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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 2014 AMC/AEEC Conference

The Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee-Avionics Maintenance Conference (AEEC | AMC) in Toronto features knowledge sharing from avionics manufacturers, airline executives and engineers on ARINC standards that help reduce operating and life cycle costs of air transport avionics by improving maintenance and support techniques through the exchange of technical information.

Woodrow Bellamy III

[Avionics Today April 17, 2014] 2014 marks the 65th year since the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee meetings first began to convene jointly with the Avionics Maintenance Conference. Since those first meetings, aircraft avionics systems technology has exploded and AEEC/AMC has grown alongside into a new age of technology.
 
 
AMC/AEEC Conference Keynote speaker, Claude Chidiac, aviation leader with CMC Electronics. Photo, courtesy of CMC Electronics.
 
The conference features some of the brightest and smartest engineers and scientists in the world, there to discuss standards that define key elements of equipment and avionics systems, with active input from the end users of the products that are built based on ARINC standards. 
 
These standards provide the power and ever-evolving capability behind new and evolving cockpit technologies such as advanced Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS), touchscreen cockpit displays, Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and more. Over 250 organizations participate in the development of these ARINC Standards. 
 
During AEEC/AMC, attendees witness the collaboration that happens between avionics manufacturers, systems designers, and airframe expansion of the capabilities of aircraft avionics systems. Members from different subcommittees present Project Papers featuring improvements on existing work, all with the goal of improving cost effectiveness and reducing life cycle costs for aircraft systems. 
 
The standards and subsequent improvements to them are voted on by the AEEC/AMC committee, which includes representation from American Airlines, ARINC, Airbus, Boeing, British Airways, FedEx, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA),  Lufthansa and U.S. Airways, among other aviation companies and organizations.
 
Suppliers, air-framers and airline executives are among those who provide input about the cost effectiveness and logistics of moving forward with new improvements and concepts for software portability; uploading of non-core data; improving data link communications and more.
 
Paul J. Prisaznuk, head of ARINC standards development, was particularly impressed by developments from the Air Ground Information Exchange (AGIE)/Manager of Air Ground Interface Communications (MAGIC) subcommittee, which is currently working on the airline anticipation of commercially available information and data networking technology used to manage the rapidly growing amount of information needed to support the operation of aircraft. 
 
"The AGIE/MAGIC subcommittee produced mature drafts of Project Paper 830, AGIE, and Project Paper 839, MAGIC.
 
This will enable a standardized method of server-to-server communication between aircraft and ground based information Technology (IT) centers," said Prisaznuk.
 
 
From Left: Brian Gleason, AEEC Chairman; Jeurgen Lauterbach, AEEC Chairman Elect; Marjan Jozic, AMC Chairman, ARINC Industry Activity; Claude Chidiac, aviation leader at CMC Electronics; Anand Moorthy, AMC Vice Chairman. Photo, courtesy of Esterline CMC Electronics
 
In addition to serving as the head of standards development at the conference, Prisaznuk also gave a presentation on behalf of one of the other subcommittees, the Application Executive Software Subcommittee, which is currently working on developing and maintaining ARINC 653 software interface standards for new airplane development and retrofit programs, including the Airbus A350 XWB, which enters service later this year with Qatar Airways, and the Boeing 787 which is in service and being continually upgraded by Boeing.
 
The APEX subcommittee has resource support directly from Airbus, Boeing, DDC-I, Korea Aerospace, Rockwell Collins and more. They're focused on ensuring growth for CNS/ATM applications that provide advanced operational concepts that will increase aviation safety, capacity and efficiency.
 
"ARINC 653 has been applied to air transport, regional, business and military avionics. For example, the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 use ARINC 653 in the most complex digital systems. A standardized software operating system enables software application modules to be updated independent of the underlying computing platform. This enables software changes to be made efficiently, including the possibility of adding new capabilities," said Prisaznuk. 
 
There were also a few AEEC General Session first time occurrences, including the Symposium on Aircraft Surface Communications and speakers from the aviation industry discussing how to upgrade the communications technology within their networks. Speakers from the industry laid out their plans for AeroMACs, IEEE 802.16 WiMax, and cellular telephony like 4G, LTE.
 
 
Mike Matyas, avionics/ATM systems engineer at Boeing, winner of a 2014 Airlines Avionics Institute Volare award. Photo, courtesy of CMC Electronics.
 
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the conference is the collaboration on standards that occurs among competitors from the industry. Kathleen O'Brien, an associate technical fellow of avionics and ATM for Boeing, and Thierry Harquin, head of systems sales for Airbus, for example, sat next to each other at the AEEC roundtable as proposals for avionics systems improvement were presented on the main stage.  
 
"For 65 years the ARINC Standards have been developed by the consensus of all industry parties, both users and suppliers, and both partners and competitors. The strength of the standards is the result of giants standing on the shoulders of giants," said Prisaznuk.
 
"The world airlines continue to drive the ARINC Standards process using a proven top-down method of program management," he added.
 
AMC/AEEC Conference attendees have the opportunity to discuss new technologies and hardware concepts with industry leaders during conference networking sessions. Among the many discussions that occur at such an industry hub like AMC/AEEC, Avionics magazine heard from William Cecil, director of business development at Teledyne Controls, on the obsolescence of floppy disks for uploading navigation databases, and had a conversation about Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) systems integration with Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies. 
 

Look out for more on those conversations and other industry research and development presented during the conference in our daily web coverage and upcoming editions of Avionics Magazine and Avionics Technology Weekly

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