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ThinKom Completes Successful Antenna Interoperability Demonstrations on Ku-Band LEO Satellite Constellation

ThinKom Solutions, Inc., recently completed a series of interoperability tests that demonstrated the compatibility of its core antenna technology with a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network. 

The tests took place during the first quarter of 2020, using commercially available airborne-certified hardware, including a ThinKom Ku3030 phased-array antenna subsystem and a Gogo radome, adaptor plate and power amplifier that together comprise the “2Ku” aero satcom terminal.

The 2Ku terminal demonstrated rapid acquisition and tracking of LEO satellites and provided continuous connectivity over all operationally relevant elevation angles. The switch time between individual satellite beams was less than 100 milliseconds (ms), and handoffs between satellites were completed in less than one second. Switches between LEO and geostationary (GEO) satellites were also achieved with similar results.

The measured terminal performance demonstrated the potential that the combination of ThinKom antennas and LEO solutions will provide, with throughput rates in excess of 350 Mbps on the downlink and 125 Mbps on the uplink, at latencies of less than 50 ms. 

“LEO satellite networks have the potential to be transformative to the in-flight connectivity experience, but also place new stringent demands on the antenna systems used to track and connect with the rapidly moving satellites,” said Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “This important demonstration is another milestone verifying that our antenna technology operates effectively in the LEO environment, which is a key requirement for airlines in terms of enhanced network resiliency and flexibility.”  

ThinKom has successfully tested its Ku- and Ka-band COTS phased-array aero antennas across commercial and military frequency bands and a wide range of GEO and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites over the past 12 months. In all cases, the phased-array antennas have consistently demonstrated high throughput operation and rapid reliable handoffs, including both intra- and inter-satellite switching.

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Thales, Telstra, Microsoft and Arduino Deliver Scalable Trust for Easy-to-Deploy IoT Applications

Thales and Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications company are working with Microsoft and Arduino to pave the way for scalable security for connected IoT devices, by implementing a solution that enables trusted and secure end-to-end communication between device and cloud.

The solution enables instant and standardised mutual authentication between a device and a cloud platform via cellular networks, while fully-complying with GSMA IoT SAFE security specifications.

Within the IoT ecosystem, billions of devices collect, process and send data to the cloud, where a range of different IoT services are executed. To enable security, the IoT cloud service must have absolute trust in data received from connected devices. Equally, devices need to trust the cloud. This is only possible if the device and server are mutually authenticated. However, the IoT devices market is so fragmented – with a patchwork of different operating systems and chips being utilised – that security services scalability and duplication are very limited.

That’s why Thales, Telstra, Microsoft[1] and Arduino[2] decided to team up to work on a solution that addresses the challenge of securely and efficiently connecting IoT devices to clouds in the most simplified way and through cellular networks. The level of trust required is enabled by a sophisticated ‘security-by-design’ approach for any IoT devices based on field-proven and standardised SIM or eSIM technology.

As a result, as soon as an IoT device is switched on, any SIM or eSIM featuring Thales’s IoT SAFE application is automatically and securely provisioned. Once the IoT device gets a proper Digital Certificate created and stored in the SIM/eSIM, then a trusted communication between the device and the server is permitted, in full respect of data integrity and confidentiality.

“The key role of GSMA IoT Safe specifications is to deliver scalable and future-proof IoT security for cellular networks. Being able to in future offer standardised easy to implement IoT security to our customers as part of our existing IoT connectivity service, is a huge leap forward in terms of IoT security for all use cases, including smart energy, automotive, health, and home solutions. We look forward to trialling this reference design with our IoT solutions,” said Gerhard Loots, Global IoT Solutions executive at Telstra.

“As an active contributor of the GSMA specifications, and world leader in over-the-air platform solutions for credential life-cycle management, Thales is a key partner to address the challenge of scalable IoT security. With this hassle-free approach we support a sustainable and scalable trusted ecosystem from which all key stakeholders such as mobile network operators, device manufacturers, and IoT industries can benefit,” said Emmanuel Unguran, SVP Mobile and Connectivity Solutions at Thales.

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TE Connectivity Acquires Majority Share of First Sensor

Industrial technology company, TE Connectivity completed its public takeover of First Sensor AG. TE now holds 71.87% shares of First Sensor.

TE Connectivity Ltd. Logo. (PRNewsFoto/TE Connectivity Ltd.) (PRNewsfoto/TE Connectivity Ltd.)

First Sensor, founded as a technology start-up in the early 1990s, is a global player in sensor technology. With its expertise in chip design and production, as well as microelectronic packaging, it develops and produces standard sensors and customer-specific sensor solutions in the fields of photonics, pressure and advanced electronics for applications within the industrial, medical and transportation markets. It has six German locations along with development, production and sales sites in the USA, Canada, China, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Sweden and Denmark, along with a worldwide partner network.

In combining the First Sensor and TE portfolios, TE says it will be able to offer an even broader product base, including innovative, market-leading sensors, connectors and systems plus best-in-class capabilities, that supports the growth strategy of TE’s sensors business and TE Connectivity as a whole. First Sensor provides market expansion opportunity with optical sensing applications for industrial, heavy truck and auto applications.

“The business combination with First Sensor is yet another milestone in TE Connectivity’s commitment to being a leader in the sensor space and continuing to provide customers with a high level of product innovation and service,” said John Mitchell, senior vice president and general manager of TE’s sensors business. “The First Sensor team’s capabilities, as well as their products, strongly align with the markets we serve and create greater opportunity to serve our customers.”

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Honeywell Steps up Production of N95 Masks

To address growing demand of masks during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, Honeywell says it is quickly ramping up production and making millions of the N95 masks in the United States.

We are expanding manufacturing operations in a factory in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which also produces UVEX safety glasses.

“We are honored to support the U.S. government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” said Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell chairman and chief executive officer. “Our Rhode Island facility already produces industry-leading safety gear and soon will play a critical role in supplying the Strategic National Stockpile with N95 masks.”

Those N95 face masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for use to support health, safety and emergency response workers.

Honeywell expects the new mask production line in Smithfield will create at least 500 jobs. Recruiting, hiring and training manufacturing workers will begin immediately.

N95 masks provide respiratory protection and “reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “N95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95 percent of particles in the air, including large and small particles.”

We have also increased production of the masks around the world, as part of our efforts to respond to the coronavirus.

Axinom is First in Aerospace to Bring CMAF File-Format for App-Free Browser-Based IFE
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Axinom is First in Aerospace to Bring CMAF File-Format for App-Free Browser-Based IFE

Continuing with its initiative of standardization in digital aerospace, Axinom says it has become the first digital solutions provider in the industry to provide a production common media application format (CMAF) with cipher block chaining encryption (CBCS). The technology eliminates the need for a native app and multiple file-formats to deliver the video content to mobile devices that can utilize browsers and DRM protection for playback.

The first successful adoption by a notable industry-leading integrator came in the form of a streaming solution that utilizes Axinom VIP (Video Ingest and Processing) to encode and package video assets in the CMAF file format. “The CMAF format paired with the common encryption scheme makes the assets interoperable across device platforms while maintaining industry-grade security,” says Ralph Wagner, CEO, Axinom. “This is a crucial step in our initiative to bring standardization in the digital vertical of the aerospace industry.”

Smart and portable devices have become a crucial part of consumer experience and adopting this trend to aerospace not only enhances the value but also makes digital operations more efficient. A multi-screen IFEC offering with modern technological solutions allows passengers to use whatever devices (bring your device scenario) on-board to consume entertainment or connectivity. Axinom says its product-stack is enabling companies in the aerospace industry to leverage the multi-screen trend. Advancements include the ability of Axinom VIP to encapsulate the video assets in to a single format that is compatible with both HLS and MPEG-DASH streaming; Axinom VIP with CBCS mode common key encrypts video assets, described in either an m3u8 (HLS) or MPD (MPEG-DASH) playlist; and, Axinom DRM (Digital Rights Management) delivers licenses to on-board devices for content protection and playback.

Axinom says providers are also realizing cost benefits as the new solution eliminates the need for an app, multiple file-formats, and vast amounts of space for the storage and playback of videos. Moreover, the comprehensive solution extends to a large number of commonly used devices and platforms, making it extremely practical.

OneWeb Successfully Launches 34 More Satellites
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OneWeb Successfully Launches 34 More Satellites

OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone everywhere, recently announced the successful launch of 34 satellites, aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Lift-off occurred on February 6, 2020. The OneWeb satellites separated from the rocket and were dispensed in nine batches over a period of several hours, with signal acquisition on all 34 confirmed within hours.

This launch is the second successful launch in one of the largest civilian satellite launch campaigns in history. It will help build OneWeb’s phase one constellation of 648 satellites that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity, while addressing the world’s most pressing connectivity problems.

The communications company is on schedule to provide global coverage to customers in 2021, starting with the first commercial services in the Arctic this year. This follows OneWeb both securing global priority spectrum rights and successfully launching its first batch of satellites in 2019.

OneWeb’s network will provide a unique combination of high data throughput, low latency, true global coverage and a range of user terminals for multiple markets including maritime, aviation, government and enterprise.

“The successful manufacture, delivery and launch of this batch of 34 satellites is the latest proof point of the OneWeb plan. Importantly, today’s mission also brings us closer to our next step, realizing our ultimate vision of providing access to high speed, reliable internet to everyone, everywhere,” Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said. “We are seeing considerable interest from prospective customers and partners. Later this year, we will provide service in the arctic region and 2021 will see OneWeb achieve global coverage, making the digital divide a thing of the past. I’m very proud of our team and partners who continue to collaborate to make our ambitious scale a reality, and also those in Kazakhstan for supporting our vision.”

Boomi’s Data Integration Platform Offers Next-Level Connectivity to IFS’s Customers with 200 Pre-Built Connectors
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Boomi’s Data Integration Platform Offers Next-Level Connectivity to IFS’s Customers with 200 Pre-Built Connectors

IFS announced a new partnership with Boomi. The two say the resulting technology stack combines best-in-class enterprise resource management (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and field service management (FSM) into a ‘digital switchboard’ that unites industrial process expertise with cloud agility. The IFS team says industries such as manufacturing, aerospace & defense, engineering, construction & infrastructure, energy & utilities, and service management now digitize their processes, they need to connect silos of information, increasingly held in the cloud. This requires increasingly agile ways to connect, disconnect and reconnect large and fast-changing pools of data. Boomi was conceived to solve just these issues.

“By adopting ‘switchboard thinking’, where all business-critical applications are connected by one central point, organizations can speed up supply chains, improve service responses and compete globally like never before,” said Sakari Jorma, senior vice president of IFS. “Businesses across all industries—from aerospace and defense to power generation—will be able to connect their best-of-breed systems to their IFS core through Boomi’s unified, cloud-native platform. The partnership reaffirms IFS’s commitment to offering customers choice and freedom to leverage their existing digital property to achieve faster time to value.”

This new partnership means IFS customers can now access a “digital switchboard” integrating the deep functionality of IFS Applications with the dozens of others required to run HR, Finance and other functions of their choice today. Boomi brings over 200 pre-built connectors configured easily via an ultra-modern real-time drag-and-drop interface. IFS says their customers will now be able to build integrations faster, typically reducing the time spent on development by weeks or months, “an unheard-of step-change for many legacy industries,” the company says.

“The strength of this partnership is in the different expertise IFS and Boomi bring,” says Derek Thompson, VP of EMEA at Boomi. “The loyal customer base of IFS deserves the most intelligent, scalable and flexible platform and Boomi is honored to be chosen as the foundation for the ERP solution of the future.”

IFS Chief Product Officer Christian Pedersen concluded, “As one component in our customers’ ecosystem of solutions, technologies, and data, we fully understand the need to offer complete openness and freedom of choice. By partnering with Boomi, we are taking the next logical step to empower businesses with out-of-the-box connectivity to the digital switchboard from our already open and natively API-enabled platform.”

FANS Equipage Becoming a Necessity By Kathryn B. Creedy
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FANS Equipage Becoming a Necessity By Kathryn B. Creedy

The deployment of the Future Air Navigation System 1/A is necessitating an upgrade of non-airliner aircraft in order to use the global air navigation system despite its being voluntary in some regions. In addition, according to SITA, the airline industry needs to stay vigilant in order to optimize the equipment.

“The world is flying more, with an increasing number of data laden, new- generation aircraft taking off every day,” SITAONAIR head of Cockpit Communications Portfolio Andy Hubbard told Aerospace Tech Review.

“This not only puts pressure on Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to manage limited airspace but also manage the world’s aircraft communications infrastructure across increasingly limited bandwidth. Additionally, the industry is facing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint, as well as adapting to regional regulatory activity. Fortunately, a digital shift in aircraft communications is already well underway. There are dedicated IP links for the flight deck that offer secure, global and higher-throughput channels for vital air-to-ground and ground-to-air exchanges, as well as an uptake of 3G and 4G cellular networks which offer cost-effective options for expanding ground coverage. However, conventional VHF/VDL will remain key to delivering safety communications for the foreseeable future.”

The technology essentially allows digital communications between aircraft and controller by text instead of voice for clearances and reducing pilot and controller workloads. The increased accuracy also significantly expands airspace by reducing separation requirements. Benefits include reduced delays and more efficient routes, improved controller and pilot efficiency, reduced operational errors, reduced ground delays owing to congestion and weather and reduced fuel burn and emissions.

“FANS 1/A+ was established in certain North Atlantic airspace while Aeronautical Telecommunications Network Baseline 1 (ATN B1) was its European equivalent,” explained Universal Avionics in its white paper. “In the US, Controller-Pilot Data Link (CPDLC) and CPDLC Departure Clearance (CPDLC DCL) more effectively manages airspace, addresses communication frequency congestion and improves safety. Data Comm FANS today uses automatic position reporting and CPDLC to directly communicate to ATC over VHF using VDL Mode 2 or SATCOM (Inmarsat or Iridium) in lieu of ACARS, to enable more efficient communications between the aircraft and ATC.”

And it is this automation that is attracting users. With the best-equipped, best-served philosophy of air traffic management systems, it is now in the operators’ best interest to upgrade their aircraft. Airliner manufacturers are well along in equipage and while business aviation OEMs have been preparing for this brave new world and avionics manufacturers such as Collins Aerospace, Universal Avionics (UA), GE Aviation, Honeywell and others, developing equipment, the onus is now on operators.

Understanding Data Comm Systems with FANS 1/A+, CPDLC DCL, and ATN B1. Universal Avionics image.
Understanding Data Comm Systems with FANS 1/A+, CPDLC DCL, and ATN B1. Universal Avionics image.

“We’ve seen a lot of focus so far on the benefit of equipping airline and Part 121 operations,” said Dan Reida, vice president sales and support for Universal Avionics. “However, there is substantial operational improvement for business aviation operators who take advantage of CPDLC DCL and en route capabilities.”

Chuck Wade, Collins Aerospace principal marketing manager, agreed. “Unfortunately, in business aviation, because they are used only 300 to 400 hours a year, sometimes the cost/benefit doesn’t add up,” he said. “But the value proposition is in the participation in the National Airspace System (NAS) and as this technology unfolds throughout the 2020s, it will just be a cost of doing business. For business aircraft to remain relevant, especially in busy areas such as Southern California, Florida and the Northeast, CPDLC will be an expectation and you won’t be able to manage without it. But you will also see cost effective solutions come to the market. I know that is top of mind at Collins.”

The FAA successfully completed the first phase of FAA’s NextGen efforts to deploy CPDLC at 62 of the busiest airports in the US two years ahead of schedule. Universal Avionics image.
The FAA successfully completed the first phase of FAA’s NextGen efforts to deploy CPDLC at 62 of the busiest airports in the US two years ahead of schedule. Universal Avionics image.

For those doing that cost/benefit analysis Wade offers this. “Put yourself in the controller’s position,” he said. “The controller has 60% of the fleet they are handling equipped. So, where do you think that puts an aircraft that isn’t equipped? The FAA is deploying all this new technology to benefit NAS so the priority will be on those who will help them achieve the efficiencies they are after. As far as the FAA is concerned everything about flight deck connectivity is about NextGen Data Comm. Eventually, it will get to the point if you want to participate in the NAS, you are going to need this equipment. We are experiencing increased conversations around this technology and the benefits associated with it.”

SITA has been a key enabler for a number of ANSPs and aircraft operators to help unlock the benefits with its FANS managed service but still the cost/benefit analysis is complex because it also includes carbon emissions and that isn’t necessarily top of mind in business aviation operations.

“There are several operational factors at play, at the heart of which is airspace productivity,” Hubbard explained. “In this sense, coordination and exchange of flight data between systems on the flight deck and ATC is rapidly becoming a key factor in unlocking further airspace productivity. The ultimate panacea is the enablement of free routing airspace through Trajectory Based Operations and applications like Extended Projected Profile (EPP) and 4D Trajectory coordination (4DTRAD) brought over the next generation of data link services. EUROCONTROL estimates the benefits of the shift to free routing airspace at 10,000 tons/day in reduced C02 emissions and a daily saving in fuel bills of around €3 million. Other regional campaigns put the savings estimate at between 200 and 500 kg of CO2 per flight from optimized arrivals and approaches based on RNP and 4D Trajectory coordination over data link.”

Brave New World

For a growing number of ANSPs, the suite of technologies supporting FANs is a requirement, according to a Universal Avionics.

“Data Comm systems have matured over the past three decades from an aircraft OEM cost-saving feature to a necessity for effective worldwide airspace management and communication advancements,” it said in its white paper. “Several areas are mandating Data Comm capabilities and excluding non-equipped aircraft from airspaces with the most-desirable and cost-saving routes. Equipping for FANS 1/A+, CPDLC DCL, or ATN B1 operations can meet regulatory requirements and provide a substantial return on investment for aircraft dependent on those airspaces. The addition of FANS Domestic initial capabilities such as CPDLC DCL at major U.S. airports can virtually eliminate wait times for aircraft clearance delivery, potentially reducing operating costs significantly over time.”

Besides CPDLC, FANS Oceanic requires Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADSB-C), VDL Mode 2 data link radio and/or satellite communications, and of course ADS-B, required in the U.S. since January 1, for domestic operations.

UA noted VDL Mode 2 network, a high-speed and high-capacity digital communications network, provides a massive increase in message capacity – roughly 20 times that of ACARS – and is more cost efficient and reliable than traditional VHF.

FAA image.
FAA image.

CPDLC Deployed

The FAA successfully completed the first phase of FAA’s NextGen efforts to deploy CPDLC at 62 of the busiest airports in the US two years ahead of schedule and is now deploying it to centers having completed Kansas City and Indianapolis centers.

However, a 2019 DOT Office of Inspector General report on the aircraft equipage noted this phase will likely take longer and be paced by equipage of non-airline and regional airline fleets. The schedule calls for the balance of en route centers to be operational by the end of 2021 and then the full set of Data Comm capabilities will be brought on in 2025.

“The introduction of FANS is big step for the industry in terms of easing the communication between pilots and ATC,” Gary Thelen, director, Navigation & Guidance for GE Aviation, said. “However, FANS is just the first step in the roadmap of capabilities to make this communication seamless for the pilot and ATC. The wide adoption of tablets in the flight deck, high-bandwidth/high-reliability connectivity, and growing applications really enable and encourage a tighter integration among the pilots, ATC, and operations. With our new connected FMS – TrueCourse FMS and Connected FMS, we expect significant improvements in situational awareness, seamless/automated communication, optimization of routes, additional/automated safety checks, just to name a few.”

Last year, Lufthansa Systems and GE Aviation became the first providers in the airline market to offer a solution that allows for the inflight synchronization of the flight plan between the GE Aviation flight management system (FMS) and Lufthansa Systems pilot applications directly on-aircraft.

“Utilizing capabilities of a connected FMS is a true milestone for digital navigation in aviation, because it automates the daily manual data entry processes of pilots, which are prone to error, and enables the data flow between different applications,” said Dr. Bernd Jurisch, head of flight & navigation products & solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “This synchronization of valuable flight-relevant data between the FMS and pilot applications reduces pilots’ workload and greatly improves their situational awareness, while also significantly mitigating errors through incorporated cross checks that are even graphically visible for the crew.”

The IG’s aircraft census revealed 7,800 aircraft currently equipped. “Of these, 3,166 are domestic airliners, 1,946 are international airliners, and 2,688 are business jets,” the IG reported. “The equipped domestic airliners are 72% of the domestic fleet that can be equipped with Data Comm. Most Boeing and larger Airbus models are equipped, but many mid-size Airbus planes and regional aircraft are not. Other airliners either don’t have a flight management system that can be upgraded or are close enough to retirement that airlines won’t spend the money to upgrade. Nearly all international airliners, of course, are already equipped for FANS equipment that includes data link.”

The fact that more than 2,500 business jets are equipped is a testament to a proactive industry in which OEMs have prepared and flight departments understand that there are benefits to be had.

On the airline side, Wizz Air recently became Europe’s first airline to deploy SITAONAIR’s pioneering ACARS over IP service using terrestrial cellular networks. This flexible channel for on-ground data transmission offers increased capacity and coverage, and higher data throughput, as well as an ample on-ground alternative to VHF/VDL-sparse locations. The service also brings enhanced resilience through the interoperable use of cellular and ACARS networks.

Similarly, Cebu Pacific also uses the platform because it flies to a number of airports that are surrounded by high terrain and that have no VHF Ground Stations (VGS). However, they do have 3G connectivity. ACARS over IP enables their operational ACARS traffic to be sent normally when previously this would have had to wait until a VGS/RGS was in range. Cebu’s aircraft have moved 33% of their VHF Datalink traffic to Cellular.

“The shift to new IP-based datalinks offer new, largely unchartered potential for connecting applications in the cockpit,” said Hubbard. “Dedicated broadband connections enable airframers to maximize the capability of onboard communications management and enable real-time connectivity for updates on graphical weather or fuel optimization. Greater value can also be achieved through the enabling of connected aircraft tracking applications such as SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker which, in conjunction with ACARS, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B and FlightAware’s ground-based data, supports ICAO’s Global Aeronautic Distress & Safety System (GADSS) recommendations.”

Hubbard noted, however, cost barriers and the complexity of making changes to avionics means that datalink advances have not been as swift as required. “With new aircraft continuing to be equipped with conventional ACARS technologies, which are still core to aircraft communications operations, some carriers might not yet feel motivated to upgrade. SITAONAIR’s VHF Data Link mode 2 (VDLm2) proposition overcomes these issues. VDLm2 requires only changes to the ground network – essentially to allow ground stations to pick up messages addressed to other stations in their vicinity – and allows the avionics to remain unchanged. Implementing VDLm2 amounts to deploying a virtual ground station, in addition to the existing ground stations that will continue to operate in the normal point-to-point ‘virtual cable’ mode.”

GE image.
GE image.

Mandates on the Horizon

Ultimately, it will not be a matter of choice, UA indicated. “Operators not equipped for FANS 1/A+ capabilities will be excluded from airspace which requires it, increasing total trip distance, time, emissions and ultimately more money,” its white paper explained. “The fact is that some aircraft simply do not have the range to get across the Atlantic without operating on the NAT at optimum altitudes. Operating outside of those optimum altitudes may mean not being able to make the trip nonstop. With the additional requirements in the North Atlantic, even aircraft that would normally fly a random route above or outside of the affected tracks will not be allowed to transition through the NAT if they are not equipped for FANS. This trend will continue as equipage rises and demand for more operations in the airspace increases.”

Satcom Direct agrees. “FANS brings great benefit to business aviation, providing operators the ability to use optimized transatlantic routes,” said Nick Cook, SD director of flight deck services, adding SD offers the FlightDeck Freedom (FDF) datalink service, enabling FANS 1/A and other advanced datalink capabilities for many airframes previously unable to use FANS 1/A. “Upgrades to the FDF datalink offering have been put in place to support multiple FANS retrofit and upgrade options for legacy aircraft. This is all part of our strategy to deliver the latest technologies to reduce pilot workload and contribute to more efficient aircraft operations.”

FlightDeck Freedom supports aircraft equipped with Rockwell Collins CMU-1000 datalink systems as well as aircraft equipped with a Universal Avionics UniLink UL-800/801 Communications Management Unit (CMU) operating simultaneously with Honeywell’s AFIS DMU, providing a simplified upgrade path for legacy AFIS DMU equipped aircraft to become FANS compliant. FDF supports all FANS/LINK 2000+ equipment and will be compatible with all future upgrades to other avionics. The UniLink UL-800/801 CMU upgrades are certified for installation on Gulfstream models GV, GIV, GIVSP and additional aircraft types will be certified in the future. The mode of communication is flexible and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual aircraft. Certification of the CMU-1000 system is expected late this year for Falcon 50EX/2000/2000EX and Challenger 604 aircraft.

“Our role really is ensuring a channel is available and users know up front if there are any problems or gaps with coverage,” Cook told Aerospace Tech Review. “Customers get an alert during trip planning on gaps or problems. This information is updated en route. In addition, alerts are sent as reminders as the aircraft approaches a gap, how long it will last and when they are reconnecting with a coverage area. We also provide a means to test an aircraft’s systems and do familiarity training before flight. In addition to bringing automated alerts on gaps, the SD technology monitors hazardous weather and helps with flight crew workload. SD also provides real-time security alerts alerting crews to any attempted cyberattacks or geopolitical issues that would require changing the flight plan or diverting to alternative airports.”

Safety First

While all this is geared toward improved communications and expanding airspace, it also has a safety benefit in eliminated language barriers by establishing a standardized message set. It also eliminates HF problems during solar flares and reduces HF traffic.

Hubbard cautioned not all communication networks are created equal. “Different networks are required within a safe and sustainable service across each operational domain in order to support diverse needs, from high-traffic continental areas to remote oceanic areas,” he said. “To serve these needs, new IP-based technologies must be highly integrated and industrialized into a single, seamless delivery model, to be market-ready, and bring significant advantages for airlines and airspace management service users.”

There has been an uptick in interest. “A number of our customers have seen the benefits,” Wade, told Aerospace Tech Review, “so we have a good volume of queries from unequipped customers. FANS/CPDLC was built on the backbone of ACARS and airlines have been using that for 30 years. Now we can bring different operational benefits to business aviation. The EFB world continues to expand, leveraging the ACARS network, providing a nice incremental value to customers. Users of super mid-sized aircraft and up are anxious to adopt this technology. The smaller aircraft users, however, are not traditional data link users and so they are less familiar with the technology. However, the value proposition of CPDLC is there and they are responding. We don’t have a lot of these users moving from voice to text, but it will be natural to see crews want to use text.”

Wade also spoke of the financial benefit in being more efficient inflight. “You get quicker clearances with data comm, so you spend less time taxiing and you get more efficient re-routes,” he explained. “Since it is built on the backbone of ACARS we can bring different operational benefits. For instance, this would mean the expansion of EFBs leveraging the ACARS network which will give users an incremental value such as routing messages through ACARS. More will be added to the data stream that can be coupled with pilot logs and scheduling. That hasn’t resonated yet with small flight departments. It is just a matter of getting more value for the same costs and that argument is starting to gain traction.”

As for the future, Wade is anticipating changes will be needed. “As ATC evolves and finds new use cases, it will help us react to the market if updates are needed,” he said. “Towards the end of the decade there may be use cases FAA might find that would help them and could have an impact to products possible. As far as new product or systems, not a lot is being talked about. If you look at FAA road map, the discussions are about upgrading and getting more bandwidth but all that is pretty much using the same backbone on which to build.”

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CAS Dataloggers is pleased to announce Delphin ProfiMessageD Modular Data Acquisi- tion system has been upgraded with a new PROFINET interface. The ProfiMessage D is the latest in the extremely successful Message family of products targeted at Industry 4.0 applications. It is designed as a modular measurement, monitoring and control system for use in industrial processes and test stands.

For use as part of the upgrade for Industry 4.0 applications, the Profimessage D provide OPC UA and now OPC UA HA software interfaces which allows open data exchange to facilitate in- tegration with statistics, other equipment and systems. The Profimessage D features several other enhancement over the previous generation of Profimessage systems:

Features:

  • Built-in OLED display for monitoring and net- work configuration
  • Optional PROFINET and WiFi interfaces
  • Internal storage up to 16 GB
  • New Profisignal Web option for use with browsers and mobile devices The Profimessage D has a modular master/slave design. The main chassis provides 2 slots which accept a range of I/O modules which offer analog and digital inputs and out- puts to meet the requirements of all types of measurement and control applications.

The system can be expanded with up to 20 add-on slave modules each accepting 2 I/O modules. This allows a wide range of configurations with 8 to 660 I/O channels in a single system.

The Profimessage D has an intelligent local controller which allows it to operate as a stand-alone device. This controller also provides a wide functions such as limits/alarms, calculations, statistics, logic, automation and other functions through software channels. This allows the system to be configured to meet the needs of many different types of ap- plications without having to learn a complicated programming language.

The ProfiSignal Software package is a Windows based application available in 3 versions which provides a full range of capabilities from visualization and data archiving to ful-
ly automated test systems with report generation. Optional modules provide additional capabilities such as connecting to SQL databases, vibration analysis or FDA CFR21 Part 11 compliance. The new ProfiSignal Web add-on is a client/server application that allows platform-independent access to (remote) measurement projects from any standard web browser or mobile device.

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GPMS Announces Partnership with Fahy to Lead Expansion in Asia-Pacific

Rotorcraft condition monitoring company GPMS announced that it has appointed Ronnie Fahy as a sales agent for the Asia-Pac region. The move continues the company’s expansion into the global market as it seeks to respond to demand for Foresight MX, its predictive health management system for helicopters.

“Ronnie Fahy’s extensive international aviation and business leadership experience will be critical assets in expanding the adoption of Foresight MX, accelerating the company’s growth plans, and responding to industry demand for a system that reduces direct operation costs and minimizes unscheduled downtime,” Jed Kalkstein, GPMS’s president, says.

Based in Perth, Australia, Fahy most recently served as an aviation consultant for Shell and Eire Aviation in Australia. Prior to that, he was CEO of Allway from 2017–2019, and CEO of Air Bali out of Indonesia from 2014-2017. Fahy’s other senior leadership positions include CEO at Heli SGI of Bali, and general manager of Heliwest P/L in Australia.

“As a pilot and as a business leader, the capabilities and potential for the GPMS Foresight HUMS solution are extremely impressive, and I’ve not seen anything quite this sophisticated on the market,” says Fahy. “The opportunities in Asia-Pac for the adoption of HUMS are extensive, and I look forward to providing a solution that provides a competitive advantage for my customers that directly helps their bottom line.”

GPMS holds five patents and multiple certifications on its Foresight system, including Part 135 compliant for air medical use. The GPMS Foresight system is widely recognized for its ability to provide accurate, actionable information about operational issues, and deliver predictive information on upcoming required maintenance. The <9lb system is designed around the needs of the maintainer and operator, providing mechanical diagnostics and prognostics, engine performance monitoring, exceedance monitoring, flight regime recognition, automated data acquisition, and automated, optimized solutions for rotor, track and balance. Automated communications are delivered through email and SMS and accessible via an intuitive, simple user mobile-friendly interface.

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