The webFB is the first approved wireless AID certified for use in the flight deck

East Aurora, NY | June 12, 2017– Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ: ATRO), through its wholly-owned subsidiaries Astronics Armstrong Aerospace and Astronics Ballard Technology, announced today it has received installation approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada, and Direccíon General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC Mexico) for its webFB® Wireless Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) device for use on Boeing 737 aircraft. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the initial Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the webFB in 2016.

“These approvals will enable installation of the webFB on aircraft not only in the US, but now throughout Europe, Canada and Mexico,” said Jon Neal, Vice President and General Manager of Astronics Ballard Technology. “The webFB is a game-changer in terms of size, cost and ease of installation. The wireless webFB device enables airlines to provide avionics data connectivity to their portable EFBs with a simple install requiring minimal downtime. A fleet-wide implementation could be completed in days rather than years.”
The ultra-compact webFB easily fits in the palm of the hand, yet incorporates the capabilities of both an Aircraft Interface Device (AID) and a wireless server. The built-in AID safely gathers essential data from an aircraft’s ARINC 429 and 717 data buses and conveys it to custom software or EFB apps hosted on its internal server. Using a wireless connection to portable EFB tablets, the webFB securely delivers valuable information right to the fingertips of the flight crew.

In conjunction with the newly issued validations, Astronics is currently working with airlines that are actively conducting trials using the webFB to increase operational efficiencies. Airlines and software partners are developing a variety of enhanced EFB applications for the webFB including flight optimization, electronic tech logs, and real-time Quick Access Recorder (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.

Astronics Armstrong Aerospace developed the installation design and provided regulatory certification services for the webFB. “The simplicity of our 737 test port installation design allows our airline customers to quickly install the webFB device during routine overnight maintenance visits,” said Rob Abbinante, President of Astronics Armstrong Aerospace. The STCs also approve the installation of the Astronics AES EmPower® Flight Deck USB UltraLite Power System, which charges portable EFBs while in flight.

Astronics Ballard Technology will spotlight the webFB at the EFB Users Forum (booth 25) in Vienna, Austria, June 13-15. The webFB is available now. For complete product details and to request a quote, visit Astronics.com/BallardTechnology/webFB.

Astronics Ballard Technology is the industry-leader for reliable avionics data bus interface solutions and world- class customer support. Astronics Armstrong Aerospace is an innovative aviation engineering, design and manufacturing company that upgrades aircraft with new technologies.

  • Nesma Airlines is AirFi’s first Middle East airline customer and the 21st overall
  • The carrier will deploy AirFi’s Wireless IFE solution on its A320 and A321 aircraft
  • The solution will launch with Nesma in six weeks

Singapore | October 26, 2016– Market-leading Wireless IFE provider AirFi is proud to announce the signing of its first customer in the Middle East – and twenty-first customer globally – Nesma Airlines.

Nesma plans to deliver a streaming IFE solution to passengers flying on its Airbus A320 family aircraft in November this year, less than six weeks from contract signature. With over 20 airline customers flying with the AirFi solution every day, the AirFi team is experienced in enabling such speedy fleet-wide deployments of its system.

AirFi’s fully-featured portable Wireless IFE platform allows passengers to access DRM and non-DRM movies and TV shows, games, chat, duty free and post-flight shopping and daily updated news and social feeds. To provide such a wide range of content, the company currently works with over fifty content providers both big and small, including its official regional partner, Onboard International.

Furthermore, AirFi’s acquisition of a European technology firm earlier in 2016 means passengers can also play with a state-of-the-art 3D moving map. This new feature showcases numerous points of interest and offers the opportunity for geo-fenced advertising.

Passengers can access the content using their personal electronic devices to connect to a free onboard Wi-Fi network created by the AirFi boxes, which are positioned throughout the cabin in overhead bins. AirFi will initially offer Nesma’s passengers content in English, with the roll-out of Arabic-language content due soon after the solution goes live.

AirFi CEO, Job Heimerikx, comments, “We are delighted to welcome Nesma to the AirFi family and to open up another new region here in the Middle East with our partner Onboard International. We are dedicated to a continuous program of passenger experience enhancements and ensuring that the AirFi platform leads the market as the best-in-class hard and software solution for safety, performance, cost and speed of deployment.”

Martijn Moret, AirFi’s Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Operations in Asia, adds, “We’re very proud to announce our first Middle East airline customer, because it’s a new territory for us. It’s a tangible result of our expansion in focus from solely Europe out to the rest of the world.”
AirFi made the decision to expand its global reach earlier this year. So far, it has eighteen European customers, as well as one carrier based in the Philippines and one based in Mexico. Moret also hinted that further confirmed customer announcements could be expected before the end of the year.

We first heard about meshed aviation networks a few years ago but not much has happened in the build and test phase until now. In the past, and as far back as 2008, mesh networks have found use on the ground and in the air with the military. However, in the last couple of years, mesh networks have found a proposed place, specifically in aviation papers like this one. Interestingly, Wikipedia notes; “The 66-satellite Iridium constellation operates as a mesh network, with wireless links between adjacent satellites. Calls between two satellite phones are routed through the mesh, from one satellite to another across the constellation, without having to go through an earth station. This makes for a smaller travel distance for the signal, reducing latency, and also allows for the constellation to operate with far fewer earth stations than would be required for 66 traditional communications satellites.”
Now, the Airborne Wireless Network folks are targeting the communication to and from the ground, through moving aircraft paths… that is, the planes have antennas that talk to each other, as well as, to ground stations – look at it as a flexible, moving wireless network that does not use satellites, but rather, uses the airplane(s) as the communication nodes to ground stations. As the reported requirements for off-plane data increases, as well as the development failure prediction capability based on more data, communicating black box testing, and passengers and crew data usage goes up – another method to send it might be useful! The concept in our first story is the result of a lot of new technology brought about by new data handling capabilities, advanced antenna processing, flexible spectrum management and frequency-agile transmissions and importantly, software defined networking. While Airborne Wireless Network has kept a low profile about their operation, you are going to hear a lot about the technology, and a lot about their product in the future. Stay Tuned!

Airborne Wireless Network:
Airborne Wireless Network (the company) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding with Kansas City-based Jet Midwest Group (Jet Midwest). It states that both parties have agreed to enter into a definitive agreement by September 30, 2016. The memorandum further states that Jet Midwest Group would be providing up to three Boeing 757-223 Jetliners to Airborne Wireless Network for its ‘proof of network concept’ and FAA certification testing. Two of these Boeing 757-223’s have tentatively been designated for the company’s use.
Once the aircraft have been fitted with Airborne Wireless’ equipment and ground-testing has been completed, the company plans to fly these commercial jets from Roswell, New Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri. According to the FAA, this will be a historic “first ever” flight of a meshed commercial airliner-based network. Their plan is for global service of real-time data performance developing a virtual airborne “worldwide web”. One of the advantages of an airplane-based is, of course, no space junk which is a big deal. The only hang-up is you have to get a lot of folks in the game with all their aircraft before enough coverage is available as a reliable connection service. If there are enough players, the advantages, however, result in multiple signal paths, a true “meshed network”, and no single point of failure. We are sure you can see the issues, especially since we are in the heyday of potential signal hacking but being some 30,000 feet above ‘bad guy’ signal sources may have value, not to mention the removal of ground-to-air and air-to-ground weather-related signal and distance losses. This is worth watching.


GOODBYE JOE:
Last week, Boeing’s Father of the B747, Joe Sutter, passed away at 95. Mr. Sutter was involved with many planes that Boeing built like the B377, the “Dash 80”, B707, B720, B727, B737, and famously as the Father of the B747. He was a nice man and always had the time to say hello… goodbye Joe.


AIN PRODUCT SURVEY CONGRATS!
AIN reports in aircraft cabin electronics this year that, Aircraft Cabin Systems came in second in their Product Report Survey. Gogo Business/Satcom Direct tied for first place. Additionally, Satcom Direct won for overall product reliability. Check the survey results out here.


AIRBUS:
AIRBUS announced orders from VIETJET for 10 A321ceos and 10 A321neos and JETSTAR PACIFIC for 10 A320ceos; and MOU from VIETNAM AIRLINES for 10 more A350s. We also note that AIRBUS delivered 61 airliners (47 A320 Family, seven A330s, six A350s, and two A380) in August versus 44 (32 A320s, 10 A330s, two A380s) in August 2015. It has now delivered 400 some aircraft in 2016.


THE DELTA MESS:
Delta has reported a $100 million loss from those 2300 lost flights last month, which was blamed on a bad router and data backup capability. Wow, that’s an expensive router! Check out the full story.


AIX ASIA:
From the folks at Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia we get this bit of info about the show – “AIX Asia will welcome more than 50 exhibitors across seating, onboard retail, passenger comfort and more, including Geven, ZIM and Mirus Aircraft Seating. We are co-located with the Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO and the APEX EXPO, bringing together over 150 exhibitors to Singapore this year and creating the airline industry’s biggest fall event for the passenger experience industry.” IFExpress will be there October 24 – 27, 2016 and we hope you will too. We should also note that while the Zika virus has now infected 151 individuals in Singapore, the first locally-transmitted Zika infection was reported this past Saturday but most cases reported are from foreigners. “We have been tracking Zika for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his Facebook page. “Our best defense is to eradicate mosquitoes and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore.” Singapore is the only Asian country with active transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. We are bringing our Sawyer Picardin (Consumer Reports highest rated insect repellent – look it up.


VARIOUS LINKS WORTH YOUR TIME:
1. How to Keep Your Mac or iPhone Secure When Traveling Overseas | The Mac Security Blog
2. FAA Tightens Safeguards on Lithium Batteries on Airplanes – WSJ
3. Why You Should Drink Milk Before A Road Trip
4. Long TSA Delays Force Airports To Hire Private Security Contractors – Slashdot
5. ViaSat (VSAT), Eutelsat Receive New Contract in Europe
6. The Ultimate Guide to Travel Plugs
7. Travel hacks to avoid fees for Wi-Fi, extra legroom


auf Wiedersehen AXEL!
“As of today I will go on a sabbatical leave! Still unbelievable for me, but after a very long time at TriaGnoSys and Zii, I will give up work responsibility, and enjoy various other activities, family and friends, which I gave too low focus in the past.  So I am leaving with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other.  Looking forward to seeing you soon again, take care, Axel”

Chicago, IL | May 20, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has partnered with aerospace software specialist PACE to connect PACEs’ Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer – the leading flight optimization application.

Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer is a unique decision support tool developed for a pilot’s electronic flight bag (EFB) that’s designed to continuously evaluate numerous flight data metrics thus optimizing flight paths for maximum efficiency. Under this partnership, the Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer application will be connected in real time so a pilot will be able to adapt to changing conditions while in flight to reduce fuel burn and to improve ontime performance.

This partnership is another example of the value of the connected aircraft and the benefit of having access to real time data and information while in flight.

“By partnering with PACE, we establish a direct relationship to help market and integrate with each other’s products while accelerating speed to market and providing a clear path for adoption of this valuable fuel savings tool into airline operations,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, Gogo’s vice president of connected aircraft services. “Gogo continues to move beyond the passenger connectivity arena and is rapidly enabling the era of the connected aircraft.”

“En-route flight profile optimization enables flight crews to unlock substantial additional fuel savings,” said Oliver Kranz, PACE’s managing partner. “Many airlines have yet to realize the full potential of the connected EFB, and our partnership with Gogo highlights this attractive business case.”

Chicago | May 11, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (“SKY Perfect JSAT”), Asia’s leading provider of satellite services, announced today that the two companies have entered into partnership for increased satellite connectivity over Japan.

Gogo will leverage the JCSAT–5A satellite high throughput beam to increase capacity, which ultimately means better performance for its service to Japan Airlines (JAL). To kick off the new agreement, Gogo will be offering passengers on all JAL domestic flights 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi on each flight.

“Gogo has built its networks to be open, which means we can leverage numerous satellites in the Ku-band around the world,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer. “SKY Perfect JSAT is the largest satellite operator in Asia and by leveraging their high capacity JCSAT–5A satellite, we are able to deliver more bandwidth at lower costs to customers like JAL and their passengers.”

“We are sincerely honored to be a partner with Gogo,” stated Shinji Takada, President & Chief Executive Officer, SKY Perfect JSAT. “This year, we are launching several satellites including JCSAT-14 and JCSAT-15 which have very unique Ku-band coverage over Pacific region and Indian ocean region, Further, we have announced to launch Horizons 3e, a newly Ku-band HTS, in 2018. We will continue to satisfy growing demand in the mobility market with our satellites”

Gogo and SKY Perfect JSAT has also partnered to provide satellite communications services over the Pacific region with the new JCSAT-14 satellite which was successfully launched on 6th May.

Blue Bell, PA | April 28, 2016– MEN Micro Inc. now offers a robust ARINC 600 compliant high speed network server for inflight communications. Pre-integrated and pre-qualified to DO-160G up to the operating system, the versatile MP70S enables aircrafts to achieve new levels of inflight connectivity for wireless data transmission, entertainment, and system maintenance applications.

  • CompactPCI Serial based in-flight network server
  • ARINC 600, 4MCU housing with status display
  • Intel Core i7, quad-core 64-bit processor
  • 16-port managed Gigabit Ethernet Switch
  • Two rugged hot-plug HDD/SSD shuttles with locking support
  • Two antenna interfaces for WiFi and/or 3G/4G cellular interfaces

Application-ready, CPCI Serial-based system for high speed data handling

Using the latest Intel Core i7, quad-core 64-bit processor, the MP70S easily handles the high performance computing and networking requirements of modern avionics applications.

A carrier-grade, managed 16-port Ethernet switch ensures high availability, providing six ports internally and 10 via the ARINC 600 connector.  The new airborne server can simultaneously act as a passenger-accessible wireless access point, while providing a cellular 3G/4G connection for data loading.

Based on CompactPCI Serial, the MP70S is a scalable system offering flexible I/O configuration and long-term availability. Exceptional reliability is ensured through the extremely robust, conduction cooled housing and firmly soldered components as well as the elimination of any maintenance-intensive cables.

The application-ready, general purpose platform is ideal for a variety of inflight applications such as wireless content servers, web or flight maintenance servers, as well as in-flight entertainment systems.

An ARINC 600, 4 MCU housing features a multipurpose OLED display that enables easy viewing of system status, operating instructions, and user-defined data points.

Servicing and maintenance are easily handled through a convenient front panel, which also provides access to two USB 3.0 interfaces for fast, efficient data uploads and internal disk updates. Two hot-pluggable 2.5″ SATA HDD/SSD shuttles, supporting a total storage capacity of 1.8 TB, and two SIM card slots are also accessible via the front panel.

The robust system provides interfaces for ARINC 429 and ARINC 717 as well as discrete I/O for connectivity to legacy aircraft equipment.

London, United Kingdom | November 24, 2015– While in-flight Wi-Fi deployments continue to grab the headlines, the closely related market for wireless in-flight entertainment (W-IFE) rapidly gathers speed. According to Valour Consultancy’s latest research, the number of aircraft equipped with solutions that enable wireless delivery of IFE content will exceed 4,000 by the end of this year, and hit 17,000 by 2024.

W-IFE is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. One is that it is a relatively simple process to add content streaming to existing in-flight connectivity (IFC) networks. However, it is on aircraft that might not otherwise have installed IFE where the real potential lies. Report author and Valour Consultancy’s Senior Consultant, Craig Foster, explains “The single-aisle market is a huge untapped opportunity. With many of these aircraft rolling off production lines without any form of IFE on board, it is a market ripe for lightweight, inexpensive and easy-to-install solutions that have the added potential benefit of being able to generate ancillary revenues.”

Currently, ancillary revenues related to W-IFE are low but Foster believes there is plenty of reason to believe W-IFE can be turned into a profit centre. “Airlines have a known demographic with high levels of disposable income captive for several hours at a time and this alone is attractive to advertisers. When you employ analytical tools, it is possible to segment passengers, show content and ads tailored to their preferences and ensure they are offered products most relevant to them”.

The report also reveals that the emergence of portable solutions from the likes of Media inMotion, AirFi and Lufthansa Systems that do not require an STC are driving interest in W-IFE across the market. Wide-body operators are keen to deploy W-IFE too. But to complement embedded systems and not, as many predict, to replace them. “Second screening is a going to become as big a trend in the air as it is on the ground and carriers are only too aware of this” Foster concluded.

Valour Consultancy is a provider of high quality market intelligence. Its latest report “The Future of Wireless In-Flight Entertainment” offers a comprehensive analysis of the current and future provision of this technology. For a table of contents and report scope, visit: http://www.valourconsultancy.com/what-we-do/wireless-ife