Cabin Electronics Develop at Lightning Speed
What’s the purpose of your private airplane? Is it a personal travel tool, or a productivity-enhancing tool for your corporation? In both instances there is good reason to get the cabin electronics right...
Not so long ago, the time spent aboard a business airplane was relatively unproductive for passengers. Cut off from the outside world, key business personnel whose time was of great value to their company would be limited in what they could achieve between Point A and Point B. Today, the situation is completely different, thanks to developments in cabin electronics...
In addition to the issue of passenger productivity, until recently when passengers traveled for business or pleasure the impact of a long-haul flight typically worked against them being able to perform at their peak levels for up to several hours after the flight, due to jet lag.
Today, there is plenty that can be done to address these age-old problems. That’s because the cabin electronics market has seen many remarkable advances in aircraft hardware and software in recent years.
How Cabin Electronics Enhance Passenger Comfort & Productivity
With the aid of sophisticated ground-based and satellite technology, today’s cabin connectivity systems have ensured that there don’t need to be many places on the planet that an aircraft’s passengers can’t be in touch with their office, clients, or loved ones.
But productivity goes beyond simply being connected. Business jet, turboprop and helicopter cabins – which represent the optimal standard in air travel for passenger comfort – are designed to improve the quality of life of their cabin occupants.
With a well-equipped cabin, passengers can arrive at their destination fresh and ready to operate in peak condition, and the cabin electronics are central to this, whether it’s the in-flight connectivity or entertainment systems, the cabin management system, or the lighting installed.
According to Phil Stearns of Stevens Aerospace, “we’ve been seeing a lot of requests for cabin lighting that is zone, event, and mood-specific.”
The most sophisticated lighting solutions offered by the OEMs aboard their Ultra-Long-Range business jets are designed to help synchronize a traveler’s circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock that helps to regulate patterns of energy, rest and mood) to the time at their destination, helping combat jet lag.
Available on the retrofit market, mood lighting such as Elliott Aviation’s LED Prizm, offers full-spectrum mood lighting that is controlled via a passenger’s mobile app, or via the Cabin Management System (CMS) promoting healthy times of work, rest and play during a flight.
Whereas the CMS traditionally provides a basic function to help control the cabin environment. Upgrades of older Cabin Management Systems are proving popular on the market today according to the leading MRO centers, with aircraft operators wishing to exploit developments in the market.
Today’s cabin management systems are central to passenger interaction with the aircraft they’re flying on, enabling them to not only control their environment, but access comprehensive in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.
Whereas a few short years ago, in-flight entertainment may have consisted of the limited physical storage space for DVDs and CDs that could be played via an on-board CD or Blue-ray player on monitors positioned throughout the cabin, today’s media storage units enable hundreds of movies and shows to be stored on board and streamed to the carry-on devices of individual passengers.
How and When to Upgrade Your Cabin Electronics
Given the lightning-quick speed of developments in recent years, it’s important for owners and operators to keep a close eye on the cabin electronics market – though the time between updating the cabin’s electronics really depends on what the priority is.
Those who make their aircraft available for charter part of the time will need to be equipped with up-to-date connectivity and entertainment systems – a requirement, rather than an option in the eyes of many of today’s charter customers.
“Technology improves, and pricing options sometimes become more attractive”, Stearns concludes. “It’s less of a question of how often to upgrade, and more how you use the plane, since there are likely to be options on the market that fit your requirements that will last for years.”