The Federal Communications Commission has said it won’t continue exploring the feasibility of allowing passengers to use their personal cellphones to make calls in flight, basing its decision on concerns raised by cellular providers over possible airborne interference with ground networks.
Satellite TV for less than $100,000? That’s the deal being offered by in-flight entertainment specialist Flight Display Systems (FDS), an Alpharetta, Ga.-based cabin electronics manufacturer, which last month unveiled an all-new satellite TV system for business airplanes called Ellipse Direct.
PGA Electronic, based in Montierchaume, France, announced it will deliver its first full digital version of the Paradize 3 cabin management and entertainment system early next year. The new digital system will link all the aircraft’s in-flight entertainment and cabin lighting components, including PGA’s own on-demand audio and video.
AirCell is at NBAA 2007 heralding next year’s launch of new broadband services as modular options to its Axxess cabin system. The company is at Booth No. 1630 offering details about its own broadband system, which will operate domestically over the exclusive, dedicated frequencies the FCC awarded to AirCell last year, as well as the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband service offering global in-flight voice and data at up to 432 kbps per channel.
Mid Continent Controls (Booth No. 4926) is displaying its in-flight entertainment technology with new media disc players capable of reading DVDs from all geographic regions as well as compact, video compact, MP3, DVD+RW and DVD-RW discs.
In a boost for Louisville, Colo.-based AirCell (Booth No. 1630), Gulfstream has selected the company’s Axxess cabin communications system as standard equipment aboard its line of large-cabin business jets spanning the G300 through G550.
European authorities apparently do not share the qualms the Federal Communications Commission and FAA have about the in-flight use of personal cellphones. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir Services for use on the Airbus A318.
The new TopFlight satellite data unit (SDU) from Thales is set to be installed on a new-build business aircraft later this year by an as yet unidentified manufacturer. According to the France-based electronics group, the equipment should be certified to support wireless communications for passengers by the second quarter of next year.
AirCell reports it has successfully completed the initial phase of flight testing for a new airborne telecommunications link, which is claimed to provide average data speeds in flight of 300- to 500 kilobytes per second and peak rates up to 2.4 megabytes per second.
The TopFlight satellite communications terminal that Thales launched at last year’s Farnborough airshow will be installed later this year on new-build corporate aircraft produced by an as-yet unidentified OEM and should be certified to support WiFi-based passenger use by the second quarter of next year.