The Changing Value of Travel: Why the journey itself may be more important than speed

As the comedian Louis C.K. pointed out one night on ‘The Late Show,’ a trip across the United States used to take the best part of a year and might cost you your life. Now it can be done in a few hours in comfort and great safety.

Great advances in aviation transport have lowered the costs of air travel and increased its availability to more customers. But since the dawning of the jet age, the individual time spent on passenger air travel has not been significantly reduced and it really won’t be for some time to come.  

There were commercial efforts for supersonic flights on the Concorde in the early 2000’s as Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) capabilities were assessed, but by the end of May 2003 the last Concorde flights due to lack of traction in the industry. During that time, I was lucky enough to be a passenger on one of the Air France Concorde flights from JFK to Paris CDG… nearly 15 years ago.

IMG_1018
James Hardie and Captain JF Michel on a Concorde supersonic transatlantic flight on August 16th, 2002.

The Sound Barrier is the Barrier

When it comes to the speed of aircraft, the sound barrier really is the barrier that’s not easily overcome in terms of economics, technology and regulations surrounding sonic booms produced. Most passenger aircraft are not going to go twice as fast any time soon because of that, although research is being done in partnership with NASA to make it possible in the future.

Sonic Boom Display-630x354
Example of a Sonic Boom flight display that’s currently under research and development by Rockwell Collins and NASA to help pilots reduce or mitigate sonic boom impacts in future supersonic flights.

Making the Most of the Journey

Cabin-interior-2

In the modern connected world, is time saved on travel now the most important factor in improving the journey? Or is time made by making the best use of the space you find yourself in?  What is the utility value of the space? To read, to write, to be entertained, to talk, to rest?

Today the world considers mobility as a service along the passenger journey, which is viewed as a continuous and easy to plan chain of events. This allows the connected traveler to bring their ‘desk’ or ‘leisure space’ with them along the way.

The challenge is to understand this and be part of the enablement that makes this all happen, a vision where travel has been so simplified that it will not matter that you are travelling. It will just another space to be in. You may not be able to compete easily on speed but you can compete on space and utility.

When that happens, what difference does it really make if time is not considered wasted while travelling? Instead it is put to good use, a useful transitioning of location rather than the lost journey time. The opportunity now exists to enable that journey space to be a better place to be for that period of time.

By: James Hardie

Worth the Wait — FAA’s New EFVS Rule FAR 91.176

The FAA has released the long-awaited Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) rule FAR 91.176 that will bring numerous benefits to aviation. More specifically, the rule will expand applicability of EFVS for business aircraft owners and operators and introduce, for the first time, similar benefits to the air transport industry.  Up until now, other than by exemption, the air transport sector has not been able to participate in the operational benefits EFVS affords. This has all changed.

The new rule is lengthy, so let’s  highlight some of the impacts of the rule change.

Main benefits to FAA’s new EFVS rule:

  • Enhances low-visibility flight and ground operations
  • Increases access, efficiency and throughput at many airports when low visibility is a factor
  • Reduces infrastructure necessary to support low visibility operations
  • Provides a real-time display of the outside world in low-visibility conditions using imaging sensors
  • Enables descent below Decision Altitude/Decision Height (DA/DH) or Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) in low visibilities on a greater number of approach procedure types (precision, approach procedure with vertical guidance (APV) and non-precision)

The comprehensive re-structuring and implementation of FAR 91.176 impacts numerous rules and guidance documents that provide a better cross reference. These cross reference materials make the review and learning of this material much easier than in the past. (The complete rule can be found on the Federal Register.)

The FAA 91.176 rule summary:

Establishes new landing minima

  • Permits operators to use an EFVS to touchdown and rollout 91.176(a)
  • Relocates EFVS to 100’ operations to 91.176(b)

Permits operators who conduct EFVS operations under parts 121, 125 or 135 to use EFVS-equipped aircraft

  • Dispatch/release under IFR
  • Allow those operators to initiate and continue an approach when destination weather is at or below authorized visibility minimums on the Instrument Approach Plate (IAP)

Establishes pilot training and recent flight experience requirements for EFVS operators

  • The pilot flight crew member or any other person who manipulates the controls of an aircraft during EFVS operation meets the training, recent flight experience and refresher training requirements in FAR 61.66 is applicable to EFVS operations
  • Provides EFVS training requirements for Part 121 and Part 135 operators   

Revises pilot compartment view certification requirements for vision systems

  • New airworthiness standards for certification of vision systems removes ‘special conditions’ that were required to certify vision systems which will speed up the certification process
  • The FAA issued Advisory Circular 90-106A, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems and Advisory Circular 20-167A, Airworthiness Approval of Enhanced Vision System, Synthetic Vision System, Combined Vision System and Enhanced Flight Vision System Equipment.  This updates these documents to support the newly released regulations

The FAA established that these rules would be performance-based and not linked to specific sensor technology. This provides a means to allow for sensor development as new sensor capabilities emerge. The applicant will demonstrate sensor performance during the EFVS certification process. With this, the FAA will manage EFVS operational minimums and approval through its authorization process. This affords a more streamlined means to respond to new technology developments.  As one reads through this material, it is apparent the FAA sets standards that will carry this technology and its operations well into the future.

Presently, EFVS is required to be displayed on a conformal, flight-path-based Head-Up Display (HUD), which displays selectable flight path angle as well as lateral and vertical approach path deviation and command guidance as appropriate for the type of approach being flown. The FAA has provided a means for the development of new display types and sensor capabilities but they will need to be vetted through a certification process similar to the current HUD-based EFVS and meet the same safety and performance standards.

This approach to implementing the new EFVS rules will guide a global process to visual-equivalent operations and provide a means to standardize international-based operations and regulatory process. The application of this comprehensive approach to implementing EFVS will secure safety, airfield throughput and airline operational benefits in all takeoff and approach operations. The FAA’s consistent implementation of these changes supports the design concept implemented decades ago of placing more capability on the airplane rather than build additional ground infrastructure.

Stay tuned as this new rulemaking progresses and operators are approved for its use.  This rulemaking could be a real game changer.

Read more about author Dean Schwab.

 

ADS-B Equipage in Australia – Not “If” but “When”

If you currently fly in or plan to fly in Australian airspace, some recent changes to ADS-B Out mandate enforcement dates may impact you. If you don’t have ADS-B Out now, your compliance date may vary, but you’ll eventually need to equip to fly Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in Australian airspace.  On November 22nd, The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued two documents, CASA 113/16 and CASA 114/16, which provide temporary ADS-B Out equipage exemptions to certain aircraft operations.

Until recently, all aircraft, regardless of country of registration operating under IFR in Australian airspace, would have been required to have ADS-B Out effective February 2, 2017.  Now that’s changed slightly.  Here’s how the release of CASA 113/16 and CASA 114/16 impacts you:

Scenario 1:

I’m an Australian registered commercial transport, charter or aerial work aircraft operating under IFR rules in Australian airspace.

Impact:  The February 2, 2017 ADS-B Out mandate still applies to you so make sure you’re equipped!  With only one month remaining, if you fit this scenario and are not equipped, talk to your avionics installer today!

Scenario 2:

I’m an Australian registered private aircraft operating under IFR rules in Australian airspace.

Impact:  An exemption to ADS-B equipage is available to you from February 2, 2017 to January 1, 2020.  However, some conditions apply so you need to consider these before you delay your upgrade. From CASA 114/16:

  • The aircraft must be one that was manufactured before February 6, 2014;
  • The aircraft must be operated below 10,000 feet above MSL;
  • Any operation by the aircraft in Class C or Class E airspace is restricted to arrival at, or departure from, a Class D aerodrome;
  • For any operation in Class C or Class E airspace, the aircraft must be fitted with an SSR (Secondary Surveillance Radar) transponder;
  • For any operation in Class C, D or E airspace, the pilot of the aircraft must have been given clearance for the flight by Air Traffic Control (ATC);
  • The flight plan for the operation must include the following details at item 18 of the plan: RMK/NIL ADSB AUTH.

Note: This authorisation instrument does not mean that appropriate ATC clearance to enter Class C, D or E airspace is automatic or guaranteed.  ATC makes clearance decisions subject to prevailing air traffic and operational conditions at the time of the flight.

This exemption is applicable in Class C CTA steps, Class D CTR and CTA steps, Class E CTA steps and Class G airspace under the conditions listed above.  For private aircraft operators seeking to fly in Class A and Class C CTR airspace, this exemption is not applicable and you’ll still need to equip with ADS-B Out by Feb. 2, 2017.

Scenario 3:  

I’m a foreign registered aircraft operating under IFR rules in Australian airspace.

Impact:  CASA 113/16 provides an exemption from ADS-B equipage from Feb. 2, 2017 through June 6, 2020 (the European mandate deadline).  There are also operational conditions which apply here, too.  From CASA 113/16:

  • The aircraft must be equipped with an SSR (Secondary Surveillance Radar) transponder;
  • For operations in OCA (Oceanic Control Area) and Oceanic Class G Airspace — the operation must be planned but may be planned at any flight level or altitude;
  • For operations in Continental Airspace — the operation must be planned below FL290;
  • For operations in SSR surveillance airspace — the operation may proceed at or above FL290 only if the pilot of the aircraft is given clearance for the flight by ATC;
  • The flight plan for the operation must include the following details at item 18 of the plan: RMK/NIL ADSB AUTH.

Note: This authorisation instrument does not mean that appropriate ATC clearance at or above FL290 in SSR surveillance airspace is automatic or guaranteed. ATC makes clearance decisions subject to prevailing air traffic and operational conditions at the time of the flight. A foreign registered aircraft that is not carrying ADS-B transmitting equipment, and that does not have ATC clearance, must remain below FL290 in Continental Airspace. It is essential, therefore, that operators flight plan for the operation in accordance with this authorisation instrument.

We continue to encourage operators to equip with ADS-B Out sooner rather than later even if exemptions do exist. Given the significant volume of aircraft remaining to equip, those who wait may face longer lines and more expensive upgrades due to the higher demand.  Operators who equip now also help ensure they can continue to travel where they want, when they want without operational constraints. Also remember to consider what all areas you will be flying in. If you plan to fly in the United States or Europe, you’ll need DO-260B, the latest ADS-B Out standard.

Still have questions or want to learn more?

CASA 113/16:  https://www.casa.gov.au/files/casa16113pdf

CASA 114/16: https://www.casa.gov.au/files/casa16114pdf

AirServices Australia: http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/projects/ads-b/other-mandates-2014-2017/

Rockwell Collins ADS-B Out Products & Aircraft Certification Options: http://www.rockwellcollins.com/ads-b

 

Read more about author Rob Myhlhousen.

ADS-B Out upgrades: Think beyond the mandate

Like thousands of other operators, you are probably looking at ADS-B Out upgrade options for your aircraft.  With ADS-B Out mandates just three short years away, the clock is ticking to get your aircraft compliant.  While you need to get moving to meet the mandate, don’t rush so fast that you’ll overlook some important details.  Here are a couple things to think about when picking out the right solution for your aircraft.

What additional capabilities can my ADS-B Out equipment bring?  

Over the past few years we’ve seen regulatory agencies transitioning to more GPS-based procedures.  The United States has implemented more than 3,700 LPV approaches and is limiting investments in or decommissioning aging ground-based navigation systems like ILS and VOR.  The equipment required to navigate in the airspace is changing so keeping your aircraft up-to-date will help to maximize efficiency and airspace access.

What does all of this have to do with ADS-B Out?  

In the United States, you’ll need a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) GPS position source to meet ADS-B Out position requirements.  SBAS receivers utilize additional satellite broadcasts to provide higher accuracy position data to the end user. You may have heard of WAAS, EGNOS, GAGAN and MSAS.  These are SBAS systems developed for the United States, Europe, India and Japan.

When selecting your ADS-B Out upgrade, consider how the SBAS GPS unit will be utilized on your aircraft.  If it’s a standalone solution that doesn’t integrate with your Flight Management System (FMS), you won’t be able to take advantage of additional capabilities like LPV approaches or RNP that provide additional efficiencies in the airspace and are on most airspace modernization roadmaps.  In most cases you may need to upgrade your FMS to realize these capabilities but that upgrade can be made in parallel with your ADS-B Out upgrade or it can be accomplished later.  Be sure to consider what few incremental benefits and additional future upgrade costs bolt-on solutions will provide outside of just meeting ADS-B Out requirements.

How will my aircraft be supported after the upgrade?

While important to everyone, this is especially important for customers with newer aircraft with integrated avionics systems (i.e., Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4, Pro Line 21 and Pro Line Fusion®).  While we all hope you don’t have technical issues with your aircraft, we know problems can come up.  Maintaining your integrated cockpit is going to help ensure your avionics OEM will be able to support you in those times of need.  Adding new suppliers’ products into the mix of your current avionics system can be risky.  If your current avionics supplier isn’t involved with or hasn’t at least tested another supplier’s products, they are not going to be able to ensure long-term compatibility nor can they easily support your broader avionics system if issues do come up.

Some of our OEMs are also incorporating ADS-B into broader upgrade packages for your Pro Line avionics system.  These packages bring ADS-B Out upgrades along with additional capabilities such as display capability upgrades, navigation capability enhancements and other options.  Future avionics upgrades provided through the OEM may be predicated on having these packages installed.  We highly suggest contacting your OEM to discuss ADS-B upgrade options available for your aircraft and requirements for future upgrades.

Want to learn more?  Visit www.rockwellcollins.com/ads-b
Have ADS-B questions?  Email us at ads-b@rockwellcollins.com

Read more about author Rob Myhlhousen.

Is it really a business jet if it has no internet connection?

When traveling abroad, understanding a few basic foreign language phrases can go a long way in making it a better experience, versus not having any at all.

The same goes for internet in a business jet – even having a little bit of connectivity makes it a better experience, compared to not having it at all. In fact, many newcomers to a business jet – the very people who will drive future demand for aircraft – are a surprised to find that many aircraft don’t automatically come with some kind of internet connection.

So what is the range of your aircraft connectivity options? What’s the connectivity metaphor to knowing a few phrases, versus being a United Nations linguist? Here’s a quick breakdown of the options available today.

If you need the basics

Iridium SATCOM – Iridium is a constellation of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites that give worldwide coverage for voice services but with lower bandwidth data rates. Most aircraft can take advantage of Iridium SATCOM using a blade-mounted antenna. While this solution is versatile and relatively low cost, the low bandwidth will limit connectivity options to telephone calls and text messaging only.

If you need a little more bandwidth

Inmarsat Swift Broadband – This is currently one of the more popular and capable systems. Using a geo-stationary constellation of Inmarsat’s I-4 satellites, this option is a versatile and higher-bandwidth solution that supports a variety of internet activities across a wide variety of aircraft. Depending on the antenna fit (blade or steerable dish), data rates can get from 200 to 432kbps, or nearly 0.5Mbps. Streaming media is possible, but some smart things have to be done in the router to bond channels together and increase available speed. Router management can also increase capabilities by enabling compression software to improve efficient throughput. Because it provides safety services, SBB is a complementary solution to the options below.

If you have more passengers on board

Yonder Ku and 2Ku – The Yonder Ku option leverages the same collection of geostationary high-bandwidth satellites used for broadcast television, allowing for “office in the sky” applications. The high bandwidth allows you to send and receive email, establish VPN connections, stream video and participate in video conferencing. The Yonder Ku antenna fits larger business aircraft with room to accommodate a 30cm antenna, while the fuselage-mounted 2Ku antenna solution is used almost exclusively in air transport. This is a capable solution to consider with some limitations when transiting oceans.

If you’re traveling globally with multiple passengers

Inmarsat Ka band – Branded as JX (or Jet ConneX) in business aviation, Ka-band is made available via a worldwide platform of recently launched I-5 satellites. JX offers The highest bandwidth quoted for the satellites is up to 50Mbps, and a typical business jet antenna can expected rates of up to 15Mbps. This high-speed connectivity will allow more devices to be in use on board an aircraft at the same time.

Let’s face it. Today the world – and your passengers – speak through and with the internet. Ask yourself: will your passengers want to fly in your aircraft if it doesn’t speak their language?

Read more about author James Hardie.

Experiencing Bombardier’s C Series CS100 firsthand

Bombardier’s C Series CS100 was delivered to its launch customer, SWISS, on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.   I had the distinct pleasure of representing Rockwell Collins as one of the passengers on the maiden demonstration flight around the Montreal area.  

This delivery celebration included senior executives from Bombardier, SWISS, key suppliers and the Canadian government. This celebration was the final milestone for a development program that lasted more than eight years and included the introduction of new features from both Bombardier and Rockwell Collins.

For Bombardier, this is the first clean-sheet design since the 1990s (and the first clean-sheet, single-aisle aircraft in the industry in more than 30 years) with new engine technology and it represents Bombardier’s first full fly-by-wire system. For us, C Series led the way for new software features on many domains such as the Flight Management Systems (FMS), Onboard Maintenance System (OMS), Human Machine Interface (HMI), Electronic Check list (ECL), etc., as well as new hardware such as the MultiScan weather radar with predictive windshear  and new-generation flight displays. It was also our first fully integrated avionics solution for the air transport market.

CSeriesBombardier and Rockwell Collins, with input from the airlines, spent a lot of time and effort to ensure that the new features met the demands of this new market segment for Bombardier.  All in all, there were more than 5000+ hrs of flight testing completed and 30 Rockwell Collins software deliveries—two examples of the tremendous effort that both our companies had to go through.

And now, it is time to watch and enjoy the fruits of that collaboration as I have witnessed myself on the maiden demonstration flight on the same day that SWISS accepted delivery of their first aircraft.  I saw firsthand how SWISS loves this aircraft and the Rockwell Collins systems onboard, and I enjoyed the positive feedback and recognition from our customer on our success and the strength of our relationship with Bombardier.  

It was a proud and humbling moment for me, and I know that the only reason it was possible is because of the dedication, professionalism and sacrifices from the hundreds of Rockwell Collins’ superb employees who contributed immensely to this great success story.  

Read more about author Craig Olson.

EBACE 2016 Report: Four Questions About High-Speed Connectivity

High speed airborne connectivity is all the buzz within the business aviation industry, and EBACE was no different. In our latest post to our Aviation Week Special Topics Page, Dave Poltorak, vice president and general manager in our information management services business, talks about two questions he heard about Ka-band connectivity, and two more that owners/operators should also be considering:

EBACE 2016 Report: Four Questions About High-Speed Connectivity Industry exhibitions and conferences are a prime opportunity to get a firsthand sense of what is on our customers’ minds. And after three days at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland this past week, it’s clear that the big topic on private and corporate aircraft operators’ minds is connectivity.

To be more precise, I heard two questions over and over again during the show: 

To read the rest of the post, visit our Aviation Week Information Management Solutions page.

Internet Access—an investment must for your business aircraft

Lots of things are really important when flying an aircraft—aerodynamics, engines, cockpit avionics—but when you consider that those are expected requirements from passengers, you start to differentiate that experience. And today, it’s seamless, reliable internet access that is changing the game and increasing operator satisfaction.

The famous psychologist Frederick Herzberg, one of the most influential names in business management, pointed out that the things which make us dissatisfied or unhappy about an experience are actually different from those things that make us happy or even excited about an experience. He called them hygiene and motivational factors.

For example, I am going to be pretty dissatisfied with my flight if my aircraft is AOG and no amount of impressive features on the aircraft is going to make up for not getting where I need to go—this is what Herzberg referred to as “hygiene.” However, once you have the basics in place, then other things can start to matter and make us say, “Wow.” The trouble is, “wow” changes all the time and becomes familiar and expected.

At the heart of nearly every business is some level of online activity, be it in the office, on a mobile device or in a car. We are much closer to a world where the ability to access the internet in flight is a basic hygiene factor for keeping passengers satisfied. For some people, it already is. While it may not be officially on the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for safe flight operations, reliable internet access is becoming so important that if it is not going to be available, then principals will find another aircraft—just as they would if there was an engine issue.

Beyond keeping passengers satisfied, access to the internet is changing how business jets are utilized. With the ability to use the aircraft as an office, flight times can be changed to make better use of the time spent flying. For example, business jets do not have to conform to the same issues affecting commercial airliners on long-haul, eastbound transatlantic flights that are typically overnight sleeper flights (and a bad night’s sleep at that!). A business jet has a wider choice of airports for point-to-point operation. Business jets can fit into an alternative flight operation pattern to keep the aircraft passengers as productive as possible on the internet while they travel so they are prepared when they arrive at their destination.

Access to the internet on board that aircraft just helped get an even better return on the aircraft investment and that can only help any justification of what is important to have on the aircraft.

If you are still not convinced as you read this, try turning off your computer and getting any work done today. It might be fun, but it won’t last.  Everything has changed.

Read more about author James Hardie.