• Teldeyne Controls’ expert says airlines need to ‘connect the dots’ of technology already installed

El Segundo, CA | May 23, 2014– A Leading aircraft data communications business says that streaming black box data using existing avionics could shortly become a reality – removing the mysteries and miseries that often follow an aviation tragedy.

Speaking at the Expert Dialogue on Real-time Monitoring of Flight Data in Malaysia on Monday 26th May, William Cecil, Director of Business Development of Teledyne Controls will present a case for providing virtually unlimited real time flight data monitoring by using existing aircraft systems and better ‘connecting the dots’:

“It could be very quickly possible to enable black box data streaming in flight for many existing aircraft without installing any new technology,” he says.

“By simply connecting a broadband flight data IP router on board with the broadband satcom systems that airlines are increasingly installing for the primary purpose of Internet access for passengers, we believe this is possible, and are planning to work with partner airlines and OEMs to prove this concept.”

Broadband flight data IP router capability already exists on an increasing number of aircraft. Teledyne Controls’ own Wireless GroundLink® (WGL Comm+™) unit that has this routing capability is being rapidly adopted by airlines to improve post flight analysis for flight safety. By way of context, Wireless GroundLink® systems are currently being installed on over two thirds of new delivery Airbus A330 and A380, and Boeing 747-8 and 777 aircraft and this adoption rate is increasing.

“Connecting WGL Comm+ units to broadband satcom systems will enable airlines to realise real time flight data monitoring in a very short space of time,” adds Mr. Masood Hassan, President of Teledyne Controls, “and in doing so will resolve one of the last major headaches that airlines face – understanding the causes of an aviation emergency within moments of an event taking place.”

Teledyne Controls has been providing real time airborne Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) since the 1960s, and post-flight FDM since the early 1990s before the practice was mandated by ICAO. In 2001 it worked with NASA to demonstrate transmission of black box data over ACARS ATN (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System/Aeronautical Telecommunications Network). In the same year Teledyne Controls and Airbus launched the joint development of the powerful FDM system AirFASE which is now used by more than 150 airlines to improve flight safety and reduce operational risk for operators of all aircraft types.

  • New WGL-AID Connects Crew Tablets With Onboard Avionics Suite

El Segundo, CA | May 20, 2014– A new technology that connects commercial tablets and crew devices used in the cockpit with an aircraft’s existing onboard data communication systems to significantly enhance the management and the exchange of information between the aircraft and the ground has been launched by Teledyne Controls.

WGL-AID™, an extension of Teledyne’s existing Wireless GroundLink® System (WGL Comm+™) will enable airlines to connect these tablets to the WGL Comm+ unit, which is typically used as a Wireless Quick Access Recorder (WQAR), for the purpose of achieving off-aircraft communication and access to aircraft avionics data as well as interface with aircraft ACARS systems and cockpit printers.

The move comes as an increasing number of airlines look to equip their flight crew with either Windows-based tablets or Apple iPads for use as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), and supply the maintenance and ground crews with devices for use as Electronic Technical Logs (eTechLog).

Murray Skelton, Director of Business Development at Teledyne Controls, says that WGL-AID™ enables commercial tablets to be fully utilised to resolve flight deck and cabin crew information challenges: “The technology not only helps to co-ordinate and manage information across tablets, but it also provides on-aircraft data storage, eliminates manual data entry errors, and provides internet access while on the ground,” he says.

The WGL-AID™ concept involves several individual functions as follows:

  • Router™ – provides off-aircraft IP (Internet Protocol) network access to applications hosted on external crew devices (e.g. EFB) by means of the internal cellular telephone modems contained with the WGL-Comm+™ unit. The function is active while the aircraft is on the ground.
  • ADIF (Aircraft Data Interface Function) – parameter service providing external device (EFB) applications with aircraft parameters available via ARINC 429 buses, ARINC 717 (ACMS or Mandatory) buses and/or ground/open discretes. The ADIF function eliminates the need for re-entry of many parameters into EFB applications that may have already been entered via the MCDU or through FMS uploads.
  • DataStore – Exposing ‘aircraft attached storage’ to applications such as Electronic Log Books thus providing a means to retain data entries on-board the aircraft after portable devices issued to crew leave the aircraft following flights.
  • ACARS Proxy – Utilizing the cabin terminal port[s] of the Aircraft’s existing CMU or ATSU for EFB applications to send and receive non-critical AOC (Aeronautical Operational Control) ACARS messages over the traditional ACARS links from/to EFB or CFB (Crew Flight Bag) devices.
  • Print Server – Connecting the EFB to the cockpit printer (textual or graphical) for printing content from applications such as ELB (Electronic Log Book) or a TechPubs application as a hardcopy in tangible form, e.g. to provide means of assurance to crew members that messages or instructions to gate crew members are not forgotten or transcribed incorrectly.

The WGL-AID™ function extends the investment airlines have already made in the WGL Comm+™ provisions and hardware for use in applications such as automated wireless Flight Data download and wireless distribution of software parts across the fleet. Enabling the WGL-AID function is very easy as it only requires a software upgrade to the WGL Comm+ Unit.