New group comprised of Telefonix PDT acquisition and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace

East Aurora, NY | December 18, 2017–Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, today announced that it has formed the Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification (CSC) group by combining the recently acquired Telefonix PDT and Astronics Armstrong Aerospace. The new group will serve the needs of aerospace connectivity providers with a complete set of hardware, integration engineering, installation design, and certification services to enable aircraft in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC).

“We serve the world’s leading in-flight entertainment and connectivity providers, and this transition represents further commitment to offer our customers the most complete set of connectivity hardware, installation design, and certification services available from a single supplier,” said Peter J. Gundermann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astronics Corporation. “Astronics CSC combines the best of both worlds – offering a suite of connectivity solutions that can be delivered a la carte or as a complete solution set, according to customer needs. With all of this capability in-house, we anticipate shortening a customer’s time to market for new, certified IFEC systems.”

Astronics CSC will continue to offer the products and services formerly offered by Armstrong Aerospace, working both within Astronics and with its industry partners to certify and install new IFEC, power, and other systems on commercial and business aircraft.

Astronics CSC will also continue to offer the products previously marketed by Telefonix PDT, including its cord reels and in-flight connectivity hardware such as wireless access points, servers, and control components. Product Development Technologies (PDT), a product design and development consultancy, will operate independently within the Astronics CSC structure.

The new Astronics CSC group will complement the connectivity and data solutions from other Astronics subsidiaries, including Astronics AeroSat, manufacturer of SATCOM antennas, and Astronics Ballard Technology, manufacturer of cockpit connectivity components.

Astronics CSC will continue to operate from its existing office locations in the greater Chicago area with current personnel. Michael Kuehn, formerly the president of Telefonix, will serve as the president of Astronics CSC.

For details on the new group, please visit

East Aurora, NY | December 1, 2017– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries, announced that it completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Telefonix Inc. and a related company, Product Development Technologies, LLC, (together as “Telefonix PDT”) for approximately $104 million in cash on December 1, 2017. The acquisition was financed with Astronics’ line of credit.

Astronics previously announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Telefonix PDT on October 27, 2017.

Telefonix PDT, located in Waukegan and Lake Zurich, Illinois, designs and manufactures advanced in-flight entertainment and connectivity equipment, and provides industry leading design consultancy services for the global aerospace industry. The company’s products include wireless access points, file servers, content loaders, passenger control units and cord reels, as well as engineering services for its customers.

The impact of the acquisition to earnings in 2017 is expected to be nominal. Astronics anticipates that Telefonix PDT will contribute approximately $70 million to $75 million in revenue in 2018 and that the acquisition will be accretive to earnings.

East Aurora, NY | October 27, 2017–Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Telefonix Inc. and a related company, Product Development Technologies, LLC, (together as “Telefonix PDT”) for approximately $104 million in cash, funded with Astronics’ senior revolving credit facility. The acquisition is expected to close by year end, and is subject to typical closing conditions, including a review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Telefonix PDT, located in Waukegan and Lake Zurich, Illinois, designs and manufactures advanced in-flight entertainment and connectivity equipment, as well as providing industry leading design consultancy services for the global aerospace industry. The company’s products include wireless access points, file servers, content loaders, passenger control units and cord reels, as well as engineering services for its customers.

Read the full release here

  • Supplemental type certificate applies to company’s Summit line of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware.

Singapore and Waukegan, Illinois | November 14, 2016– Telefonix PDT, the aerospace team within Telefonix Inc., has received its first supplemental type certificate (STC) for its CabinACe 802.11ac wireless access point (WAP) and Cabin Pinnacle general-purpose server products. It’s the first STC for products within the company’s Summit line of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware.

The STC, wholly owned by Telefonix PDT, is applicable to Boeing 737-700/800/900 aircraft, and will include the Summit products plus a complete aircraft installation kit that will include installation trays, cabling, antennas, and a control panel. Efforts to complete an STC for these products on Airbus A320 aircraft are under way; and plans to add the Cabin Edge content loader to the STC are in progress.

Telefonix PDT:

Telefonix, Inc. has been involved in the inflight entertainment industry for more than 25 years. Several years ago, the company entered into a partnership with Product Development Technologies (PDT), which eventually led to an ownership stake in the premier product design and development firm. Since then, the company has developed a division within Telefonix, called Telefonix PDT, that is completely focused on developing What’s Next in the inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) industry, both by creating building block technology platforms and by serving as a design, development and manufacturing partner to industry leading IFEC companies.

Telefonix was founded on the strength of its retractable cabling technology. You remember the initial inflight telephone handset retraction mechanisms for Airfone that have evolved over the years and are an integral part of most passenger control units flying today? But with over 60 patents issued to date, and a highly skilled team comprised of experts in user research and design, mechanical and electrical engineering, software development, documentation and certification, prototyping and manufacturing, Telefonix PDT has built a unique, full-service offering for IFEC manufacturers who are creating new or next-gen solutions.

With several years of custom LRU development, the company has been able to leverage its IFEC industry knowledge to anticipate market needs and bring forth product platforms that reduce time to market and offer competitive custom solutions for customers.

Last year at AIX, Telefonix PDT launched their Summit IFEC product platform, and this year they have expanded that offering. The Summit product line was a natural evolution of their traditional custom design service offering. The product line was developed as a set of system building blocks that can be leveraged as designed or be customized as a part of any customer program. The big advantage to the Summit product line is that Telefonix PDT is providing innovative new technology platforms that are easy to install and upgrade. With the company’s announcement that an STC program is currently underway for several Summit line components, cost and time to market, which are always key program considerations, can be minimized by leveraging the Summit components in an IFEC system. Overall, the Summit product line is one built upon leading edge technology and designed to allow customers to upgrade more easily and with less certification implications than legacy hardware. Beyond the hardware itself, Telefonix PDT is committed to continuing technology evolution and providing ongoing product support for their customers. The company has a long and proven record of customer support and this customer focus has not changed as the company has grown and evolved.

When it was launched in 2015, the Summit Line included:

  • CabinACe Wireless Access Points
  • CabinPinnacle (server)
  • CabinVista (cabin control panel)
  • and CabinPeak (Pico Cell)

This year, at AIX 2016 Telefonix PDT added the CabinEdge content loader to the Summit product line, as well as introduced the Encompass all-in-one server product.

The CabinEdge product is a stand-alone content loader that supports network delivery of IFE content. It is designed to be permanently mounted within the aircraft cabin in a convenient location to facilitate loading and management of IFE content. The CabinEdge unit is a small form factor, low-cost product that utilizes commercially available USB ‘thumb drives’ as the content transfer medium. The unit loads digitally stored, encrypted content in the background and features a keyed tumbler lock for security. Some of the CabinEdge product features are:

  • NXP i.MX6, 1 GHz Quad Core, ARM CORTEX A9 processor
  • Front Panel I/O (Behind Door) Content Loading 4x USB and Serial console Micro-USB
  • Rear Panel I/O LAN RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet 28 VDC Power (4-pin Header)
  • Content Security is a Keyed Cam Lock for Front Access Door
  • Indicators are 2 LEDs for LAN Activity and Power
  • Input Power is 28 VDC or PoE per 802.3af (< 10W)
  • A Linux Operating System
  • U-Boot Boot Loader for Embedded BIOS
  • Wall Mounting Bracket with No Exposed Wires or Connectors
  • Operating Temperature of of -15° C to + 55°C
  • And dimension of 6.00” (L) x 5.72: (W) x 1.32” (H) and a weight of less than 2 pounds.

This is the latest edition to the Summit Line.

Telefonix PDT also unveiled the Encompass all-in-one server, which is a small form factor, portable wireless server that can be leveraged by customers to create a standalone IFE system. This low-cost system is designed to meet the requirements of short term aircraft trials and long term IFE solution needs. The unit is capable of multi-user media streaming of audio, video-on-demand, and digital magazine content. The Encompass unit also provides data analytics on customer usage and trends. The product’s small form factor and weight make it ideal for overhead storage bins. It also features 12 hours of continuous battery operation, and is an open source solution that is easy to operate and customize. High capacity SSD storage ensures ample content for streaming to passenger devices. One of its primary advantages is there are no certification requirements of a traditional embedded solution, minimizing costs to the operator.

Some of the Encompass product features are:

  • Content Streaming – multi-user, streaming audio, video-on-demand
  • Open source software that is easily customizable; 12 hours of continuous battery operation
  • Small form factor design [10”(L) x 6.1” (W) x 6.4” (H)]; weighs 7.3 lbs; modern 802.11AC with dual radio (2.4GHz/5GHz ) access points
  • 1 TB solid state drive
  • LED indicators for operational status panel
  • Interface ports, including 6 GBit Ethernet and USB for content loading; and maintenance access via processor/access point serial ports.

The Summit Line and the new Encompass server are manufactured in the US at the company’s facility in Waukegan, IL. These products have all been designed in the US by Telefonix PDT engineers.

Editorial: We had to tell our readers about ReelJuice 3X  from the folks at Telefonix PDT! At AIX, we got a glimpse of the neatest solution for portable stored power with 5 volt storage batteries. ReelJuice 3X is basically a portable power supply with attached cables, and a cord reel for convenience. It will recharge your iPhone 3 times with one USB (or Micro USB) 5 volt charging and supplies the needed iPhone power via a Lightening/Micro USB connector, on a cord reel. Of course, Paul Burke and Mark Schwartz are the creators and who can think about a cord reel without thinking about Paul? Want one? Check out this link!


IFExpress interviewed AirFi in 2015 and during that year alone, they installed some 100 units and by show time this year, they have flying some 250 units and soon to be on 163 aircraft. the 1.8 pound Wi-Fi box is not connected to the aircraft and is now powered by an aircraft standard approved battery… and yes, it will last some 15 hours so the box can be easily replaced at a turnaround having served up to 50 passengers (optimized, but not streaming) will have enjoyed inflight entertainment. The folks at AirFi told IFExpress that they can deliver some 20 movies simultaneously and that in their experience, a B737 will only need 2 boxes to supply all needed IFE. Job Heimerikx told IFExpress that “AirFi is the lowest cost IFE solution for airlines.” The Onboard Hospitality Award Winner for 2016 note the following Key Features: “Full control and flexibility for the airline, No STC (near) same or even better customer experience at a fraction of the cost. It’s fit for every aircraft and Airlines have the full freedom to test any IFE offering. (AirFi) allows airlines to make their own content changes overnight, measure every movement, at no cost, where previously they had nothing. AirFi uses passengers own mobile devices so it is very simple and user-friendly. (AirFi) offers all that in-seat (IFE) offers, plus a lot of interactivity. The system overcomes the problem that free IFE in any aircraft is not economically-viable to retrofit or pre-install. Fresh interactive content every day.” Onboard Hospitality Award Entries – Onboard Technology – OnBoard Hospitality. Here is pre-show release we did on the company; as well as, a KLM reference to routes using the AirFi product.   And finally, an MI Airline announcement of the selection of AirFi.

Other News & Stuff!

  • If you are looking at millennial travel, and you should be, you need this article from the Financial Times. For inflight Wi-Fi, note this: “This taps into another key millennial trend — they are “digital natives” who grew up on the internet and want to be able to do everything online, on demand.” Not to mention the travel industry: “Eventbrite in 2014 found that 78 per cent of millennials would prefer to spend their money on an “experience” — such as a holiday — over something tangible that they could own.” The future of the 20-somethings has future aviation value written all over the next 10 years but the future looks challenging for value and thus Uber is beginning to show up.
  • Boeing’s MOM (Middle of the Market) new airplane in the 200 to 250 seat offering range is “up in the air”: Opinion: Boeing’s Single- Or Twin-Aisle Quandary | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week
  • Have you checked out the Routehappy Annual Global State of Wi-Fi 2016? The infographic notes the top three Wi-Fi connected airlines (Delta, American, AA) measured via available seat miles which means you will an 80 percent chance of a connection of US domestic flights… think text/email!
  • If you are new to security issues, and who isn’t, here is a good Cybersecurity Glossary.  From Antivirus to Zero-Day Attack: A Cybersecurity Glossary | Xconomy Noted Kaspersky Labs: “Cybercrime is now such a part of everyday life that we’re no longer shocked by the staggering numbers being reported. For example, Symantec discovered more than 430 million new and unique pieces of malware in 2015, up 36 percent from the year before.”
  • Effective Immediately: Patricia Wiseman is named Publisher, Editor & Co-Founder of IFExpress & Terry Wiseman remains a Partner & Co-Founder.

Portland Oregon was a great place to hold the recent APEX annual IFEC soiree and IFExpress will deliver a few product summaries in this and the next IFExpress. We plan then to feature in-depth stories about what we saw… and we saw a lot. From a general observational note, the show looked to us as the beginning of an industry and technical turn-a-round. From a technology point of view, the inflight world is changing and new technology is partly responsible. Technology developed for products on the ground, and in the air, is very exciting to us and we will discuss and promote that change as best we can. The other part of the change we observed is you, our readers. The issue here is the attitude of the vendors and airlines. While the melding of ground-based and airborne technology is of great interest, the fact that a whole lot of people are now seeing the journey as a issue, not just the flight itself – the “experience”. How can you not be excited about that? We also want to be sure to say “Thank You” to our clients, advertisers, and all our industry associates – if it weren’t for you, we would not be in business. We apologize for asking so many questions and taking up your valuable time, but we have only one goal – technical truth. Stay Tuned!

First, the Show: “2750 Registrants from 51 Countries, and 207 exhibitors,” so noted new APEX CEO, Joe Leader. The IFEC event in Portland, Oregon this year clearly set out a new vision for the APEX team that now extensively focuses on the “experience” value of IFEC. This is a concept that is being heralded by more organizations as the new trip vision. The “Experience” tag line was noticed in print, on slides, and voiced by almost every show attendant. As noted by Mr. Leader, “We do not take a trip, the trip takes us.” – and there could just be some truth in this observation. Certainly, if travel gets difficult, as it often does, travelers do get an experience but it is frequently negative. When it does become a positive event, as many noted, it will result in a good experience. And, the APEX team see’s their job as helping to facilitate solutions throughout our industry.

Importantly, this positive experience includes a lot more than tickets, inflight movies, or food… a lot more. It includes the flight of course, but one can rationalize that the process of finding a destination, buying a ticket, waiting at the airport, interacting with airline personnel, getting one’s baggage… and so on, are all part of the trip; consequently, IFEC organizations and airlines are focusing on the “experience” moniker, and that is what this show is, and will be about, for some time to come. As a result, we detected a big change in the air this year and only time will tell if the IFEC crowd gets the message and forces change positively. Readers, this is a big deal so we hope you get on board with the concept. Last year alone, the airlines had $29.3B in profits, and that exceeds the previous year’s record of $16.4B. Many travelers say it could be that airline revenues are potentially inverse to joy of the experience… and thus there is a opportunity for the mechanics of change here. One way or another, experiences are being made for more and more customers and APEX now is in the thick of the change surrounding this growth. This ought to get interesting!

We should also say a few words about Joe Leader since we met and talked extensively with him. Joe is one of the most positive humans on the earth – that is a big deal. Why? Because if the new APEX mantra embraces positivism, the boss better be… and as far as we can tell, he is very positive. We asked a few show-goers what they thought and perhaps one discussion with a board member put it best. Michael Childers – APEX Board Member and Tech Committee Chair had this to say: “I think this APEX marks a new direction for this Association with the addition of Joe Leader as APEX CEO. With a full time executive working exclusively for APEX, and one who is technology savvy, we can do things we could not do before. I’m looking forward to working with Joe and with our Technical Director Bryan Rusenko to take technology to a new level of implementation.” So if you meet Joe, and you most certainly will, don’t be put off with the man’s ability to look at the good side of things. We had a few questions about the number of increasingly related meetings and groups that were overtly “experience” focused, and even some competitively so. His answers distanced his position from any competitive posture. Rather, he embraced the common focus and resultant teaming value as a beneficial result of multiple groups seeking a common goal or solution – a solution for a good trip “experience” and a future for many more of them.

With respect to this issue, we obviously, we can’t (and won’t) try to cover a show like APEX with one issue of IFExpress – it can’t be done. Rather, we will cover many of the speakers, vendors, products, meeting and general view of the next generation of IFEC with a lot more data. So, we chose to give you a rundown of tech teasers from many of the vendors we met with, and present a ton of teasers to wet your appetite for future Hot Topics, images, quotes, and product solutions with more to come next issue. And note here, this was a banner year for new stuff and while we did as much research and interviewing as we could, this is an intense and challenging communication job. Thus, we may be sending you a write-up for correction and updates about your products. Your help will produce a better IFExpress, and that is what we are all about. So, here are a number of tempting “bullets of information” or product teasers that impressed us early on:

GuestLogix: Craig Proud – SVP Platform of GuestLogix told us that purchase trends in consumer behavior included digital wallets, self-service retailing, and cashless & paperless payments. Further, he noted the global mobile payment forecast is growing some 30% per year. And if you don’t think some of that growth won’t happen on airplanes, ask yourself if you ever bought anything on a plane with a credit card and then note what you have done on the ground over wi-fi. This may also help generate drivers for inflight Wi-Fi. Hello Amazon Inflight!

The folks at Lumexis told us that they announced an order for 8 B737 FTTS + Screen systems from Caribbean Airlines. Also, they now are the first IFE company to implement the Android Lollipop OS. We think there a few more announcements coming soon too and we see more browser solutions in their future.

Panasonic, the Big Dog in the industry with over $2B in IFEC sales last year, had a ‘banner winning’ at the Pax Choice event. All 5 airline winners in the 13 “Best of..” award categories were using Panasonic hardware (Emirates won 7 of the 13 categories). Further, some 516 aircraft have Panasonic installed connectivity since April of this year with 400 more committed for wi-fi since the Hamburg IFEC show. This chart tells the story! We would love to talk about their industry party with the Portland food trucks but… More later!

BOSE is always a fun visit and we proved that the lightweight 20i portable headphones really make the world of inflight listening very similar to that with the fixed cups. Now, if they would just remove the wires and include a Bluetooth… sorry, we can’t say that!

Telephonix + PDT:  The company highlighted the Summit Product Line of (IFEC) equipment for the show and we finally got a hands-on session. The Telefonix Summit line is comprised of state-of-the-art system components designed to enable unique and innovative in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions. Here are the hardware elements: Cabin ACe Wireless Access Point (WAP), Cabin Pinnacle general purpose airborne server, Cabin Peak pico cell, and Cabin Vista attendant display can be added to enhance existing in-flight entertainment systems or combined to create a unique IFEC solution. More on this later, but in the meantime you might want to read this link… the security stuff intrigued us!

SIE, the folks that know how to get electronic equipment installed and certified on jet aircraft achieved notoriety along with others who provided technology updates and VooDoo doughnuts

Thales: During an interview with Duc Huy Tran, new VP of Strategy and Marketing, he told IFExpress: “If an airline doesn’t have streaming video, they will have disappointed passengers, and if they don’t have a big enough data pipe they can’t cover the needs… but it has to be cost effective,” he said. “Devices will grow tenfold in the 10 years and the passengers want to be there.” He also told IFExpress “There is a trend toward two-way engagement, not just entertainment,” but he noted, “The more you engage, the more you can monetize,” and that tells the story of the connected aircraft and where this is all going!

The folks at Gogo are pretty B to B focused and as you might guess, they mostly talk to airlines and partners and this accounts for their Crew Connect and Voice tech apps. It has noise canceling capability in it,” noted Steve Nolan. IFExpress asked about the 2Ku status, and he said; “We are most excited about 2Ku based on the performance we we have seen to date – we are also excited about bringing more bandwidth to the aviation market.” We will have more on this as many folks were talking about their 2Ku system. Visiting Gogo is always a tech trip… and this year they were one of the 5 or so booths that featured some Beacon technology. Further, they also showed robots, 3D printing and the best airplane seats ever… just kidding, they were vibrating massage chairs… with screens.

Lufthansa Systems BoardConnect – What you will see in the link below is one of the early shots of one of the more amazing things to be taken aboard an airplane. Amazing because it delivers streaming Wi-Fi to 50 passengers in approximately 1 Mbps streams, and runs on batteries (or fixed power)! It is about the size of a large book and it works by just turning the device on and placing it in a baggage bin for operation. “Much like your own streaming server, it uses no outside access points and the system is a faction the cost of an installed IFE system,” noted Norbert Müller, Senior Vice President BoardConnect at Lufthansa Systems. “… and the SSD storage holds a lot of movie choices as well.” Here is a picture of the device and we will have more on this one later.

We will have a lot more hot gadgets and stories about them, and yes, more data in the coming months, so if we ran out of room for your story in this issue, be patient! Stay Tuned!

Firstly, we want to congratulate the folks at SmartTray (Astronics) for being a Crystal Cabin Award Finalist! Astronics cleverly saw the future of the product and set up an agreement “…to exclusively market, sell, and manufacture SmartTray’s new passenger device-friendly aircraft tray table solutions that facilitate hands-free use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) including smartphones.”

The SmartTray website tells the whole product story… almost. The device is pretty much as advertises: The X1 features a groove/clip in the rear of the tray that is a device stand (iPad etc.) in the rear of the tray table leaving room to work, eat, drink… you got the picture. Version X2 clips the tablet to the tray in the tray upright position and X4 is for First Class. Both Nick Pajic Sr. and Jr. of SmartTray were on hand at the Astronics booth and added a classy presentation capability for all their products.

However, it is the X3 that caught our attention! Here is text from the X3 page:

“SmartTray X3, in development, will transform decades old food tray designs into modern, cutting edge technology tablet device IFE at a fraction of the traditional seat embedded IFE systems costs. SmartTray X3 is economy class solutions for an airline with IFE capability wanting a cost-effective narrow body solution. Works with existing IFE servers. Content preloaded or streamed.”

This says to us, Astronics will be in the seatback, mechanical docking station business for airline owned IFE soon. The next question to ask is if FAA certification of installed tablets (or semi-installed, if you like) on the horizon? While we saw no tablet power solution on the SmartTray, and the company did not discuss this solution, can that be next? After all, Astronics major’s in aircraft passenger seat power. We understand there is a major airline installation deal in the works for this summer that will include trays installed inline and retrofit. You can read more about the Astronics deal with SmartTray here. Here is the real deal: If this all comes about with powered airline tablets, the next question to ask: Is this the future of IFE? (Editor’s Note: If you have a clever and safe solution to running power to the installed device interface plug over the moving tray arms and flopping trays, we bet Astronics might like to hear about it.)

We should also mention the newest member of the EMPOWER family, the Model 1191-4X that provides 110 VAC and 5 Volt USB (2.1A) for three seats. Note the lighted USB power jack above the 110 AC receptacle. The 1191-4X In-Seat Power Supply unit is a “smaller profile” than the USB-only (Model 1325-1 on the left) In-Seat Power Supply.

KID-Systeme GMBH
You remember Skypower, the inseat power source and perhaps, SKYfi an on-board connectivity platform for passenger and corporate aircraft to provide a wide range of on-board communication options, media applications and services. SKYfi can be installed on virtually every aircraft type and architecture. The lean system has certified hardware and uses different communication interfaces, making it very flexible… and attractive. We should also note, ‘SKYfi club’ is installed on Cebu Pacific Air, the largest airline n the Philippines.

At AIX, KID-Systeme also had their usual in-cabin connectivity solutions but what got our attention was their inseat display solutions shown. KID has been working with Lufthansa Tecknik for a Qantas installation using an iPad-based IFE solution.

While in the KID booth we were quite impressed with the in-seat concepts that the team has been working on and thought you might like to check them out if you did not get into to their exhibit at AIX. Their universal tablet holder solutions were really quite interesting and we note that they was an embedded IFE, noting that it is a concept study and a final product would not be a KID brand. In other words, KID would team with another vendor for the solution.

First, check out the tablet holder mechanism that resides behind the fold down tray.

Now, check out the tray tablet holder. Note that you can see the tablet holder mentioned in the previous shot. The spring loaded black clip is designed to provide a positive downward force holding the tablet in place.

This image is the protected insert device power source. Note: the area under the socket could contain available power information on a tag.

Here is an image of their simplest add-on device holder, probably for a small tablet or phone.

The seatback installation  is an adjustable seatback display design and this image shows use of a clear sliding screen designed to hold a tablet, when the LCD display is recessed back in the seatback permitting the support of a personal device and meeting FAA HIC requirements.

We also wanted to mention that the folks from BAE Systems announced their launch customer at AIX for their Intellicabin IFE solution with India’s Vistara Airlines. With 3 aircraft now installed (6 Biz seats, 36 Economy Plus, and 96 economy), they have a total of 20 A320 installations ordered. The system uses one server, 3 Kontron WAP’s and we are told that some 50 passengers are covered per server. Here is an image of the system on display at AIX.

PDT + Telefonix did a great job of trend prediction and observation at AIX. Be sure to check out their new ad in this issue of IFExpress to see the report!

Here is a note we just got in from the folks at Zodiac Inflight Innovations and you might want to check the presentation: “We are very excited to be a part of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit again this year! Our VP of Business Development Connectivity, Dr. Axel Jahn is speaking on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 2:20pm. He will be speaking on the topic of Cyber-Security and How a Connected Aircraft can Manage this threat. Click Here to view the entire agenda!”

You might want to read this bit of analysis about the US Congress and flying…

Gogo secured an FAA STC to install new 2Ku antenna on its 737-500 flying lab for testing; it expects the second STC by end 2015 to launch commercial service.

Sadly, we note the passing of Arthur Jamieson, who is remembered from his early days at British Caledonian to the founding of the InFlight Entertainment Co. Services at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4AG, on Friday 12th June, at 11.00 a.m. Followed by a wake, to be held at: The Gallipot Inn Upper Hartfield.

At AIX we had an interesting discussion about NFC and while at the IFPL booth, the IFExpress team got an education. Geoff Underwood, the CEO, spent time on the subject and if you are lacking a bit of understanding in the “world of cashless retail,” you are not alone. IFPL has a huge background in the world of cashless inflight purchasing and has developed a massive block of related technology and “…are really the experts on it in the IFE industry,” he noted. To try to clear up a bit of the “cashless” quagmire, we asked Geoff to paint a better picture of the technology:

Modern credit cards support three technologies: Magnetic Swipe, Chip & Pin, and Contactless (NFC). Many cards in the US still have just the Magnetic Swipe but that technology is being phased out starting in Oct 2015.  In every country that uses Chip and Pin or Contactless technology, they saw a 95% reduction in credit card fraud immediately when they changed to Chip and Pin. It is already in use in almost every country outside the US. The user slides the card into a very secure reader, and enters a security (PIN) code to validate the payment. But, due to the high levels of security required, the hardware cost of Chip and Pin is considered to be prohibitively high for most IFE applications.

The Contactless solution (note the radiation lines logo) or “Tap and Pay” solution is the one that will most probably be adopted in future IFE systems, because the hardware costs are much lower. To buy a product, all the customer has to do is touch the reader with their credit card, and the payment transaction takes place wirelessly, with no PIN or signature. At the moment contactless payments are limited to low value purchases (about $20 per transaction plus a daily cap), so it is inherently secure. The $20 limit meets the needs of most purchases on board, such as movies, drinks etc., and you will need a payment server, a suitable App on the IFE system, and the IFPL contactless reader connected via USB, noted Geoff. With the IFPL reader customers will have the opportunity to use a ‘Mobile Wallet’ to make their payment. Many phones are NFC enabled (such as the Apple Pay system), so they can just tap the reader with their phone and make the payment that way.” 

In the future, the $20 limit will be eliminated by the use of mobile wallets and live connectivity to the ground. However, these higher value purchases will require PIN entry to authorize the payment. A mobile wallet makes this easy because the mobile phone user can enter the PIN during the transaction. We also should note that all of these technologies are available to the flight crew today for inflight purchasing with handheld devices, but we are talking about inseat installations here.

IFPL has developed a fully wireless contactless payment system for airlines that do not have an IFE system, and has recently developed a USB-powered contactless reader for Thales that communicates transaction data to the payment server over a wired network.  Noted Geoff: “Both Apple Pay and Google Wallet are compatible with the IFPL solution as well, which makes NFC the future cashless solution of choice!”

A few other neat solutions we saw at the IFPL booth should also be mentioned. Our cover shot shows a standard, but illuminated, USB 2.0 receptacle. Not only does the light help find the socket itself, it accepts plugs reversibly (either side up works) which solves the problem of trying to get the plug the right way up. And if there is a plug/socket interface problem or short, the light changes from white to red. “We’ve seen a few copies already. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we’re confident they’ve all missed out on the ‘secret sauce’,” noted Mr. Underwood, with a smile…

Lastly, we also saw the first miniature USB 3 “C” jack which is a big future trend and it would not surprise us if this jack eventually provides a replacement for installed USB 2.0 systems, as the USB 3 “C” jacks can easily cope with iPad charging amperage.


As an introduction, Telefonix is a design, manufacturing and management company with a history of more than 25 years of innovation in this industry. We’ve heard a lot of buzz over the last year about their partnership with PDT, a product design and development firm, and most recently about their launch of the Summit IFEC product platform. We talked to them during the show noting that some of the team was headed to China after AIX – more on that later. The company was founded on the strength of its retractable cabling technology. You remember the inflight telephone handset retract mechanisms? But with over 60 patents issued to date, they have become a leader in technology development and execution for complex mechanical and electrical assemblies. And yes, they are in the systems business as well, but more on that later too.

Telefonix has manufacturing facilities located in Illinois and manufacturing partners in Asia, allowing the company to translate almost any design into a reliable product deliverable. With the company’s partnership with PDT, the complexity of the products offered has been evolving as together the two companies now offer IFEC manufacturers who are creating new or next-gen solutions a total product development solution: from user research to design, mechanical and electrical engineering, software development, documentation and certification, prototyping through to manufacturing.

And speaking of the Far East, They were a sponsor and host of the very recent 3rd In-Flight Connectivity Technology Conference in Shanghai, China, and we heard from Mike Kuehn, President. He told IFExpress that the Telefonix team (Telefonix+PDT) is very active in helping to change and improve China’s inflight connectivity market. Their recent conference there, attended by all of China’s airlines, “…is just the beginning,” noted Mr. Kuehn. Here are a couple questions we asked Mike:

Q) Who is the target product market and are you focusing your sales efforts on the IFEC suppliers (resellers) or the airlines – Is China a big future market in your view?

A) Telefonix is focusing its sales efforts on the IFEC suppliers and OEMs interested in retrofit and line fit equipment installation and remains a B2B hardware supplier and not marketing solutions directly to the airlines.

We view China as a large growth market for IFEC in general, with passenger traffic increasing and the services offered onboard maturing. As your readers may know, I chaired both days of the ICT conference in Shanghai where discussion of the 2016 market took place, and which is something we look forward to participating in. We recognize the timing and regulatory issues in China and are focused on building the right network and relationships as the IFEC market continues to grow in China.

Q) What are the benefits to the IFE supplier/airline in selecting the Summit Line? Is it time to market, lower cost, etc.?

A) The Summit product line is a natural evolution of our traditional custom design service offerings. The product line was developed as a set of system building blocks that can be leveraged as designed or be customized as a part of any customer program. The Telefonix advantage with the Summit product line (See attached 5 data sheets) is that we are providing innovative product packaging of new terrestrial technology, which allows overall cost savings and performance improvements as it relates to services offered by streaming IFE and connectivity providers. For example, the integration of the Cabin ACe antennas in the access point chassis allows a reduction in overall kit costs and reduces the complexity in the maintenance. Our Cabin Pinnacle product, which is a server that can support streaming media and connectivity simultaneously, is built on the latest roadmap of Intel processors and is designed to support the next generation of processors in the Intel suite without a total redesign of the unit, thereby providing future proofing for customers since obsolescence will be less of an issue.

At the end of the day, cost is always a factor, but it is far from the key differentiator in this market. Overall, the Summit product line is one built upon leading edge technology and designed to allow customers to upgrade more easily and with less certification implications than legacy hardware. Beyond the hardware itself, Telefonix is committed to continuing technology evolution and providing ongoing product support for our customers. We have a long and proven record of customer support and this customer focus has not changed with this new line of products.”

Q) What are the advantages the Summit Line has over other servers, WAPS, Pico Cells and is there any specific new technology in the WAP our readers should know about?

A) The technology used in the Cabin ACe WAP has the advantages of supporting 802.11ac protocol used in the newest client devices. We have in our roadmap to update the platform to Wave 2 later this year, thus supporting client devices that are not even available in the consumer market today. In addition, the radio engine utilizes Virtual Controller technology that allows adaptive, self-organizing wireless grouping across multiple units installed within an aircraft. What this means to the service provider is the virtual controller can coordinate, store and distribute the settings required to regulate and manage the Wi-Fi network. This is of particular importance when the client devices are not uniformly placed within the cabin – we can groom the traffic and spread the clients across multiple access points, thus improving performance since no one access point will get overloaded with traffic. We have also considered various installation needs in our design, for example including an internal antenna in our standard unit, but offering an external antenna if needed, and designing both 28VDC and 115V versions of this product.

In the Cabin Peak (Pico Cell) product, the software technology implemented in the base station transceivers is patented by our partner. The software forces a user’s device to select the onboard radio versus selecting a mobile operator’s base station outside of the aircraft. If the user is not registered for the connectivity service, the radio will ‘hold’ the client device in place and not let them roam onto another base station. Telefonix believes this will negate the requirement for the Cabin RF Management Unit being deployed today, thus reducing per aircraft equipment and installation costs. Given that pico-cell usage is geographically limited due to regulations, the voice service is not the real key for this unit, but rather the key is the ability for a user to log on using their smart phone in its native technology and have seamless billing back through the user’s mobile operator. This unit contains patented technology and has the potential to bring additional users to the IFC market.

The Telefonix Cabin Pinnacle Server features the latest hard drive technology with a firm roadmap for the future that will allow the unit to grow with both technology evolution and market demands. The product features the latest in thermal design concepts to ensure operation in numerous installation scenarios. These are just some highlights of the features we are providing to our customers with the new Summit product line.

Q) Where are these new products made?

A) At the present time, these products will be manufactured in the US at our facility in Waukegan, IL. Should the need for a 2nd manufacturing location arise, we will evaluate that need in conjunction with the location of demand to determine where else we might want to manufacture. These products have all been designed in the US by Telefonix and PDT engineers. While we have utilized some existing components in our hardware and have collaborated with various manufacturers and partners in the integration of their hardware into our solutions, the overall product architecture and design oversight was our own.”

Q) Is each component of the Summit Line black label today?

A) The base designs of each of the products are complete and the Cabin ACe WAP unit is currently in test. The remaining products are being customized with customer input and will have unique test and launch cycles depending on the level of customization required by each of the customers.

Our Cabin Peak pico cell, which was developed with our partner, is being used in multiple ground applications and we are currently packaging the technology and will customize it based upon customer requirements.

Q) These products were recently launched but what is their present design/manufacturing/airline status?

A) Our launch at AIX was focused on the products reaching a level of design maturity and test that made them viable platforms or solutions for customer consideration. While we are currently in talks with a number of different parties regarding this hardware, we cannot disclose the launch customers at this time.

Q) Are any of the Summit Line components flying today, either in test applications or with passengers?

A) This hardware is not yet flying, however we are in discussions with several parties regarding test and production level applications. We will, of course, let you know as soon as we have the ability to share any news on this point!

IFExpress readers, the Telefonix story is just unfolding so we plan to follow both the Summit Line and the story in China – Stay Tuned.

Here are some additional product and conference attachments:

IFC pdf from the ITC in China

Cabin Vista pdf

Lumexis Corporation today announced that their Lumexis Fiber-To-The-Screen® (FTTS®) In-Flight Entertainment system has been made offerable for line-fit on both the 737 NG and 737 MAX families of aircraft. “The Lumexis team is delighted with the significant achievement of having gained Boeing’s confidence in our company’s leading edge FTTS system and team,” said Doug Cline, Lumexis Corporation Chief Executive Officer. “We are most appreciative of their supportive and collaborative offerability team, and we look forward to seeing the first FTTS system installed on the 737 production line in the very near future.” Noted Jon Norris, VP Sales: ”Lumexis has worked closely with Boeing through their Technical Services Agreement (TSA) process to develop and apply the FTTS technology on Boeing 737 platforms.” Lou Sharkey, Lumexis President and CEO, noted: “This is an offering which can be selected immediately by Boeing’s worldwide airline customers. After 5 years of numerous retrofit installations on both wide-body and narrow-body airframes, the Lumexis team is so proud to have achieved line-fit offerable status on Boeing’s highest production 737 models.” Congratulations Lumexis, this is really an event for the company and portends great things!

Waukegan, ILL. | April 21, 2015– Telefonix, Inc.®, an AS9100 and ISO 14000-certified technology design and manufacturing company, is a proud sponsor of the 2015 In-Flight Connectivity Technology Conference (ICT2015) April 22-23 in Shanghai, China at the New World Shanghai Hotel. This announcement comes on the heels of the official launch of Telefonix’s Summit product line of in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) equipment at the 2015 Aircraft Interiors Expo last week in Hamburg, Germany.

This third ICT event aims to promote the establishment of the inflight wifi industrial supply chain and develop cross-border cooperation for the purpose of building a win-win ecosystem. As passenger demands grow, and upstream and downstream enterprises of the supply chain develop, industry experts believe the domestic aviation internet industry will enter a period of rapid growth. It is believed the scale of the entire aviation internet industry will exceed one hundred billion and will realize an average annual growth rate of 30 percent over the next five years.

Michael Kuehn, Telefonix President, will deliver a presentation on “Game Changing Technology”.

“We are working to advance the In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) movement every day at Telefonix,” says Kuehn. “We are working with customers now on custom technologies to deliver on these needs. We’ve also developed the Telefonix Summit product line, which consists of a number of building blocks required for any IFEC solution in the aerospace market, reducing time-to-market and overall cost for system developers, integrators and airline operator alike.”

To learn more about the 2015 In-Flight Connectivity Technology Conference, please visit

  • World’s First Backup Battery to Integrate Fully Retractable 48-inch Charging Cable

Chicago, Ill. | November 11, 2014–
Lynktec today announced that it has been named a 2015 Consumer Electronics Show Innovation Awards Honoree for its Reeljuice portable power solution. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.

Lynktec has partnered with Product Development Technologies (PDT), an award-winning product design and development consultancy, and Telefonix, who develops the cord reel technology found in over 80% of in-flight entertainment systems, to engineer the world’s first backup battery for mobile devices with a new fully retractable, 48-inch cord reel design. With its integrated charging cable and 10 Watt rapid wall charger, up to 10,000 mAh of juice, and slim modular design, the Reeljuice charger is the most functional all-in-one charging solution in the world.

“We set out to deliver the ultimate portable power solution, and with Reeljuice, we’ve done it!” said Lynktec Co-Founder, Bob Martin. “For the first time, your wall charger, backup battery, and all the cables you need are in a single, easy to carry device.”

Reeljuice charging solution is currently available to pre-order on Kickstarter for a limited time. Backers who support the project can take advantage of early discounts on either the Reeljuice 5k or 10k mAh version when they submit a pledge.

The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the producer of the International CES, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology, and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.

Lynktec’s Reeljuice portable power solution will be displayed at the 2015 International CES, which runs January 6-9, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Honorees will also be displayed at CES Unveiled New York, which features dozens of exhibitors and networking opportunities, and runs 4:30-7:30 PM on November 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York.

2015 CES Innovation Honoree products are featured on, which lists product categories, as well as each product name, manufacturer information, description, photo and URL.

Waukegan, Illinois | April 9, 2014– Telefonix, Inc, a design, manufacturing and management company, announces
today that is has been selected by Gogo, Inc. (Itasca, Illinois) to develop the ACPU-2 for Gogo’s connectivity service. Gogo is the preeminent provider of airborne connectivity solutions enabling airline passengers to stay connected.

The ACPU-2 includes all the original interfaces of the original ACPU, and is designed to plug & play in the same aircraft tray and with the same interface cabling as the original ACPU.

New ACPU-2 features include advanced processing capabilities offered by dual– Intel® 3rd Generation Core™ i7 quad core processors, ARINC 429, expanded Gigabit Ethernet ports supported by a Layer 2/3 Gigabit Ethernet switch, avionic discretes, onboard WiFi radio, GSM Terrestrial modem, and extended onboard multi-Terabyte SSD mass storage capability.

Other enhancements were included as part of the learning curve afforded by Gogo’s experience with over 2,000 ACPU aircraft installations. Some of these enhancements include a persistent E ink type display to show the software revision to maintenance personnel even when the power is removed from the unit. The ACPU-2 also includes an autonomous microcontroller to monitor the health state of the internal processor cards.

Pat Walsh, Sr. Vice President of Engineering at Gogo, states, “In our search for a company to develop and manufacture the ACPU-2, we focused on companies that not only offered a history of developing airborne certified hardware, but companies that could offer real design innovation and an eagerness to do whatever it takes to meet our mutual goals. We felt we got the best of both worlds with our selection of Telefonix.”

Michael Kuehn, Telefonix, Inc. President underlines the faith that Gogo has placed in Telefonix to develop the ACPU-2 as a cornerstone of their ABS system offering. “Telefonix is extremely happy and proud to have been selected by Gogo for the ACPU-2 program. It underscores Gogo’s confidence in our capabilities and our commitment to this important program and to meeting the expectations of Gogo’s customers going forward.” Currently, the ACPU-2 is in the final stages of its DO-160G qualification program, in preparation for early Q2 deliveries to Gogo. Michael Kuehn adds, “Our development team has worked jointly with Gogo’s engineers and are on schedule to meet Gogo’s development and installation schedule. We look forward to a very successful launch of the ACPU-2.”

The big news this week is the Thales deal to purchase LiveTV and you can read it here. We found another blog reporter who had some interesting things to say about the deal. (Editors Note: In the past the folks at LiveTV have focused on the US, given their JetBlue customer. However, their plan for global reach has been one of Ku-band IPTV. They do have Ka-band capability in the HTS region that has a Ku overlay. With Thales, they now have the Inmarsat option that might change the order of things. Either way, they will be getting a new super-salesman, Mike Moeller… and we sure hope they keep those award winning trade show booths coming!)

2014 Crystal Cabin Award finalists announced

The finalists for the 2014 Crystal Cabin Awards have been announced, following deliberations by the 24-strong international judging panel, which includes representatives from airlines and all the major aircraft manufacturers, as they examined each of the 55 shortlisted entries from 12 countries. (Apologies to AIX/Reed for reformatting their release!)

  • Passenger Comfort Systems category include

The acWAP from Lufthansa Technik, is a high-speed router that makes data-intensive applications such as online games possible.

Armstrong Aerospace’s PowerBox, a mobile power point module that can be installed under a seat was announced.

Zodiac Aerospace’s ISIS Aft Complex, which puts the toilet and galley modules side-by-side on the rear wall, to add 3ft to the cabin length.

  • Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts

US finalist B/E Aerospace took a similar approach to win a place with its Advanced Lavatory, a slimline toilet module which makes it possible to integrate up to six additional seats in an aircraft.

Zodiac’s Halo First Class design study, which is a lounge-like suite.

Also included was French seat maker Expliseat’s lightweight titanium seat.

  • Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment

German finalist Diehl Aerospace has developed DACAPO, a power saving, self-sufficient cabin system using rechargeable and replaceable battery trolleys.

Vision Systems has reached the final round with the Energia aircraft window in which a transparent photovoltaic film inserted into the pane simultaneously “harvests” solar energy and makes it possible to dim the window at the press of a button.

Zodiac enters the fray with another product in the ISIS range: the Modular Lavatory, which facilitates resource-friendly customization and substitution of individual bathroom and lavatory modules.

  • Passenger Comfort Hardware

The hygienic toilet developed by Diehl Comfort System is operated using movement sensors, requiring no contact.

The other finalists in the category are Recaro’s ergonomic, lightweight CL3710 economy seat with extra knee room.

ZIM Flugsitz’s EC-00 economy seat for short and medium-haul flights, including a new table and backrest concept was included.

  • The Premium Class & VIP

Thales’ Immersive Business Class Seat was included.

Hong Kong-based Paperclip Design’s Convertible Long Haul Seat Concept, which can be quickly converted from premium economy to a full-flat business seat.

Zodiac Aerospac’s Premium Cabin, which not only creates more space for every passenger but also even allows room for an on-board bar.

  • Material & Components

Zodiac Galleys impressed the judging panel with an airbag system for front-row passengers.

Specialist Aviation’s Satto solution for minor repairs to cabin components.

Schott’s lightweight glass structure for windows, which is not only more resistant than conventional window plastic but also making significantly larger panes possible.

  • University

Two entrants from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have reached the final, with Sense the Transitions, an innovative geotainment concept; and the ARC Seat Concept, an aircraft seat that can withstand stresses up to 16g.

Monash University in Australia is showing a concept for wheelchair boarding.

The finalists’ products and concepts will be presented in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany next month (Hall B1, Booth A41), and on the second day of the exhibition (9 April, 11am), the winners will present their concepts to the public.


The IFExpress team has purposely avoided any updates of MH370 until we saw this article on Sunday that mentioned IFEyou have to read it… we were dumbstruck!

Beacon technology has been hailed as a game-changer in retail. It uses Bluetooth to trigger the display of information on phones and tablets that is relevant to the specific location and context of the user. Connecting and communicating efficiently with passengers throughout their journey is a widely held goal in the air transport industry and SITA Lab’s research has investigated the potential of using beacon technology in today’s airports. The benefits being touted for the technology, such as low cost and wide range, have a strong appeal for anyone wanting to connect directly with customers. But SITA Lab investigated if the technology works as advertized in the real world. Trials with a leading international airline and airport have produced results that are both promising and cautionary. SITA ’s CTO, Jim Peters noted; “SITA Lab is currently building an industry registry for all beacons. The goal is that any airline will have a single point of contact to go to use any beacon deployed by airports around the world. We are already working with some early adopters but are looking for other airports, airlines and app developers who are interested in leveraging the potential of beacons in the air transport industry to join the project.”

Editors Note: To get a bit more background on this exploding technology, here is a blurb from the Radius Network website about their Apple-based solution: “iBeacons are transmit only. They do not receive or collect any signals from mobile devices. iBeacons don’t detect the presence of your mobile device and therefore have no ability to know you are near or track your location. The bottom line, iBeacons are inherently privacy friendly. You can see them, but they can’t see you. With iBeacon technology, your mobile device is actually what detects the iBeacons. More specifically, an app installed on the mobile device can ask to be notified when the device sees a specific iBeacon. This works very similar to how geofences work when a mobile device crosses into a specific geographic location. Keep in mind that in order for a mobile device to detect and react to an iBeacon, an app MUST reside on the device and have requested the specific iBeacon identifiers it is interested in. The benefit of this approach is that it gives the user ultimate control. If a user does not want to interact with iBeacons, he or she can opt-out by not allowing the app to use location services (iOS), turning Bluetooth off, or uninstalling the app on their phone.” Think GPS when using iBeacons, and we also note, that there are already some 100 apps for iBeacons in the Apple iTunes store today. Android developers are spooling up as well. The underlying technology is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based and the rechargeable transmitter units are about the size of a mint tin that can run for days without a charge. If you want to build your own iBeacon application, check out the Travel Radar App in the iTunes App Store, put an iBeacon in your bag, and find your luggage before someone else does!


  • We just heard that Aircraft Cabin Systems recently was granted and registered a patent for their new retractable monitor that features a charged capacitor retract solution!
  • Watch for Telefonix get more into Connectivity with the addition of Jim Costello to their staff!
  • If you are looking for an Electrical or Electro-Mechanical engineering job opportunity in the greater Seattle area (Kirkland/Redmond WA), we will send you contact information by email. Send a note to and mark your email “Jobs” in the subject heading, the rest is up to you

Waukegan, Illinois | March 17, 2014– Telefonix, Inc., a design and manufacturing company that supplies hardware solutions to the inflight entertainment and connectivity markets, is pleased to welcome Jim Costello to its Executive team as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Jim has more than 25 years’ experience in the wireless communications industry and brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the area of system architecture and product design for the aviation industry. In his new role at Telefonix, Jim will work both with the Telefonix team in development of new product designs as well as work closely with the company’s partner company, Product Development Technologies (PDT), in the development of new technological innovations for shared Telefonix and PDT customers.

Mike Kuehn, Telefonix’s President, says, “The addition of Jim to the Telefonix team is exciting on so many levels. Over the last several years, Telefonix has made huge strides in its capabilities and product offerings in the area of inflight connectivity. To now have Jim on board means that the sky is truly the limit of where we can go next. On a personal note, I am looking forward to working with Jim again as I truly enjoyed our collaborations during our days at Verizon Airfone.”
Jim will be attending the Aircraft Interiors Show in Hamburg, Germany, April 8th – 10th with the Telefonix team. He is planning to relocate back to the Chicagoland area in the near future and will be based out of Telefonix’s Waukegan, Illinois headquarters where he will be poised to work closely with current and future customers on new product development efforts.

Telefonix, Solving anything you put our minds to.

APEX never disappoints with the ‘small vendors’ who seem to come from nowhere with great ideas and a long-timer, Nick Pajic, was no exception. His company, Smart Tray International, showed off a couple of the latest IFE solutions we really liked. The first solution was simplicity itself – a slot in the seat tray for your iPad, Tablet, iPod or whatever. The other is one you had better get used to – a seatback tray with consideration for banner advertising. These folks have more info on banners if you need help there. Well, somebody had to do it. Besides, if it bugs you, place your copy of Esquire or The Sun over it! Find out more about Smart Tray.

Paul Burke (aka the ultimate entrepreneur) Telefonix‘s founder, showed up with a new face on his team – Eric Tarter (pictured left to right: Eric Tarter, Program Manager, Paul Burke, CEO & Owner, Michael Kuehn, President). Eric has a lot of engineering experience on servers and WAP’s from his days with Kontron. His new position raised a few questions about the Telefonix future product line. Paul noted their plans on an “expanding LRU business”. Presently, they build a content loader with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity (among other products). The loader is currently in operation with Gogo and the company looks to design and build more line replacement boxes like a Wi-Fi handset for the bizjet market. We suspect more so stay tuned to Telefonix.

What would an IFEC Exposition be without a presentation by the affable Doug Cline, Lumexis CEO? His update included the mention of a flight trial of their Wi-Fi product, WiPAX, in February of 2013. Expect to see more ‘togetherness’ with Row 44 and AIA (Can you guess why?). Doug believes that the Wi-Fi products have absorbed the “drop-down” market and compete vigorously with some embedded systems in some markets. He noted that WiPAX is an adjunct to their ultra lightweight imbedded system FTTS (Total Weight – 5.1 lb/seat)… as well as, the lowest system acquisition cost. To prove his claim, he said, “The entire data network for the flyDubai embedded system is 31.6 lbs and it is achieving 99.9% reliability”.

We ran into Tom Lee (Monogram Systems, Director Business Development) at the Zodiac booth at AIX North America, but before you think this is a seat or IFE story, let us clearly state that it is not. It’s about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, but we digress. Asked if he had done anything interesting outside of work lately Tom, Tom broke into a big grin. As many of you know this is a great opener for Tom as he has an extensive charitable service background with the US military forces, and it seemed we hit a sweet spot. “Boy have I,” he said, “I returned not long ago from Neil Armstrong’s funeral services, which I was invited to attend.” Knowing that Neil’s funeral had limited, special attendance, we asked what part he played in Neil’s history to receive such an impressive and significant honor. “Well,” said Tom, “in a way, I helped Neil get his Naval Aviator’s gold wings and not long ago at that.” This link tells the story better than we can, but you should know, Tom took the pictures at the ceremony. Enjoy! You can reach him at

Last but not least, heee’s back! There was a Brian Gamberg sighting at APEX. Try for more info.

After looking through our show photos, we noticed that there were some other products, features, and companies we had not mentioned and we thought our readers might enjoy. We also found a few features we hadn’t noticed that last go-around. Here is the final roundup of the show coverage. Next week we will start ‘drilling down’ on the big ticket items and their features, and will do so for the foreseeable editorial future – so stay tuned.

AVID’s Tom Mockler had us try their Premium Line Noise Canceling Headset – A6420 and boy did they work. While we did not get the price he noted that “they are half the price of the high end product”. And no, that is not Dave wearing them! You can follow AVID on Facebook!

Larry Girard demo’ed the latest RAVE hardware – seatback screen/electronics assemble. Note the key used to access the display and it was the only HOT SWAPPABLE unit we saw at the show. The thickness of the unit has shrunk and we think airlines have already ordered. Visit the IMS website and check out the RAVE specs.

There were a lot of Hollywood stars at the show….

Here are two seats from Aviointeriors and note that they are positioned end of the spectrum. First, here is their elegant economy seat, and secondly the now-famous, “saddle seat”. Please observe that the latter demo unit is constructed of tubing (model-like), however, it is the cleverest seat marketing gimmick ever. It garnered most press visits of the show! We doubt that we will ever see the latter on a plane because of the limited egress, and frankly, the Aviointeriors folks did not think it would gain acceptance because of cert issues. They did, however, perform some preference testing with no public results reported.

Good guy, Ray Felk, is now a consultant after spending many years at ECS. If you need equipment rack and/or cabling expertise, this is the fellow you want to get. You can reach him at 414 6178901 or via email: Tell him IFExpress sent you!

This economy seatback/tray table from Astronics has our vote as probably the best way to fly IFE-less in the “back of the bus” and bring those smartphones and iPods we all seem to carry – please note the USB charging capability. It will not support iPad power requirements (2 A or so), however, some bright person said to use the 110 AC power outlet and your 110 AC charging module – DUH!

This is an ashamedly obvious plug for an energy drink, BodaB, concocted by Paul Burke, of Telefonix fame. The new formulation works even better than the old one (called EXE) which we equated with Lake Erie water (it wasn’t). The IFExpress crew sipped BodaB throughout the show. Also, be sure to check out their cord reel products on the telefonix website.

When you get rich (not in the newsletter business), this is what you will sit in when you fly!

Thales brought their latest version of integrated seat/IFE and you should note the card reader and interface option panes on the lower left (USB port, phone jack, game controller, etc. Thin and gorgeous, we loved it. Watch the Next Generation video for the details. Very Cool!

Not to be outdone, Panasonic showed their integrated IFE on 3 seat supplier products. Now designated EcoSeries Smart Monitors offer seatback IFE with monitors as large as 11.1 inches. They have managed to reduce the thickness and cut the weight and power in half from their previous generation devices. Interestingly, there are no mechanical switches and they have a new optional, screen filter (lens) that offers viewing privacy. – also, now the tilt mechanism is eliminated too. Check out the specs in the link. By the way, if you have not met the new Panasonic PR guy, Brian Bardwell, prepare to be impressed!

Lastly, we have a new feature planned that will probably get your attention, if for no other reason than it will be somewhat controversial. We will tell you a bit more next time as the development work is underway!