CAPT BILL ARCHER, chairman of the British Airline Pilots Association, addressed the conference on an undesirable consequence of modern passenger services and cabin in-flight entertainment systems.

These systems are complex and so far do not have a good enough record of in-flight serviceability. Since passengers have come to expect these services, on long haul flights, the crew members frequently make attempts, at simple diagnosis and check connections, often unsuccessfully.

Such flights carry extra cockpit crew who may attempt in-flight servicing, but it is a distraction for the operating crew and may interrupt the rest-breaks of other crew. Bored passengers also tend to mill around, to the inconvenience of cabin staff.

Archer argues that the development of substantial design improvements should start now, in anticipation of "...future 600-seater aircraft capable of flights approaching 20h."

He asks for central built-in features for test and diagnosis, and an ability to make simple fixes without a power-down. Aircraft should also carry limited spares for the system and seat-adjustment controls, he says.

Source: Flight International