There is nothing like some juicy in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) and aircraft interiors dish to get the blood flowing on a Wednesday! File these babies under rumor and speculation...for now.
For starters, I'm told by a source that Japanese seat maker Koito is in some big doggy do-do. The manufacturer has apparently admitted to EASA that it falsified 16g test records. A quick scan of news archives shows that Koito has provided aircraft seats to lots of big name airlines, including Continental Airlines and All Nippon Airways. This could get ugly.
A separate source tells me that Delta Air Lines' FOCIS initiative, which seeks to turn Delta's Gogo-connected aircraft into nodes on the carrier's network, is still very much alive and has broadened to include other operational departments than just flight ops and maintenance. I'm told that since the electronic flight bag (EFB) is a high profile portion of this initiative, we should keep our ears open for the announcement of an EFB Users Conference hosted by Delta in April. Wow. The spring is sizing up to be busy indeed!
My source also says that Delta selected embedded IFE over handhelds for its ex-Northwest 747s because of the large number of Panasonic maintenance teams
on-site at Delta and around the system. But it also may have had something to do with Pace Communications' concern with content provisioning and licensing agreements on handhelds?!?
Now then, what else do I have? Ah yes, I received a really interesting break-down about the issue of dual satcom antenna installations for Airbus and Boeing. Could they? Should they? Would they? Here is one fine IFEC insider's opinion.
For my money the best solution would be to have two standalone domains. Cockpit applications may never require more than classic/SwiftBroadband (cockpit voice/data and possibly EFB) whilst the cabin applications will require ever increasing bandwidth.With separate systems the IFEC vendors can go push the envelope with Ku, KA, ABC, XYZ without impacting the essential aircraft communications. In essence, to have complete separation between cockpit and cabin you will need.....complete separation.
Lastly, you may be wondering: "What is all this talk about a 60GHz standard to enable wireless in-flight entertainment? Do some researchers have too much time on their hands or are they onto something here?"
I tapped an IFEC confidant, who says that while you cannot use 60GHz today, in theory you could use it in the future if you get it certified on aircraft. However, it is a long way from being used in that form.
For much more info on the research, go here.
Lastly, speculation is rife that Emirates is considering dropping AeroMobile, which was put into administration in December. I have no idea if this is true or not - and certainly Emirates has not made any hint of such a thing to the public - but I'm told that the AeroMobile saga could get very interesting in the coming weeks.
(Photo above from Mike Johnson - TheBusyBrain.com)