Estimated reading time 16 minutes, 27 seconds.
Each year, the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) delivers an opportunity for business aviation companies to announce and unveil new products. Skies caught up with six companies at the 2021 show in Las Vegas, Nevada, who have launched new products in the past year. From turbulence prediction to flight tracking, flight deck upgrades and upgraded fuel systems, this year’s lineup of innovative business aviation technology didn’t disappoint.
SmartSky Networks’ SmoothSky is a turbulence predictor powered by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Turbulence Aware program, essentially making it the Waze of the skies. The turbulence avoidance program identifies and gives notice of impending turbulence, similar to how Waze alerts drivers of potholes.
Described as “the smart choice for global, real-time turbulence data,” the program uses “live crowdsourced aircraft-generated data” instead of pilot perception to effectively predict and warn of violent or unsteady movement in the air.
SmoothSky collects turbulence data which is then consolidated through the IATA Turbulence Aware platform. As a result, the pilot receives “turbulence data points” immediately through SmoothSky. According to the company, the advance notice of turbulence lowers costs by avoiding likely maintenance due to damage to the aircraft (also reducing insurance costs), saves fuel, and decreases crew safety hazards caused by violent turbulence.
Brit Wanick, vice president of digital solutions at SmartSky, told Skies that the company offers its turbulence solution “via web application as well as software applications and services, that can be integrated into your flight deck.”
The product was launched in early 2021, but SkySmart used NBAA 2021 as an official launch.
“It launched officially about six months ago,” said Wanick. “We’re using the show, essentially, to be able to drive it, from a relationship perspective with IATA. They are already providing this to commercial airlines as a part of the partnership that they have with them.”
Appareo’s new flight data recorder “captures 4K Ultra HD video, pilot intercom system audio, ambient audio, and detailed flight data” through cellular data offload.
“This is a replacement for a legacy product that we developed about 10 years ago in cooperation with Airbus, called the Vision 1000 [Appareo’s flagship Airborne Image Recording System (AIRS)],” said the company’s president Kris Garberg.
“AIRS-400 was designed to be a drop-in replacement for the Vision 1000 recorder,” explained Garberg. “Customers who purchased Vision 1000 from Appareo, or received one in a new Airbus Helicopters delivery, can purchase AIRS-400 and plug the new device directly into the Vision 1000 harness and re-use the original mounting bracket.”
Along with “pilot intercom system audio, ambient audio, and detailed flight data,” AIRS-400 captures WAAS GPS (altitude, latitude, longitude, ground speed, vertical speed); attitude data (pitch, roll, yaw); rates of rotation; and acceleration data (G forces).
The unit weighs 11 ounces. “It comes with options for ARINC 429 input, ED-155 audio output, RS-422 output, and cellular offload.”
Unlike most flight data acquisition systems where pilots or crew members are expected to manually transport flight data information from the system, the AIRS-400 offers cellular data offload capabilities, which the company says speeds the transmission of information while reducing costs.
“[In the past], you had to have someone go to the aircraft and either connect to the flight reporter or take a removable SD card, bring it to a workstation, and upload the flight data — and that can be challenging,” said Garberg.
With the AIRS-400, the information is transferred via a server as soon as the aircraft lands to ensure the flight data is accessible instantly.
“As soon as you land and remove power, we offload. And it’s low cost because cellular,” added Garberg.
Honeywell introduced its newest flight deck – the Honeywell Anthem.
“We are changing the way pilots operate aircraft and creating a more intuitive experience than ever,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace. “In the same way we moved from flip phones to smartphones, Honeywell Anthem will transform the pilot experience with customizable controls operated quickly and easily with a few swipes of the finger.”
The flight deck is the first to be built into an “always-on, cloud-connected experience,” claiming to improve flight efficiency, operations, safety, and comfort.
The interface is modeled after smart devices and offers an intuitive, customizable design, powered by a flexible software platform that can be customized for various types of aircraft – “including large passenger and cargo planes, business jets, helicopters, general aviation aircraft, and the rapidly emerging class of advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles.”
The Honeywell Anthem was manufactured to allow “complex aircraft to function with more autonomy” and allow for seamless delivery of “critical information” to pilots.
Honeywell said the connectivity capabilities of the Anthem reduce preflight preparation time by up to 45 minutes per flight. Additionally, the ability to load a flight plane remotely is an industry first, allowing routine preflight tasks to be accomplished off-board and before engine start.
“Everyone who touches a flight is able to get information that matters to them when they need it,” said Vipul Gupta, vice president and general manager, Avionics, Honeywell Aerospace. “The aircraft becomes accessible via the cloud computing infrastructure, and things like maintenance data, flight plans, and overall aircraft status are stored automatically by the avionics or via ground-based applications used by support personnel. This means data is accessible by any authorized user from anywhere.”
DeatschWerks DW100 Fuel Pump & DW440 Brushless Fuel Pump
DeatschWerks (DW), a high-performance fuel system solutions company, recently launched two new products. The DW100 pump “was engineered with a focus on low noise, low vibration, and long life.” DW said these goals were achieved with the computer-balanced armature and very low amperage draw.
“The low amperage draw (4.2 amps at 40psi, 13.5 volts) generates less heat and significantly increases brush and commutator life. These features have culminated in a pump motor built to last a lifetime.”
Features of the 165-liter-per-hour fuel pump include ethanol compatibility (e5, e10, and e25 blends), composite turbine impeller for quiet and efficient operation, and computer-balanced armature “for low noise, low vibration, and long life.”
The second product unveiled during NBAA 2021 is the company’s DW440 Brushless fuel pump. The 440-liter-per-hour pump boasts increased efficiency/flow, higher durability, and expanded fuel compatibility than traditional brushed DC motor fuel pumps.
DW’s brushless pump technology provides features including compact size (four inches from inlet to outlet), bulkhead wiring (allows pass-through of the four-wire system via a small 10-mm hole) and a venturi outlet (an integrated 6-mm outlet to drive these systems).
Teledyne Controls PMAT XS
Teledyne Controls (Teledyne) unveiled the PMAT XS, a “compact, secure, and intuitive portable data loader.”
“The smallest rugged portable loader on the market, Teledyne’s PMAT XS provides automatic and secure data loading of software parts, navigation databases, and application updates to the aircraft, via a user-friendly touchscreen interface,” said Nathalie Bollecker, director of marketing and communications at Teledyne.
“Designed to facilitate compliance, the PMAT XS easily integrates with ground management systems to provide automatic distribution of software parts and secure application updates to the aircraft.
Built from the ground up for secure data loading, the PMAT XS is compliant with industry security standards.”
With multiple power options — including battery, aircraft, and ground power — ground crews have the unique ability to load software at any convenient location or time.
“An innovative docking station charges the unit’s battery in the cradle and automatically connects to Teledyne’s LSE ground management system to sync parts for upload to the aircraft and downloaded data. Automatic, secure application updates are also available from a dedicated Teledyne Maintenance Portal. Support tickets can also be posted directly to Teledyne’s Support Portal.”
The seven-inch color touchscreen interface includes application launch icons, a virtual keyboard, and an on-screen status.
FlightAware Global Silver
FlightAware launched Global Silver, its newest entry in the three-tier Global flight tracking platform for business aircraft operators. According to the company, the program offers “simplified connectivity among dispatchers, flight crews, FBOs, ground support vendors, and passengers.”
Global Silver provides real-time data tracking of what’s happening with any flight, powered by FlightAware Foresight — “the same cutting-edge predictive technology used by commercial airlines.”
Global Silver boasts precise arrival times and “Ready to Taxi” alerts. In addition, real-time tracking allows for FBO coordination, with alerts arriving from taxi to departure and arrival.
“FlightAware’s Global Silver offers most of the same robust features as Global Gold and Platinum, but at an even more affordable entry price,” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO. “The business aircraft owner or operator who wants to streamline and coordinate all flight-related communications while maximizing time and efficiency will find Global Silver invaluable.”
Other features offered by Global Silver include live surface tracking, premium weather layers, cockpit situational insights, and monthly flight history reports.