EBACE: More digital-do in the cabin for Rockwell Collins

Washington DC
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Rockwell Collins is bolstering its high-definition digital cabin management system (CMS) prowess with the expansion of the Venue line and its interfaces as well as the introduction of a new high-definition "overlay" for a lower-cost update to legacy cabin systems.

New to Venue's retrofit family is the Dornier 328DBJ, taking its place alongside the Boeing Business Jet and Airbus Corporate Jet.

When added to the Venue's forward fit customers - Cessna CJ4 and Beechcraft King Air 350i, Rockwell Collins said the all-digital system is the most populous high-definition CMS in the sector. Cessna was the launch customer for Venue with the CJ4, which the airframer has been delivering since April 2010.

Germany's 328 Support Services selected Venue for the two 328DBJ jets that it refurbished, marking the first European-manufactured aircraft retrofitted with Venue, said Rockwell Collins director of commercial systems marketing Joel Otto. Like other Venue customers, Otto said the 328DBJ passengers will have a "complete high-definition solution that makes for the same experience they can get in the home environment".

Aftermarket installations for the Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJ are provided by Zurich-based Jet Aviation (stand 7060).

Jet Aviation is the first third-party provider of a new high-definition "overlay" upgrade to legacy Rockwell Collins cabin systems including the CMS-1 and ACMS, which were forward-fitted on many large business jets. Jet Aviation has installed the first overlay system in a Gulfstream V, which is here at the show. "You can leave the infrastructure in place, but the overlay converts the CMS to digital and puts in high definition - making the cabin closer to home theatre experience, but without the cost of an entire Venue makeover," said Otto.

Venue's "home environment" will now feature iPod Touches and iPhones too. Otto said Venue owners can now go to the iTunes online store and download an application that will let them use the devices as a remote control. Visitors are being asked to download the app before or at EBACE and go to the stand to try it out. In addition to being able to control Venue's operations, the iPods or iPhones can be used to view Venue content including map functions.

"I think we will find that customers over time will want to be able to do this with other types of devices as well," said Otto. "We'll be watching this, and I anticipate we'll be coming out with additional versions of the remote."

Otto noted that the iPad will work as a remote, but the app is not optimised for the device. "It doesn't use full capabilities of the display to its best advantage, but we are looking at a solution for the future," he said.