Business & GA, Connectivity

NBAA 2019: Linking Useful Aircraft Data a Priority, Honeywell Says

By Frank Wolfe | October 24, 2019
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During Honeywell's 2019 pre-NBAA media reception, John Peterson, vice president and general manager of GoDirect Software for Honeywell Aerospace, demonstrated the performance of the company's Jetwave connectivity system by doing a face time call to the event while airborne from a Dassault Falcon 7X.

LAS VEGAS – Tying together useful aircraft data across flyer experience, operations, and maintenance is a priority for Honeywell, according to the company, as the aviation industry braces for the urban air mobility revolution and other advances, such as supersonic business jets.

"Everybody wants data now, but it’s what you do with it and how you get it," Amanda King, the vice president and general manager of Honeywell's connected services business, said this week during a company-sponsored round table just before the start of the annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference here.

"What we’re doing is I would look at it in three areas—the experience of the person on the aircraft, optimizing [aircraft] operations, and maintenance," she said. "If you look at those three buckets, what we’ve been able to do is pull it all into one neat solution. For example, JetWave. We’ve been talking about JetWave for a few years. Now, we can enable JetWave to not only give you that really great inside experience, to be able to Face Time to have conversations, but we can optimize how you’re operating your fleet. We can understand the details of how your pilots are landing. Are they doing the nose dive and short stop because they used to fly on aircraft carriers and wearing out your wheels and brakes faster than they should?"

A Gulfstream G650, one of the aircraft that has received JetWave installations.

JetWave has thus expanded its mission from enabling business jet passengers to use high-speed, global in-flight Wi-Fi for such things as video conferencing, transferring large files, and streaming videos.

In addition to JetWave's new role in improving aircraft operations, "we can look at things like predictive maintenance," King said. "That’s big in the industry that we’re trying to go toward when we can take all that data and analyze that to say, "Hey, you have to do this now so you’re not grounded next week,' or, 'Hey, you are supposed to do this because it’s the schedule we’ve always followed but you really don’t need to do those 20 things. You only need to do those four so we’re going to save you a bunch of money in your general operations and how you predict and diagnose your maintenance [needs]."

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"So there are a lot of neat things people can do with data today, and it’s safe now because we’ve been able to figure out how do we connect all that data, how do we link it where you can just upgrade your modem in your existing JetWave and be able to link the entire aircraft together to have one easy-to-use dashboard to understand the data," King said. "Data is kind of meaningless if you just get a bunch of it, but it’s really useful in those three areas—experience, operations, and maintenance—if you do it right, and I think we’ve done it right."

At the Honeywell round table this week, Honeywell officials also discussed significant trends in business aviation, including the promised UAM revolution, the possible widespread move to single pilot operations and the development of electric/hybrid-electric aircraft to reduce carbon emissions.

"About 50 years ago, we had four people in the cockpit. Then we moved to three. Then about 25 or 30 years ago, we moved to two people in the cockpit," said Bindu Chava, Honeywell's director of product management for flight controls. "We are slowly moving toward single pilot at least in the crew space. Toward the end of the 10-year period, we might even see the shift toward autonomy, starting with cargo [operations] in the beginning."

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