Completion and refurbishment centers are racing to bring the latest technology into cabin entertainment with crisper, sharper pictures and better sound, user-friendly controls and improved reliability. On the cabin communications side, high-speed-data connections are finally poised to enter business aviation’s mainstream this year.
The FAA has issued a long-awaited amendment to an advisory circular that outlines operational guidelines for anyone seeking to fly with so-called electronic flight bag (EFB) portable computers. Eliminating confusion that accompanied the original draft AC, the revised document, AC 120-76A, clarifies many of the requirements for certification, airworthiness and operational approval of EFB devices.
Arinc Direct, the business aviation services division of Annapolis, Md.-based Arinc, has officially launched a lineup of flight-support services for corporate flight departments and FBOs. The company said the menu of service choices now offerred includes worldwide flight planning, weather information, flight following, voice and data communications, ground handling and global concierge services.
As deadlines for domestic and expanded international reduced vertical separation minimum airspace draw nearer, more and more opportunities are popping up for operators to obtain installation of RVSM-approved avionics and other required equipment. Arinc, Jet Source and West Star Aviation are among the latest organizations to announce RVSM solutions. In some cases, competition is helping drive down prices.
An international training course is now offered monthly by Arinc Direct at its Annapolis, Md. headquarters. The one-day course, which costs $525 per person, is an expansion of the program Arinc has been offering regularly to the flight departments of Coca-Cola, Dreamworks, Ford, IBM, and TAG Aviation. Arinc said the course meets Part 91 and 135 requirements for international operations, including RVSM and MNPS.
Rockwell Collins said last month that it has completed the purchase of the SkyLink broadband terminal product line from Arinc for its relaunched eXchange data offering. Collins will sell and support the product line to large business jet operators and OEMs, while Arinc will continue to provide SkyLink Ku-band satellite services.
Gulfstream announced that it has received an STC for the installation of its Broad Band Multi-Link (BBML) high-speed Internet connection, giving buyers another choice for airborne access to the Web.
As the domestic RVSM implementation date of January 20 moves ever closer, hundreds of operators–particularly those flying older airplanes–still face the formidable task of obtaining the necessary FAA approvals and certifications of their crews and aircraft.
To that end, modification companies have recently introduced RVSM packages for Hawker 700s and Gulfstream IIs and IIIs.
Aircraft operators have been forced to add new technology to meet updated requirements since the 1950s, but nothing ever seems to come off aircraft, one air traffic expert noted recently.
Arinc Direct customers will soon be discovering new horizons. The business division of Annapolis, Md.-based Arinc expects to expand coverage of its Skylink in-flight satellite Ku broadband service to include the Caribbean, the North Atlantic and a “substantial” portion of Central and South America before year-end. Skylink service over North America has been available since 2005, and service over Europe was added last year.