- Technology builds on success of eXPhone service which is already installed on over 450 aircraft worldwide
Lake Forest, CA | October 19, 2016– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) and AeroMobile have today announced the global availability of the new 3G eXPhone system. The new technology builds on the success of Panasonic’s eXPhone service, which is already installed on over 450 aircraft across 19 airlines worldwide. Airlines such as Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Aer Lingus, EuroWings, SAS and Air Serbia have already started to install the 3G technology.
The announcement follows increasing airline adoption of the eXPhone platform and increased customer demand for on-board mobile connectivity. The newly launched 3G technology delivers a richer and faster passenger experience and enables access to a greater number of applications.
The inflight 3G network, which is operated over Panasonic’s eXConnect service, enables a quality and range of services much closer to those experienced on the ground. Faster browsing, bigger attachments, quicker posts, more responsive apps and gaming, all lead to a better connected cabin experience taking travel into a new era.
David Bruner, Vice President of Global Communications Services, Panasonic Avionics Corporation comments: “Our continued partnership with AeroMobile is testament to the eXPhone platform and how it enables airlines to offer mobile connectivity in the aircraft cabin that is easy and simple to connect to and use.
“The technology’s continued success demonstrates how Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity are totally complimentary services, consistently doubling the number of connected users in the cabin and revenue opportunities for the airline.”
Kevin Rogers, Chief Executive Officer at AeroMobile adds: “Passengers carry different devices, have different connectivity needs and have different payment preferences. Passengers each have their own “connected world.”
“We are all used to choice on the ground – choice between mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity – and we are proud that our partnership with Panasonic continues to enable passengers to access different services at different times and pay in different ways.”
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 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.
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.
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.
One interesting thing about an increase in connectivity, there is a plethora of uses for it that weren’t always in the planning stage! Our lead story this week is based on a use for connectivity that made the possibility of turbulent weather reporting a reality via the use of a flight crew tablet, a Flight Weather Viewer app, and of course Gogo connectivity. The following is just one usage for increased connectivity on planes. Our image this week is one from the Gogo website and we thought you might find it an interesting addition to the weather story.
While today’s feature is a far cry from IFE, it is one of improved flight experience via connectivity. IFExpress was not surprised when we found out that the folks at Delta were involved in reducing the impact of inflight turbulence and so we did a bit of research. We asked Gogo what the story was and we were directed to Delta talks turbulence for a bit of background. Delta airlines has had their eyes on reducing turbulence impact for some time and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the turbulence solution, here is one sentence from the article that sums up the value of ‘working the problem’: “According to NASA’s Weather Accident Prevention Project, turbulence costs airlines approximately $100 million every year. It also makes customers and crews uncomfortable, and in rare cases, can even cause a few bumps and bruises on board.”
Obviously, the issue for Delta is turbulence, but the issue here for Gogo is connectivity, and when we contacted their communication source, Morgan Painter, she noted: “…we are really excited about this partnership and have heard great feedback from DL’s pilots around improved flight safety and efficiency – as the article mentions, some even have been calling it “an industry game changer”. This is just another partnership that gets us one step closer to the reality of a connected aircraft.” Aha, the magic words you will hear more and more about in the future… and the reason we found this turbulence solution intriguing relies on The Connected Aircraft. Gogo noted: “Check out this link, it includes information about our technologies, airline partners and vision for the connected aircraft.”
As we mentioned earlier, our rectangle is a picture of the aircraft hardware involved in the Delta solution which also employs a Delta Flight Weather Viewer App on the crew devices, all working through Gogo connectivity. Together the system and the crew get the information they need to make the right flight decisions to handle turbulence: climb, descend, slow down, or change route. “Predicting the where, when and intensity of turbulence is notoriously difficult to do. But Delta has developed a new, industry-leading app that’s helping pilots better spot and avoid it.”
“For Gogo, we are providing the broadband connection between the Delta tablet EFB (Microsoft Surface) and associated app and ground servers,” the company notes. Here’s what Delta says: “Setting Delta’s app apart from similar technology, the data is customized by aircraft type, since turbulence affects a 737 narrowbody differently than a much larger A330. It is also available in real time, thanks to fast and secure connectivity via Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi network, instead of through the traditional ACARS digital datalink system that’s been in place since the late 1970s. Bandwidth and network speeds offered by Gogo vs. legacy datalinks is a key difference inherent with our technology where latency is measured in milliseconds for supporting successful TCP/IP communications.”
With more than 16 commercial airlines, 2,800 connected aircraft (and some 7,000 business jets), Gogo is in a good place to help a lot of fliers. Network speed and data connectivity will certainly change the world of commercial flying… and besides it’s hard to enjoy inflight entertainment when the plane is bouncing all over the sky.
(Editor’s Note: We wanted to give our readers a view of what hardware is involved in the connectivity solution and that is why we chose the airplane graphic. You will probably understand the Ku antenna, onboard server, and internal cabin pax Wi-Fi antennas. However, there are two boxes that we had to get a bit more data on: KANDU and MODMAN. For you tekkies: “The MODMAN (Modem and Manager) is the interface between the antenna and our equipment, and is responsible for converting the satellite data stream. This in turn feeds into the onboard Gogo server and on to the cabin wireless access points, allowing your devices to connect over Wi-Fi. The KANDU (Ku/Ka Aircraft Networking Data Unit) is what physically controls the antenna. It interfaces with the aircraft navigational systems to control the movement of the antenna. The KANDU is also responsible for making sure the system reconnects to the right satellite as a single satellite can only cover a certain area, which means longer flights may switch between 2 or even 3 different satellites.” There, now you know… )
Panasonic today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.
Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use, while their meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.
CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.” He also noted: “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”
A career in the rapidly expanding space industry is not just about launching and flying spacecraft according to Inmarsat, a world leader in mobile satellite communications. Announcing the company’s search for its next generation of ‘space pioneers’, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Michele Franci, emphasised that to remain a global leader, Inmarsat is focused on attracting world-class engineering talent.Inmarsat’s third ‘Technology Development Programme’ (TDP), which was launched today at New Scientist Live in London with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and graduates from Inmarsat’s second TDP programme, is designed to start the space engineering careers of five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates. The winning candidates, selected from UK and European universities, will have the opportunity to undertake a two-year placement with Inmarsat and the offer of a permanent position on the successful completion of the program.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Administration (GOAA) today unveiled a new standard in airport displays that will span the length of five football fields to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year. SITA, the air transport technology provider, has partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with the airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information. In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.
The digital canvas, which will span 1,560 feet (475 metres), comprises more than 700 55” LG LCD screens to create a vast and continuous video wall, essentially creating digital wallpaper. The new digital experience at Orlando also includes installations from the curb side to the terminals, including outdoor digital displays, self-check-in and way-finding video walls.
Minneapolis, Minnesota | September 22, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.
Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use.
Panasonic’s expert meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.
Panasonic Avionics CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.”
Margis continued, “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is engaging with elite ‘white hat’ hackers through leading bug bounty provider HackerOne to ensure the security of its inflight entertainment systems. HackerOne has helped major companies such as General Motors, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, DropBox and Adobe identify and fix security vulnerabilities as part of authorized bug bounty and vulnerability coordination programs. “Panasonic Avionics has always taken a proactive approach to security,” said Michael Dierickx, Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation.“We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services. Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues. We want to harness this out-of-the-box thinking and create a win-win scenario that rewards both Panasonic and this community for our hard work and dedication.” With the HackerOne platform Panasonic Avionics has access to the world’s most powerful external security team, the global hacker community, to continue enhancing the security of their internet-connected systems,”said HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos. “Inviting white hat or ethical hackers to hunt for bugs is a powerful method for making connected technology safer for everyone.” Having noted the release, we asked a few questions:
1. “Panasonic Avionics Corporation is engaging with elite ‘white hat’ hackers through leading bug bounty provider HackerOne to ensure the security of its inflight entertainment systems.” Does this NOT include inflight connectivity? If not, what are the sources of hacker data inputs only for IFE?
ANSWER: Our focus at Def Con was on our eXW system, which uses our inflight API (IFAPI) software architecture. Our decision to prioritize the eXW system was due to customer demand. More and more, airlines want the opportunity to interface with our IFE system, and IFAPI is our gateway. While our program’s initial focus is on IFAPI, and our ultimate goal is to include all of our systems.
2. What OS’s are included in the Panasonic Entertainment systems, and are they typically, or ever been, hacked?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics uses a variety of operating systems based on the configuration. As we’ve moved into open platform architectures, we’ve responded by enhancing our own internal processes to ensure the security of the systems.
While we can’t comment on systems that have been delivered to our airline customers, we can say that stories in the press about someone’s ability to take control of the aircraft using the IFE system is almost always theoretical. Remember that our IFE system software is certified at Level-E per DO-178B, with ‘No Effect’ to aircraft safety for any failure. We do not expect that classification to change.
3. We assume some receipt of transmitted data is involved in the IFE systems? Correct? If so, what onboard/off-board data streams are involved.
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics reviews and protects all required data streams as determined in the review.
4. Is Panasonic looking at data sent from IFE systems to the aircraft? What type of data? Is the reverse true as well? What kind of data, if so?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics works with the various OEMs, other suppliers, and in the associated standards and regulatory forums to align on the necessary security measures and means to protect the interfaces and data.
5. Is loaded content today checked for malicious code that a hacker would induce at a ground station after being created in California?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics adheres to the MPAA security standards for media and conducts internal and independent third party security audits.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress should mention, that Panasonic’s inflight entertainment data content facilities in California are some of the best and most secure we have ever seen. Check out this link for an earlier story by IFExpress on the Media Content Service operations and interview with Julie Lichty.)
6. Will the ‘Bug Bounty’ program include passenger messaging, connectivity engagement signals, airborne RFI (hacker), onboard radiation, etc.?
ANSWER: The bug bounty program will eventually be opened up to the entirety of the Panasonic Avionics product portfolio.
7. Does Panasonic have a ‘brick wall’ between the connectivity systems and the IFE, and the aircraft, or are there places that might be in question? If so, please give us an example of where such an external infection might cross over into the IFE or aircraft.
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics deploys the necessary security practices to protect the assets.
8. What hardware/software did Panasonic provide at DefCon? Will there be a similar effort at the California IFE data facility? If not, why not?
ANSWER: Our focus at DefCon event was on our wireless eXW platform, which uses our In-Flight (IFAPI) software architecture. Our customers want more opportunities to interface with our IFE system, and IFAPI is our gateway. While our program’s initial focus is on IFAPI, our ultimate goal is to include all of our systems.
9. Who is Panasonic’s head of IFEC hardware security?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics addresses security from many vectors and does have a dedicated Director of Security Engineering.
10. Please describe any hacks, if any, in today’s IFEC or aircraft that Panasonic has found… ?
ANSWER: While we can’t comment on systems that have been delivered to our airline customers, we can share that Panasonic Avionics security practices includes secure code reviews, penetration testing, and vulnerability scanning as part of the product life cycle. Carrying out these processes is intended to discover quality issues (aka: Hacks) early on and convert these into security improvements in our products.
11. Has Panasonic attempted under test conditions to induce ‘bad data’ or hacker data into Panasonic modules in the lab? Does Panasonic have any ‘hacker testing’ today?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics has put in place extensive best practice processes to identify potential and emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Panasonic engages in both internal and 3rd party based, vulnerability scanning and penetration testing.
12. Are Boeing and/or Airbus into this as well with you…will they be advised if issues are found?
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics actively engages with both Airbus and Boeing Security to share information and discuss issues that impact product security,as well as our participation in the A-ISAC.
13. Please describe how Panasonic will handle issues if discovered… and there will be issues!
ANSWER: Panasonic Avionics follows its security incident response standards for monitoring, alerting, prioritization, and remediation.
(Editor’s Note: HackerOne is the world’s most popular bug bounty platform, connecting organizations with the world’s largest community of highly-qualified security researchers. More than 550 organizations, including The U.S. Department of Defense, General Motors, Uber, Twitter, Yahoo!, GitHub, Square, Dropbox and the CERT Coordination Center trust HackerOne to find critical software vulnerabilities before criminals can exploit them. HackerOne is headquartered in San Francisco with a development office in the Netherlands. Visit this website for more information.)
Inmarsat, provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has signed an agreement with Beijing Marine Communication & Navigation Company (MCN) and Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) to provide aviation safety services to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Operators. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was unveiled at ATC Global 2016, which is taking place in Beijing this week, and outlines MCN/ADCC’s intention to offer cockpit communication services, including Inmarsat’s Classic Aero and next generation SwiftBroadband-Safety services, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Classic Aero is a high-quality voice and data safety service currently used by most of the world’s airlines. It offers reliable and secure satellite surveillance and communications (FANS/ACARS) that meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) global flight tracking requirements.
SwiftBroadband-Safety utilizes secure IP-based broadband capabilities that far exceed those of other connectivity alternatives. It offers global, high speed, connectivity for cockpit and aircraft operations, with airlines benefitting from greater efficiency, reliability and capacity at a lower cost. The solution is always on and always secure, delivering next-generation applications, including flight data streaming (‘Black Box in the Cloud’) and real-time Electronic Flight Bag applications such as graphical weather. Inmarsat’s partnership with MCN and ADCC is expected to be finalized later this year and fits with the announcement made earlier this year of plans for a MCN and Inmarsat joint venture to provide comprehensive aircraft cabin and connectivity solutions across the PRC.
Global aeronautical communications provider, Satcom Direct (SD), announced today it has acquired AircraftLogs (“Stewart-Ratliff Aviation Services, Inc”), a company based in Columbus, OH, that offers the latest technology in aircraft flight scheduling software and tax reporting tools for corporate and private flight departments. With the purchase of AircraftLogs, SD adds scheduling and tax capabilities to its Integrated Flight Operations Management portfolio.
VTS (Video Technology Services) today announced that it is employing cutting edge technology to launch its latest SKY-SIS II Program for older Seatback IFE replacement and upgrade. This new product involves bridging thirty years of experience, combining traditional IFE systems with the latest new technologies and is an answer to requests from VTS client airlines, which is where all of VTS innovations have originated. According to Philip LaPierre, VP Engineering, “The long list of engineering and successful product developments have come from airline requests and over the last 30 years there have been many VTS firsts including; the first LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) IFE Video Projector, first LCD monitors for IFE applications, first VOD Systems, first Digital Video Player (DVP) to replace conventional videotape, first affordable old seatback retrofit and upgrade solution and others. Stop by their booth 219 at APEX Expo, Singapore, Oct 24-27, 2016 and see for yourself.
- There is a lot going on in the 14 GHz spectrum, specifically 500 MHz of spectrum for air-to-ground connectivity wireless services and you can read more about it here: Qualcomm, Gogo, others continue to push for FCC’s 14 GHz ATG spectrum auction despite moves to satellite services | FierceWireless
- Here’s another good wireless article we found: The crazy economics of inflight Wi-Fi
- And speaking of Singapore, here is the link to the APEX signup: 6 weeks to go, take advantage of our discounted hotel rates
Perhaps the on big news release today was found on Digital Music News. They note that after a couple years of litigation, UMG settled for a $15 million dollar payment with an additional 1,360,544 shares of GEE stock. Some 4,500 songs were allegedly infringed as well as videos. Earlier, we estimated that worst case, the deal could hit GEE with a deal worth hundreds of millions, however, we now have a settlement with the lawsuit dismissal and no admission of guilt or liability. Actually, GEE will survive this story and we think they will continue to do well. We also note that GEE’s PR folks did not respond to our request for information (no surprise). Here is the whole story. And here is another link with a different spin.
Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and Yahsat today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new ways to offer a broadband connectivity solution serving several mobility markets in the Middle East within the next three to five years. In addition, while final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows both parties to further investigate the launch of a Yahsat satellite constellation that would serve Panasonic’s general mobility needs in aviation, maritime and terrestrial transportation, and also give Yahsat the ability to use Panasonic communication related technologies and services where practical. Moving forward, Yahsat and Panasonic will assess the various technical requirements for such an offering. The companies will explore a wide range of factors including the type of frequency to be used, the coverage and capacity needed to serve flight routes in this region, the type of antenna and radome to be used, and the certification requirements of such a solution.
In addition to the previous news story, Virgin Atlantic builds on in-flight entertainment innovation by adding live TV to 787s. Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG. This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock. Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.
Recently, the folks at Honeywell conducted an interesting IFE Survey that begins: “In Honeywell’s third connectivity survey passengers shared increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. It’s clear that consistent, faster in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.”
Here is a quick review of the situation: “Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.” The survey revealed three key reasons airlines need to act quickly or risk losing business:
1. Wi-Fi is the Premium Service Travelers Demand.
- Lack of in-flight Wi-Fi has become intolerable as passengers shared they’d be disappointed or frustrated without access to this service.
2. Wi-Fi Should Be Like Breathing. Simple, Reliable and Not Something Travelers’ Worry About.
- Reliable connections on flights anywhere in the world and fast speed to stream audio or video to sites like YouTube or Netflix are essential to passengers’ Wi-Fi experience.
3. Millennials Mean Business When it Comes to Wi-Fi.
- More millennials than older generations have switched from their preferred airline to an airline that has better in-flight Wi-Fi options.
Here is how the study unfolded: A survey of airline passengers by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) reveals more than increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared with the company’s 2014 study. Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.
If you don’t want to sort out their findings, the following is a summary: 1. Traveler Loyalty Lies With Wi-Fi, 2. Consistent Connections Are Critical Everywhere, 3. Millennials Value Wi-Fi More Than Most.
IFExpress really found some results interesting enough to ask a few more questions of Honeywell’s Gwennie Chung.
1. We would like to know more about the questionnaire?
ANS: The Honeywell Aerospace Connectivity 2016 Survey was conducted between April 11th and April 20th, 2016 among 1,008 Americans ages 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months.
2. Where were they interviewed – on-line, mail?
ANS: Using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.
2. Are you talking about working Millennials or any other factors?
ANS: In this survey, Millennials are (travelers) born between 1982 and 1998.
3. Was travel price/cost involved. If not, why not?
ANS: Yes, we did have a question on pricing but the way it was framed, we find that it may not be relevant/accurate relative to the current landscape and decided not to use this data.
4. Domestic vs International connectivity preferences?
ANS: We did not distinguish domestic vs international for every question but… For a majority of travelers, it’s essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90%), and fast speed to stream audio or video from sites like YouTube or Netflix (83%). (I myself, also don’t care where I’m traveling too, I would like to have the same service anywhere I’m going to.)
6. Preferences (when I did this stuff) were: 1.Airline, 2. Price, Time….IFE and Connectivity was 5th or 6th…and
I realize that was when planes had props, however, I would be interested in today’s preference order.
ANS: We did not have this ranking.
7. Did you get any results for old timers (like me)?
ANS: We did compare Millennials to older generations.
More millennials than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts the flights they book. Because they value a connected experience more than older generations, more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and more than 1 in 4 have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent).
8. Can you get any validation of the required bandwidth for a full plane of connectivity mavens… I am trying to figure out how much is “enough”!
ANS: Most travelers find it essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90 percent), and one that is fast enough to stream audio or video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix (83 percent).
We don’t have any information to share on this as there are too many variables.
9 Did you separate demand/price for staggered connectivity – 1. Texting, 2. Email, 3. Surfing, 4.Streaming. Does Honeywell see
a variable pricing as a solution – “The more you pay, the more you get”?
ANS: No, we did not.
10. So here is the bottom line: Will people change airlines, regardless of flight or connectivity cost, just to have Internet?
ANS: As the survey data shows, more than 1 in 5 (21 percent) have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014).”
(Editor’s Note: A “Thank You” to Gwennie and the the entire Honeywell team and we would like to add one thing – while the study focused on Wi-Fi because that is the connectivity of today on aircraft, we are aware that cheaper, non-WiFi solutions are in the works and we suspect technology like Bluetooth, which is on the horizon just might cause the term “connectivity” to be used instead of just Wi-Fi!)
Gogo is announcing that they have received regulatory approval from various Chinese regulatory bodies through their local partner China Telecom Satellite, and will work with China Telecom Satellite to offer in-flight connectivity service on international flights operating in and out of China starting in October. “This is really a ground-breaking moment as we expand our global reach as an organization into China and other parts of the world. For passengers on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, this means they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market and both parties will extend the cooperation to Chinese airlines in the future.” We also note, Gogo currently has one International airline partner operating with service to China, and recently announced it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Noted Michael Small: “For passengers, this means on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space.” You can read more about this partnership on here on Concourse.
Sadly, we report: “I Just wanted to pass the news to you that I am leaving Thales for family reasons. I am moving back to TN and will be leaving the Aviation industry. Its been a great run but it is time to focus on my family after the last 10 years of much travel. Mike Moeller, Vice President, Business Development.”
(Editor’s Note: Mike, we will miss your animated presentations for sure, but mostly, we will miss your wonderfully fun and valuable show booth designs!)
United Kingdom | August 11, 2016– Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG.
This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock.
Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.
Jill Brady, Executive Vice President of Customer at Virgin Atlantic, said:
“We know staying up to date with current affairs and sporting events is really important to our customers and it’s fantastic we can now offer them the opportunity to view content live. We always put our customers at the heart of everything we do and this is just another example of us being able to expand on our promise of making travelling with us irresistible.”
Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to tune in to live TV via their seat-back screen or via their own devices using the onboard wifi, at no extra cost.
The service is being rolled out to the 787 Dreamliners now, and all thirteen aircraft will be fully equipped by the end of the year.
In 1991 Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to introduce individual seat back screens in all classes, and by Summer 2017 will offer wifi connectivity across all its aircraft.
OK, AS9100 Certification may not seem like a big deal to you (and we had to look it up) but it turns out that in aviation, quality management is a very big deal… with every airplane part! So, you might ask, what can be so difficult about setting up a Quality Assurance program? Plenty, in fact we counted well over 200 action items, systems, documents, records, developments, implements and more actions need to complete the certification. In fact, if you want to finally see what all this “quality” certification means, check out this “easy” outline of the cert actions
Notes IFPL: “IFPL are delighted to have achieved certification to AS9100C. This is a key stage in the develop- ment of IFPL and demonstrates that our Management Systems are mature and robust. IFPL recognizes that compliance with quality accreditations forms the foundations of their business success. Quality is in the DNA of the company culture, engaging employees to continually improve systems and products to benefit our customer satisfaction.
IFPL’s facility is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. The leadership team at IFPL ensures that the management system activities are carried out in accordance with the Quality Management System, the European Aviation Safety Agency requirements of EASA Part 21G and the newly awarded International Aerospace Standard AS9100C.”
They went on to say, “Quality, reliability, and safety are critical values for the aerospace industry. The BSI only award the certificate once their rigorous and stringent criteria has been met. Both of these certifications high- light IFPL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products and assures our manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of customers presenting the most challenging of applications.” And, in case you didn’t know, CEO Geoff Underwood founded IFPL almost 20 years ago and it has the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. They are proud to supply the world’s leading inline manufacturers and airlines, who have come to rely on them to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passengers’ experience; delivered through their innovative product design and proven reputation for reliability. For more information on the IFPL products check out the following link: IFPL – Connecting Your Passengers
1. 2Ku is now up and flying across three airline partners – Aeromexico, Delta and Virgin Atlantic
2. 2Ku is installed on about a dozen aircraft
3. Gogo has now received six STCs to install the technology on various aircraft types
4. By the end of 2016 Gogo expects to have 75-100 2Ku installations. For 2017 that number increases to 350-450 and in 2018 increases again to 500-700 install.
5.Gogo was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its feet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17.
6. Want see something cool? Watch this Gogo 2Ku hardware installation on a GOL B737-800 – Gogo Inflight Internet Video: Behind the scenes with the first Gogo 2Ku installation on GOL – Gogo Concourse
At the end of June, Inmarsat 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 line-fit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe. Here is a link for more information – GX Aviation certified for Airbus A320 aircraft – Inmarsat
OTHER (somewhat related) NEWS
1. We have to thank Bill Baltra for this one. Have you heard about ModoBag. Yep, you ride your bag now, and if you don’t believe it, check out this video – Modobag: World’s First Motorized, Rideable Luggage! – YouTube We contacted them but there was no response. you be the judge of their product if it achieves acceptability; besides, it might not look too cool in a skirt! Cruise the airport on top of a piece of motorized luggage
2. This may explain today’s aircraft Wi-Fi usage: Major study links low internet usage to slow broadband – BBC News
3. IFExpress recently asked Rich Salter (Engineering Consultant) about issues involved with security and IFEC and he had 3 points for your consideration:
a. There is an ARINC group addressing onboard cyber-security, and see the presentation made by Boeing’s Derek Schatz at a recent ARINC CSS meeting.
b. Panasonic has begun a partnership with hackers: Continuing what its Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer Michael Dierickx called a proactive approach to security, Panasonic Avionics Corporation developed a bug bounty program through HackerOne. The program is aimed at bolstering security of Panasonic’s inflight entertainment systems.
While the announcement coincided with the start of the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, the company will kick off the bug bounty program at the DefCon Conference later this week and will extend an invitation to participate to what Dierickx referred to as a select group of hackers.”We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services,” Dierickx said in a release. “Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues.” (Editor’s Note: More on this next week.)
c. And we had an FAA man present on security at the last Tech Conference.
Finally, We should mention what the feds say about aviation security – this may be VERY timely: Securing the NextGen aviation network
4. If you are Traveling to the US, you might have to cough up your online presence! – Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport and Attention US-bound tourists: Social media accounts subject to inspection
5. SpeedNews reports: INMARSAT conducted survey that found 92% of airline pax would like to access onboard connectivity; 54% over inflight meals.
6. See if you are getting old by analyzing your travel messaging:
What is the impact of text and messaging apps on travel? | Hotel Management
7. Go ahead, spend the money on a good set of headphones: On airplanes, good headphones make good neighbors – Elliott
And lastly, we want to tell you about a publication that we think is really useful and incredibly data rich – it’s called Airline Weekly and it is delivered by the internet each Monday. The Weekly is usually 12 pages long and covers airline/airport happenings worldwide. The Weekly is a subscriber-supported publication, paid for by readers who want a more interesting, more valuable read about the airline business. Each Monday, Airline Weekly reports who’s flying where, new marketing approaches, fleet, finance and key airline and airport data. And most importantly, Airline Weekly readers will enjoy insightful analysis and new ideas found nowhere else. For example, the weekly sections include: Weekly News Review, Fleet Info, Finance, Marketing, Airports, Environment, Routes & Networks, and Around the World. If you want worldwide airline info, this publication is the one… and, they will give you a few free publications for your evaluation. Get it! Airline Weekly – Shouldn’t a publication about an interesting industry be, well, interesting?
Also, you might want to check out their weekly podcast. It is a great weekly update.
Lake Forest, California | August 3, 2016– Panasonic Avionics Corporation is engaging with elite “white hat” hackers through leading bug bounty provider HackerOne to ensure the security of its inflight entertainment systems.
HackerOne has helped major companies such as General Motors, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, DropBox and Adobe identify and fix security vulnerabilities as part of authorised bug bounty and vulnerability coordination programs.
Panasonic, the world’s largest provider of inflight entertainment and communications systems, is taking part in the program as it is acknowledged as best practice for effective security by identifying any weaknesses in internet-connected systems.
The bug bounty program will begin by inviting a select group of hackers to participate and will launch at the upcoming DefCon Conference which takes place August 4-7, 2016 in Las Vegas.
“Panasonic Avionics has always taken a proactive approach to security,” said Michael Dierickx, Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer at Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services.
“Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues. We want to harness this out-of-the-box thinking and create a win-win scenario that rewards both Panasonic and this community for our hard work and dedication.”
HackerOne partnered with the Department of Defence earlier this year for the U.S. Federal Government’s first ever bug bounty program “Hack The Pentagon,” which helped resolve 138 valid vulnerabilities identified by the ethical hackers.
“With the HackerOne platform Panasonic Avionics has access to the world’s most powerful external security team, the global hacker community, to continue enhancing the security of their internet-connected systems,” said HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos. “Inviting white hat or ethical hackers to hunt for bugs is a powerful method for making connected technology safer for everyone.”
- Agreement includes production aircraft and extensive retrofit program
Lake Forest, CA | July 14, 2016– China Eastern Airlines has increased its commitment to Panasonic Avionics’ (Panasonic) for global broadband connectivity services to 84 total aircraft.
The leading Chinese carrier, which, in partnership with China Telecom Satellite, was the first to offer broadband Wi-Fi connectivity on flights over Chinese airspace, and this agreement strengthens its long-term relationship with Panasonic.
The extended agreement – following the announcement of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs last November – includes 35 line-fit aircraft with and an extensive retrofit program covering an additional 49 aircraft.
Aircraft types included in the agreement are:
- One B737-800 (retrofit)
- Four B767-300 (retrofit)
- Two B767-300ER (retrofit)
- 20 B777-300 (line-fit)
- 31 A330-200 (retrofit)
- 11 A330-300 (retrofit)
- 15 A330-300 (line-fit)
Panasonic’s Global Communications Services are available across China and on over 99.6 per cent of all air traffic routes. It is the only global, broadband inflight connectivity service operating in every country in the world today and will enable China Eastern passengers to access the Internet, use email and log onto their favourite social media sites while on board.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, says: “We have been helping China Eastern Airlines offer connected flights since November 2015 and remain the only provider operating over China today. Passengers increasingly expect the availability of reliable broadband Wi-Fi around the world and the roll out of this service across the China Eastern fleet will enable it to provide a connected service for its passengers”.
Zhang Chi, Deputy Director of China Eastern Airlines’ Transformation Office says: “China Eastern Airlines is committed to transforming the inflight experience for our passengers. We are constantly working with partners to discover new ways to engage passengers and to maximise the benefits of the connected aircraft. We look forward to the continued development of this extremely exciting service with the team at Panasonic Avionics.”
Panasonic Avionics’ eXConnect uses the company’s global Ku-band satellite network to deliver broadband connectivity to aircraft flying all over the world – even over oceans.
Lake Forest, CA and Finland | July 11, 2016– Last year Finnair announced it would launch a wireless network connection for the majority of its wide and narrow-body aircraft.
The first wireless services were taken into use on Finnair aircraft at the end of last year onboard the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. Finnair will begin the installation of Wi-Fi on its long-haul Airbus A330 aircraft in October this year, and the installation is estimated to be ready in May 2017.
“In May 2017, our customers will be able to enjoy wireless network connection onboard all of our long-haul fleet. In addition to Internet access, we will have a broad offering of inflight entertainment, shopping opportunities, real-time news content and other additional services in Finnair’s free of charge Nordic Sky portal,” says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience Development.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), which already supplies the connection for the A350 fleet, has been chosen as the supplier of the wireless connection on Airbus A330 aircraft. The connection will be achieved by Ku band satellite technology, which guarantees a working global network connection during a flight.
Wireless Internet access is free to Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase Internet access at an hourly rate (5 euro/hour) or for the duration of the flight (15 euro).
The concept of real-time aircraft tracking has become a global issue over that past few years. Needless to say, aircraft position data has become a focus for ICAO and the airlines. Many hardware manufacturers are stepping up and generating solutions that utilize, in many cases, existing connectivity. Panasonic has one such a product and we thought our readers would find it interesting because it utilizes existing installed hardware.
IFExpress had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Jeff Rex, Director, Panasonic Avionics Corporation about the new non-transponder-based aircraft position tracking service on offer.
1.Please name and describe the ground and airborne products involved in the Panasonic’s tracking solution.
Our global tracking system is based on Panasonic’s Global Communications Services (GCS) and FlightLink™ satcom solutions. By adding the AirMap application to either of these satcom solutions airlines can meet the normal and abnormal tracking requirements proposed for the GADSS.
Both flight tracking solutions provide a non-transponder-based aircraft position report available even in extreme remote and oceanic areas of the globe, either over Ku or a dedicated Iridium satellite data link. Each aircraft is monitored in real-time through a web-based tracking tool, called AirMap.
2. There are 3 issues we see – location data acquisition, transmission of the data (satcom, we presume), and ground handling of the data. Can you outline each solution?
Aircraft position and identification data from either our FlightLink or GCS solution is sent to our ground based servers. AirMap is the graphical interface that provides a visual representation of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude, and location. It allows airlines to view and interact with this tracking data. It also generates alerts to support the GADSS requirements as well as satisfying other operational needs. The tracking interval is completely customizable to an airline’s requirements and is manually adjustable. When combined with the core satcom system, the application also offers support for voice and text messaging in the event that an airline’s ground operations want to communicate with the aircraft.
For existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users no additional on-board equipment is required to activate Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application into the airline operations center.
3. Which is the lowest cost solution?
We are letting customers know that if they have eXConnect or FlightLink, then they can have flight tracking for only an incremental fee.
4. The US FAA is working on this problem and has some recommendations. Does the Panasonic solution agree with their needs?
eXConnect and FlightLink both meet the ICAO’s GADSS concept of operations. The standards and recommended practices specifications for both normal and abnormal tracking are still in development, and Panasonic will adjust our products as needed once released.
5. What are other valuable uses for Panasonic’s solution(s)?
FlightLink is a complete end-to-end solution that includes multi-function atmospheric and GPS sensors, dedicated two-way satellite communication system and ground-based data management and quality assurance. It is compatible with all aircraft types and the communication architecture provides a two-way information exchange at any altitude, and even over the poles. In addition to flight tracking, FlightLink enables incredibly accurate and high-resolution weather forecasts, real-time icing reports, turbulence reports, and improved operational support for airlines through AOC communications to and from an aircraft.
eXConnect is our global Ku-band broadband connectivity service. It covers 99.6% of all air travel hours and is installed on 1250 aircraft that fly routes all across the globe. Like FlightLink, it offers a two-way information exchange at any altitude. However, like all non-Iridium satellite solutions, it is not available over the poles. eXConnect is used for both passenger Wi-Fi and television services as well as for operational efficiency applications unlocked by the power of the connected aircraft. For instance, it enables real-time engine monitoring, telemedicine, live updates to EFBs and much more.
6. Is the solution, or portions of the solution, flying today?
Our existing FlightLink and GCS satcom users will require no additional on-board hardware to use Panasonic’s flight tracking solution. The only incremental costs are those associated with introduction of the AirMap application.
The current generation of AirMap tracking solution was launched in June 2016 and is currently being trialed by three airlines.
Read the press release on this product.
More IFEC & Aviation News:
A) Each year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately $100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that aircraft encounters with turbulence are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry. The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) has announced a groundbreaking deal with Gogo Business Aviation (NASDAQ: GOGO) that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots, dispatch and other operations personnel. Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company, announced today at The Weather Company Aviation Conference that Gogo will be implementing Weather’s patented Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence detection algorithm, on their aircraft-based communications server. The TAPS software will reside on Gogo’s server, which provides access to the necessary data generated by the aircraft to create reports of turbulence intensity. Gogo’s US-based air-to-ground and global satellite communication network is used to send the reports for immediate action in flight operations and weather forecasting. This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety. Traditionally, flight operations personnel, pilots and aviation meteorologists received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, also known as PIREPS. Due to multiple reasons, including a lack of cockpit data connectivity, pilots were not able to get real-time updates. Using the Gogo network, pilots in the cockpit will now be able to access real-time turbulence reports and forecaster created alerts through Weather’s flight planning and operations applications and aircraft communication displays.
“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircrafts, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Gildersleeve. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”
“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity, we have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety – such as a connected aircraft,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, vice president of connected aircraft services, Gogo. “Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.” In addition to real-time alerting, Weather will be able to leverage the TAPS reports to continually improve turbulence forecasts, the skill of Weather’s overall forecast model, and the WSI Total Turbulence solution. Some customers of WSI Total Turbulence have seen a reduction in turbulence injuries and unnecessary turbulence-induced maintenance inspection by about 50% each. The reports will also empower Weather’s team of 40 aviation meteorologists to alert clients of weather-related safety risks globally. The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is the world’s largest private weather enterprise, helping people make informed decisions – and take action – in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate, personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers and thousands of businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com). The company delivers up to 26 billion forecasts daily for 2.2 billion locations.
B) GOGO was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its fleet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17. Check out the full press release here.
C) We note that the Iran/Boeing airplane deal at $25B will include new versions of the B737, B777-300ER’s, and B777-900’s. A deal with Airbus includes some 73 wide bodies and 45 single ails worth an estimated $27B!
D) This study may explain aircraft Wi-Fi usage… be sure to check it out!
E) Take the time to watch this movie on Boeing’s patent for their solar airplane, it is great and unusual!
F) Thompson Aerospace is in the news!
Lake Forest, CA | June 9, 2016– Panasonic Avionics today announced that it is offering worldwide satellite tracking to all Global Communications Services and FlightLink™ customers.
Today, the company’s Global Communications Services and FlightLink solutions, when combined with Panasonic’s AirMap application, immediately satisfy ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System definitions for both normal and abnormal tracking.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “Today, we can seamlessly enable flight tracking on over 1,500 aircraft, and we expect to extend this capability to over 3,500 aircraft over the short term. We believe that this service will ultimately help improve the operational efficiency and safety of commercial air travel.”
To support these satellite-based solutions, Panasonic has deployed extensive ground and aircraft based communications solutions that enable tracking of aircraft in a variety of configurable and tailored update rates that support airline operations and exceed the minimum requirements of the current ICAO guidance. The AirMap application is the airline portal into these operations and provides them a graphical way to monitor, track and receive alerts on their aircraft.
Unlike many proposed technologies, Panasonic’s flight tracking is based the company’s Ku-band eXConnect broadband and Iridium satellite communications solutions. This allows airlines to integrate cockpit and crew communications with their flight tracking capabilities. This gives them the opportunity to use voice or text messaging to contact an aircraft based on the situational awareness they receive from Panasonic’s tracking solutions.
Margis added, “Our airline partners have already made a commitment to purchase a satellite communications system for passenger and/or operational usage. With only incremental cost to add the AirMap application, they will have an elegant and cost-effective solution without having to spend even more capital on a separate tracking technology.”
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.”
London, UK | May 12, 2016– IMG is to launch a second live sports channel for the inflight market to complement its Sport 24 channel – the only 24/7 live sports channel produced exclusively for airlines.
Sport 24 Extra will launch on June 1st 2016, and take advantage of the premium live sport available in order to provide passengers with a choice of live events during busy periods in the sporting calendar.
The new channel is an extension of the exclusive relationship between Panasonic and IMG for the provision of Sport 24 and demonstrates both companies commitment to delivering an unrivalled inflight sports experience. Sport 24 is the world’s only live 24/7 sports channel for the airline industry and already broadcasts Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, Formula 1™, NBA, NFL, Ryder Cup, golf majors and tennis grand slams.
Roll out of Sport 24 Extra will begin on Emirates and Turkish Airlines, with other carriers to follow. Sport 24 is currently available across 11 airlines.
Richard Wise, SVP at IMG Media, said: “IMG’s ongoing collaboration with our partners at Panasonic enabled us to develop Sport 24 Extra which meets the growing desire of passengers wanting to see more premium live sport on airlines. We have such an outstanding portfolio of premium sport and the new channel will enable passengers to select from top events taking place at the same time.”
David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics, said: “Sport never stops and neither do Panasonic and IMG. We’re bringing a constantly improving and evolving inflight experience. The launch of the Sport 24 Extra channel reinforces the importance we place on enhancing the in-flight experience for passengers all over the world through continued innovation.”
Panasonic’s eXTV television network uses the company’s eXConnect in-flight Ku-band communications service, including the same Ku antenna and onboard components, to deliver high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It provides live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.
Aircraft Interiors (AIX and PEC) is now the biggest show in IFEC each year. It got that way because there was a need for a centralized European and Middle East source of information, communication, demonstration and celebration of the IFEC experience, as well as, being located at the same venue for over ten years. With over 530 exhibitors this year, there was a wealth of innovative products and services on display last week in Hamburg Germany. IFExpress was told that over 16,000 visitors attended the event (Entrance is free – good idea.), and of course, we covered as many booths that we thought our readers might find both interesting and useful, and that caught our fancy. Obviously, it will take a few weeks to get the story of our visits out so stay tuned on that front. Pictures will be on the website soon so keep watch there as well.
In case you did not go, there are a couple things about the show you should know. First, the expo consists of two parts – the first day (Monday) is comprised of a Passenger Experience Conference. It is a one-day inflight data extravaganza and covers almost every facet of the inflight experience with lectures, small meeting/discussion forums, and culminates in a useful food and beverage entertainment party. The next 3 days are dedicated to the exhibition show with over 530 exhibitors.
Second, there are the Crystal Cabin Awards, below are a few of the winners:
Cabin Systems class – B/E Aerospace
Electronic Systems – Lufthansa Systems
Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment – Boeing
Visionary Concepts – Zodiac Aerospace … and more. You can find the complete winners list here
Like last year, there was an IFEC Zone comprised of three of the total AIX zones and an App to help sort it out. The IFE Zone had 102 exhibitors and grew by 31% over 2015. The App is designed to enhance your experience before, during and after the show, by putting the following features and information at your fingertips:
• 3D Floor plan with routeplanner features information about walking distances between the halls
• Find exhibitors by category to view profiles and to add to your list of favorites
• View the exhibitor’s products
• View the full four-day event program and speaker listings
• Take a look at the features that are at the exhibition including Wi-Fi areas
• General and venue information to help plan your journey
• My Event – perfect for storing your favorite exhibitors and sessions
• Guide to Hamburg to help see what Hamburg has to offer including hotels, restaurants and in case you have time local attractions
• And yes, you could take a selfie with their personalized background
In summary then, the AIX folks note the following show statistics and info: “16,000 industry executives are estimated to have attended Passenger Experience Week, from 5th – 7th April, whilst the number of VIP airline attendees rose by 14% – many of whom were senior executives from more than 180 airlines located in 26 markets across the globe. There were more than 530 exhibitors at this year’s AIX –– with 145 companies exhibiting for the first time. AIX was preceded by the Passenger Experience Conference, which saw more than 50 speakers from across the passenger experience industry sharing insights with some 400 delegates from airlines, suppliers, designers and the media.”
PASSENGER EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE:
The folks at AIX note: Defining the future of the passenger experience industry, the Passenger Experience Conference is the leading global conference and networking forum delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Check out the program and speakers here
One of the best part of the flying future is the potential for onboard purchases, as many speakers at the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) meeting on Monday stated. One presenter noted that the folks at GuestLogix pegged onboard sales in 2014 around $1.8B worldwide. Beverages were 58% of the total, food was 38.2%, while “Passenger Comfort” was given at 3.8%. The interesting part was the growth – 11% per year! Part of this is attributable to the airlines reduction of free items; however, this kind of growth is indicative of a couple things. First, passengers have money to purchase items, that is proof of the growth rate, but further, as an area of purchasing potential, the cabin is ripe. Thus, there is a growing market for providing a way to purchase more on the plane is an obvious potential. We should also mention that Visa and MasterCard also exhibited 10 and 13.6 % growth, respectively, in the same period. Further, off-line limits are in the $100 to $200 range, while on-line sales via the credit card world has no limits. The authentication process is delivering real-time proof-of-ownership status with the bank that issues the card (and a real-time Lost/Stolen card status as well). Obviously, connectivity and credit card sales onboard have a future on aircraft and folks like IFPL are prepping the technology for that eventuality.
APEX & GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENT:
One of the early show surprises was the involvement of Google with IFEC and we can thank Joe Leader of APEX for their inclusion. By using their world class data aggregation and knowledge data base capability, the folks at Google see a connection to this business in the pre-flight, in-flight, and the post-flight regimes by helping to extend the engagement window and shortening the rebooking cycle. In flight, they see the capacity of helping the connected passenger to experience a better, personalized experience, and finally, enabling ancillary revenue growth for products and post flight services. Google has a part in the future of air travel… they think so and so does APEX.
On the same note, Joe Leader of APEX, see’s a world of data assisted passenger experiences and kicked off their announcement of an Official Airline Rating program. Beginning with seats and product catalogs, the APEX view talks about high effectiveness and high airline control over the eventual personalization of the travel experience and the resulting “differentiated” airline in the evolution process. Of course, the issue is data and while passengers (74% on average) are comfortable using technology when they travel, there is a plethora of apps available, fewer are really used. He noted that an average of 80 are device installed, only 25% are seemingly used for the travel process. While the numbers may be higher than you or I use, the issue is one of data obfuscation – too many apps, and a better way to use them is needed. In the next few years as Joe noted, there will need to be an interoperability between apps, Facebook, and Google. There also needs to be a friendlier branding eco-structure in the ticket process… and thus there needs to be a neutral party to pull the process together. In essence, he sees a future airline rating system that can know and confirm validity for all airlines (Tall order!). Next, it has to be useful to passengers beyond travel and since there are over 10 million active users, this tool has value. Further, the tool that Joe is proposing has to correctly use feedback and exhibit some neutral bias such as a non-profit position because it has to provide non-conflicting results to the airlines. Thus, he proposed OfficialAirlineRatings (TM) (patent pending), which will be validated flight ratings for worldwide airlines by the passengers… this is a global project. He expects the data service to begin this summer and time will tell if airlines will get in bed with this passenger response driven system.
From a data point of view, APEX plans to analyze subjective data from passengers, use objective data captured from actual sources like seat measurements and IFE capability and availability. We expect APEX to calibrate and review the data and sources by flying the airline noted routes (hopefully announced), and provide raw data and awards as the final output for the effort. Make no mistake, this is no easy challenge because the airline involvement is key and we will wait to see if APEX can corral the airlines into this program – lofty goal, hard to do in practice. IFExpress wishes APEX the best on this program because it establishes a common goal for measurement but historically, this has been hard to achieve.
AIX NEWS HEADLINES:
- AIRBUS’ launch customer for the Airspace by Airbus cabin is TAP Portugal’s 14 A330-900neos. The new Airspace by Airbus has a LED mood lighting system, larger overhead bins, new lavatories, a new welcome area and the latest innovations in IFE and connectivity.
- SINGAPORE AIRLINES selected STELIA AEROSPACE, to design and manufacture their new business class seats.
- ROCKWELL COLLINS and THALES were selected by Airbus to supply high-bandwidth connectivity (HBC) solution for A320s, A330s and A380s; companies will collaborate with Airbus to develop and deploy line-fit and retrofit systems.
- Hainan Airlines selected THALES to supply Android-based AVANT IFE for its new A330s. Deliveries start in the second half of 2017.
- PANASONIC AVIONICS eXO overhead IFE system was selected by Saudi Arabian Airlines for 30 A320s currently on order.
- STG AEROSPACE launched new saf-Tglo blu photoluminescent floor path system that uses a cool blue glow instead of the traditional green glow, and liTeMood LED a newplug-and-play replacement for incandescent reading lights on the 737NGs. They also secured Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from EASA. Additionally, STG Aerospace expands its emergency and informational cabin signage product range with Malaysia Airlines. Lastly, Eastern Airlines improves passenger experience by installing STG Aerospace’s LED mood lighting system.
Summit selected TELEFONIX PDT to secure STC for its IFEC hardware for 737-700/800/900ER.
- HAMBURG AVIATION presented 2016 Crystal Cabin Awards to B/E AEROSPACE (Cabin Systems), BOEING (Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment), ETIHAD(Cabin Concepts), LUFTHANSA SYSTEMS (Electronic Systems), REBEL.AERO (Passenger Comfort Hardware), SEKISUI SPI (Material and Components), TU DELFT (University) and ZODIAC(Visionary Concepts).
- AFI KLM E&M received an EASA STC to install ROCKWELL COLLINS PAVES PSS on A330.
- ROCKWELL COLLINS announced a new virtual training simulator for maintenance and operation of its seat-centric PAVES and overhead IFE systems. Rockwell Collins was also selected by AIR ASTANA to provide onboard broadband connectivity
- GORE unveiled HDMI 2.0 cables to provide higher video resolution for IFE systems.
- GOGO released: From the Ground Up: How the Internet of Things will Give Rise to Connected Aviation, which was created to spark an industry wide conversation about how the Internet of Things will reshape aviation. Free Also, GOGO partnered with Airbus Corporate Jet Centre to install 2Ku technology on new A350 aircraft. Delta Air Lines will take delivery of 2Ku-equipped A350s in 2017.
- FOKKER SERVICES displayed iShade dimmable technology integrated into its new panoramic window at AIX.
- INMARSAT to enhance airline passenger broadband offering with roadmap for aviation capacity growth. Global Xpress will serve as the foundation of an integrated global network that can be shaped to fit any airline route system and built upon to meet future demand.
- INFLIGHT DUBLIN strikes worldwide IFE agreement with Sony Music.
- DMD (Dawson Media Direct) welcomes digital media expert Andrew Wiltshire to head Digiredoo their digital newspaper and magazine delivery service to airlines independent airport lounges and major rail operators across the world.
- MEZZOGLOBAL launched low cost wireless In-Flight Passenger Entertainment App for Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).
- PANASONIC AVIONICS is first to offer NFC Technology with multiple aircraft OEMs.
- ASTRONICS CORPORATION awarded Emergency Lighting and Passenger Service Unites (PSU) contract for the Embraer E2 program.
- SITA released that Australia Border Exit Checks are now powered by SITA’s advanced technology. Automatic advance security checks now being run on all passengers exiting Australia.
Lastly, we apologize to those folks we missed at AIX. We tried but it has finally come down to time versus the number of IFEC displays and presentations. If you have something you want to say, send it to us and we will get your message out… we hope!
Lake Forest, CA | March 23, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic), the world leader in inflight entertainment and communications, today announced it has been selected to supply the Cabin Services System (CSS) on the new family of Boeing 777X aircraft. Panasonic is currently the supplier of CSS on all Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft.
Panasonic’s CSS is a scalable, database driven, Ethernet-based network that provides core cabin functions such as passenger address, cabin interphone and environmental controls. CSS directly integrates with external subsystems such as cabin lighting and other airplane member systems across the airframe networks, including the inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “This agreement is the reflection of a growing relationship between Panasonic and Boeing. It shows the success of our efforts to combine reliability crucial for Cabin Services Systems with continued innovation benefitting flight crew and passengers, something that’s core to the 777X program.”
The 777X is the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world with 320 orders and commitments for the aircraft. The cabin interior will include larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting, and an enhanced architecture with cabin electronics controlled by the Panasonic Cabin Services System.
(Editor’s Note: Looking for an innovative company in the IFEC space? Try IFPL – InFlight Peripherals. The Queen-awarded product offerings are the result of CEO Geoff Underwood (front row, 2nd from the left) and his team’s interface product creativity and ingenuity. IFExpress wanted to let our readers see them in front of their offices on the Isle of Wight!)
One of the biggest issues when traveling on an airplane is interfacing with it. By that we mean, controlling or interfacing with the devices and power that entertains and provides power for travelers on a plane – like NFC payment interface devices that allow us to buy goods or services or USB connections that provide entertainment, data, or power. If you ever wondered who makes the interface hardware, look no further that this Hot Topic as we want to introduce you to InFlight Peripherals Limited, or IFPL, as they are know by most. The Queens Award winning company (three times to be exact) and their website (ifpl.com) says it all, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into Geoff Underwood’s company, so we contacted them and asked then to enlighten our readers about a few of their primary products: specifically NFC Payment Capability, the Reversible USB Plug, new USB 3.0 Data and Power Plug, and their new Dual Breakaway/Triple Breakaway Audio Jacks.
Before we get into the technology, a little about the company: IFPL is a Queens Award winning international product development company based on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. They specialize in tailored engineering solutions for the Global Inflight Entertainment (IFE) Industry. The company was founded by Managing Director Geoff Underwood in 1996 and Initial production took place in Geoff’s garage at home, before progressing to a modern design and production facility in Newport on Isle of Wight. In the summer 2011 IFPL relocated five miles west to larger offices in Calbourne where 53 staff are now employed. IFPL first introduced its Long Life Audio Jack in 1999. This reliable jack has been tested to 100,000 headset insertions. From this beginning, the company now boasts a range of over 35 innovative passenger interface products including IFPL’s Rapid Fit range of quick change audio jacks, as well as Passenger Control Units (PCUs), USB, Ethernet, and INCAM noise cancellation headset connectors. In recent years the company has diversified into the design and manufacture of multimedia docking stations and video deployment arms. customer requirements. We should also note the range of their products and they include: Contactless Retail Systems, Breakaway Jack, USB Reversible Jacks, USB Power Jacks, Self Testing Audio Jacks, a Microphone Compatible Jack, Stacking PCU’s, Audio Jacks, Passenger Call Units, Remote Power Outlets, and other products for aircraft and rail markets. We asked CEO Geoff Underwood to tell us a little about their company and their products and he sent the following:
“IFPL is rightly proud to supply some of the world’s leading IFEC manufacturers and airlines who have come to rely on us to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passenger experience. This has been achieved by our proven reputation for reliability and innovative product design. After recently supplying our one-millionth product to Panasonic, we look forward to a 2016 full of exciting product developments within the IFE industry.”
1. NFC Payment Terminal
“The total value of Near Field Communication (NFC) payments in the US is expected to *grow by 210% in 2016. The IFE industry is not exempt from this growing trend with the possibility of IFE NFC integration. IFPL’s payment terminal facilitates this demand enabling passengers to purchase items from compatible devices and cards without the presence of cabin crew. This enhances airline passenger’s personalization and convenience and enables the passenger to shop, order and pay at their own convenience. Not only does the terminal support contactless bankcards, Apple Pay and mobile wallets, it enables other data to be transferred to enable personalization through Personal Electronic Devices (PED) applications and NFC enabled loyalty cards. From a design viewpoint, our payment terminals contain no mechanical moving parts and use durable and cost effective materials to provide a lifetime of use. IFPL is currently in detailed negotiations with a leading IFEC supplier, so expect this product to be on your flight soon.”
He went on: “The company recognized over three years ago the need to make payment onboard simple and straight forward and launched our CRS concept. This concept showed how simple payment on board could be using NFC. In addition, we recognized that the payment industry requirements would change in 2015, moving away from the traditional magnetic strip to NFC or Chip and Pin. IFPL identified that NFC could be used for both payment and transmitting other small amounts of data which could be used to confirm the person in the seat and personalize the IFEC experience. IFPL has worked with Thales to bring this technology onboard. Both the airlines and IFEC vendors see the advantage of making payment simple and personalizing the IFE as well as maximizing the retail experience.”
2. Reversible USB-A1337
“IFPL’s latest reversible USB leverages itself off our successful 1281 USB jack. It provides a single unit integrating both power and data, ensuring passengers can charge their Personal Electronic Devices (PED) at ease. Feedback from airlines suggested that there was a tendency for Customer Induced damage (CID) in standard USB ports. IFPL has addressed this issue by enabling passengers to insert their USB plug either way around. This has created a robust and reliable USB solution to CID while enhancing passenger experience. It boasts a reliability of 10 times the industry standard and has been tested to 60,000 cycles enabling airlines to achieve significant long-term savings. Furthermore, both the light guide color and decal print are customizable to support airline branding and cabin aesthetics.
With the proliferation of PED’s, limited battery life and the ability for PED’s to become a second screen, IFPL recognized passengers need to charge their PED (up to 2.0A and 5V) and for the PED to be able to interface with the IFE system. IFPL have worked with both airlines and IFE companies to make this available.
In addition IFPL recognized that CID and reliability is a key design weakness of a traditional USB A socket, which may typically only provide 6,000 insertions/extractions before failure. In addition, as the passenger can only place their plug in one way it can cause the passenger to apply excess force in frustration and break their USB plug or the IFE systems USB socket resulting in high CID. IFPL’s bi-directional insertion and clever design eliminates the problem of CID and massively improves availability.”
3. USB 3.0 1342 – Delivering data and power to a new standard
An exciting new development at IFPL is our latest addition to the USB unit family.
At IFPL, we appreciate the importance of PEDs in today’s IFE environment and feel it’s vital to allow passengers to stay connected to their devices. With more demanding PED’s being used in flight year-on-year, higher transfer speeds are required to meet viewing demands. IFPL’s USB 3.0 provides a solution to this and coincides with IFPL’s commitment to innovation. It boasts transfer speeds of up to 5Gbits/s, 10 times faster than products centralized around the USB 2.0. This allows passengers to continue viewing media from their devices at ease while simultaneously charging them.
As well as supporting high PED power USB 3.0, IFPL offers a step change for data via a USB port as it supports up to 5Gbits/s enough to stream data to or from and IFE system using an attached device.
4. New Dual Breakaway and Triple Breakaway
“New are IFPL’s Dual and Triple Breakaway solution which addresses the issue of broken jacks, including: Containing *MagSignal technology which virtually eliminates customer induced damage, commercially attractive cost neutral solution for both the headset and the jack and two Long Life™ jacks, enabling the use of single or dual IFE headsets.”
In closing David Thomas, Business Development told IFExpress: “IFPL has recently supplied its one-millionth part to Panasonic and is expecting to deliver its two millionth product to the industry towards the end of Q1 2016.”
If you need more information on any IFPL product please call David at: + 44 (0) 1983 555900 or he can be emailed at email@example.com .
Also, please note that IFPL will be exhibiting at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, 5-7 April 2016 at stand 2C40. For further information on the featured products or more of their industry leading solutions, please contact:
IFExpress would like to thank Geoff Underwood and Jason Davies for their help in developing this Hot Topic. We now see why the company is so successful – Thank You!
- PANASONIC AVIONICS was selected by Air Europa to provide eXConnect onboard Wi- Fi connectivity for retrofit on two A330-200s and one A330-300, plus its new 787s. The installation of Wi-Fi service on-board Air Europa aircraft, that aims to improve in-flight entertainment, ensuring a great comfort and amenities; is a new step in the modernization that the airline is immersed in and that aims to establish itself as one of the best and most modern airlines in the world.
- Gogo announced today that it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. This is the largest announced in-flight connectivity deal in China and the first airline deal for Gogo in China. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Beijing Shareco Technologies Co., Ltd. is a leader at providing in-flight entertainment and connectivity related services to Chinese and international commercial airlines. Gogo and Shareco will work together on necessary regulatory approvals to install the technology on these aircraft. The goal is to install all 50 aircraftwithin two years following execution of a definitive agreement. Shareco is a high-tech company dedicated to building an ecosystem in the cabin that will create unique in-flight experiences which will benefit both airlines and passengers,” said Pan Yunbin, CEO of Shareco. “We have been looking for great partners to find the best that can customize in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment solutions, as well as other things the passengers may be interested in. We believe that Gogo, as a pioneer in this field, is one of the best at providing these services.”
- Philippine Airlines (PAL) has launched a freemium Wi-Fi service for all passengers as part of its 75th anniversary celebration. PAL is using SITAONAIR’s Internet Onair technology to deliver the service, rebranded as myPAL Wi-Fi. Jaime J. Bautista, PAL president and COO said: “This myPAL Wi-fi freemium offering is a key part of our commitment to give the best possible service to our passengers. With 30 minutes each across all travel classes, this is the APAC region’s best free inflight internet offering, at least doubling almost every other airline.” The airline launched the freemium service to passengers on the first of March and this offering will continue to run for one year. The airline has 21 aircraft equipped with connectivity, including six B777-300ER and 15 A330-300s.
- You had better be aware that the IoAT (Internet of Aircraft Things) is real and that data requirements from new engines alone will boggle your mind – check out this article.
Lake Forest, CA | February 23, 2016– Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), the national airline of Switzerland, is renewing its focus on passenger experience in partnership with Panasonic Avionics by introducing inflight connectivity and a new user interface design.
The first of nine SWISS Boeing 777-300s has entered into service providing global inflight Wi-Fi and 3G phone services from Panasonic’s Global Communications Services. All are being line-fit at the OEM with the state-of-the-art system. Serving 104 destinations in 48 countries worldwide, SWISS is leveraging Panasonic’s unique broadband offering, which will allow passengers to email, surf the Internet, use social networks and even make calls.
SWISS also has introduced Panasonic’s eXcite2 software to its inflight entertainment (IFE) systems, which dramatically increases functionality and modernizes design, benefitting both the passenger and the airline. It introduces enhanced touch-screen performance for passengers with faster navigation and response, 3D effects and animation, as well as more dynamic graphics and richer content. eXcite2 allows airlines to dramatically reduce the time required to redesign their user experience and it makes frequent updates easier than ever before. It also allows SWISS to easily brand its own content, which can be used to create uniformity across both in-seat monitors and synchronized passengers’ own personal devices.
Paul Margis, CEO and President of Panasonic Avionics, said: “With such a significant global network, Panasonic is the natural choice for SWISS as it looks to offer its passengers a fully connected journey. Our provision of eXcite2 for the airline will also help transform not only the passenger experience, but also the ability of SWISS to open up revenue opportunities and enhance its brand through its entertainment systems.”
“The recently deployed inflight connectivity will allow our passengers to enjoy a new dimension of air travel experience,” says Markus Binkert Chief Commercial Officer and Member of the Executive Board of SWISS.
Last month we saw an interesting news release from SITA about biometric passports and the European Unions’ use of this technology for fast-tracking through airport security.
Here is a bit of the news release: NAPLES – 19 January 2016 – Naples International Airport is offering passengers from the European Union who hold a biometric passport, a fast track through the airport with the introduction of self-service immigration control technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA. Using world-leading facial recognition technology to confirm that the passenger is the passport holder, SITA’s iBorders BorderAutomation ABCGates provide a smooth “walk-through” experience. The Automated Border Control Gates (ABCGates) confirm that the passenger has an authentic, valid passport and is authorized to enter the country while fingerprint verification is also provided to further enhance security when required. With an average processing time of only 20 seconds, this process enables eligible passengers to use self-service facilities to reduce wait times and optimize passenger flow through the airport. The ABCGates (departures and arrivals) allows more than 2,000 passengers a day to clear immigration at the airport using this latest technology.
Alessandro Fidato, Director of Infrastructure & Operations at Naples International Airport said: “The new technology has helped improve the passenger experience at Naples Airport by speeding them through immigration while ensuring that we meet the highest security standards at Italy’s borders. The ABCGates are really a win-win technology for airports.”
Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, noted: “We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”
So we asked a few more questions of Mr. Bakker and he told IFExpress the following:
1. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates in Naples been in operation?
Answer: “The first four iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCGates went into operation at Naples International Airport’s departures in September last year while four additional ABCGates were introduced into arrivals in January this year. “
2. If an optical condition occurs (like an eye operation) to a pax who has signed up for optical recognition and fails the test, what happens?
Answer: “Whenever a passenger is not successfully processed by the gate, an agent at a monitoring station is called for intervention.”
3. IFExpress: How many eyes are scanned for each person?
Answer: “The ABCGates use facial recognition technology and fingerprint matching.”
4. IFExpress: Is there a cost for the application and setup for the passenger?
Answer: “Any traveller from the EU holding a valid e-Passport can use the ABCGates. There is no cost for the traveller to use the ABCGates.”
5. IFExpress: Actually, what equipment is involved?
Answer: “The most important and visible element are the e-gates themselves. They include gates with passport readers, face recognition cameras and fingerprint readers, as well as the necessary software to allow integration of the data into the authorities’ databases.”
6. IFExpress: Any test results on percent error you can mention?
Answer: “For security reasons, the exact percentage is confidential. However, the ABCGates are configured to be compliant with the Frontex guidelines for processing travellers in the EU in a self-service environment.”
7. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates been in the dev/test phase?
Answer: “SITA’s ABCGates were first launched two years ago, after 18 months of development.”
8. IFExpress: Is this more accurate or reliable than fingerprints?
Answer: “The type of biometrics used depends on the government requirements. Our ABCGates can accommodate all ICAO-approved biometrics. In the case of Naples, both facial recognition and fingerprint matching are included.”
9. IFExpress: Can you give our readers a bit more on how this database works?
Answer: A: “Each travelers details including their biometrics are captured and vetted at the time they apply for their e-Passport. When the traveler uses the ABC Gate their live biometrics are checked against the biometric data stored securely on the e-Passport chip. At the same time the passport details are checked against central government databases to ensure that the passenger is eligible to cross the border.”
Finally, Dave Bakker told IFExpress: “We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”
On another front, Panasonic signed a multi-year contract for high throughput capacity on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite. In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 Vantage became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.
“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.” Also note Bruner; “The story here from Panasonic’s perspective is that by April we will have high throughout capacity online continuously and overlapping from the west coast of the US to the Middle East. By October all the way to Asia. Next year we complete the initial HTS coverage with a new satellite over the Pacific, Eutelsat 172B.” This might be a good time to view the map coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE.
Lastly, Thales just closed a big sale deal for AVANT IFE and connectivity with Singapore Airlines for their A350 aircraft and IFExpress will have more on the deal soon! Stay Tuned!
- Over the next twenty years, the folks at Boeing see an Asia-Pacific demand of some 14,550 aircraft valued at over $550 B!
- Last week we found an amazing, crazy video. You are never going to believe what the band OK Go does to an aircraft interior, never. The tune “Upside Down & Inside Out” should give you a hint. The band traveled to Russia to work with S7 Airlines and film the video, described on the OK Go Facebook page as “the craziest thing they’ve ever done.” It is… OK Go breaks gravity habit in spacey ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’ video
- Correction: Last week we noted some trade show information that occurred at the Aircraft Interiors Middle East event this year. Mr. Botts, who reported on the show and award event for us noted flydubai as the overall winner and mentioned an IFE vendor whose equipment he thought was on their planes – he was wrong. The correct IFE vendor is Lumexis. In fact, flydubai was the launch customer for Lumexis’ FTTS IFE system. Here are links to flydubai’s past awards: 2014, 2015, and 2016. Mea Culpa!
Interesting Industry News:
- Cabin certification is getting challenging – delethalization is a big issue!
- With some 3,072 B737 MAX backlog, certification is becoming a big issue!
- AA sues Gogo for speed and improvements
And Finally, a B727 Story…
For some time now we have been following the reconstruction and re-certification of a 53 year old Boeing 727 by an ex-Boeing good-guy, Robert Bogash. The plane is destined for Boeing’s Museum of Flight but is located some 50 Kilometers away in Everett, WA. Bob is driven and never gives up, I know because many years ago, I worked with him. The rebuilding process is documented on his website and we have a link for you below and has well over one million “hits” so far. Mostly, we wanted to show our readers the challenge in re-certifing an older plane destined to fly this spring. Mr. Bogash and the team have documented virtually every step in the process (text and images) and if you ever worked in aircraft maintenance or certification, this is for you. If not, you are going to learn a lot about the B727! We asked Bob, what it took to get the job done so far and he said: “Patience. Persistence. Hard Work. Long Journey. I’ve probably got about 600-700 hours into it — in the last 5 or 6 weeks, that is… We are shooting to fly March 1 – weather is the big unknown and determinant. That’s me in the Left Seat in the video, and yes, I will fly the trip down to Boeing Field, but not as Pilot in Command. Thanks for the kudos. Daily E1 Status Reports are being provided in near Real Time on my Status Page.” Also, he noted; “It’s also important that they look into buying a souvenir that will fly on the flight or contribute directly, since none of this comes free, and I’ve blown my budget.”
- Panasonic’s latest commitment to Telesat driven by innovative coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – first operational satellite with significant HTS Ku-band capacity serving aero and maritime routes over Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Sea
Ottawa, Canada and Lake Forest, California | February 15, 2016– Telesat, a leading global satellite operator, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) announced today that Panasonic has signed another multi-year contract for Telesat satellite capacity.
In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 VANTAGE became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.
“It is always gratifying when a knowledgeable industry leader like Panasonic compares a number of satellite alternatives and decides once again that Telesat is their best choice,” said Tom Eaton, Vice President, International Sales for Telesat. “Telstar 12 VANTAGE is a powerful high throughput satellite designed to provide customers like Panasonic important operational and commercial advantages. Panasonic’s multi-year commitment validates the advanced capabilities of Telesat’s newest satellite and we look forward to continuing to deliver to Panasonic the superior technical performance and outstanding support they have come to expect from Telesat.”
“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.”
Lake Forest, CA | February 1, 2016– Panasonic Avionics today confirmed that over 1,000 commercial aircraft are operating on its Global Communications Services network. Panasonic’s worldwide Ku-band satellite network today delivers broadband communications services and global live television over 99.6 percent of all commercial aviation routes.
The 1,000th aircraft was a B777-300 that was line fit at the OEM and delivered in mid-December to China Eastern Airlines. Since then, Panasonic has equipped an additional 25 aircraft, bringing the total number to 1025.
Over 50 percent of all airlines with connected aircraft have chosen Panasonic Avionics. The company has approximately 70 airlines and 3,000 aircraft committed to its global broadband connectivity service. It expects to add an additional 12,000 to its network by 2025.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic Avionics said, “Our connectivity solutions combine operation benefits with an elevated passenger experience. Reaching the benchmark of 1,000 connected aircraft shows that our customers realize Panasonic’s compelling business proposition. Over the next 12 months our focus will be on helping customers better utilize our network to improve efficiency and the way they can engage with their passengers.”
In 2016, the company projects to add another 600 aircraft to its network, and 34 percent of these installations will take place at the OEM during production. Today, Panasonic is the only inflight connectivity provider that is line fit offerable at the major aircraft manufacturers.
David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services for Panasonic Avionics said, “This year, we will introduce several new enhancements to our network, the passenger experience, and the ability of our customers to monitor their aircraft in real time.”
Bruner continued, “In April, we will introduce high throughput satellite (HTS) service over North America and the Atlantic. Europe and the Middle East will follow later that year, and by mid-2017, we will complete our HTS network, offering over 200 megabits per second in regions that cover 80 percent of all traffic routes.”
“Leveraging our unique HTS design, we’ll be able to tailor the inflight experience to match passenger expectations for bandwidth and give them even more access to the services that they use every day on the ground. We will also be able to expand the number of channels available in our global live television service, which continues to become increasingly important to our customers and their guests,” added Bruner.
In conclusion, Bruner also stated that 2016 will be an exciting year for airlines that wish to leverage connectivity for operational efficiencies. “We are actively working with our customers on several key operational initiatives. Whether it’s highly accurate, real-time weather and EFB applications that help pilots make better informed inflight decisions, global flight tracking, real time remote monitoring and data analysis or even telemedicine, we are committed to helping our customers realize the real value of the connected aircraft.”
Isle of Wight, UK | January 4, 2016– November 5th 2015 marked a major milestone for leading IFEC provider IFPL who provided their one-millionth part to Panasonic Avionics.
The landmark was celebrated in a meeting at IFPL’s offices and manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight in the UK, where Mr.Mark Jennings and Mr.Teruki Hisakawa of Panasonic were presented with the one- millionth part in a presentation case by IFPL Founder and Managing Director Geoff Underwood.
The landmark part is an IFPL Integrated Jack Unit (IJU) designed and built in collaboration with Panasonic for integration into their eXLite IFE Eco 9 Monitor, Geoff comments: “This is a significant milestone for us at IFPL, reaffirming our relationship and reflecting Panasonics commitment to provide world-class IFEC solutions to the world’s airlines.”
IFPL’s relationship with Panasonic started in 2004 with this latest milestone confirming the solid and trusted professional relationship developed between Panasonic and IFPL, something that has built over these years to now see IFPL attain a Strategic Partner relationship with Panasonic Avionics.
The Integrated Jack Unit (IJU) is amongst an extensive range of products and IFEC solutions available from IFPL which also includes their new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagJack and the latest in Contactless Payment technology.
Last week we noted a few IFEC related products/services at this year’s NBAA in Las Vegas, thus, this week we will continue the dialog, specifically, those folks we normally visit at APEX and AIX… and a few that you might not see. Lets start with one you will see.
Aircraft Cabin Systems
One of the video display companies at the show was Aircraft Cabin Systems and this year we saw a few surprises in their booth. First, the retractable displays were shown available in the standard and new HD (1080P) models and because they retract, they present a new solution to more headroom in already cramped biz jet cabins . We asked ACS Sales Manager, Ken Muse, about the hardware – Attached are spec sheets for the 9.7″ and 12.1″ Retract.
Both of these units are designed as a drop-in replacement for Airbus. ACS is currently working on a Boeing drop-in replacement as well. As you can imagine, the design priority comes from our customers priorities.
The screen images of the new mounted HD video display units we also saw were stunning. Ken also noted: “The larger bulkhead mounted displays were all HD LCD Monitors displaying 1080p content with 32”, 42” and 65” models on exhibit. The 24” bulkhead mounted display was our Network HD LCD Monitor which is capable of displaying preloaded content and/or being controlled from an iPad or Android hand-held device.” Stay Tuned!
Panasonic and AeroSat (Astronics)
We visited Panasonic and their team at NBAA and were surprised at their involvement with Business jets as this a new market for them. David Bruner noted that the new partnership was formed to deliver high speed connectivity and global live television programming to the business jet community. Astronics will deliver the incredibly small Ku Band antenna (AeroSat) intended for tail mounted installation and Panasonic will deliver the “network”. By that we mean, the code and control of the system that handles the connectivity – all the while, the antenna and receivers are designed and built for others. Panasonic has a wealth of experience in the delivery of Ku Band satcom solution from satellites around the world. Basically, Panasonic has global coverage and massive download capacity, the biz jet market was a natural. David told IFExpress, “teaming with AeroSat allows us to enter the market immediately as the service provider. Looking at it another way,” noted Bruner, “when you get phone service from a company like AT&T, you don’t have to buy the phone from them – that’s how we look at this solution.” He mentioned that Panasonic has been looking for the right opportunity to get into this market. We should also note that a typical tail mounted antenna, because of size at Ku Band, doesn’t deliver the best gain characteristics, but when Panasonic saw the testing and performance data of the AeroSat model, they signed on. “From a performance point of view, Panasonic will be offering 3 levels of service,” noted Bruner, “So we are offering three different bandwidth levels that guarantees minimums – 1.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps or 4 Mbps that is guaranteed, most of the time we deliver more.”
Perhaps, SmartSky’s news release said it all: “SmartSky Networks, a next-generation aviation communications provider, is pleased to announce the launch of the nation’s first airborne 4G LTE-based network, SmartSky 4G. SmartSky’s technology will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of networks currently in the market by using 60 MHz of spectrum for its Air-To-Ground (ATG) data communications. SmartSky 4G will serve both business aviation and the airlines beginning with an exclusive beta-customer trial launch in the continental United States in late 2015. The rollout of nationwide commercial service will follow in 2016. Because the system hardware design can work at multiple frequencies, SmartSky is positioned to expand internationally in the future and provide coverage in locations where different frequency bands might be required. SmartSky is partnering with a leading group of airframe manufacturers, maintenance companies, and equipment and service providers to distribute SmartSky 4G to the business aviation community and will revealed these launch partners at NBAA2014. Similarly, the company is approaching the airline market through established distribution channels, including incumbent connectivity providers.” SmartSky President, Ryan Stone, said: “Last year the company filmed a live flight demonstration with multiple users on-board engaged in video conferences, streaming movies, sending and receiving large files, and other bandwidth-intensive activities all at the same time. SmartSky 4G provides an experience that exceeds the current gold standard of network performance – it enables live, two-way, high-definition video conferencing. SmartSky 4G’s robust performance means that we can also support communications needs beyond cabin Wi-Fi, including many emerging operational applications,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone. We note the company would not talk about frequencies or beam patterns but as we learn more we will clue you in. From their limited tech hints, it looks like they plan their ground-based US solution to include towers that project an upward antenna pattern is a rough conical shape. Oh yes, and by the way, Mary Rogozinski (847 903-45540 has joined the Smarty Sky team – Avionics Magazine :: SmartSky Receptive to Partnering ATG with Satellite
As we noted earlier, Astronics and Panasonic are teaming for biz jet delivery of inflight internet connectivity and global live TV, and AeroSat designs and builds the tail mounted antenna. Their booth features also their other antenna and antenna installation products (including the adapter plate from the Astronics Armstrong division) and, of course, their WebFB product that delivers wireless connectivity to aviation handheld devices. WebFB (or web flight bag) is a clever device that connects to almost any device and is secure.
Presently, we are waiting for a presentation abut their NEXIS and PaTIO Security devices that look interesting if there is concern over inflight security – Stay Tuned!
The folks at FSB caught our eye when they showed us a free iPhone app (Android too) that you can download (Look up FSB Aviation in the iTunes store) and it gives a bit of info on virtually every commercial, regional, business and (US) military aircraft. You get dimensions (FBS is in the hangar space business) and, perhaps, next year, they will include a pix of each plane model and a bit of data on the average seating?
Of course you have been paying attention to the Lithium battery issues but while at NBAA, we saw something that you might see on a future flight as the folks at PlaneGard promote a personal device fire containment unit. “Hydrogen does not appear to be a problem when there is a thermal runaway in a single device in the cabin or cockpit, based on Tech Center testing. Those are more of a nuisance type of fire,” says Hill. “The probability of it getting out of control in the cabin is next to nil, but you have to know what to do.” Standard procedures call for dousing the device in water or other liquids to cool the cells. Other uses in the cabin could be of concern, particularly for airlines that may want to use tablets or iPads in lieu of inflight entertainment systems. “If you put 50 of them in a closet and start charging, that could create a fire that could bring down an aircraft,” says Aviation Week’s John Croft. Perhaps, the PlaneGard product we saw might be in order for Pad-based flights?
Airbus provides dedicated iPad mount capability for A320 Family pilots: “Certified in May 2015, the iPad ‘mount’ is now available for our A320 Family customers. The mount, which consists of a mechanical support installed on each window frame and a power supply connection (USB), can be used with an iPad (models 2, 3 or 4) and iPad Air (models 1 and 2). This solution enables the use of the iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) during all flight phases. The first Service Bulletin (SB) is expected shortly with an entry-into service in 2016. The solution which can be embodied during a night shift has been developed following a strong customer demand for an Airbus solution.” Check out the Airbus release and image.
Additionally, according to a report from 9to5Mac, Apple is considering dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack from future iPhones in favor of its proprietary Lightning connector or Bluetooth-enabled earpieces. The report states that the next iPhone would come bundled with a pair of the new Lightning connector headphones that plug into the phone’s charging port. Looks like the potential for a lot of Bluetooth radiation could be in your inflight future, but don’t worry, there is a lot of testing at your back:
Of course you have heard about the LED modulation (Li-Fi) as being a future potential for data transmission, but the jury is still out for in-aircraft usage. Much like a parallel, multi-visible light communications solution emanating from LED’s. Here is a good way of looking at it – “Using a digital modulation technique called Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing (OFDM), researchers enabled micro-LED light bulbs to handle millions of changes in light intensity per second, effectively behaving like an extremely fast on/off switch.” Speeds of up to 1 – 1.5 Gb/sec have been achieved, however, it is unknown if, or how, this transmission effect would affect passengers, airplane equipment or personal devices that have light sensitive/controlled equipment. Further, it is known that lighting and microwaves can cause issues with Wi-Fi. Perhaps the folks at Lumexis might prefer a fiber optic cable output at each seat so your devices could “talk” to the network?
This may be a new “data and money-saver” feature for web-based satcom connectivity.
Lastly, we wanted to let you know what we have been planning something for a few months now and you might find it interesting. As you know, we talk to a lot of engineers and technical folks and our goal has been to develop a better understanding of some of the technology that is inherent in this business. As time advances, we are seeing even more need for this kind of subject matter, whether it be a hacking security issue or the use of previously overlooked technologies like Bluetooth, the times are getting more technical and IFExpress is developing a weekly feature to frame it. Stay Tuned!
Lake Forest, CA | November 10, 2015– Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) today announced an agreement to supply its advanced global aircraft weather data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the National Mesonet Program.
Panasonic’s proprietary high-resolution atmospheric observations will improve forecasts from the regional and global weather models run by the National Weather Service. Dr. Neil Jacobs, Chief Atmospheric Scientist for Panasonic Weather Solutions, which is part of Panasonic Avionics, “We are very excited to continue our long-term relationship with NOAA to improve the quality of weather forecasting in the United States. The distinct advantages of our aviation-based observational data will enhance NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”
TAMDAR data provides observations of wind, temperature, and moisture every 5 seconds as TAMDAR-equipped aircraft descend and ascend at nearly 300 airports across North America. Each day, these take offs and landings provide upwards of 1500 “vertical profiles” in the vicinity of these airports, greatly supplementing the vertical profiles observed with National Weather Service balloons. TAMDAR also provide about 3500 profiles each day from several hundred additional airports located in East Asia, the Pacific, and Europe.
“The National Weather Service has long recognized the utility of TAMDAR data for analysis and numerical forecast models and I’m pleased about this path forward to incorporate these data in our day-to-day operations,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.
“The provision of this unique TAMDAR dataset continues to steer the National Mesonet Program in a direction consistent with the National Academy of Science’s ‘Network of Networks’ vision of a broad range of non-federal data to improve situational awareness at National Weather Service forecast offices and to enhance our high-resolution modeling capabilities,” said Curtis Marshall, Ph.D., National Mesonet Program Manager at the National Weather Service.
The National Mesonet Program is the National Weather Service’s primary program for acquiring meteorological observational data from networks operated by non-federal partners, including the states, academia, and the private sector. Global Science and Technology, Inc. was awarded the most recent umbrella contract, which includes nearly three dozen network partners, including Panasonic’s TAMDAR network.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s core weather technology includes:
• Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) sensor, a small, lightweight device designed to collect sophisticated weather data from the atmosphere during the flight of an aircraft. TAMDAR is installed on a network of hundreds of commercial aircraft. The TAMDAR sensors collect thousands of highly detailed and accurate readings from the atmosphere each day.
• The ability to transmit the atmospheric data over Panasonic’s global aeronautical broadband connectivity service and Iridium’s satellite network, in real time, to Panasonic’s data center.