Think back to your last flight. You walked through the busy airport, down the jetway, or up the aircraft stairs. You entered the aircraft, turn right (or infrequently left), find your seat, and the clock starts: the airline has just about thirty seconds to impress you.Did it do so on that flight? Did the seat and its environment look welcoming, comfortable, interesting, and attractive? Or was it bland, blue-grey, poorly lit, and generic? If it was on a low-cost carrier, did it look cheap and cheerful, or cheap and nasty? If it was a full-service airline, did it look and feel premium, distinctive, or stylish? Did it meet the design, branding and experience expectations that the airline set for you in its advertising, booking process, and the #PaxEx so far?In economy and premium economy, the first impression we see is often set by the lighting. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the very latest in programmable lighting along the lines of that used by Finnair or Icelandair or Philippine Airlines. But it should at the very least be something more than the bright stark white that so many airlines still use, or the tired dim beige that screams thirty-year-old aircraft.Light-colored neutrals aren’t necessarily a problem if they can be coloured by light. Image: John WaltonThe seat fabric used is also key, and it’s a shame that so few airlines make the most of it. After all, it’s practically invisible once passengers are sitting on it, but there’s an opportunity for real fun and differentiation on first sight. Does it break up the serried ranks of seats? Does it catch the lighting, and does it harken back to the airline’s brand? Or is it row after row of dark blue or grey material that could belong to dozens of airlines?Could you name this airline from the cabin design? If not, does that create a problem for a carrier like Scoot? Image: John WaltonAll of those factors from economy are relevant in business and first class too, of course, where passengers paying premium fares are increasingly expecting a premium look and feel. But here there’s more space to work with — and correspondingly more design opportunities to grasp or to squander.Crucially, there is the factor of in-cabin seat shells to consider up front. Walls of greige thermoplastic should sound a cautionary note unless there is thoughtful, consistent lighting that ups the interest level, and a materials choice that works with the lighting rather than against it.Walls and cabin monuments, too, are growing in importance, as is the work done by companies like ABC International alongside design houses to brand cabins and give them a premium feel.Increasingly, the thought given to how the soft product for a flight is presented is a shibboleth for good design and good passenger experience in business class.How are the blankets, pillows, duvets, mattress pads, amenity kits, headphones slippers and other items presented? Are they squeezed into a shrink-wrapped plastic bag and shoved into the footwell? Do you end up with so much plastic wrapping to throw away that you wince in guilt for the future of the planet? Are the seat and side-table surfaces so covered with bits and bobs that you can’t put your hand luggage down to pull out the few things you need for takeoff and landing?Just how much plastic wrapping is truly required of soft product? Image: John WaltonOr have the headphones been discreetly hung on their special hook, the slippers slipped into the magazine rack, the amenity kit positioned attractively, the pillows arranged to look plump and inviting, the duvets tucked out of the way, the mattress pads stored overhead until it’s bedtime?A legitimate question for passengers – just where do you put all that stuff? Image: John WaltonOnce you’re seated, is the screen on and showing something attractive, informative, fun, or otherwise eye-catching? Is what you’re looking at interesting or swanky enough to take a quick snapshot for your family and friends on social media? Or are you staring at a featureless seatback and a dark screen?Is what you see when you sit down worthy of a snap with your cameraphone? Image: John WaltonThere’s a strange mirror dichotomy between designing for a first impression looking down at a seat and, by contrast, for the fact that passengers might be looking at the other side of that seat for nearly twenty-four hours. Getting it right — designing a seat that does both well — takes a long time and much expertise.Related Articles:Towards designing Instagram-worthy modern premium PaxExItaly’s ABC International takes cabin branding to the next levelIs the future of seatback thermoplastics really greige?Finnair’s London A350 is a refreshing change from Eurobusiness normLift explores cabin lighting as a brand canvas and revenue streamBetter flight in amber: is it time to bring warmth back to cabin colors?Gulf Air gets to the heart of identity with rebranding effortCabin designers lavish praise on new airframer-branded cabins
Following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 after takeoff from Addis Ababa this weekend, as an aviation journalist who writes regularly about safety, the answer one is always supposed to be able to give when asked if I trust the regulatory experts and would board a Boeing 737 MAX is an unqualified “yes”.But I could not give that unqualified “yes” if asked whether I would happily fly on a 737 MAX yesterday, and even less so today with a growing number of jurisdictions expressing concerns by grounding the aircraft while ET302 is investigated.Civil aviation authorities in Europe, the UK, Australia and Singapore have issued bans on the 737 MAX, and the numbers of airlines and jurisdictions refusing to allow the aircraft to be flown continue to grow. It remains unclear precisely what the regulators and airlines are looking to assess. Reading between some lines, it’s possible to speculate that, with the ET302 black boxes now found, they are looking for either similarities or differences to the JT610 crash five months ago. Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, the way it works, and how (or even whether) pilots have been trained to use it, will be under particular scrutiny.“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation,” said a spokesperson. “As we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.”EASA has suspended all 737 MAX operations, saying in a statement: “As a precautionary measure, EASA has published today an Airworthiness Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX aeroplanes in Europe. In addition EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above mentioned models.”In suspending MAX operations, Australia’s CASA said: “This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Australia,” CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, explained. “CASA regrets any inconvenience to passengers but believes it is important to always put safety first.”In the United States, airlines continued to fly the aircraft – and have expressed confidence in the type – but the Association of Professional Flight Attendants representing American Airlines cabin crew confirmed to its members that they are not required to fly on the aircraft if they have safety concerns: “I contacted management again this morning with safety concerns of our Union and members flying this aircraft. Their current response is they will follow the normal fear of flying procedures. It is important for you to know that if you feel it is unsafe to work the 737 MAX, you will not be forced to fly it,” said APFA National President Lori Bassani in a statement. “You must contact crew schedule and your flight service manager who will remove you with a Personal Off (PO). While I have requested that the PO be non-chargeable, details must still be worked out. You may make up the flying via the regular methods available.”Any matter of aviation safety is a dread risk, the ultra-low probability, ultra-high impact events for which airline crashes are often used as the perfect example. Humans are notoriously poor at assessing dread risks, because the impact outweighs the likelihood in our minds, especially when we are not able to control the likelihood.That’s part of why fear of flying is common, yet fear of driving is much less so, despite the hugely greater likelihood and equally lethal impact potential of road traffic accidents. Even this journalist who could not give an unqualified “yes” to the 737 MAX would have few qualms about driving to the airport, objectively a more dangerous activity. But the fact is that travelers are worried about flying on the MAX, and to dismiss those worries as irrational misses the point.Having flown on the MAX, would I knowingly do so again right now? Image: John WaltonThe shrinking number of airlines who are still flying the MAX refuse to allow passengers to opt out without paying significant change fee penalties. The aircraft is perfectly safe, argue those airlines, and they are awaiting regulators’ directions. But it cannot be both acceptable for flight attendants not to be penalized for avoiding the MAX and for passengers to be penalized for doing so.It is easy for those within the industry to issue the standard line — with or without a tinge of derision about the great unwashed panicking over nothing — about waiting for the experts before jumping to conclusions. It is especially easy to do so from behind a keyboard rather than staring at the door of an aircraft that multiple regulators have grounded.Regulators are experts, and while there are of course geopolitical questions at play in certain regulator geographies, with the motives of China and Indonesia in grounding fleets possible to ascribe at least partly to wider contexts, it is hard to suggest that multiple uncoordinated regulators in the UK, Australia, Singapore and elsewhere have much to gain from grounding the MAX, let alone the growing numbers of airlines who have done so.From my perspective as a journalist who deals regularly with certification and regulators on safety issues, I have professional concerns about the level of regulation in a number of areas: from seat testing and passenger safety to emergency egress certification, the levels of real-world vs computer testing required, the amount of read-across that is permitted when certifying derivative models of airframes, the amount of self-certification that is allowed, and so on. Many of these concerns have been raised here by Runway Girl Network journalists, myself included.It would seem illogical and inconsistent if, having concerns about some aspects of the job safety regulators are doing, I did not apply that to other areas. Yet it’s equally illogical and inconsistent that I was driving and being driven in the Lazio region around Rome at speed last weekend, let alone crossing the road in that city, both activities that are much more likely to result in fatal injuries than getting on a 737 MAX.That combination of illogical and inconsistent approach is precisely why we need to wait for the experts to collect, analyze and report on the data: because we humans are bad at doing so.But the crux of the matter is this: are the concerns about the airworthiness of the 737 MAX sufficient to ground the aircraft while we await answers or not?The FAA, and most North American operators say no. A substantial part of the rest of the world says yes. That leaves travelers making an incredibly hard decision on whether or not to fly it, and in the age of passengers being increasingly mobile, social and vocal, it seems short-sighted for the diminishing numbers of airlines still operating the 737 MAX to put them there.Related Articles:North American carriers express confidence in MAX; union wants probeNTSB calls on FAA to fill the safety gap on Part 135 operationsExit row seating raises safety questionsNo room for error: How the design of cabin safety equipment worksAircraft seat size in the spotlight as FAA passes FAA reauthorizationFlyers Rights questions FAA evidence for not setting seat standardsPassenger rights gets a boost as EU interprets guidanceLion Air crash should remind us not to rush to judgmentAir accident cluster makes travelers fearful; should they worry?
JetBlue today announced that its newest cabin experience has entered into service, bringing to the skies the widest seats available for this aircraft, custom-designed seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) with 100+ channels of DIRECTV and hundreds of free movies and shows, ability to pair your mobile device to the screen, easy-to-reach power sources at every seat, and expanded coverage of free Wi-Fi connectivity almost everywhere JetBlue flies.JetBlue’s Airbus A320 aircraft, which make up the majority of the airline’s fleet, are being updated for the first time since the airline disrupted the industry with onboard live television and all-leather seats in 2000.The restyling effort has been several years in the making, with the latest aircraft marking the first to receive this all-new 2019 design. The aircraft, named “If You Can Read This, You’re Blue Close,” re-joins JetBlue’s fleet today, with roughly a third of JetBlue’s A320 aircraft scheduled for restyling completion by the end of the year.“JetBlue rocked the airline industry in 2000 with seatback television and all leather seats. In our first makeover since, this incredible new onboard experience represents what the founders would have done if they were launching JetBlue today,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, JetBlue. “The new experience brings together technology, entertainment, and comfort with the great service JetBlue customers love so much.”For most of the airlines 100+ destinations the A320 restyling will bring the upgraded JetBlue experience to their city for the first time.A major focus of the restyling is keeping customers connected throughout their flight, including a new inflight entertainment system, high-definition seatback televisions, in-seat power outlets with USB ports and continued free gate-to-gate Fly-Fi high-speed internet with an expanded coverage area – including throughout the Caribbean and Latin America where Fly-Fi had not been available until now.The Widest Seat Available For the A320In 2019, JetBlue will outfit its A320 aircraft with the Collins Meridian seat, customized for the airline’s needs and featuring a number of design elements with customer comfort in mind:Expanded seat width of more than 18 inches, the widest available for the A320.The most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (a).Enhanced cushion comfort.Adjustable headrests, a new feature for JetBlue’s A320.Contoured seatback design at knee level creating additional living space for every customer.Redesigned seatback stowage options, including an innovative elastic grid to accommodate a variety of customer items.At least two easy-to-reach power connections at every seat.“We are proud to partner with JetBlue on its A320 restyling project by supplying our Meridian Seat,” said Cynthia A. Muklevicz, Vice President, Account Management, Interiors for Collins Aerospace. “Meridian offers passengers industry-leading comfort and living space through an intense focus on ergonomic design supported by optimization of the underlying seat structure.”Inflight entertainmentAlso in 2019, JetBlue will build on its reputation as an industry leader in inflight entertainment options with Thales AVANT and ViaSat-2 connectivity. With this system, JetBlue will offer customers aboard its restyled A320s expanded entertainment choices in nearly every region the airline flies (b). JetBlue is the only major U.S. airline with seatback entertainment screens at every seat on every aircraft.10.1 inch, 1080P high definition screen at every seat.More than 100 channels of live television with DVR-like pause and rewind functionality.Expanded collection of on demand movies, TV shows and video content, plus new gaming features.Destination-specific content allowing customers to enhance their travel experience.Picture-in-picture functionEnhanced, 3D flight map offering multiple ways to track time to destination.Personal handheld device pairing capabilities for use as a remote or gaming controller.Expanded Fly-Fi connectivity, providing coverage to nearly the entire JetBlue network.“Thales is proud to have been a business partner with JetBlue since the beginning of their IFE evolution. The airline has reimagined the flying experience, and with our custom-designed AVANT IFE solution, we’ve helped JetBlue reimagine their customer experience on the A320 platform,” said Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales InFlyt Experience. “We look forward to collaborating with the airline to create new opportunities that wow their customers with a unique and personalized inflight experience.”“Thales is proud to have been a business partner with JetBlue since the beginning of their IFE evolution. The airline has reimagined the flying experience, and with our custom-designed AVANT IFE solution, we’ve helped JetBlue reimagine their customer experience on the A320 platform,” said Philippe Carette, Chief Executive Officer, Thales InFlyt Experience. “We look forward to collaborating with the airline to create new opportunities that wow their customers with a unique and personalized inflight experience.”“JetBlue continues to be an industry leader in its approach to inflight internet—bringing free, high-speed connectivity to every customer onboard,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat. “We’re honored to once again partner with JetBlue on inflight connectivity, giving them access to ViaSat-2, the world’s most advanced satellite network, enabling all JetBlue customers to enjoy fast Fly-Fi service on more routes where JetBlue flies.”Completing The 2018 PhaseThe first phase of JetBlue’s A320 interior cabin restyle began in spring 2018 and modernized the airline’s so-called “classic interiors” with products that matched those found on the airline’s newer A321 aircraft – features such as more modern seats and larger seatback TVs. More than a dozen A320 aircraft have been restyled with these products so far and several more are scheduled for completion in the coming weeks. This spring the restyling will fully transition to the 2019 version of onboard products for all aircraft going forward.About JetBlue AirwaysJetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 42 million customers a year to 100+ cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of more than 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
While the global passenger seat market will grow with an average five percent per year, Recaro Aircraft Seating expects a spike in demand for business class seats in particular. A trend further fueled by passengers’ expectations for airliners to deliver ‘individualized living spaces’ onboard. To be fully ready to answer market needs, Recaro has invested heavily in its R&D for business class seats.For most airliners, business class seating has become the signature product for their passengers as it offers most possibilities to reflect the airline brand. Integrating innovative features in business class, also helps them differentiate from the competition. At the same time passengers expect carriers to deliver individualized comfort in the sky, especially when it comes to business class. This has led to an increase in appreciation for business class seats.As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, Recaro has identified the evolutions in business class and in the aircraft seating market in general for the years to come.Business class to become the new first classThere will be a – further – decline in the number of first class seats in the foreseeable future: few airliners still offer first class and when they do they tend to go for a superior first class-product with limited availability. Recaro also sees a rise in demand for a wider range of business class seats. Similar to economy+ and premium economy being available next to regular economy, business class will have different category seats offering more or less features.Further development of a highly individualized business class productThe evolution towards more business class will have an effect on the business class seats themselves: since airlines have started to eliminate first class from their long-range fleet, business class has become an even bigger differentiator than it already was. Carriers expect a highly individualized product with a premium look & feel. Privacy, connectivity and interactivity, comfort and wellbeing as well as an individually adjustable seating environment equipped with personal air-conditioning and a mini-bar will become the new normal in business class. Passengers expect their own “individual living space” in the sky and that is what they will get.Bespoke and platform (business class) seatsFive-star carriers strive to be ahead of their competition by bringing innovations to the aircraft cabin. As such, these airliners expect tailor-made “bespoke” products for all their seats. Carriers with smaller fleets, on the other hand, often do not have the means to bear the costs nor the resources to go through an entire product development process. They prefer to go with a mature and/or off-the-shelf platform product, that has proven to be successful with one of the 5-star carriers, enhanced with customized features.Increase in demand for premium economyBusiness class moving up to replace first class seats, widens the gap with the economy class seats and increases the need for an‘intermediate’ economy segment. Over recent years Recaro has seen a higher demand for premium economy seats. They foresee this trend to continue in the years to come.“Recaro has a reputation of delivering high quality seats on time, be it in business, premium economy or economy class,” says Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating. “In order to uphold that reputation and meet increasing demand in the business class seating, we invested heavily in research & development for that specific class. This means we are now more than ready to answer to our customers’ every need.”Recaro Aircraft seating will announce a number of innovations for the business class category at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from April 2nd to April 4th.About RECARO Aircraft SeatingRECARO Aircraft Seating sees itself as a solution provider for its customers. As a global supplier of premium aircraft seats for airlines and OEMs, the company reported a growth averaging 10% over the past 15 years. RECARO employs 2300 people worldwide and exceeded half a billion euros in sales in 2018. It is the global market leader in the economy class seating. To secure its strategic expansion, RECARO is investing hundreds of millions in product innovation in business class seating. Over the next 5 years, it will also invest in significantly expanding its headquarters in Schwäbisch Hall as well as its sites in China, Poland and the USA. With this, RECARO consistently underpins its corporate vision of “Driving comfort in the sky”. The aim: become market leader in economy and business class seating while maintaining a permanent customer focus.About Recaro GroupThe Recaro Group comprises the independently operating divisions Recaro Aircraft Seating in Schwäbisch Hall and Recaro eGaming in Stuttgart as well as the Recaro Holding located in Stuttgart. The Group’s consolidated sales amounted to 540 million euros in 2017. Currently the Group employs more than 2,400 employees at its locations around the world. The automotive seating business as well as the child seat and stroller business are operated by licensees.
Today’s passengers and flight crew require secure, real-time connections through texting, phone calls, social media, email, transferring information, and streaming videos. GORE Microwave/RF Assemblies is helping SmartSky Networks launch the next-generation of inflight connectivity above the clouds.They selected Gore’s vapor-sealed 7 Series for their new inflight connectivity system that provides travelers with a true 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) connection in aircraft such as the Embraer ERJ-135 operated by JetSuiteX.SmartSky’s inflight connectivity system using Gore’s 7 Series has just received STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) approval for the Embraer ERJ-145. The certificate is required by the U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for any modifications to an aircraft’s original design. Gore worked closely with SmartSky’s STC partners to ensure the reliability of the system in a moisture-rich environment. With more than 1,200 in service, the ERJ-145 is the largest twin-engine regional jet in a family that also includes the ERJ-135 and ERJ-140.“Gore’s well-earned reputation within the industry made choosing their routable cable assembly technology an easy decision,” said Darren Emery, Vice President for Product Support at SmartSky. “Gore’s 7 Series is high performance and exceptionally reliable, enabling a real fit-and-forget installation to exceed our customers’ expectations now and for many years to come.”“SmartSky’s innovative system, combined with our vapor-sealed assemblies, will enable an extremely compelling user experience and set a new standard for the industry,” said Jeremy Moore, Global Product Specialist for Gore’s Civil Aerospace Team.High-Quality Signal TransmissionGORE Microwave/RF Assemblies, 7 Series with robust connector options improve signal integrity and speed with low loss up to 40 GHz making them an ideal solution for SmartSky’s new high-speed ATG technology. They are designed precisely to prevent the ingress of water vapor, fuel, and other hazardous contaminants commonly found in airborne environments. With smaller diameters, more flexibility and tighter bend radius, these assemblies also meet the complex routing requirements of SmartSky’s tight platforms without breaking or failing.Gore’s 7 Series was also instrumental in helping SmartSky continue to stay on schedule with deploying their King Air B200 airborne test platform developed to optimize their new ATG network and test future technologies and applications.The vapor-sealed 7 Series complement Gore’s broad catalog of aerospace solutions — including coaxial and microwave/RF assemblies, high-speed data cables, aircraft sealants and more. Gore’s high- performance aerospace solutions will be on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany on 2-4 April in Booth 2E60. For more information, visit gore.com/aix2019 or contact a Gore applications specialist at [email protected] W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.L. Gore & Associates is a global materials science company dedicated to transforming industries and improving lives. Founded in 1958, Gore has built a reputation for solving complex technical challenges in the most demanding environments — from revolutionizing the outerwear industry with GORE-TEX® fabric to creating medical devices that improve and save lives to enabling new levels of performance in the aerospace, pharmaceutical and mobile electronics markets, among other industries. Headquartered in Newark, Del., Gore employs approximately 10,000 Associates and generates annual revenues that exceed $3.5 billion. Learn more at gore.com.About SmartSky NetworksHeadquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, SmartSky Networks was formed in 2011 by senior telecommunications and aviation executives seeking to transform aviation through the use of disruptive communications technologies and related tools. Working with leading aerospace and technology partners, SmartSky has begun the rollout of its innovative, air-to-ground network, SmartSky 4G LTE. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky 4G LTE uniquely enables a productivity experience in the air similar to that available on the ground, including unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky 4G LTE the most compelling user experience, and a key enabler for the new and enhanced apps, services, and hardware that will usher in the digitization of the aviation industry.
ThinKom Solutions, Inc., today announced the successful completion of in-flight connectivity trials of its ThinAir® Ka2517 phased-array antenna mounted on the Proteus high-altitude long-endurance aircraft.The Proteus satellite data communication package was developed as a joint effort involving ThinKom, Inmarsat Government and Scaled Composites. The trials included initial tests in Chantilly, Virginia and the Mojave Air and Space Port, California, culminating in a series of demo flights at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.The ThinAir antenna delivered a 25 Mbps return link and a 5 Mbps forward link operating at over 50,000 feet altitude through an Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band satellite in geostationary orbit. The phased array maintained connectivity to the satellite each flight, including during take offs, in-flight maneuvers and landings. Further, the ThinAir antenna was able to send the full 25 Mbps from the aircraft at an elevation angle of 25 degrees, while providing data rates of 12 Mbps at elevation angles as low as 15 degrees.ThinKom supplied the Ka2517 phased-array antenna in a low-profile 7.8-inch high radome, along with an adaptor plate, antenna controller and transceiver electronics. Scaled Composites designed and built a custom fairing to mount the radome on the aircraft’s fuselage and integrated the ThinKom system with the payload on the aircraft.Inmarsat Government developed and provided the system’s modem manager, PRO-MODMAN, designed specifically for the Ka2517 to operate on Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band steerable beams. The PRO-MODMAN integrates the capability of a DVB S2X modem with the flexibility of an OpenAMIP configurable system controller.“These successful in-flight demonstrations further validate the ThinAir Ka2517’s capability to provide uninterrupted broadband connectivity with near-zero aerodynamic drag – an important consideration for many classes of UAVs and long-endurance missions flying at extreme altitudes,” said Bill Milroy, Chief Technology Officer of ThinKom Solutions. “I would like to thank the superb engineering teams from Inmarsat Government and Scaled Composites who worked with us to achieve this important milestone. This was truly a team effort.”“Inmarsat Government was pleased to support this important joint demonstration using the Inmarsat Global Xpress capability. The results of the trials proved, once again, that highly mobile government customers can rely on Global Xpress – a globally-available high-throughput, flexible and interoperable connectivity solution that provides coverage wherever and whenever required,” said Steve Gizinski, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat Government.Proteus is a twin-turbofan tandem-wing aircraft originally developed and built by Scaled Composites in 1998. It is currently owned and operated by Scaled Composites. The experimental aircraft is designed to carry payloads up to 2,000 lbs. at altitudes from 50,000 to 63,000 feet and remain on station more than 14 hours. It is intended to support the demonstration of piloted and UAV missions, including telecommunications, reconnaissance, atmospheric research, commercial imaging and space launch.Photo Caption: ThinKom Ka-band phased array antenna mounted on Proteus aircraft.About ThinKom Solutions, Inc.ThinKom Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative highly affordable compact broadband antennas and products for aeronautical, vehicular and man-portable applications. The company’s primary products uniquely enable near-term worldwide availability of high-data-rate connectivity in the Ka-, X-, Ku-, and Q-bands. ThinKom offers a range of reliable, proven technology solutions for the consumer, enterprise, first responder, civil, military and intelligence communities.About Inmarsat GovernmentThe U.S. government has relied on and trusted Inmarsat satellite services since 1979. Inmarsat Government continues to deliver the world’s most advanced global, mobile satellite communication services to U.S. defense, intelligence, homeland security, public safety and civilian agencies, with highly reliable, secure and affordable connectivity. Built with government users in mind, Inmarsat Government provides resilient, flexible capabilities to augment government satellite resources, anytime, anywhere. Leveraging an industry-leading scalable multiband network infrastructure, Inmarsat Government offers a suite of managed network services and end-to-end communication solutions to support users on land, at sea and in the air, even in the world’s most remote regions. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Inmarsat Government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc.About Scaled CompositesScaled Composites is an American aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan that is located at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave, California. Founded to develop experimental aircraft, the company now focuses on designing and developing concept craft and prototype fabrication processes for aircraft and other vehicles.
The cabin and avionics specialist Diehl Aviation has delivered the largest, fully 3D-printed part for passenger aircraft to date which is installed on an A350 XWB.The module is a Curtain Comfort Header – a complex enclosure for the curtain rail, that can measure up to 1140 x 720 x 240 mm.The curtains separate the classes from one another within the cabin. Qatar Airways will be the first airline to use the 3D-printed Curtain Comfort Header on board its aircraft. In a joint project, Diehl Aviation and Airbus developed the curtain header in close co-operation. With only 12 months between the first improved concept until delivery of the first ready-to-use model the project always was on the fast lane.Curtain Comfort Header Shark fin. Image: DiehlThis new production method solves several problems for Diehl Aviation: Until now, these modules were formed from numerous layers of laminated fiberglass, each of which required its own individual, complex aluminum tool.Incorporating further functions was also an added, arduous task and could include anything from the simultaneous integration of cable channels, through emergency escape route signage, to specialized retaining clips.One complete Curtain Comfort Header is comprised of up to 12 component parts – all produced by a 3D printer and simply glued together when complete. This new production procedure has made many of the old, individual tools – which had previously been absolutely essential for manufacturing these parts – redundant.Curtain Comfort Header Exit. Image: DiehlGiven these many advantages, Diehl Aviation is now only producing Curtain Comfort Headers for the A350 XWB with the 3D printing method. This procedure offers several advantages for the airline too: The shorter production processes and significant lead time reduction are particularly beneficial to airlines under pressure from quick turnaround times. Furthermore the parts themselves require less reworks and can easily be removed for repairs or replacement, contributing to even shorter waiting times during repair works. Also, the modules can easily been customized for retrofit solutions. Passengers benefit from the precision-made parts that lead to dampen noise and allow better integration in the cabin.The 3D-printed Curtain Comfort Headers already have the requisite approvals and are certified by the EASA. Diehl Aviation will be exhibiting the Curtain Comfort Header at its booth 7D20 at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.Diehl Aviation is a division of Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG and combines all aviation activities of Diehl Group under one roof. In the aviation industry, Diehl Aviation – including Diehl Aerospace (a joint venture with Thales) – is a leading system supplier of aircraft system and cabin solutions. Diehl Aviation currently has around 6,000 employees. Its clients include leading aircraft manufacturers like Airbus (both airplanes and helicopters), Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer, as well as airlines and operators of commercial and business aircraft.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced that more than 1,000 terminals have now been installed for its next-generation inflight broadband solutions by customers in the global airline and business aviation markets.The milestone, celebrated at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, highlights the growing market dominance and adoption of Inmarsat’s three award-winning new connectivity services, GX Aviation, Jet ConneX and European Aviation Network (EAN).GX Aviation and Jet ConneX are the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight connectivity services delivered through a wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites, allowing airline and business aviation passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights.GX Aviation is currently available with leading airlines such as Lufthansa, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Norwegian, Avianca and Citilink. Earlier today, Inmarsat partner SITAONAIR announced that it has now activated GX Aviation on the majority of Philippine Airlines (PAL)’s new-generation aircraft.Jet ConneX has been the most successful launch of an inflight wifi solution in business aviation history. It is currently flying on more than 450 aircraft across the world, offering unprecedented new capabilities and reinforcing Inmarsat’s status as the number one connectivity provider to business aviation customers globally.EAN, developed in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, is a new purpose-built inflight broadband solution that is uniquely suited to the challenges of European airspace; one of the world’s most congested, with more than one billion passengers per year. The innovative network was founded upon a European Union initiative and has been developed by an alliance of Europe’s leading technology companies to deliver the fastest speeds for passengers, installation times for airlines and scalability to meet future demand.Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation, Jet ConneX and EAN are pioneering an exciting new chapter in global inflight connectivity and we are extremely proud that the market has responded so enthusiastically. We look forward to crossing many more milestones in the future, with a large number of installations currently underway and a healthy new business pipeline of around 3,000 aircraft. To meet future demand, we have a fully-funded development roadmap that includes new satellite launches in 2019, 2020 and 2021.“Our success to date would not have been possible without the support of our industry-leading partnership network, which includes the likes of Collins Aerospace, Deutsche Telekom, Honeywell, SATCOM Direct, SITAONAIR, Thales and most recently Panasonic Avionics.”PHOTO CAPTION: A team celebration of the 1,000th installation of Inmarsat Aviation’s next-generation inflight broadband solutions at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in HamburgAbout InmarsatInmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s best global portfolio of satellite networks, specifically designed for customer mobility, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance. The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners. Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government and Aviation satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high quality partner to its customers across the globe.
With deliveries of new CRJ regional jets featuring Bombardier’s updated Atmosphère cabin to Delta, American and other carriers progressing apace, the Canadian airframer is seeing much demand from airlines for retrofit options for their current fleets — so much, in fact, that it decided to send its cabin mockup to a customer rather than to the Aircraft Interiors Expo earlier this month.Suggesting wryly that “we need two mockups with the success we’ve had with it,” vice president and head of marketing Patrick Baudis told Runway Girl Network in Hamburg that, as a result, “our presence will be a bit limited in terms of booth this year because of that, but hopefully we can come back with something next year.”Bombardier’s CRJ Atmosphère cabin mockup is so much in demand that it didn’t make it to AIX this year. Image: BombardierEight aircraft with the new cabin are already flying with launch customer Delta, and in the coming month American and certain unnamed customers are also expected to take delivery of Atmosphère, featuring bigger bins, a more modern design and the option of a lavatory suitable for people with reduced mobility. (There is currently no regulatory requirement for single-aisle aircraft to have accessible lavatories.)“The big picture at Bombardier,” said Baudis, “is that the C Series went to Airbus, in a great partnership there, and in the meantime we had the transition that we are currently doing, the Q400 to Longview, and we are now focussing entirely on the CRJ at Bombardier.”As we’ve seen on larger aircraft, there’s much demand for bigger bins from airlines. Image: John WaltonA key part of that focus is on the retrofit market for Atmosphère. “That’s what we’re gauging at the moment, to be frank. Everything can be done in aviation, right? Technically it is fully retrofittable. Is it making sense from a business case from an airline standpoint? That’s what we are gauging at the moment. I think the bins are the big catch there,” Baudis explained, in a message similar to that from Airbus about the larger Airspace bins on the A320, which are now being delivered to launch customer American.“Looking at the fitted equipment, like fixed monuments, galleys, there’s plenty of new cool things in there on the Atmosphère cabin, but is this something where airlines will see value to retrofit? It’s not necessarily cheap when we start to touch on the monuments in the cabin,” Baudis said. “We’ll see what we do. We have an established base of CRJs out there. We have a fantastic solution now. We designed it to be retrofittable. Of course we’re going to start looking at it now that it’s entering into service.”Atmosphère is now flying with Delta Air Lines. Image: John WaltonBut are airlines beating down the door, or is Bombardier having to work hard to drum up the interest?“Airlines are asking questions,” Baudis said. “It’s gradual in this industry, particularly for cabins. You can do any presentation of the cabins, any photo — but the best photo will not describe as best as being in the cabin and feeling it.”He continued: “In North America in particular, where we have a very big established base of CRJs, you start to see a phenomenon of people focussing a bit more the attention from an airline standpoint into the regional space, moving single-class airplanes into two- to three-class airplanes in this segment. There’s a big attention focus that is put on that space at the moment.”Indeed there are some #PaxEx improvements like bigger bins that fit modern suitcases from long-haul to medium-haul and now to regional aircraft, with airlines keen to think about which of the benefits from a new cabin make the most sense to port over to an existing fleet.“The question comes naturally, particularly when they realize that technically speaking it’s feasible,” Baudis concluded. “The sweet spot is really, as usual, making something that is attractive from a functionality standpoint, from a cost standpoint — and also from our side in terms of a production standpoint, something that makes sense so it’s easy to distribute and bring to the marketplace.”Related Articles:In Conversation: Wheelchair travel with John MorrisDelta takes main cabin consistency seriously and it showsDelta Flight Products expands IFE platform to be totally Delta-sourcedBombardier’s Atmosphère cabin looks great; shame about the Delta seatsAn Atmosphère of renewed CRJ PaxEx focus at BombardierHow Airbus leveraged experience on A350 to aid A220 programDelta, Bombardier quickly push the boundaries of regional PaxExCabin designers lavish praise on new airframer-branded cabinsRegional airlines up their game to meet customer expectations
The following statement was issued by Boeing on 29 April 2019, after news reports suggested the airframer didn’t initially disclose it had deactivated 737 MAX disagree alert.We want to provide a response to several news stories yesterday and today reporting on the disagree alert on the 737 MAX.Boeing included the disagree alert as a standard feature on the MAX, although this alert has not been considered a safety feature on airplanes and is not necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. Boeing did not intentionally or otherwise deactivate the disagree alert on its MAX airplanes.The disagree alert was intended to be a standard, stand-alone feature on MAX airplanes. However, the disagree alert was not operable on all airplanes because the feature was not activated as intended.The disagree alert was tied or linked into the angle of attack indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX. Unless an airline opted for the angle of attack indicator, the disagree alert was not operable.On every airplane delivered to our customers, including the MAX, all flight data and information needed to safely operate the aircraft is provided in the flight deck and on the flight deck display. This information is readily accessible to pilots, and it always has been.The air speed, attitude, and altitude displays, together with the stick shaker, are the primary flight information indicators in the flight deck. All recommended pilot actions, checklists, and training are based upon these primary indicators, not on the AOA disagree alert or the angle of attack indicator.As the MAX safely returns to the air after the software modifications are approved and certified, all MAX production aircraft will have an activated and operable disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator. All customers with previously delivered MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the disagree alert per a service bulletin to airlines.We are confident that when the MAX returns to the skies, it will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.