EBACE Convention News

Honeywell To ‘GoDirect’ To Market With New Products

 - May 23, 2016, 10:00 AM
With GoDirect, Honeywell is able to bring new products to market faster through the development of apps before migrating these features and functions to its certified avionics. Above, its Weather Information Services app depicts weather radar data on a planned flight over the North Atlantic.

Honeywell is rolling out a new brand, GoDirect, to create a one-stop shop for all of its services. GoDirect also reflects an effort to get products to the market faster through the development and enhancement of apps. As part of the rollout, Honeywell has released a new GoDirect web portal that provides access to its comprehensive portfolio of aerospace services, including flight planning, software updates, maintenance services and a variety of other offerings.

The portal is part of Honeywell’s philosophy of taking a holistic view of services from “gate to gate,” the company said.

GoDirect, however, is much broader than a brand or a web portal. It also is designed to reflect the company’s vision of bringing safety innovations and new technologies to market, when possible, through apps that don’t require certification.

Michael Edmonds, v-p, services and connectivity for Honeywell Aerospace, noted Honeywell offers dozens of product lines that are mostly certified and take years to get to market. “In my world, most of the applications I am doing are noncertified,” he said. “I can launch them in weeks.”

To do this, the company is leveraging its connectivity capabilities through a new branded product called GoDirect. It’s designed to “enable everything we can do to make a better workflow for people who maintain and work on airplanes, as well as the flight crews and dispatch…What we have done is create a whole new thinking around work-stream optimization and branded it GoDirect: [as in] ‘GoDirect’ to the solution to a maintenance problem or ‘GoDirect’ to the destination, in terms of flight support.”

The ultimate goal is to get those advisory technologies to the cockpit on a certified basis, but creating uncertified apps will broaden access to the technology sooner and at lower cost, Edmonds said.

Honeywell is in the process of developing a series of such products. These include a Fuel Efficiency app that was developed with technology the company gained through its acquisition last year of a small Bulgarian company, Aviaso.

The app tracks every phase of flight from the planning, to taxiing to the flight and provides a briefing that enables the operator to see ways the flight could have been conducted more efficiently or how other savings could be generated. The tracking includes everything from fuel tankering options to whether too much potable water is being carried on board to whether the flaps are used most efficiently.

The app, which Edmonds said took only about four weeks to create, is directed more toward the fleet operator – Honeywell has 26 airlines that have been using the services, but has been in discussions with fractional operators and other large business aviation fleet operators.

The Weather Information Services app, which is live now, links weather data to flight plans selected by a pilot. The pilot has control of the data it obtains, with information from radar and satellite weather information. It includes a range of reports, such as Pireps, Metars and terminal area forecasts. It will provide weather conditions both horizontally and vertically, enabling pilots to better determine how to fly around weather.

Honeywell is working on the next update, “NowCasting,” which Kiah Erlich, general manager of Honeywell's Flight Support Services business, said will become a more accurate way of forecasting. This will show intensity of weather satellite imagery and also will depict aggregated data – “crowdsourcing” – accumulated from Honeywell’s RDR-4000 weather radar installed on aircraft operating around the world. By aggregating information from the weather radar, Honeywell can provide data on activity over oceans and other regions where such information is not readily available, she said, likening the effort to using every RDR-4000-equipped aircraft as a weather balloon.

Another feature that will be available shortly for Honeywell’s weather app is “Vertical Optimization,” which includes a tool to optimize routes based on fuel-performance data and weather.

Honeywell is also focusing on the maintenance side through GoDirect, developing a “My Maintainer” app that taps into data from the aircraft and tracks crew-alerting-system messages. The app, designed for mobility, can point to the origin of the fault and track the history of similar faults and can send messages to a central office for corrective actions when and if necessary.

Honeywell’s new Flight Preview app came out of the company’s FMS (flight management system) engineering team, providing an iPad preview of an instrument approach to a given airport. The app, to be released shortly, enables pilots to “pre-fly” an approach depicted on the Apple iPad and become familiar with the airport and procedures before making the actual approach. (See story above.)

These apps are designed for the electronic flight bag Erlich said. “You don’t have to wait for expensive certified avionics,” she said. “We are taking a lot of our avionics technology and getting it to market faster and cheaper in these non-certified application.”