As usual, the recent NBAA is a source of great story material if bizjets are your thing. Without a doubt, IFE takes a backseat to connectivity at this show, but the business aviation community is all about technology and its value to businesses. One theme that rings true for bizjets (and, no doubt commercial aviation) is “No Plane, No Gain”. While the value of business aircraft and their political ramifications are usually discussed in a “wink, wink, nod, nod” manner by us mortals, they do have their place in business. As an example, the growing business aviation market in China has not escaped the eye of Boeing and Airbus, and thus readers, we thought you might like to check out some of the presentations that will color the future of commercial connectivity.

The NBAA usually has a very robust presentation/panel discussion effort and the 64th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas was no different. Topics from flight safety to aircraft leasing are routinely covered. Of the 32 panel discussion/presentation meetings, we found a few very interesting as they chart a course for inflight connectivity options and practices. We really liked the downloadable PDF’s describing satcom connectivity – “NBAA Connecting Your Aircraft with Satellite Communications: The Equipment Providers” & “NBAA All the Satellite Communication Services You Want: The Multi-Service Providers”; and yes, the Grand Dame of IFE Satellite Connectivity, Elizabeth Young, presided over both. We contacted Liz and she told IFExpress: “Business jets are often the leaders in adapting and adopting new technology.  At this year’s NBAA convention, there was keen interest from the biz jet community in how Inmarsat and Iridium and the manufacturers who offer associated avionics and IFE services are expanding the options for aircraft owners and operators.  While the coming of Ka-band services globally attracted attention, improvements in existing L-band and Ku-band services was also a ‘hot topic’.” In all, 8 PDF’s that tell a good story in total of the present condition of inflight data connectivity, voice, text messaging, and TV for the bizjet environments.

If the next generation of bizjet equipment (avionics, non-IFE and USA slanted) is your thing, try this panel presentation – “NBAA NexGen Equippage

At the show Thrane & Thrane delivered an interesting bizjet price point factoid about their newest satcom data system, AVIATOR, that seemed relevant to the world of inflight connectivity: “2 years ago, 128Kbps of data would have cost $500,000.00. Today, you can get 200Kbps at well under $100,000.00 for an AVIATOR 200 installed!” Now, if you just had a bizjet.

As an aside, the NBAA and pilot/owner members participate in a charity service that cannot be matched, Angel Flight. The free service helps those who need medical attention at remote locations who would not be able to afford or could not travel on commercial aircraft. We also note that the NBAA has come out publicly at the show against a new per-flight user taxes against non-recreational aircraft operators on top of the per-gallon fee on aircraft fuel ($100/flight). Bolen Tells Lawmakers: Industry Supports NextGen, But Not User Fees | NBAA – National Business Aviation Association

And now for something completely different:

IFExpress has been looking quite sometime for a technically updated description of the latest Wi-Fi networks, sans equations. There seems to be little out there that is technical enough but still readable in one setting. Not any more thanks to Ars Technica so we thought we would share it with our readers.

Don’t forget the APEX TC.

Let’s face it, the closest most of us get to business aviation flying is reading a news blurb about the rich & famous or going to the NBAA. Having said that, we thought our readers might enjoy a story on what the other one one-thousandth flies – business jet IFE.

At the 2011 NBAA in Las Vegas (no gambling/flying pun intended), Cessna Aircraft rolled out their newest Citation M2 Light Business Jet. The $4 million plus plane has a range of 1300 NM for up to 6 passengers at a TAS of 400 knots. What we found interesting is in the cabin, but we will delve into that in a moment.

First, we should note that there isn’t much data available on the Clairity System; however, we did find out that Clairity is passenger oriented with a fiber-optic backbone, touch screen controls, and lots of connectivity and entertainment controls via a handheld touchscreen. Here is what Cessna says about Clairity:

“Customer expectations aboard a business jet have changed and Clairity is designed to exceed those expectations,” said Cindy Halsey, Cessna vice president, Interior Design, Engineering and Development. “We have taken a completely different approach regarding the customer’s cabin experience. Clairity’s clean, intuitive user interface has created an elegant, sophisticated system with multiple ways of interacting with the customer.”

Developed by Cessna in partnership with Dallas-based Heads Up Technologies, Clairity is an intelligent cabin technology solution that ties into the aircraft avionics systems and can integrate cabin electrical systems and data and communication sharing through a fiber optic backbone controlled through either an intuitive touch-screen user interface at each seat or the customer’s personal electronic device (PED), resulting in “the ultimate connectivity experience.”

Clairity’s touch-screen system controllers or Wi-Fi connectivity to a PED allow complete control of cabin lighting, window shades, temperature, audio (digital media, MP3/iPhone), video (digital, Blu Ray), and individual interactive moving map. The basic system includes the interactive moving maps and USB/device inputs. Options such as satellite radio, Blu Ray players, external cameras or high-speed Internet browsing can be easily added.

The Cessna Clairity trip computer powering the map display includes a global database and presents standard features like flight data displays and location indicator, and also offers access to points of interest information.

“Clairity is completely scalable across our product line and is now the basis for our cabin technology roadmap,” Halsey said. “Our customers pointed us in the direction they wanted to go and our team really came through in terms of functionality and productivity. Clairity is truly ahead of the pack with a very exciting technology solution.” Clairity is standard on the Citation Ten. It is an option on Cessna’s Citation M2 light business jet launched Sept. 26, and may be applied to future models.”

Here is a link for the Heads Up Technologies Cabin Entertainment System.

And now for something completely different. From contributor, Robert Bogash, comes 2 bit of data for the aviation buffs. The first is a PDF research into the history of the Boeing 707-80 (“Dash 80”), and the second, a YouTube posting; “When Glendale Ruled the Skies”, the first of a 3 part series on ‘aeroplanes’, Kinner, Ryan & Douglas in Glendale California.

>Business Aircraft To Use iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Technology To Enhance Flying Experience

Charlotte, NC | October 11, 2011/PRNewswire/ — Goodrich Corporation (NYSE: GR) will display the latest in aircraft cabin electronic system technology at the 2011 National Business Aviation Association annual convention in Las Vegas, Nev. Goodrich’s In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) and Cabin Management Systems (CMS) will allow iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod Touch® applications to control aircraft lighting, temperature and entertainment equipment to enhance the total cabin system experience.

Goodrich’s cabin system controls use an Apple device with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities to control cabin components such as electronics, VIP seats and LED lights. Goodrich’s Apple control application (App) file is loaded onto a device which then interfaces with the CMS through a wireless access point to the control network.

The control App can be tailored for each aircraft based on the customer’s or designer’s wishes, similar to Goodrich’s touch screen customized control configurations. Command and control of cabin lighting, seating, entertainment, and the over-all environment can be accomplished through these custom-made applications. This innovation is capable of utilizing the existing wireless access points which are already installed on the aircraft.

“We continue as the most innovative CMS/IFE provider in the industry,” stated Stan Young, general manager of Goodrich’s Cabin Electronic Systems business. “We take enormous pride in bringing to market the top-quality products and services demanded by our industry. Integrating Apple consumer products into the business jet cabin is just one more example of Goodrich’s leadership into cutting-edge technology.”

Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a global supplier of systems and services to aerospace, defense and homeland security markets. With one of the most strategically diversified portfolios of products in the industry, Goodrich serves a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and service facilities. For more information visit http://www.goodrich.com.