A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Connectivity

We put a few questions to Inmarsat about their services and tracking aircraft.  The answers are fascinating in light of recent events.

  • In the wake of AF447 and MH370, it would seem the case for tracking aircraft is self-evident. Should this tracking be on all aircraft or only those in distress?

Tracking – or position reporting – should be on every trans-oceanic aircraft.  Many airlines already routinely [and voluntarily] report their position using Inmarsat’s services. In fact, on average, operators report aircraft position every 22 minutes, rising to 18 minutes on North Atlantic routes where there is a mandate for use of Future Air Navigation System (FANS) capabilities, which includes position reporting to Air Traffic Control via ADS-C.

Some aircraft operators report aircraft position already as frequently as every 2 minutes. This usage reinforces that the benefit of position reporting is clearly understood by aircraft operators and the… Continue reading

In the wake of this week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, it seems that airlines are paying attention to the revenue potential in the cabin.  As is pointed out here, connectivity is becoming the “new normal”.  So its with interest that we note Vueling, a Spanish LCC, is adding connectivity.  The solution comes from Telefónica and combines with Eutelsat and LiveTV (now owned by Thales).  Telefónica will integrate the LiveTV onboard technology and ViaSat satellite terminals with Eutelsat’s Air Acess mobile service, which uses high throughput satellites. The system should generate 20MBps.  Four of the airline’s A320s are being fitted, but we expect the entire fleet will get this service.  Interestingly the solution is going right away to satellite, Ka band for now, but probably will migrate to Ku eventually.   Continue reading

In the wake of the disappearance and assumed crash of Malaysian flight 370, industry chatter regarding uninterruptible autopilots installed on Boeing aircraft has intensified. Boeing was awarded a patent for this technology in 2006, and reportedly began installations a year later. According to an August 2009 story (requires a login) from FlightGlobal, Airbus considered equipping the A350XWB with an automated system that would put the aircraft into an unaided emergency descent should unsafe cabin pressure be detected.

Two pilots tried out Google Glass with very interesting usability.  Take a look here for details of the event.  An item that attracts our attention here is how this might be used for EFBs.  As we have seen, pilots increasingly use tablets (iPad) as an EFB rather than carry heavy bags full of paper.  The deployment of the Google solution could be interesting.

We recently completed the 2013 EFB Report based on a survey of airlines around the world.  This survey is the only objective source of insight in how airlines are deploying EFBs; we review the operating systems, the impact of tablets and what both airlines and pilots want from these devices.  We also include a section on cabin automation.  The reports has important insights and recommendations regarding cyber-security.

The 2013 EFB Report has a forward written by IATA’s Director of Flight Operations, Jens Bjarnason.   The 2013 report is available for $490 and the 2012 report is available for $349.

Please contact us with any questions or for digital delivery.

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