Dubai Airshow

Airline Seat Monitor Senses All

 - November 13, 2017, 3:24 PM

With separate innovations showcased by sister companies FliteTrak and Flitetec at the Dubai Airshow 2017, airlines can wirelessly monitor all cabin seats for a host of information, while passengers, once seated, can enjoy easier use of personal devices for in-flight entertainment.

The ViatorAero seat monitoring system from FliteTrak wirelessly provides data, including seat temperature, passenger movement, and whether the seat belt is fastened and tray table and seatback are upright, “driving greater returns and delivering key insights through information,” said Andrew Barnett, FliteTrak’s joint managing director.

ViatorAero can also monitor the health of individual seat cushions, noting when replacements are needed based on thickness, compression resilience, or other criteria operators set. Based on advanced iblox framework technology, the system uses small, lightweight wireless sensors, with live data sent to a flight attendant’s tablet or mobile device for display. It also records data on broken equipment such as trays, seatbelts and screens, transmitting details to maintenance crews for rapid correction.

This is the first use of the technology in the aerospace market, according to FliteTrak, though it’s already well known in the rail industry.

Sister company Flitetec, which manufactures plastic parts and engineered solutions for airline cabins, now has new tablet holders for airline seats. The tablets can “hook into the actual aircraft entertainment” system, or passengers can bring their own entertainment, said Trevor Lea, Flitetec’s managing director. The company previously produced a few bespoke versions for holding 11-inch tablets for various airlines, but the new product presented in Dubai can hold any size tablet, mountable on either seatbacks or tray tables.

Also new from Flitetec: retrofittable armrests with USB chargers located at the end of the seat arms. The company is “halfway through a major retrofit program for Air France,” Lea said. Most USB charging ports on airlines are located on seatbacks, Lea noted, which is fine “unless someone gets up from [an interior] seat” to get to the aisle, requiring disconnecting the charging cable. Lea calls the charging armrests “a big step forward for our company, and what we can do.”