Monday, August 29, 2011

United Issues iPad EFBs to its Pilots

WMAQ-TV Report on United Airlines Use if iPad EFBs

Welcome to Wired!

It seems like every time we turn on TV there’s another story about an airline that has issued the iPad electronic flight bag to it’s pilots. United is the latest, issuing the 1.5-pound tablet to its 11,000 pilots in place of a 40-pound satchel filled with paper. The captain interviewed above says the weight savings will cut 326,000 gallons from United’s annual fuel bill. 

If you want to know what it will take to introduce the iPad EFB to your cockpits, ASIG can provide more than answers. Starting with iPads that have proven their EMI and rapid decompression durability, ASIG can provide power supplies, data connections, and Class II mounts that unleash the iPad’s full capabilities. (For more details, see ASIG Certifies iPad EFB on N-Jet Charter Fleet.)

Until next time, stay 5x5, mission ready, and Wired!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Airline Innovations a Growing Presence at EAA AirVenture

Welcome to Wired!

AV11-151General aviation predominates at EAA AirVenture, but the makers of transport category aircraft and their systems are a growing presence at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, event held July 25 to August 1. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner occupied center stage midweek, followed by a Southwest Airlines NextGen 737, complete with its distinctive satellite antenna hump that feeds the airplane’s cabin WiFi system. People formed long lines to tour both jets.

Rockwell Collins debuted its exhibit chalet that promoted its avionics systems for business and transport category aircraft, including the 787. In return for completing a marketing survey that gauged the participant’s knowledge of the company the respondent received a branded straw hat. In opposite corners of the chalet visitors availed themselves of hands-on demonstrations of the avionics capabilities.

AV11-24Absent this year was the FAA’s Washington, D.C., contingent that normally presents updates on programs such as the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Laminated notices stood by empty chairs where FAAers normally sat while answering questions one on one. Randy Babbitt did make it for his annual “Meet the FAA Administrator” session on Thursday. He apologized for the FAA’s absence and said that right now, after aviation safety, getting its 21st temporary funding measure through Congress was the FAA’s first priority, so those furloughed could resume work on everything from airport construction projects to system development. Getting long-term funding was second. Third was the continued implementation of NextGen.

Jeppesen Debuts Mobile FliteDeck & Digital Data

In the hands of participants and exhibitors Apple iPads and tablet computers like them were a dominant presence, as were the mounts that secured them to a pilot’s leg or aircraft. Jeppesen announced its new Mobile FliteDeck app that delivers interactive en route charts, terminal charts, and text, all derived from truly digital data, not memory hungry digital scans. Express JeppView’s space saving vector images vastly expand the coverage area, load quickly, and provide seamless coverage. Updates from Jepp’s global library are available worldwide. 

Jepp Mobile FliteDeck image 3FliteDeck includes own-ship position and route overlay and the ability to view the complete library of charts, diagrams, and Airway Manual Text. The digital data enables pilots to declutter charts, selecting the information they need to see, when they need to see it. A “scrubber” does the same for terminal charts. The “favorites” function provides quick, one-touch access to airport and en route charts.

At the media announcement, the Jepp rep made it clear that the app builds on the success of the Jeppesen Mobile TC for the iPad, and that FliteDeck is available for the general, business, commercial, and military aviation markets. He added that many operators will need FAA approval for in-flight use, a process that includes rapid decompression testing, which ASIG has successfully demonstrated.

Aspen’s Connected Panel Integrates Mobile Devices

Aspen Connected panelAspen Avionics demonstrated its new patent-pending line of Connected Panel hardware, software, and apps that employ two-way WiFi communication to seamlessly integrate aviation data from personal electronic devices with certificated avionics installed in the aircraft. This technology is enabled by Aspen’s Evolution Flight Displays, and it will be available at the end of 2011 through Aspen dealers.

The initial apps are in development for Apple iOS and Android platforms. They are based on an open hardware architecture and application programming interface. Connected Panel developers will have access to an open API with no licensing or royalty fees.

The Connected Panel hardware is a small, blind-mounted box, the CG100. It contains wireless, Bluetooth, and USB connections and flash memory storage. Employing commercially available technology, it features standard protocol ports and communication slots that will allow developers to add peripheral hardware to the CG100 as needed for their own applications.

Aspen Connected Pilot iPad app tuning w iPadConnected Pilot is the initial Connected Panel product. It includes the ability to tune radios and cross-fill flight plans from the iPad to the Bendix-King KSN 770, a GPS nav-com currently being developed by Honeywell and Aspen Avionics. ForeFlight will release a new version of ForeFlight Mobile with Connected Pilot capability that will enable pilots to plan flights on the iPad and load it into the KSN 770.

Aspen has been actively cultivating partnerships with those who will employ Connected Panel technology in new products of their own. They include AvConnect, Jeppesen, JP Instruments, Parrot, Pinnacle Aerospace, PS Engineering, Seattle Avionics, and Sporty’s Pilot Shop.

Avidyne Launches Plug & Play Touch-Screen Avionics

Avidyne touch screenAvidyne Corporation, long known for its glass panels, has launched a full-line of general aviation avionics. Available in 2012, they are plug & play replacements for other brands. Standing out is the IFD540 touch-screen FMS/GPS nav-com. The FMS meets TSO-C146c for full SBAS/LPV approach guidance and features one-touch airway and jet route navigation. Looking forward to the 2020 deadline imposed by NextGen, Avidyne’s new AXP340 Mode S plug & play transponder with extended squitter meets the NextGen ADS-B Out requirements. The transponder combines with the ADS-B In capable TAS600A Series Traffic Advisory System to complete NextGen capabilities.

HondaJet Natural Laminar Flow Wing

AV11-40In the Honda chalet was a huge metal panel obviously the product of a CNC mill. Covering its jeweled slightly concave surface was a grid of integral stiffeners. Milled from a single 2,500-pound billet of aluminum alloy, it was the top skin of the HondaJet’s natural laminar flow wing (NLF). With the ribs as part of the skin, the upper and lower panels essentially bolt to the spar, seriously reducing the parts count. With the rigid, smooth surface, Honda said the NLF delivers a high maximum lift coefficient, low profile drag, and reduced performance penalties due to leading edge bug contamination, a problem with conventional laminar flow airfoils.

Until next time, stay 5x5, mission ready, and Wired!