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:
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.”


Inmarsat:
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.


SITA:
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.