Boeing has selected Broadbeam, a New Jersey-based mobile communication specialist, to develop wireless electronic flight bag (EFB) technology for airlines. Part of an initiative to pioneer a so-called “e-enabled” air transportation system, the technologies Boeing plans to bring to market will offer a “seamless connection” among pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, operations departments, airport users and others, according to the aircraft maker. Broadbeam’s role will be to develop the enabling technologies for wireless handheld EFBs.
The announcement is sure to stir interest among airline executives, many of whom had apparently assumed wireless technology could not be applied to cockpit hardware because of safety and security concerns. At an industry event as recently as January, representatives from several major U.S. carriers said the FAA would probably never certify wireless EFBs. Boeing engineers apparently are taking a different view. They plan to use Broadbeam’s proprietary Mobile Solutions System ExpressQ technology to develop the new generation of wireless devices for the flight deck.