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MEBA: Middle East to Ascend with Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins says Middle East customers are telling the company its Ascend flight information offering is the "right solution" for the region.

Launched in October, Ascend is designed to streamline billing, improve fuel planning, and manage flight plans, ground handling and allow downlinking of maintenance data.

Rockwell Collins says it is estimating the service, which is blended with offerings formerly provided by Houston-based Air Routing, a company Rockwell Collins purchased in 2009, can reduce flight operations costs by 7-10%.

A secure datalink called the Aircraft Information Manager (AIM) will be available in aircraft equipped with Pro Line Fusion and Pro Line 4 and Pro Line 21 cockpits, which makes the aircraft a "node" on a wider information network.

Dennis Hildreth, Rockwell Collins marketing manager for flight information solutions, says the Pro Line 4 and Pro Line 21 retrofit solutions are in final development and should be ready for the market in June 2011.

For operators, having the 3G or wi-fi data connections available in the vicinity of the gate or fixed-base operation will allow for hands-off updates of the myriad of on-board databases, refreshes that occur as often as every 14 days for electronic charts.

Data will also flow in the other direction, with maintenance data from the aircraft and cabin wirelessly sent to Rockwell Collins data centre in Houston and ultimately to the customer.

Hildreth says operators can initiate and complete the AIM process to aircraft virtually anywhere on the globe while sitting at their computers, a huge gain in efficiency from having to physically update the variety of on-board databases by hand.

Rockwell Collins will charge an annual subscription for the service.

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