced below the cost of an overhead solution. Larger sizes are available for premium cabins as are USB 2.1 Amp and 110V power options.”

digEcor’s new ‘IFE – Integrated Flight Experience’ is a low-cost, flexible solution for airlines to improve customer experiences across all areas of its inflight service including entertainment, power, lighting and crew and passenger connectivity.

digEcor is an established and trusted industry partner that fully supports the design, implementation and operational requirements of its IFE – Integrated Flight Experience – solution by providing end-to-end expert advice and 24-hour-a-day technical support.

Hamburg, Germany | April 15, 2015– STG Aerospace, a world leader in pioneering aircraft lighting technologies, has been awarded the contract to retrofit the DreamJet trading as La Compagnie Boeing 757-200 aircraft that has been configured to provide a transatlantic all-business class service. The aircraft will be equipped with STG Aerospace’s latest generation safTglo® SuperSeal UltraLite™ (SSUL) emergency floorpath marking system and liTeMood® LED cabin lighting system.  The installations will take place later this month.

A low-cost, low-weight alternative to electrical emergency systems, safTglo® SSUL features a unique, fully-sealed design which eliminates fluid ingress and can reduce maintenance costs by up to 80%. Moreover, with no power source required, it offers 100% reliability and considerable weight savings. Today, safTglo® is the system of choice for over 300 global airlines and is currently installed on over 9,000 aircraft worldwide.

SSUL, certified by EASA and FAA in December 2014, is the latest version of safTglo® is the lightest photoluminescent emergency floorpath marking system available. Incorporating all the benefits of previous designs, SSUL is 70% lighter than previous versions – helping to reduce airline fuel costs even further – and has a 17% higher luminosity rating.

In addition to over 300 colour options enabling airlines to achieve an aesthetic, co-ordinated cabin interior without reducing safety. DreamJet trading as La Compagnie will also be the first airline to install the SSUL OverCarpet system, which provides even simpler installation and with its hinged-wing design removes the need for airlines to bind the carpet edges providing the best possible appearance in the cabin as well as saving airlines cost.

As part of this interior upgrade DreamJet trading as La Compagnie selected liTeMood® for the LED lighting.  liTeMood® is a true plug-and-play, programmable, blue/white LED cabin lighting system that offers a cost-effective, versatile and controllable solution to bring the  lighting quality of existing non-LED equipped aircraft cabins in line with aircraft delivered new with the latest LED lighting systems, helping them achieve impactful brand differentiation and increase airline yields.

Incorporating the latest research into the effects of ambient lighting, liTeMood® also provides significantly increased reliability over traditional lighting systems, thereby reducing ongoing maintenance costs, and also delivers important environmental benefits.  Not only is liTeMood® up to 40kg lighter than original-fit fluorescent lighting, it also consumes 70% less power, increasing both the aircraft’s fuel and electrical efficiency.

DreamJet SAS, operating as La Compagnie, is a French airline, based at Charles de Gaulle Airport, offering an exclusive business class only service between Paris and London and New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport.

Yann Poudoulec, EVP Technical of DreamJet trading as La Compagnie commented:

“As an all-business class airline, lighting quality is key to our passengers, which is why we have selected STG Aerospace’s liTeMood LED lighting for our latest 757 aircraft.  Having installed safTglo®  on our first 757, the latest SSUL was the obvious choice for our next aircraft.”

Marcus Williams, Director of Sales & Marketing at STG Aerospace, commented:

“STG Aerospace is delighted that after evaluation of the available retrofit LED cabin lighting systems available, DreamJet trading as La Compagnie has selected  liTeMood® for their latest 757, and at the same time have become the first 757 operator to install our latest generation safTglo® SSUL with our new OverCarpet solution. It’s further evidence that STG Aerospace really is leading the way in innovative cabin lighting solutions”. 


Elmsford, NY | October 1, 2013– The first joint development of Lufthansa Technik and SCHOTT the LED cabin lighting solution HelioJet can now be experienced in normal airline operations; it has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European aviation authority EASA for the A320 aircraft family and is currently used for continental flights in an Airbus A319.

HelioJet has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the European aviation authority EASA for the A320 aircraft family, and is currently used for continental flights in an Airbus A319.

HelioJet delivers white light for extremely homogeneous and pleasant cabin lighting in passenger aircraft. Another advantage of the system is a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

“We are delighted that HelioJet has already received an STC for the A320 and is being used on scheduled flights,” says Dr. Armin Plichta, General Manager of Transportation at SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging. “The solution’s expected operational life amounts to at least 50,000 hours. This represents an enormous gain in longevity over customary fluorescent lights, which only last around 1,000 hours.”

Andrew Muirhead, Director of Innovation at Lufthansa Technik AG, explains further: “Since Heliojet is a plug-and-play solution, a conversion from fluorescent lighting can be carried out in just two days which applies to aircraft from the Airbus A320 family and in the future as well to the Boeing 737.”

Light plays an important role in creating a pleasant atmosphere on board an aircraft. With HelioJet, the two companies have achieved their goal of creating an innovative lighting solution that durably offers passengers the comfort they desire. HelioJet requires only one-fifth as many light diodes as other LED lighting. This has a positive effect on reliability, maintenance and costs and makes the solution extremely attractive for any airline. LED lighting also boasts significantly better environmental compatibility than traditional fluorescent lighting with mercury vapors.

The solution’s color version HelioJetTCS (True Color Stabilization), with colored and white LEDs will be launched in 2014. A total of 16 million colors, color sequences and color scenarios ensure that any mood lighting that can be imagined can also be created.

SCHOTT ( is an international technology group with more than 125 years of experience in the areas of specialty glass and materials and advanced technologies. SCHOTT ranks number one in the world with many of its products. Its core markets are the household appliance, energy, pharmaceuticals, electronics, optics, transportation and architecture industries. The company is strongly committed to contributing to its customers’ success and making SCHOTT an important part of people’s lives with high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is committed to managing its business in a sustainable manner and supporting its employees, society and the environment. The SCHOTT Group maintains close proximity to its customers with manufacturing and sales operations in 35 countries. Its workforce of approximately 16,000 employees generated worldwide sales of $2.6 billion (approximately 2.0 billion euros) for the 2011/2012 fiscal year.

The Lufthansa Technik Group, with more than 30 subsidiaries and about 26,000 employees worldwide, is one of the leading manufacturer-independent providers of services for the aviation industry. Lufthansa Technik is licensed internationally as a repair, production and development enterprise. The Group’s portfolio encompasses the entire spectrum of services in the areas of maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification and conversion, engines and components.

HelioJet delivers white light for extremely homogeneous and pleasant cabin lighting in passenger aircraft.