Honeywell 757 technology demonstrator on ‘connected’ world tour

Avatar for Andy ClineBy Andy Cline | June 12, 2017

Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 24 seconds.

Honeywell is showcasing its latest leading edge commercial aerospace product offerings during a world tour with its Boeing 757 technology demonstrator.

Seen arriving at Toronto's Pearson Airport on June 7, Honeywell's Boeing 757 features an engine test mount on the port fuselage. Custom graphics highlighting Honeywell products installed aboard the technology demonstrator feature prominently in the 'Connected Aircraft' livery. Andy Cline Photo
Seen arriving at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on June 7, Honeywell’s Boeing 757 features an engine test mount on the port fuselage. Custom graphics highlighting Honeywell products installed aboard the technology demonstrator feature prominently in the ‘Connected Aircraft’ livery. Andy Cline Photo

The company’s array of aviation and aircraft components, avionics, engines and services make it one of the top aerospace companies in the world. The company is on the leading edge of innovation, and like its pioneering work in the 1940s, primarily for the military (it invented the auto pilot for bombers), it remains a top producer of leading edge aerospace technology.

Honeywell’s vast array of aerospace products includes turbine engines, avionics, navigational systems, airport and runway safety systems and lighting. Synthetic vision technology and space systems are also featured on the company’s repertoire. It also offers a huge base of aviation services including fleet management, flight operations, ground operations and passenger experience services.

The “connected” plane

Honeywell Aerospace operates a single Boeing 757-200 as an engine testbed and technology demonstrator. Based at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, it was the fifth 757 built and was part of Boeing’s 757 flight test program. Specially adapted with custom modifications, these include an engine mount on the port forward fuselage for testing Honeywell turbine engines, and associated engineering stations and telemetry equipment. It is thus the only 757 equipped with three engines in the world. It is also equipped for running, testing and demonstrating all manner of the company’s avionics and other aerospace product lines.

The tour

Honeywell’s 757 is currently on a world tour that is billed as the “Power of Connected Tour.” The goal is to showcase Honeywell’s latest technology, applications and services for passenger aircraft.  A special livery has been applied to the aircraft for the tour, including huge red ‘Connected Aircraft’ titles along the fuselage and other graphics emphasizing aircraft components and systems that Honeywell produces.

The tour includes an inside look at how Honeywell is enabling the Connected Aircraft to improve flights for pilots, passengers and flight operators alike. Some of the featured technologies include:

  • Honeywell’s GoDirect Flight Bag Pro, which pulls in vital flight data allowing the pilots to make strategic decisions;
  • GoDirect Flight Preview application, which gives pilots a highly accurate, three-dimensional preview of the runway and surrounding terrain before they take off;
  • GoDirect Weather, an information service that gives pilots real-time weather data on the flight path, allowing them to plan the safest, most efficient routes possible. A new connected radar function will provide crowdsourced weather information from other aircraft in the sky and share that information through an application, giving an accurate view of the weather around the world;
  • GoDirect Fuel Efficiency software collects, monitors and analyzes data to help operators optimize fuel efficiency across a fleet. As a result, pilots have access to the most fuel-efficient flight paths to reduce the amount of fuel they use;
  • Honeywell’s GoDirect Connected Maintenance will help airlines be smarter, more efficient and predictive in the way they maintain their fleets. Airlines now no longer need to reactively fix mechanical systems like auxiliary power units or wheels and brakes. With Honeywell’s GoDirect Connected Maintenance, airlines proactively troubleshoot mechanical issues to avoid aircraft downtime. They get the data they need to be more efficient to keep flights on time and passengers happy;
  • Honeywell’s JetWave system enables passengers to connect to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation service, offering seamless global broadband access that provides the same Internet speed and reliability they get at home or in the office; and
  • Honeywell’s GoDirect Cabin Connectivity offers a comprehensive suite of satellite communication services and solutions to deliver unparalleled connectivity and functionality. This includes access to more than a dozen GoDirect apps and services, as well as real-time TV, TV on demand, high-speed broadband Internet, video conferencing, email and Voice Over IP.

Social media has been an integral part of the tour, emphasizing Honeywell’s airborne Wi-Fi technology. The launch flight on May 31 included a Facebook Live broadcast from on board that was seen by more than 100,000 people, including Honeywell employees from across the globe. A website was also launched, where the plane can be followed wherever it goes on the tour.

Media and customers on the demo flights are encouraged to explore the high speed Wi-Fi technology by live video streaming the experience, Facetiming, and checking out high definition Netflix broadcasts. One reporter claimed that it was the fastest connection he had ever seen with no interruptions in service.

“For us, there’s nothing more important than creating a more comfortable flight for passengers, with less turbulence, fewer delays and better high-speed Internet,” said Kristin Slyker, vice president, Connected Aircraft, Honeywell Aerospace. “We’re using data to avoid bad weather and better prepare pilots, and we’re striving to get rid of maintenance delays with technology that can predict problems before they happen.”

The Power of Connected world tour will travel to cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and will visit over a dozen countries. The first leg of the tour is culminating with a starring role at the Paris Air Show. The plane touched down in Toronto on June 7.

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