Pilots will be able to avoid clear air turbulence thanks to real-time weather information, while passengers can download movies at least as quickly as they can at home, all thanks to Honeywell’s Connected Aircraft concept on show at Paris this week.
These are just two of the myriad of benefits that Honeywell says the additional capacity of the Inmarsat GX Aviation Ka-band satellite network can bring to airlines.
“Connectivity is not just about passengers,” says Carl Esposito, president of Honeywell's electronic solutions business. “The Connected Aircraft can take data from all over the aircraft from nose to tail and help airlines work more efficiently with savings on fuel and maintenance.
Paris is one of a number of stops on a world tour the company is conducting to show how the vastly improved connectivity, along with Honeywell developed apps, can improve flights for pilots, passengers and flight operators alike.
Honeywell has developed a brand, GoDirect, for its connected aviation products from electronic flightbags to connected maintenance.
The GoDirect Flight Preview application gives pilots a highly accurate, three-dimensional preview of the runway and surrounding terrain before they take off to enable preparation for difficult or unusual approaches.
On board, GoDirect Weather gives pilots real-time weather data on the flightpath, allowing them to plan the safest, most efficient routes possible. A new connected radar function will provide crowdsourced weather information from other aircraft in the sky and share that information through an app, giving an accurate view of the weather around the world.
Adjusting to the right flightpath using GoDirect Fuel Efficiency software reduces the amount of fuel pilots use as it collects, monitors and analyses data to help operators optimise fuel efficiency and select the most fuel-efficient flightpaths.
Esposito says that with GoDirect Connected Maintenance, airlines can be more efficient and predictive in the way they maintain their fleets. "They now no longer need to reactively fix mechanical systems like auxiliary power units or wheels and brakes," he said. "They proactively troubleshoot mechanical issues to avoid aircraft downtime. They get the data they need to be more efficient to keep flights on time and passengers happy."
The amount of data capability is breathtaking. “A single twin-engine aircraft can generate up to 844TB of data from 12h of flight, which is approximately 27,000 32GB iPhone 7s,” Honeywell says. In comparison, an Airbus A380 is fitted with as many as 25,000 sensors.
That bandwidth gives comfort to today's connected passengers too. Kristin Slyker, Honeywell’s vice-president, Connected Aircraft, says passengers will get on-board internet at speeds that will be as good, if not better than at home. During the first Le Bourget demo flight, speeds in excess of 30Mb/s. The system, called JetWave has seamless global broadband access to the Inmarsat GX satellites. "You can download your Netflix movies from your seat. You no longer have to do it before you board," Slyker said.
The Honeywell Connected Aircraft is currently on a work tour which continues to the Middle East and Asia after the show.