Business & GA, Commercial, Embedded Avionics

Airspace Modernization, Connectivity Take Center Stage at AEEC | AMC 2015

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | April 28, 2015
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[Avionics Today 04-28-2015] The 2015 general session featuring the joint meetings of the Airlines Executive Engineering Committee and Avionics Maintenance Conference (AEEC | AMC) began Monday, April 27, with an opening session and several symposiums focusing on different aspects of aircraft connectivity and the ongoing NextGen and Single European Sky (SES) airspace modernization projects. Both of these themes are also featured heavily throughout the various symposiums, presentations and sessions scheduled throughout the 66th annual AEEC | AMC 2015 meetings.
In-flight connectivity, depicted in this graphic, was one of the topics discussed during the AEEC’s session featuring presentations by the Ku/Ka band and cabin systems subcommittees. Photo: Gogo 
The conference opened with the issuance of the annual awards. Included among the winners were Lufthansa Airlines Project Manager of Air Ground Communications Dirk Zschunke, who received the AEEC Trumbull award for his expertise in aircraft data link capabilities. Brian Gilbert, the displays lead in the flight deck organization at Boeing, took home the Volare award for avionics engineering; and Delta Air Lines Test Engineer Ted Patmore received the Roger Goldberg award, reserved for those who are considered to be the AMC’s Most Valuable Player.
Airspace Modernization
According to Nichols, the total aircraft registered within the United States that are now equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) has reached 10,949. The total number of aircraft now equipped with ADS-B In has reached 1,441. The FAA manager also noted that several airlines are either in the process of equipping their aircraft with ADS-B or have plans to begin equipage. Among the airlines, mentioned, Nichols said the former US Airways, which has recently been absorbed by American Airlines, will be completing their ADS-B Out and In equipage by October 2015. JetBlue has installed ADS-B Out on 35 of its Airbus A320s so far, and United Airlines has indicated that their ADS-B retrofit program will begin in January 2016. 
Marouan Chida, Communications, Navigation, Surveillance (CNS) and avionics expert at the SES ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU), gave a presentation providing the latest updates with the rollout of the SES initiative. According to Chida, SES is continuing to make progress toward implementing trajectory-based operations with its research and development around Initial 4D (i4D). Last year, the AEEC adopted Supplement 4 to ARINC 702A, which introduces accurate winds and temperature data definitions to enable the implementation of 4-D trajectory within the Flight Management System (FMS). This standard will be applicable to the flight testing and researching of FMS technology being used to conduct i4D flight trials going forward.
AMC Chairman Marijan Jozic began the conference with a brief discussion of aircraft connectivity, and new next generation cabin and cockpit technology that is starting to make its way into the aircraft. He also discussed how data bus technology is starting to become outdated.
Jozic referenced fiber optic cables and how they’re just now starting to make it into the aircraft and, with such adoption, the engineers in attendance need to increasingly start considering how to repair and maintain them. ARINC’s fiber optics subcommittee is currently working on updating the physical standards, design guidelines and systems for the use of fiber optics on commercial air transport aircraft. 
Jozic also told the audience that data bus can no longer support the next generation technology being placed on aircraft today. “Data bus is too slow to carry new technology,” he said. 
The subcommittee is also working on a project paper to define a new fiber optic expanded beam contact for use in connectors and systems that have connectors with frequent disconnect/connect operations and harsh environments, such as maintenance bays and In-Flight Entertainment (IFE).
Next, the AEEC heard presentations on Ku/Ka-band aircraft satellite-communications, cabin systems and galley inserts. Peter Lemme, chairman of the Ku/Ka-band satellite communications subcommittee, presented the subcommittee’s progress on Project Paper 848. The main goal with the 848 broadband satellite system functional interface standard is to define common network protocols and interfaces between broadband satellite communications systems and aircraft Internet Protocol (IP) networks. 

Following Lemme’s presentation, Dale Freeman an engineer with Delta Air Lines and chairman of the cabin systems subcommittee presented the group’s latest progress around defining a cost-effective cabin infrastructure to support evolving cabin connectivity technologies. 

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