NBAA Convention News

Flight Display dispels cabin electronics myths

 - September 26, 2007, 10:23 AM

Flight Display Systems (Booth No. 3047) engaged in a round of “myth-busting” here Tuesday. According to president David Gray, there are four myths endemic to the cabin electronics industry–that there is no quality high-definition system available, that cabin monitors cost about $1,000 an inch, that passengers couldn’t care less about flight deck information and that switching has to cost $1,000 per button.

Gray went on to introduce his audience to some of the Alpharetta, Ga.-based company’s new products as evidence that these “truths” have now been relegated to the realm of myth.

At NBAA’07, Flight Display Systems is introducing its new high-definition delivery system that supports Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, delivering “crisp digital video.” The new system employs a proprietary line of video distribution amplifiers coupled with category 5e cable and HD monitors. “Now video quality in the aircraft can equal that offered at home,” said Gray.

Flight Display is also showing its 15-inch LCD monitor, which sells for $5,350, and its 42-inch LCD monitor at $17,232. Gray said the company recently replaced the four aging 20-inch monitors in a Boeing Business Jet with four of its new 42-inch monitors. Not only did the Flight Display monitors cost $12,000 less than the original equipment, they weighed a total of 148 pounds, about half that of the old monitors.

As for passengers not being interested in information from the flight deck, Gray pointed out that the company’s moving-map upgrades offer XM Satellite Weather with real-time Nexrad weather conditions. And he also noted the most recent upgrade that features airport maps showing the airplane’s position as an icon overlay, from the moment it touches the ground until it takes off again.

As for the myth of switching costs set in stone at about $1,000 a button, Gray said Flight Display was asked to create a switching system “that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg” and using off-the-shelf products. The company, he said, came up with single switches that take care of four functions, and “at a price point lower than the industry average.”

Flight Display Systems also had good news about its long-awaited $99,000 satellite-direct television program. Gray said the final engineering reports on the antenna tests are to be submitted to the FAA this week and final confirmation tests are scheduled for October 29. “The FAA is happy so far and I expect we will have certification by the end of the year,” said Gray. The initial STC will be held by Flight Display and will cover the entire Bombardier Challenger 600 line.

Also at its exhibit stand, Flight Display Systems is introducing an upgrade of its video amplifier. The new amp features four input sources and four cabin audio and video outputs. It is available at a cost of $2,494.

Finally, the company is giving away a seven-inch LCD digital picture frame every hour. The frame lists for $129.95. All that is required to enter the drawing is a business card.