ABACE Convention News

Arinc Makes Connecting Cockpit Simpler, Cheaper

 - April 15, 2013, 8:00 PM
Arinc Direct can be accessed via its iPad app, rather than using a computer.

As Arinc Direct approaches its tenth anniversary next month, success in the Asian market has been such that the data and communications specialist has appointed a full-time Asia Pacific division director: Monte Bolt, who is based in Singapore. Bolt heads a team supporting an Asian customer base that has surpassed 200 aircraft.

Arinc Direct director James Hardie told AIN at a recent press briefing in London that its service offering had been enhanced, with synchronization of data between two iPads in the cockpit now possible using Bluetooth, plus real-time Cloud synchronization of data. The company is exhibiting here at the ABACE show at Booth H309.

Meanwhile, Arinc Direct has improved the new Connect service that it announced at last November’s NBAA show in the U.S. and it has moved to the preproduction certification stage. Connect enables Acars messaging via an iPad (with app) as the user interface, plus voice (using iPhone or Android devices) and e-mail. It can use the Iridium or Inmarsat satellite networks for global coverage that both pilots and passengers can use, and there are two channels so users can carry out simultaneous voice and data, or two simultaneous voice calls.

“We are in the process of obtaining RTCA DC-160G environmental qualification, U.S. FCC approval, European Community Mark and Iridium certifications,” explained Hardie. Arinc Direct expects to demonstrate the device at next month’s EBACE show in Geneva, Switzerland, with the unit set to move into full production this summer.

The company is also working to enhance the capabilities of Arinc Direct, which can be accessed via its iPad app, rather than using a computer. The original app focused mainly on flight planning and weather briefing, but Arinc said that “in the near future” the app will “form part of the flight-deck communications infrastructure with support for messaging [as well as] additional flight planning and filing functionality.”

Arinc also has been working with airlines to WiFi enable the cabin, the first customer for its Cabin Connect suite being Virgin Atlantic Airways, initially for its Airbus A330 fleet. A 12-month trial of the service has started on one aircraft, which has already been fitted; it is due to go live later this month. In addition, Arinc has been working with Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair, both based in Hong Kong, to launch its “e-enabled” electronic flight bag (EFB), called Aeroconnx. The Aeroconnx trial was completed two years ago on a Cathay Boeing 777-300.

According to Dave Poltorak, vice president of Arinc International, the company is also busy helping to modernize airports, having recently won a contract to install work stations at the new Terminal 2 at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, in Vietnam. This includes installing passenger recognition systems, kiosks and flight information displays–all equipment that also could have applications at Chinese airports.