Business & GA

AEA 2017: New Avionics Unveiled

By Woodrow Bellamy III | March 15, 2017

PS Engineering's PAC45 with Multi-Talker processing. Photo: PS Engineering.

PS Engineering's PAC45 with Multi-Talker processing. Photo: PS Engineering.

More than 30 different companies ranging from avionics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to in-flight connectivity (IFC) providers used the opening ceremony of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) 2017 annual convention to launch their latest products for 2017. Here, we provide an overview of some of the most notable technologies unveiled for the first time publicly at the annual AEA convention in New Orleans, La.

The 2017 AEA convention features nearly 2,000 avionics OEMs, repair stations and installation facilities exhibiting their latest products and services for the business and general aviation industry. Below, we profile some of the most progressive technologies unveiled during the opening ceremony.

SmartSky Networks President Ryan Stone presented an update on his company’s latest efforts to commercialize the first 4G air to ground (ATG) IFC network in the National Airspace System (NAS), showing AEA 2017 attendees a demonstration video from January 2017. In the video, members of the Chicago Jet Group and the president of Blue Sky Aviation tested the ability of the SmartSky ATG network to stream video content and enable the use of FaceTime.

Stone also unveiled SmartSky’s newest mobile application development platform called “SkyTelligence” which the company is using as a way of providing companies from various segments of the industry to use various elements of their ATG network to develop their own smartphone and tablet-based applications. He described the platform as an open framework that uses application programmable interfaces (APIs),  and consolidation of multiple data sources to allow other companies to partner with SmartSky to develop their own apps that
will work on SmartSky's ATG network, as well as other communications networks not operated by SmartSky.

“The SkyTelligence technology framework gathers feeds from an array of real time sources like
air traffic, weather, airspace status, even your aircraft and simple API hooks that let you easily
use them to power the applications the industry is developing for the world of tomorrow,” says Stone.

Latitude Technologies President and CEO Mark Insley introduced the Canadian manufacturer’s new airline safety services satellite communications system, the SkyNode S200-012, which supports air traffic service (ATS) communications. Insley also noted that the S200-012 is compliant to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards and recommended practices (SARP) for satellite voice guidance.

According to the FAA’s advisory circular 20-150B (AC 20-150B) satellite voice equipment for air traffic service communication is being requested by aircraft operators, as one of their two long range communication systems (LRCS).

Insley says that in addition to the use of the S200-012 for communications for air traffic safety services is, the box features ARINC 739 support for modern OEM display units, and can also be configured to provide tracking, messaging and real time event reporting with cockpit display units.

Gary Picou, vice president of engineering at Tennessee-based aircraft audio control manufacturer PS Engineering, introduced the company’s new audio control system designed for special mission aircraft, the PAC45 audio control with “Multi-Talker” technology. According to Picou, the Multi-Talker spatial processing technology can support six communications radios from nine locations within the aircraft.

“Interagency communications can be as chaotic as they’re critical, so enter the multi talker technology, by applying our critical and patented technology to critical communications
the flight crew will be able to use natural brain functions to sort out multiple conversations,” says Picou.

Send Solutions President David Gray unveiled the company’s latest iteration of its low-cost Airtext Iridium satellite communications text messaging system, the Airtext+. Equipped with two ARINC 429 and two controller area network (CAN) bus connections, one serial port and three discretes, Airtext+ enables text messaging  from nearly anywhere in the world at any altitude for 5 cents per message.

For a $50.00 per month Iridium plan and a $1.50 per minute charge, the unit can also enable in-flight calling.

Gray says Airtext+ can accommodate up to 64 passengers simultaneously for text messaging because of its new larger modem, although only one person at a time can use it for calls.

Check out the entire AEA 2017 opening address and new product introductions video below, presented by the Aero-News Network:

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