Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rockwell Collins' ARINCDirect Bundles to Further Enhance Connectivity

Rockwell Collins acquired ARINC Inc last year in its largest purchase in its history at $1.4 billion. In the last 10 months, Rockwell Collins have folded ARINC into an information management services organisation with the former Air Routing International – now Ascend Flight Information Solutions and Computing Technologies for Aviation (CTA) businesses. Combined and branded as ARINCDirect, the marketplace is presented with a robust suite of flight planning and international-trip software with communications technology for enhanced aircraft and ground communications solutions.

Combining Ascend and ARINCDirect online, with an integration of mobile applications and consolidated customer billing was the first job for the aligned sales teams and progress was measured in subscriptions to the newly-bundled offerings.

“When we started out here, our objective was to look at where are the Ascend customers that might have different connectivity than Arinc, where are the Arinc customers that might use different international trip planning—and synch those customers up so that we can provide a combined value proposition,” Jeff Standerski, senior vice president of information management services, said. “We’ve been able to do that on 60-plus tails already within a nine-month period.”

As one of the biggest names and forefront players in the business aviation sector, Rockwell Collins’ ARINCDirect promises further advancement in the industry with ‘bundled’ features and integration with leading avionics systems, such as Pro Line Fusion suites and the improved iPad planning application.

Providers of Inflight Connectivity Systems for Business AviationWith the onboard Wi-Fi revolution firmly underway and becoming increasingly standard on today’s business aircraft, maintenance personnel and connectivity providers are finding that their workloads are becoming more complex. According to NBAA Maintenance Committee Chairman, Jim Sparks, nowhere is this more of an issue than in the business aviation community, with technicians having a different ‘need to know’ than their counterparts in general aviation.

“In business aviation, technicians have a somewhat different ‘need to know,'” said Sparks. “In our case when you talk about an [Airframe and/or Powerplant] A&P you speak of an all-purpose technician — meaning you have to service tires or diagnose slow Internet access. … You get into the world of the airlines [and] yes, in many cases they have the technology and they have the specialists who deal with it. They’re not necessarily A&Ps, they’re more network specialists because they don’t have to have the return to service authority that an A&P technician does.”

Inflight connectivity in the modern business jet has evolved at an astonishing pace. Business passengers are able to operate at 45,000 feet as effectively as they can in their ground-based offices. It is becoming clear, according to Mr Sparks, that training standards have not been as fast to evolve and demand is growing for skilled technicians in the industry.

“The current requirement for the need to know of A&P technicians was established by the FAA and is pretty much based on technology from the 1960s or earlier; it just has not evolved over the years,” said Sparks. “There are some A&P schools, some affiliated with colleges or universities that have stepped it up where they provide more knowledge than is required. But the basic requirements for an A&P, they have not changed. If you go to an A&P school to get an A&P license that’s all you’re going to get, and you’ll have a basic understanding of ‘60s and ‘70s technology equipment.”

The NBAA and the FAA are beginning to work towards to evolution of training standards for A&P technicians. Nextech for NextGen is a program that includes formal development called ‘Project Bootstrap’, providing guidance to the FAA in the revision of basic requirements.

The phases of the program will address the need for filling the gaps in these areas and also for the physical installation and maintenance of advanced IFE systems.

Other Leading Providers of  Network Infrastructure SolutionsVistara, the brand name for new Indian airline of TATA SIA Airlines Ltd, has announced that it has awarded a new contract for an integrated suite of aircraft communications and airline operational services to SITA.

The contract will see vital upgrades to the network infrastructure that allows reliable airline communications solutions to benefit air-to-ground operations, datalink services and critical passenger services.

“We are pushing the boundaries of air travel to deliver exceptional service to our customers, including the very best on-time performance. To achieve this, we need a network infrastructure that’s cost-effective, resilient, easily deployable and scalable, and SITA offers all of this. SITA has designed a comprehensive network solution to fit our specific requirements against a very ambitious rollout schedule,” said Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO of TATA SIA Airlines Ltd.

Using Type B messaging, Vistara will connect air transport industry providers with its back offices, ticketing desks and check-in counters in addition to managing critical messaging across the scalable network, resulting in greater operational efficiencies and productivity.

With a scalable infrastructure, Vistara plans to begin the change of India’s flying experience one step at a time, allowing for expansion and using a system that can grow with them.

Parts Manufacturing Aprroval Granted by FAASupplemental Type Certificate (STC) has been received from the FAA for ICG and Chicago Jet Group to develop and install ICG’s latest eRouter aircraft data management system on the Dassault Falcon 900 business jet. Hailed as the ‘best in class’, the eRouter promises to deliver enhanced cabin connectivity and high-speed data transfer.

ICG has also been granted Parts Manufacturing Authority (PMA) for the ERT-120.

The router is the lightest and smallest certified product in its class and is capable of multiple connections to networks such as Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and Iridium.

“We designed the eRouter with a modular architecture that makes it easy to expand its capabilities and adapt to varied systems and advancing technologies,” said ICG’s Executive Vice President, Brad Smith.

With provision of airborne connectivity to Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) the eRouter can deliver efficiencies on the flight deck with the addition of cabin connectivity for passengers and cabin crew for use of tablet PCs and Smartphone technology at speeds comparable with those on the ground.

“The eRouter’s modular architecture also reduces costs by offering operators only those services they might currently require, yet providing a forward upgrade path for future and emerging requirements,” Smith continued. “It has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that allows operators to install updates in the field and permits many configuration options and flexibility to tailor the functionality to an operator’s specific needs.”

Other Improved Passenger Processing Solutions ProvidersThe Airports Authority of India (AAI) has announced that 25 airports across the country can now handle their 50 million passengers more efficiently and easily with the installation of new integrated passenger processing and baggage handling systems.

In a collaboration with SITA, the AAI have deployed common-use, self-service solutions as a part of a considerable program for modernisation of the airports across India. The baggage systems will be installed in 38 airports and it is hoped that they will reduce baggage mishandling by 10-20%.

“Our airport modernization program is designed to provide better service both for passengers and airlines alike as air travel in India continues to grow,” said Mr. Sudhir Raheja, Chairman of the Airports Authority of India. “With passenger numbers expected to reach 450 million by 2020, we need to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible. SITA’s baggage systems, common use technology, and self-service check in kiosks are flexible, convenient and will help establish a firm foundation for future growth”.

The baggage reconciliation systems will be integrated into the AAI airports over the next seven years and will utilise the latest technology for CUPPS, CUSS and CUTE systems.

Worldwide Passenger Data Transfer ProvidersThe U.N. Security Council have called for new measures to help curb the movement of potential terrorists. Drafted by the U.S. the measures received unanimous approval from the Security Council, who intend to clamp down on funding and recruitment opportunities amongst the militant groups.

U.S. President, Mr Barack Obama said that it is believed that around 15,000 fighters have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliated group, from more than 80 nations. Speaking about the crisis at an unusual Security Council session, Mr Obama said, “The tactic of terrorism is not new. What brings us together today, what is new, is the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to and from conflict zones, including Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Libya, and most recently, Syria and Iraq.”

Strengthened steps will be taken to prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from entering their territories or passing through borders. Part of the plan is the widespread provision of Advance Passenger Information (API), currently mandatory in the U.S. and spreading throughout the world.

Mandatory provision of API, which includes passenger details, destination countries and methods of payment in some cases, can help governments and border agencies to track the movements of travellers, thus indicating potential high-risk passengers for further investigation. The resolution also includes a strengthening of the legal framework for international action by the suggestion of a passage of legislation that can give countries greater flexibility for the prosecution of suspected foreign fighters.

The U.N. have also encouraged member states to be more co-operative with information-sharing.

“Foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their states of origin, the states they transit and the states to which they travel,” the resolution said. More efficient methods of sharing information is what is called for to discourage recruitment, organisation and financing of terrorist movements and the aim of the resolution is to make this as difficult as possible.

First UK Remanufactured Business Aircraft DeliveredThe world’s only remanufactured business jet, the Nextant 400XTi is being delivered to the UK, the maker, Nextant Aerospace has announced this week. The aircraft will be operated by SaxonAir, Norwich-based business jet operators and exclusive UK sales representatives for Nextant.

Although six other 400XTi’s have been delivered to Europe, this is the first to come to the UK and it is hoped that the UK charter market will benefit from the addition as the aircraft can fly non-stop from London to any European city faster than any other in its class. The greater part of the European fleet operated in excess of 80-90 monthly hour and is a strong revenue generator.

Chris Mace, Group Commercial Director for SaxonAir Group said, “The 400XTi’s range allows our customers direct travel anywhere in Europe for considerably less than any other light jet and without sacrificing performance or comfort. The aircraft allows us to offer the productivity benefits of business aviation to whole new customer segments.”

Remanufacturing is growing stronger in Europe as operators focus on financial aspects. Other benefits include reduced environmental impact of remanufacture, compared to the manufacture of new products. In the U.S. the remanufacturing industry is worth around $50 billion, with yearly growth expectations of around 15%.

“There has been a lot of talk in Parliament and in the press about the benefits of remanufacturing,” continued Mr. Mace. “The 400XTi is proof of concept. The 400XTi performs like a new-build aircraft by every meaningful metric but costs a fraction as much to own and operate. That delivers value both to our business and our customer’s bottom line.”

At half the purchase price of a new production aircraft, Nextant is pioneering the concept of remanufacture for business aviation.

Rockwell Collins' ARINC HFDL CapabilitiesRockwell Collins demonstrated the capability of their Pro Line Fusion flight deck to be utilised as a ground control station last month as a part of a flight demonstration with the University of Iowa College of Engineering Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL).

Alex Postnikov, principle engineering manager at the Rockwell Collins Advanced Technology Center said that the aim of the flight was to ‘test the operational capability of a distributed Flight Management System using a certified digital communications link.’

The flight was conducted with a surrogate unmanned aircraft with a safety pilot onboard in order to test some of the repurposed Rockwell Collins technology for manned aircraft, with a view to applying that to unmanned aircraft.

“One of the big parts of the certification with the FAA is being able to handle lost link procedures. Today in the military world, when you lose a link, the [unmanned] aircraft essentially starts spiralling up with the hope of getting a line of sight to the radio. When it is unable to do that for some time it just flies in a straight line to the point of origin or where it is launched from,” said Postnikov. “Imagine doing something like this in the NAS. You cannot do that. The aircraft cannot just spiral up and just fly it in a straight line somewhere. So you have to follow the Standard RNP procedures, you have to use the standard navaids that are understood by everybody who flies in the NAS. That’s the piece that we believe has very strongly positioned us because the Pro Line Fusion has that capability. While this test focused on demonstrating the datalink capability, the emphasis of the September flight test was to “ensure that we can exercise our distributed Flight Management System (FMS).”

The only part of the flight test that was not automated was the take-off and landing procedures. The test team artificially broke the data link between the aircraft during the test and the modified Pro Line Fusion ground station, which was connected to the radio that was in communication with the aircraft.

Cost is a major issue with HFDL communications and Rockwell Collins are, through their acquisition of ARINC last year, offering cost effective solutions for aircraft messaging across the world, whether in manned or unmanned aircraft.

Global SwiftBroadband Providers for Flight Deck CommunicationsL2 Consulting Services, avionics engineering, integration and installation services providers, have announced a contract from Cobham SATCOM to develop the STC for AVIATOR SwiftBroadband installations for Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 series aircraft. The certification will apply for the use of ACARS Ground Gateways (AGGWs) for FANS and ACARS safety messages.

With the design phase already in action, prototype installations and certification is on track for the projected completion deadline during the first quarter of next year.

President of L2, Mark Lebovitz said, “This FANS 1 Controller Pilot Data Link Communication and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract to implement over SwiftBroadband Safety Services certification project is intended to support the FAA’s initiative to evaluate communication technologies that are expected to be viable in meeting the needs of the aviation community. We are delighted that Cobham SATCOM has entrusted our company with such a significant program to support FANS Evaluation flight trials towards meeting ICAO GOLD RCP240 requirements for support of 30/30 NM operations.”

AVIATOR SwiftBroadband is capable of delivering voice and data communications in addition to the provision of other critical services, such as aircraft tracking data, support for Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and Ethernet connectivity for devices such as the Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs).

Airport Systems Providers for Biometric Border SecuritySuperCom, global provider of electronic intelligence solutions has today announced that they will be implementing a high-scale National Security e-Government contract consisting of several, integrated modules. The system is intended to enhance the security of the Country’s borders and add to the economic growth.

Included in the e-Gate security system will be:

Biometric eGate for border control will be deployed at all port entry/exit points for air, sea and land to increase national security for immigration control and improve efficiency.

Biometric Visa applications will reduce processing time and aid the identification of potential security threats to the country.

Biometric Resident Identification System will implement biometric enrolment stations for the issue of ICAO-compliant resident ID cards.

Biometric e-Passport System for the issue of ICAO-standard high security e-Passports.

Providers of electronic borders solutions bring enhanced levels of efficiency to passenger processing while maintaining secure borders. The implementation of systems can help to reduce waiting times with the expedition of ‘low-risk’ travellers and the identification of potential ‘high-risk’ passenger for further investigation.