FCC installs its first Ka-band system on Bombardier Challenger 604.

Flying Colours Corp set for its first Challenger 604 Ka-band install

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FCC installs its first Ka-band system on Bombardier Challenger 604.

Flying Colours has begun its first Ka-band installation on a super-mid-size, privately owned Bombardier Challenger 604.

As part of a wider 96-month heavy maintenance check the Flying Colours Corp. avionics team will equip the aircraft with a Honeywell JetWave Ka-band high-speed satcom system. Installation of a tail-mounted antenna, internal wiring, and fitting of a Satcom Direct Router (SDR) will optimise cabin connectivity and Wi-Fi access in-flight.

“The installation of Ka-band on larger jets is the norm, but this is the first Challenger 604 that we have upgraded to the high-speed offering. It highlights the growing importance of connectivity across the aviation spectrum,” said Executive VP, Flying Colours, Eric Gillespie. “Our customer recognised the many benefits of the higher frequency service and how it enhances the flight experience, especially on international flights. The upgrade was available through the Bombardier Service Bulletin and we’re excited to make the installation. Looking forward we anticipate we’ll be seeing more requests for faster connectivity solutions on a wider number of airframe sizes as connectivity becomes a lead priority for owners and operators.”

As part of Corsair’s cabin modernisation project in 2020, ABC International designed and installed branding panels inside the cabins of the A330-900 aircraft owned by Avolon and operated by Corsair

ABC International brands cabin of Corsair A330neo aircraft

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As part of Corsair’s cabin modernisation project in 2020, ABC International designed and installed branding panels inside the cabins of the A330-900 aircraft owned by Avolon and operated by Corsair

As part of Corsair’s cabin modernisation project in 2020, ABC International designed and installed branding panels inside the cabins of the A330-900 aircraft owned by Avolon and operated by Corsair.

This is the first collaboration between French airline and the Italian cabin branding specialist.

Olindo Spatola VP Engineering and HDO at ABC International said: “The airliner logo is shown throughout the whole aircraft cabin, thanks to the specific installation in three different locations. The first logo is installed facing the passengers onto the wall of the Front Row monument (G1A), the second one is installed on the wall of the Galley (G2A), just in front of the entry door, so that the passenger can almost immediately feel the new cabin environment and atmosphere and recognise the French airline brand.”

“The third logo may be clearly seen by the passenger while walking through the cabin and going towards aft direction, as it is installed on the wall of the Galley (G4F),” he adds.

“The main target of our designer was to give importance at a simple design by making it elegant and with a truly linear style,” declared. Alberto D’Ambrosio, CEO, ABC international: “After achieving several goals and working with several companies all around the world, the choice of Corsair to partner up with ABC International makes us very proud and satisfied.”

ABC International successfully managed the program in the frame of two different installation scenarios, as well as different stakeholders: G2A was delivered by Safran, whilst the other ones were delivered by Stelia Aerospace.

In both cases, ABC worked closely with the OEMs of the affected monuments, being also responsible for the Service Bulletin release pertaining to the installation onto the G2A galley.

Pilatus PC-12 in snow

Western Aircraft brings AVANCE L3 onboard the Pilatus PC-12

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Pilatus PC-12 in snow

Western Aircraft has become the first to fully certify Gogo’s AVANCE L3 on the Pilatus PC-12.

AVANCE L3 from Gogo is tailor-made for turboprops and light jets, allowing users to browse secure connections such as corporate VPN access, email, social media, online search, and access online accounts on up to 25 devices at once. Gogo recently lowered the minimum altitude height for connectivity to 3,000 feet as opposed to the previous 10,000 feet above the ground, which benefits many PC-12 operators who don’t spend much time flying above 10,000 feet.

“We’re thrilled to offer our customers, especially Part 135 operators, the stability of an STC for a modification to their aircraft’s in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity system,” said Western Aircraft’s Avionics Sales Manager Beau Hawkins. “Our excellent relationship with Gogo Business Aviation, and our experience with PC-12 aircraft made this a perfect fit as it expands its service to Canada.”

Qatar Airways Boeing 777 aircraft

Qatar Airways begins IFE upgrade on Boeing 777 fleet

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Qatar Airways Boeing 777 aircraft

Qatar Airways has been confirmed as the launch customer for Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” in-flight entertainment (IFE) upgrade program.

The seatback IFE monitors on the airline’s fleet of 37 Boeing 777 aircraft will be updated with Panasonic’s new EcoFW 10” monitor upgrade – creating a next-generation HD passenger experience while extending the life of the fleet’s IFE system, and reducing operational costs.

Panasonic’s IFE upgrade program, which can be achieved on an aircraft during routine overnight maintenance, includes the installation of a new passenger entertainment server.

This provides passengers with a wider range of content and helps to modernize the airline’s offering and keep up-to-date with the demands of changing consumer preferences. This also enables the airline to achieve faster media loading times – all without any increase in weight, and with dramatically improved reliability levels.

The first aircraft from Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet has completed its IFE upgrade this week.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications,  Salam Al Shawa, said: “With one of the youngest and most technologically-advanced fleet in the skies, Qatar Airways is known for its outstanding onboard experience, as well as a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry.”

“We are delighted to work with Panasonic to bring the next generation EcoFW HD screens to our award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, enabling our passengers to enjoy an enhanced journey on board our fleet as part of the airline’s exceptional five-star service.”

ACI Jet Challenger 604 HD upgrade

ACI Jet completes in-flight entertainment upgrade

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ACI Jet Challenger 604 HD upgrade

California-based business jet maintenance, repair and overhaul provider, ACI Jet has completed the first installation of HD video conversion hardware on a Challenger 604 aircraft from its Bombardier authorised service facility (ASF).

The company completed the installation of Innovative Advantage’s AVDS Node Box on a 2005 Challenger 604 during a visit which included other cabin upgrades and modifications. For in-flight connectivity, the existing Gogo Biz classic ATG system was upgraded to Gogo’s Avance L5 4G internet, enabling Gogo Vision on the newly installed Innovative Advantage system. Within the cabin, two brand new HD Rosen displays were added, replacing the existing Baker standard definition LCD monitors.

“This Innovative Advantage IFE backbone unlocks something totally unique in that it offers an incremental approach to upgrading your cabin experience,” stated Brian Ford, avionics manager for ACI Jet. “The system is capable of anything as small as a single device upgrade for high-definition video up through a multi-device, multi-hub cabin management system and anything and everything in between.”

“The aircraft owners we represent almost universally demand that the finer touches be accounted for when servicing their aircraft,” stated Dave Jensen, ACI Jet’s SVP of aircraft maintenance. “Whether coming out of paint or meeting with interior designers to ensure that every pattern, every material and the sources that we are using meet their exact specifications, they have an eye for detail. Astonishingly, standard definition video on ageing, small displays is often the first impression when boarding, and our clients are recognising this. They now have a turnkey option to make their in-flight entertainment experience match their exacting standards, and it happens to be quite affordable.”

Aircraft parked in STS Mod Center in Melbourne, Florida

STS Mod Center begins major IFC installation programme

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Aircraft parked in STS Mod Center in Melbourne, Florida

A 12-month connectivity installation programme has begun at STS Mod Center’s Melbourne, Florida facility.

The major year-long project sees the installation of Thales Wi-Fi systems on more than 100 commercial aircraft, both Airbus and Boeing. The first aircraft, an A321, has already arrived with installation work underway.

According to STS Mod Center, it takes its team about three days to complete the nose-to-tail installation of a Thales Wi-Fi system on narrowbody aircraft and about four-to-six days when working on widebody aircraft.

“Between three and six days is our target turnaround time for every aircraft Wi-Fi installation package that we do,” said Chris Smeets, Senior Vice President & General Manager of STS Mod Center. “And in my experience, we’ve almost never missed that target thanks to the incredibly efficient work-flow system and quality audit processes we have in place at our Melbourne facility.”

A 12-month connectivity installation programme has begun at STS Mod Center’s Melbourne, Florida facility.

The major year-long project sees the installation of Thales Wi-Fi systems on more than 100 commercial aircraft, both Airbus and Boeing. The first aircraft, an A321, has already arrived with installation work underway.

According to STS Mod Center, it takes its team about three days to complete the nose-to-tail installation of a Thales Wi-Fi system on narrowbody aircraft and about four-to-six days when working on widebody aircraft.

“Between three and six days is our target turnaround time for every aircraft Wi-Fi installation package that we do,” said Chris Smeets, Senior Vice President & General Manager of STS Mod Center. “And in my experience, we’ve almost never missed that target thanks to the incredibly efficient work-flow system and quality audit processes we have in place at our Melbourne facility.”

Bombardier Challenger 850 in flight

FAI Technik completes Ku-band install on Challenger 850

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Bombardier Challenger 850 in flight

Authorised Collins dealer FAI Technik GmbH has installed its first Collins ultra-high-speed Ku-band in-flight connectivity system on a Bombardier Challenger 850 aircraft on behalf of a corporate client.

The Albrecht Dürer International Airport, Nuremberg-based MRO company collaborated with Spain’s EASA-Part 21 organisation S4A to obtain an EASA-STC for this modification.

FAI´s Chairman, Siegfried Axtmann stated: “Following this prototype installation, FAI plans to install this solution on many other aircraft to meet the specific needs of our business aviation clients. We are pleased to report that we have been contracted for a second installation of the system on another Challenger 850.”

Innovative Advantage's Remote AVDS Backbone Integration Tester (RABIT) allows the company's technical support staff to easily connect to the AVDS system for remote commissioning, updating, and troubleshooting.

Innovative Advantage launches remote support on aircraft

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Innovative Advantage's Remote AVDS Backbone Integration Tester (RABIT) allows the company's technical support staff to easily connect to the AVDS system for remote commissioning, updating, and troubleshooting.

Innovative Advantage has launched a solution to simplify ground maintenance of its Audio Video Distribution System (AVDS) system, in the wake of current social distancing measures.

The Remote AVDS Backbone Integration Tester (RABIT) allows the company’s technical support staff to easily connect to the AVDS system for remote commissioning, updating, and troubleshooting.

The embedded dual-SIM 4G LTE modem allows the RABIT to work in over 160 countries worldwide.
he RABIT connects to aircraft and allows Innovative Advantage staff to remotely assist customers’ avionics personnel. The RABIT can be kept at maintenance facilities, customer hangers, or even as carry-on equipment onboard the aircraft in the event support it required. Working with an industry leader in cellular IoT systems, Innovative Advantage was able to leverage best-in-class security, management, and world-wide coverage in the RABIT.

“The AVDS was first install over 12 years ago and we now have over 1,200 aircraft flying. The modular and future-proof architecture of the AVDS allows any of these systems to be upgraded with the latest features Innovative Advantage offers,” said Dave Garing, VP of Business Development. “This creates a huge demand for upgrades and support. During this travel challenged time we’re able to efficiently offer 24/7, worldwide support by utilising our powerful AVDS Client software and the remote connectivity of the RABIT.”

Viasat sees opportunities in IFC post-crisis

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Viasat has released its full year 2020 fourth quarter fiscal year figures, with in-flight services registering a 13% year-over-year increase, even with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic late in the quarter.

The company ended 2019 with 1,390 commercial aircraft in service.

According to Chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg, IFC is expected to remain significantly impacted until air travel recovers. “We are working closely with our airline customers to manage the downturn while engaging in multiple growth opportunities. Several metrics, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) daily traveller measurements below, indicate April 2020 likely was a floor for passenger traffic. We had been gaining market share steadily in North America, and our interactions with airlines suggest good opportunities to sustain, or improve, market share gains globally post crisis,” he stated.

Talking to analysts, Dankberg said the near-term issues of the airlines the company is working with is simply survive the pandemic and keep their workforce and their assets intact and their customers, their customer value propositions and communicate with customers. Long-term, airlines are wondering “what’s it going to be like on the other side and what’s the role of connectivity in that?”

“What we are seeing among the airlines that we’ve been working with, our existing customers, and new one,s is absolutely continued interest in in-flight connectivity, probably expanded interest in it,” Dankberg said.

On the question of the effects of fleet retirements, Dankberg said Viasat “tended to capture newer planes.”

“I think that we’ll see fewer retirements than some of the other in-flight providers will see. As an example, the MAX. There has not really been a lot of discussion about the MAX grounding, but the MAX is one of the new – the most fuel-efficient planes out there. That comes back. That’s good for us. 787s also, so I think we’re little bit disproportionately tilted towards the newer planes. So, I think, we’ll see probably a little fewer retirements.

He also pointed to the opportunity for Viasat to be involved in upgrading or installing in-flight connectivity for airlines on planes that are grounded and may not return to service that quickly, stating that that such projects would be at effectively a lower cost than it would be if the planes in question were in active service.

When asked if airlines would reduce their investment in IFC, as a cost-saving measures, Dankberg responded: “I think that one of the things that we’ve been saying, I think it’s catching on is that, for airlines, they’re not really going monetise in-flight connectivity unless everybody can use it, unless the engagement is high.

“There are definitely airlines that are looking at how they integrate that into their business model and can we help them with that. And I think that we can… we’ve seen this in past times is that, when money is really tight, people are generally more receptive to new business models and we generally have pretty creative business models.

“And so, I think that the idea that, we can work with the airlines to help them improve their business model through higher passenger engagement, high bandwidth activities. I think that’s getting more traction now, because of the limitations of the budgets and the fact that they got the opportunity to install, whether we can put that across the finish line with number of carriers, we’ll see over the next few months, but the opportunities are clearly there.”

IAMA Lisa Giga Hub

New collaboration to use AI in aircraft design and certification

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IAMA Lisa Giga Hub

IAMA, the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance is partnering with LISA Group for the use of artificial intelligence in aircraft design and certification.

The collaboration hopes to lead to the creation of a digital tool-set for design organisations and other relevant players in the aviation modification aftermarket.

The tool-sets main target is to simplify and automise processes in design and certification such as differences within the certification base of national aviation authorities as well as analysing existing documents like working arrangement and bilateral agreements.

“While intelligent applications are on the growth in other sectors like aviation with for example predictive maintenance and intelligent cabin applications, the use of artificial intelligence in design & certification engineering for aircraft modification is still unexplored.” Said Nicole Noack, Managing Director of the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance. “Being experts in the overall process of aircraft modification projects, we see significant advantages throughout the value chain and with LISA Deutschland GmbH we found a highly experienced partner to jointly develop a scalable tool-set.”

The envisioned system will use Natural Language Processing with the purpose of limiting unforeseen certification gaps at the end of the design process. It will be hosted on LISA GIGA Hub as a new application. LISA’s Aviation GIGA Hub is a data management platform with troubleshooting apps and prognostics features. The new tool-set will start with an application which takes a modification statement and guides the user through the process, while identifying differing rules and bilaterals in place between multiple authorities making use of published documents and available historic data of the user.