Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2015-16 Edition - 52
It started with Aspen's Connected Panel accessory and has
been growing steadily since: the advent of a wireless work
environment in the cockpit. Pilots are able to access a host
of functions via a tablet communicating with the panel
gear wirelessly. So where is wireless
going, and is there an end game?
S T O R Y
D A V E
H I G D O N
ong before digital mobile-communications technology enveloped the modern world,
aviation pioneered mobile-communications technologies, starting with the earliest
recorded exchanges between an aircraft aloft and crew on the ground - in 1917,
around July 4, when AT&T technicians followed up their achievement of air-to-ground radio
earlier in the year with successful two-way exchanges between pilots flying an aircraft and
But radio communications is largely where wireless communication and aviation stopped;
yes, radios improved, and one could argue that radar and transponders constitute a wireless
communications system - albeit one limited to machines repeatedly exchanging one message.
In the past three years, avionics companies collaborated to open an all-new front of
machines exchanging communications for general aviation aircraft - and this
front somewhat blew past other wireless-cockpit operations.
Collectively, however, the wireless-cockpit idea opened a new front
on intra-aircraft communications, in-flight entertainment and aircraftsystems management welcomed by growing numbers of pilots.
Consider the many ways wireless offers operators improved efficiencies compared to the legacy systems.
Wireless cockpit options advance
For an example of true collaboration toward a better experience for
an aircraft pilot and owner, the coordination between Aspen Avionics,
Honeywell, Jeppesen and Pilatus produced what the partners term " the
industry's first aircraft to feature a wireless-connected flight deck."
Through INDS (integrated navigation data service), a Wi-Fi-connected iPad can be used to update databases for charts and plates, for the
terrain-avoidance system and all the navigation database updates - sit-
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