Aircraft Electronics Association Convention

 - October 12, 2007, 6:52 AM

The annual avionics trade show hosted by the Aircraft Electronics Association is a good place to get the lowdown on emerging industry trends and try out the latest cockpit and cabin gear from an array of manufacturers and suppliers. This year the AEA spotlight shone brightest on the new breed of glass cockpits for light jets, turboprops and high-end piston airplanes, a fresh category of avionics that seems nicely placed in the so-called owner-flown segment.

Judging from the high interest level in integrated systems from Honeywell Bendix/King, Garmin, Avidyne and Chelton during this year’s show, held April 23 to 26 in Orlando, Fla., fast-maturing, all-glass avionics for GA aircraft appear to be breaking out of the niche class and into aviation’s mainstream. The reasons are obvious: mass-produced glass displays, computer processors, databuses and inertial sensors originally developed for automotive and consumer-electronic markets are being applied to lower-cost aircraft without sacrificing functionality or reliability. Suddenly, the owner of a piston-powered Cirrus SR22 has a cockpit that could very well be the envy of the Gulfstream III crew in the hangar next door.

The winners in the shift from round dials to glass displays are future buyers of typically owner-flown airplanes, who will reap the benefits that go hand in yoke with having a highly capable avionics system at a price point meant to fit a tight budget.

Bendix/King Apex/R
Honeywell at AEA revealed plans for a retrofit version of its developmental Bendix/King integrated cockpit that is targeted toward owners of older turboprops and light jets. Planned initially for certification in Cessna Citations and Beech King Airs, the idea behind the endeavor is to bring many of the advanced features of today’s modern business jets down to aircraft that still carry decades-old technology, but again at a price that buyers can afford.

As described, the Bendix/King Apex/R retrofit package will replace round-dial analog instruments with a trio of super-high-resolution XGA displays portraying primary-flight information, moving maps, weather, terrain, traffic and engine data. Included in the price (expected to be in the range of $200,000 to $500,000, depending on aircraft model) are the displays, attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), air-data computers, dual digital navcom, datalink weather and traffic, dual WAAS-capable GPS receivers, three-axis digital autopilot and necessary panel-mount controllers.

According to Marc Szczerba, general manager for Bendix/King avionics, certain components of Apex/R are flying today in Olathe, Kan., where most Apex development work is occurring. A full system test is scheduled for later this year and will be followed by flight testing of a complete Apex/R package in a King Air 200, the first airplane likely to receive an STC for the upgrade. Next, said Szczerba, will be certification programs for the Citation II and the Conquest turboprop, airplanes that Honeywell market research has shown are solid initial targets for the equipment. Honeywell expects about a 200-pound weight saving for buyers who install Apex/R, which includes all needed LRU boxes and wiring.

This is the first retrofit cockpit system developed specifically for older and lighter airplanes. Honeywell currently sells the retrofit Primus Epic CDS/R display package for newer airplanes and Rockwell Collins offers a similar higher-price installation called Pro Line 21 Continuum, both of which start at about $1 million and can quickly balloon in price as optional equipment is added.

Besides its relatively low price, what’s most noteworthy about Apex/R is the system’s large liquid-crystal flat-panel displays. These will eventually allow for the inclusion of what Honeywell calls visual cueing and control, an “out the window” type picture of the horizon and terrain on a primary display, similar in concept to what some avionics makers refer to as synthetic vision. The full complement of Apex features won’t be available for a few more years, but the first certified systems could be upgraded through software modifications as new technologies are developed–meaning synthetic vision is an expandable, adaptable technology.

With the Apex visual-cueing system, the traditional blue-over-brown attitude indicator will be replaced with an artificial sky and terrain that is very similar to a video-game view of the world. Significant ground features such as runways appear in the picture exactly where they would appear if the pilot were looking at them out the windscreen. Honeywell believes this will enhance safety by giving pilots a real-time mental picture of the aircraft’s position, an idea that seems to be gaining traction industry-wide.

In the background, Apex/R will use an air-data attitude and heading reference system (ADAHRS) that Honeywell is applying specifically to the system. It will include tiny micro-eletromechanical sensors (MEMS) doing the job of traditional spinning gyros and accele- rometers. Because it has no moving parts, the life expectancy of the ADAHRS is expected at around 8,000 hours, eight times the life span of today’s gyros.

Apex/R is the retrofit version of the original, on-again, off-again Apex program that was sparked when Honeywell merged with AlliedSignal, a marriage that brought designers of the Primus Epic system for business jets under the same wide umbrella as Bendix/King engineers in Olathe. Gone are the 1000, 2000 and 9000 numerical designations for the different versions of the cockpit, with all iterations now referred to simply as Apex.

Honeywell claims that of three OEM competitions Apex recently competed in, the system won two of them. Officials, however, said they could not yet reveal the OEMs that chose the system or give details about the aircraft programs. The single loss–the Cessna Citation Mustang cockpit, awarded in late March to rival Garmin–was a disappointment, especially for the engineers who were involved directly in the competition, said a spokesman.

In spite of winning a pair of competitions, it is clear that Honeywell’s stronghold in the business aircraft market, especially for lower-end turbine airplanes, is coming under heavy attack. This was made plainly evident last month when Diamond Aircraft picked the new Garmin G1000 system for its diesel-powered DA42 TwinStar and Safire Aircraft selected Avidyne’s FlightMax Entegra suite for its Safire Jet.

The Entegra system for Safire will have three 10.4-inch LCDs (two primary flight displays and one multifunction display), as well as a flight management system, IFR navcom, three-axis autopilot and datalink weather, lightning, terrain and traffic information. Garmin’s glass cockpit in the TwinStar features a 10-inch PFD, 10-inch MFD, digital audio control system, IFR navcom (including IFR WAAS and 8.33-kHz channel spacing), mode-S transponder with traffic information service, solid-state AHRS and digital air-data computer.

Garmin G1000
While Garmin did not bring any G1000 hardware to AEA, the company’s on-site sales force nevertheless was busy fielding questions from show goers who were curious to learn more about the new cockpit. Developed with owner-flown pilots in mind, the all-glass Garmin G1000 cockpit for the Mustang features a 15-inch multifunction flat-panel display in the center of the instrument panel flanked by a pair of 10-inch primary flight displays with extra wide horizon lines, standard business jet display symbology and menu-control buttons on the display bezels.

According to Gary Kelley, Garmin’s director of marketing, the Olathe avionics maker will supply not only the Mustang’s cockpit displays, but also the autopilot, FMS, weather radar, terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), traffic information system (TIS), solid-state AHRS and air-data computers.

Early specifications for the Mustang cockpit include dual integrated radio modules, WAAS-capable IFR GPS receivers, RVSM- compliant air-data computers, mode-S transponders, dual AHRS, three-axis digital autopilot, TIS traffic, weather radar and Garmin’s forthcoming class-B TAWS. The airplane’s FMS will be based on the GNS 430/530 platform, but with enhancements–including an FMS keypad in the center of the panel– giving owner-flown aviators some of the capabilities offered to business jet crews.

The lightweight, modular design and open architecture of the G1000 ensure it will evolve well into the future, said Kelley. All flight-relevant information–from aircraft attitude and air data to engine instrumentation, weather datalink, traffic and terrain–will be integrated and electronically depicted on the G1000’s color TFT displays, which boast XGA (1024 by 768) resolution, wide viewing angles and clear sunlight readability, Kelley added.

In the past three years Garmin has been acquiring the needed expertise to bring the G1000 to market. Sequoia Instruments of Los Gatos, Calif., a Garmin subsidiary purchased in November 2001, designed the G1000’s low-cost AHRS, a key ingredient of the system. Garmin also bought an airborne weather radar design from an unnamed supplier and hired a group of engineers to develop the Mustang’s automatic flight control system, which Kelley said features unique servos that will enhance autopilot reliability.

Garmin has built a flight control test center at New Century Airport in Olathe, where flight tests of some G1000 hardware has already started.

Chelton Flight Logic

Chelton’s Flight Logic concept is unique in aviation because of its ability to portray 3-D views of terrain and obstacles and so-called highway-in-the-sky (HITS) guidance cues on a full-color primary flight display. Company president Gordon Pratt was on hand at AEA to give personal demonstrations at the Chelton booth, “flying” the system with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2002.

The first STC’d version of Flight Logic was installed this past spring in a Cessna Caravan at Yingling Aviation in Wichita, where the airplane was also fitted with a new executive interior before being flown to its new owner, a private businessman in Taiwan.

The Chelton package includes a PFD and MFD, air-data computer, attitude and heading reference system and GPS receiver. HITS navigation allows pilots to fly hundreds of PFD-directed approaches and flight procedures by creating a series of constantly shifting boxes on the display, through which the pilot flies. As long as the flight-path symbol goes through the HITS box, the pilot can be assured he or she is right on course. Flying with HITS is simple as well, a big part of the reason the FAA and NASA are so eager to see the technology applied to GA aircraft.

The flight-path marker, which displays the airplane’s projected flight path, allows the pilot to guide the aircraft through the boxes.

At the same time, the PFD displays real-time 3-D terrain modeling, with mountains that shift as the aircraft flies along. Also included on the display are airspeed, groundspeed, altitude, height above terrain, density altitude, vertical speed, angle of attack, heading, decision height, actual winds aloft, crosswind component and OAT.

An MFD installed next to the PFD provides navigation, weather and traffic information. Purchase price for the complete package, including all needed wiring and harnesses, is $71,000. Anticipated installation time is about 150 hours.

Some have called the technology “virtual VFR” because of its ability to depict an electronic view of the outside world on a flight display. To create its digital surroundings, the Chelton SVS combines an internal database of the earth’s topography, attitude and heading data and position input from a GPS WAAS receiver. The result is a video-game-like view of the world ahead of the airplane that makes the pilot’s job much easier in bad weather and at night.

Not only has the FAA offered its blessing of the Chelton system, it sees the technology as instrumental in future operating environments. As a result, pilots participating in the FAA’s Alaska Capstone project will soon benefit from the Chelton system, flying with the displays in the rugged terrain of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
“People have been telling us for years that the FAA would never approve this technology,” said Chelton president Pratt. “In reality, we could have never accomplished this without them.”

The system’s navigation display contains a moving map that uses Jeppesen NavData. The map shows flight path and terrain that is near or above the aircraft’s current altitude and satisfies the FAA’s class-A TAWS mandate for turbine-powered airplanes, the company said. Unique features of the moving map are a horizontal projected path showing a wind-corrected track of the aircraft one minute into the future and a dead-stick glide area depiction that is constantly corrected to account for turns, wind and terrain. A conventional HSI/RMI presentation is also included on the nav display.

Until now Chelton’s EFIS had been flying primarily aboard kit-built airplanes. The company is targeting this new TSO’d package squarely at the upper echelons of high-performance piston aircraft and turboprops, where no such technology has yet been applied. Universal Avionics last summer gained approval for a synthetic-vision flight display, but its product has not been approved for primary flight guidance.

The terrain-based 3-D depiction of Universal’s Vision 1 shows the aircraft on an MFD relative to nearby terrain and its flight plan. Although the Vision 1 view is approved only for situational awareness and not navigation, it was the first FAA-approved iteration of SVS. Presented on a Universal MFD 640 display, Vision 1 uses a TAWS terrain data and computer-processing technology to create its synthetic world.

Next, Universal plans to certify a synthetic-vision primary flight display (PFD) for business jets that would replace a traditional ADI with a computer-generated view of the world. (The PFD portion of Vision 1 is a key part of Universal’s long-term strategy, but one that has been subject to a number of schedule delays. Certification will have to wait another six months at least as flight tests continue.)

The FAA in late March, meanwhile, launched the second phase of the Capstone program, this time in southeast Alaska. The first airplane to begin operating with the latest Capstone avionics was a Piper Seneca operated by LAB Flying Service. The equipment included the Chelton EFIS and was the first of some 200 planned installations as part of the FAA project.

The goal of Capstone is to demonstrate ways in which new communications, navigation and surveillance technologies can be used to improve aviation utility and safety in a traditionally challenging place to fly.

Avidyne Entegra
The FlightMax Entegra avionics system from Lincoln, Mass.-based Avidyne is a piston-pilot’s dream. Recently TSO’d, it’s a $26,500 option in the 310-hp Cirrus SR22 that all but one buyer has elected to shell out the extra cash to own. The large-format (10.4-inch diagonal) PFD shows airspeed and attitude on vertical tapes with a wide horizon line similar to the Honeywell and Garmin cockpits.

The Entegra system’s low-cost ADAHRS uses a three-axis solid-state inertial reference and accelerometer system combined with a magnetometer to replace the traditional vertical and directional gyros. The compact, lightweight ADAHRS provides roll, pitch and heading data with reliability that Avidyne claims far exceeds mechanical gyros, at a price that’s far below solid-state systems found in corporate jets. The PFD provides standard flight instrumentation, including an ADI and HSI, altitude, airspeed, vertical speed, heading, rate of turn and winds aloft.

Avidyne is working on arrangements with some aircraft owners for retrofit approvals. Used Socata TBM 700s and Pilatus PC-12s are logical choices. Higher-end avionics shops will be the first to do retrofit approvals because of the amount of certification work involved. After this, installations would become more routine and volume would likely start to pick up.

The nerve center of the Eclipse 500 light jet, meanwhile, is the Avio integrated avionics suite, a joint endeavor that brings together Avidyne, BAE Systems and General Dynamics, whose products are integrated to provide electronic control of the major systems on the aircraft, including FADEC, FMS, communications, autopilot, autothrottle, flaps, trim, landing-gear actuation and environmental systems.
Whether Avio become a force in the market depends on if Eclipse can successfully overcome the hurdles in its way on the road to certification, which has been stalled by a change from Williams International EJ22 turbofans to Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610Fs. Until a clearer picture emerges with regard to that program, look for Avidyne to put its marketing muscle behind Entegra.

Stand-alone Avionics
Aside from the heavy assault on avionics dealers by integrated cockpit makers, the AEA Convention introduced a number of stand-alone products as well, perhaps most noteworthy being the Apollo CNX80 all-in-one navigator from UPS Aviation Technologies. Similar in size and function to the Garmin GNS 430, the CNX80 is claimed to be the first GPS/navcom to include an IFR WAAS receiver. The FAA is gearing up to begin full-fledged WAAS operations this fall. UPSAT said its 15-channel WAAS receiver will soon be approved for IFR en route and terminal operations, as well as WAAS approaches.

The $11,995 (list price) CNX80, available through UPSAT dealers, also features a full-color LCD measuring 3.8 inches diagonally (compared with the GNS 430’s four-inch- diagonal display) and houses a VHF nav with VOR/LOC/GS and 760-channel com. In addition, the CNX80 includes novel features that help differentiate it from Garmin’s units. For example, the CNX80 can navigate along a VOR radial or ILS localizer while digitally displaying intersecting radials from a second VOR, anticipate upcoming leg changes and automatically decode Morse-code station identifiers and display their full names. The unit, which integrates with UPSAT’s MX20 multifunction display, is also capable of serving as a controller for a remote-mounted Apollo transponder.

With much of the focus on the CNX80, Garmin interested avionics dealers with news that a class-B TAWS upgrade will be available by the end of the year for the GNS 530 and GPS 500 at an introductory price of $6,495. Garmin also announced that its handheld GPSMAP 196 now features a faster microprocessor, remedying one of the unit’s few shortcomings.

ACSS (Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems), a division of L-3 Communications, introduced the PVI 600 multifunction display, a 6.5-inch color LCD that is capable of interfacing with TCAS, TAWS, weather radar, moving maps and video. The product, developed by L-3’s display systems division, is scheduled for certification late this year.

Another intriguing display option, Ryan International, maker of traffic awareness devices for GA, introduced a 3-ATI hazard MFD that is capable of providing traffic, terrain and weather information on a single color LCD. The Multi-Hazard Display is designed for use with the Ryan 9900BX traffic advisory system, and the company reports progress in adding weather and terrain information from other avionics makers. The Ryan display allows a pilot to switch between traffic, terrain and weather images by pushing a single button. It offers a multi-view mode that, in the future, will display information from other avionics simultaneously.

Rockwell Collins announced it is now offering the AHC-1000 AHRS, a retrofit-only version of its micromachined quartz attitude and heading reference sensor. The AHC-1000, claims Collins, provides a certified solid-state AHRS that is more accurate, more reliable and has a lower life-cycle cost than conventional systems. Its solid-state construction includes no moving parts and promises up to a 10,000-hour mean time between failure (MTBF), helping to ensure reliability and lower cost of ownership when compared with conventional gyro technology.

MaxViz Seeking More STCs
Max-Viz is pursuing STCs for its EVS-1000 and EVS-2000 enhanced vision systems in 11 additional rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. The Portland, Ore. company is seeking STCs in the Dassault Falcon 50 and 900EX, with an anticipated delivery of the first EVS-1000 system in a Falcon 50 next month. Max-Viz has also secured temporary certification for its EVS-1000 on the Falcon 900EX and is evaluating the system in that airplane until the end of the year.

Additional EVS-1000 certifications Max-Viz is pursuing include the Learjet 35; Bell 206, 407 and 412; and Eurocopter AS 350 and AS 355. Max-Viz is also supporting certification flight tests by Cessna for the EVS-2000 series in the Citation X and Sovereign, for which the sensor package will be offered as an option. All STCs, said Max-Viz, are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

The EVS-1000 consists of only two line-replaceable units (LRU) that weigh a total of five pounds and a single uncooled, long-wave infrared (IR) sensor to generate images of the world ahead on an MFD. The EVS-2000 contains dual long-wave IR sensors for additional landscape details and short-wave IR for airport lighting sensors, with the outputs fused into a single image. The IR images can augment a normal visual scan when visibility is degraded, particularly at night and in smoky, hazy or foggy conditions, said Max-Viz.

Airborne Communications
Owing to the availability of air-to-ground communications links made possible by a growing array of satellite and terrestrial options, the so-called office in the sky has never seemed more like a real office. In a slumping economy, companies that operate business jets are more determined than ever to squeeze every last minute of productivity from their top executives. Whether it’s new low-cost satcom choices or high-speed data services through the Inmarsat network, there is no denying that the passenger compartments of today’s corporate airplanes can be as conducive to roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-busy working as any office on the ground.

Iridium and Globalstar are making market headway against Inmarsat, due mainly to the fact that calls placed through these newer satellite networks are far cheaper than traditional satcom and have broader footprints for better worldwide coverage. The drawback to Iridium and Globalstar, however, is that the constellations are complex and expensive to maintain, meaning they may not even be around a decade from now.

The line of Sky Connect Executive cordless handsets from Takoma Park, Md.-based Icarus Instruments brings low-cost Iridium services to the realm of corporate aircraft. Sky Connect comes with an Iridium transceiver permanently installed in the aircraft and a base station for the cordless handsets. Worldwide coverage offered by the Iridium satellite network means that unlike Inmarsat services there are no dead zones, handoff issues or dropped calls.

Passengers can move around anywhere in the cabin with the handsets, and they can be used as an intercom between the cabin and cockpit. The cordless handsets can also be used up to 300 feet from the aircraft, Icarus claims, allowing use on the ramp. The handsets provide 10 hours of continuous talk time, with 150 hours of standby time. When the handsets are not in use, they stow in their flush-mount rechargeable cradles.

For $24,995 buyers get two wireless handsets, two recharging cradles, the Iridium transceiver, antenna and installation kit, in addition to 3,000 minutes of included airtime, which can be used over a three-year span.

Blue Sky Network, another provider of Iridium services, introduced the C-1000A satcom system, an analog-interface version of the company’s original C-1000. The $9,800 phone system can interface with Iridium and Magnastar networks. Adding the optional VL-1000 Dual Mode Interface, users can plug a headset into a Motorola Satellite Series phone. An exterior antenna kit option provides a TSO’d Iridium antenna and 15 feet of cable. A panel-mount version of the kit, enabling quick-disconnect capability in the cockpit, is also offered.

The La Jolla, Calif. company also announced that it will begin offering Web-based flight-tracking services next month, with short-burst data sent over the Iridium network. The service will also allow text e-mail messages to be sent between the ground and properly equipped aircraft.

Chelton’s Northern Airborne Technology, meanwhile, has introduced the STX100, a Globalstar-compatible satphone system that can connect with an aircraft’s audio system or be used with flush-mount handsets. The system consists of the STX-1000 transceiver, PTA12 dialer/adapter and Globalstar antenna. The dialer/adapter allows phone calls through a standard aviation headset, complete with redial, hold, volume and ringer functions.

Globalstar, like Iridium, is a constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites providing worldwide voice-calling capability, with the exception being that Globalstar coverage does not include extreme polar regions and some mid-ocean regions.

AirCell Joins Satcom Fray

AirCell has introduced two new airborne telecommunications products, the AST 3500, which combines cellular technology with the Iridium satcom system, and the ST 3100, which relies exclusively on Iridium.

Using AirCell’s airborne cellular technology–which adds special antennas to existing cell towers–the AST 3500 provides telephone, fax, e-mail, data and weather information to the cockpit virtually anywhere in the continental U.S. above 18,000 feet. The system’s Iridium transceiver accesses Iridium Satellite’s global network of LEO satellites for coverage outside the AirCell network.

Both services feature air-to-ground and ground-to-air operation. An integrated dual-network option lets users make phone calls through the Iridium Satellite network while simultaneously sending or receiving data through the AirCell cellular network.

The AST 3500 consists of a remote-mounted transceiver unit, a cellular and an Iridium antenna and as many as nine handsets per installation.

The ST 3100 Iridium-only system provides telephone and data capability, but is identical in size to the AST 3500. Both systems are designed for retrofit into most existing AirCell installations. AirCell said the remote-mounted transceivers of either system can be rail- or rack-mounted outside the airplane’s pressure vessel.

Limited-time introductory pricing of the AST 3500 is $26,995, which includes the remote-mounted transceiver unit, blade-style cellular antenna, patch-style Iridium antenna and two flush-mounted handsets. The limited-time, introductory price for the AirCell ST 3100 is $19,995, which includes the remote-mounted transceiver unit, patch-style Iridium antenna and a standard and flush-mounted handset.

In other news from AEA, Heads Up Technologies of Carrollton, Texas, touted its role in the recently announced satellite weather offering from XM Satellite Radio and Weather Works. The companies have joined forces to provide Nexrad weather maps, Metars, TAFs and other data through XM’s proprietary satellite system, which also beams 100 channels of digital audio to special receivers, mainly in cars.

For $49.99 a month pilots will be able to receive graphical weather maps sent directly to a cockpit display, along with sigmets, airmets, storm-cell tracking screens, surface analysis and echo tops. Garmin plans to introduce the service in the G1000 system. Heads Up Technologies, which has been developing an XM audio receiver for business-jet cabins, plans to offer graphic weather services for cockpit displays and electronic flight bag (EFB) portable computers. The data-only weather service, which uses the same antenna as XM’s radio service, will be available this summer.

Collins and Honeywell Square Off
Rockwell Collins and Honeywell both recently added to their capability in cabin IFE integration with the purchase of established companies that are well known
in business aviation–Collins with its buyout of Airshow and Honeywell through the acquisition of Baker Electronics.

Rockwell Collins describes the Airshow 21 product line as “a solution set for the business aviation cabin.” The product family includes high-speed Internet connectivity, entertainment through DVD, CD and satellite TV and cabin-environment controls with simplified user interfaces. A main ingredient of the Airshow 21 service mix is reliable air-to-ground data connectivity for secure, high-speed airborne access to e-mail, the Internet and videoconferencing. The system also provides interfaces for standard office equipment, including printers, fax machines and scanners.

An optional local-area network (LAN) from Collins allows multiple users to access the system and connect to ground-based networks. The system can be enhanced through the addition of a wireless LAN, said Collins, permitting users to maintain network connections while moving around inside the cabin.

Buyers may choose to install a system that allows Internet browsing through Inmarsat’s Swift64, or they can elect to store pre-packaged information such as news, weather and sports on an onboard file server updated regularly using the satcom system and Inmarsat’s Swift64 service.

Honeywell’s renamed Cabin Systems division, formerly Baker, stepped up its cabin presence by unveiling a 30-inch flat-panel liquid crystal display, the HB3000, which Honeywell said is the largest LCD on the market. Offering resolution of 1280 by 768 pixels in 16:9 wide-aspect-ratio format, the screen displays all standard video formats and supports VGA computer graphics. This allows passengers to view movies, games and moving maps, or use the screens as a laptop or computer workstation display.

Honeywell also recently unveiled a new service called ePaxx, which it said has been developed to provide business jet passengers with quick access to e-mail, news, stock quotes and moving maps, even in aircraft that do not have high-speed data connections to the Internet. The new service, said the company, is available for any aircraft that has an airborne telephone and 115-volt, 60-Hz power source.

The only additional hardware items that are needed to take advantage of ePaxx are a customer-supplied notebook PC, network router and connecting cables, all of which can be carried on the airplane–and all available at consumer electronics stores for about $2,000. The service uses Honeywell’s own Inflightmail e-mail offering, and in addition provides an international text news service, a stock-price service and the passenger moving map, which will be added to the lineup early next year. The service works in any business aircraft equipped with Inmarsat or Airsat satphone systems or Magnastar terrestrial-link telephone systems.

Pentar JetLAN AS200
The new Pentar JetLAN AS200 cabin server, unveiled at AEA, combines repackaged PC hardware with avionics interface technology to provide what its developer touts as a good combination of performance, small size and low price.

The $30,000 AS200 houses a pair of 50-gigabyte removable hard drives that are shock-mounted for use in turbulence. The unit’s target is the emerging market for high-performance network file servers, which must carry telecommunications input/output options enabling such devices to interface with most aircraft communications systems, including broadband connections such as Swift64.

Pentar’s newest network server can also function as the platform for multimedia applications such as in-flight entertainment, said the company. The unit is capable of supporting video and audio on demand, as well as encoding and decoding audio/video signals. It can also be used as a communication platform for the crew, the central component in a paperless cockpit or as a maintenance logging and recording device.    o