Crystal Cabin Awards winners have a future in business aviation

 - May 4, 2013, 12:50 AM

Seven winners emerged from the Crystal Cabin Awards judging last month, and some of them stand to find a market in business aviation.

The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Hamburg, Germany, on the eve of the opening of the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo.

Candidates with winning entries included Boeing, Diehl Aircabin, Dornier Technologie Systems, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Meru, Thales and Zodiac Aerospace.

Perhaps the most eye-opening winner was Thales in the passenger comfort systems category with its in-flight entertainment system controlled exclusively by a combination of hand and eye movements. The company believes the combination of eye tracking and hand gesture technologies represents the next generation of cabin entertainment and will find a ready market among private and business jet owners.

A TravelChair created after extensive development by Meru in the UK won the passenger comfort hardware category. The chair was created specifically for severely disabled children between the ages of three and eleven. It weighs 13.2 pounds, fits most airline seats and has been approved for use by EASA.

Designers of larger business jets carrying a large entourage in cabin class may find Zodiac Aerospace’s winning innovative space interior system (Isis) worth considering. The company’s new Isis overhead bin system is the result of deconstructing and reimagining the A320 interior. The retrofit pivoting bin provides a 60-percent gain in bag capacity and improves headroom. Meanwhile, the 100-percent recyclable EcoForm sidewalls contribute to a greener cabin.

Also for owners of large cabin-class bizliners is a new Boeing-designed insulated galley cart, winner of the greener cabin health, safety and equipment category. It keeps cold food within required parameters for as long as 17 hours, allowing the carrier to get rid of heavy refrigeration units.

Other winners were Diehl Aerospace Systems in the premier class and VIP category, for its capacitive touchscreen “Glass PCU,” which it describes as “robust, durable, hygienic and easy to clean.”

In the material and components category, Diehl Aircabin of Germany took the top prize with its “iPanel,” which integrates electronic components, reducing the number of parts by one-tenth and yielding a 30-percent weight saving.

Hamburg University of Applied Sciences won first place in the university category, picking up a check for $3,915 (€3,000). The entrant was the BigLavC larger aircraft lavatory to accommodate both larger users and wheelchair-bound passengers.