A total of 61 submissions from 12 countries were received by the Crystal Cabin Award Association in Hamburg for the 2014 event, and after detailed examination by the six-person pre-selection committee, 56 of them from 12 nations are now in the race.
The members of the pre-selection committee have said that they were delighted, not only by the keen international participation in this, the world’s first and only prize for innovation in aircraft cabins, but also by the large number of students who have submitted “remarkable designs and visionary concepts” this year. The wide range of submissions – from fine thread to a gigantic airship – also impressed the committee. Even some results from state-sponsored research projects were submitted, a sign that research in the field of civil aviation has become prizeworthy.
Alongside new cushions and covers, rescue capsules and airbags, various seats and seating systems, lighting, seat belts, and even new lavatory architectures, there are also visionary concepts for complete new aircraft models. A student from the Netherlands, for example, has created a sketch of what travel could be like in 2050 on board a blended wing aircraft, combining psychological insights with technological developments.
From the booking system to cabin interior design, everything is focussed on the comfort of the individual passenger, even when the passengers as a group constitute a single unit during flight. A French company has developed an airship for scenic flights, with the lower wall of the cabin made of transparent polycarbonate sheets, giving all 40 passengers a 360 degree view. A company from Germany is also working to improve outward visibility using laminated special glass composites – special plate glass with foil for the inside of cabin windows. The glass is not only more scratch-resistant and easier to clean; it is also 40% lighter than conventional plastic panes.
Several of the products and concepts submitted will also please fans of IFE systems. There is, for example, an open in-flight entertainment and communications platform which interacts both with third-party applications and with passengers’ own devices. This provides access to a wider selection of films, games, and apps. Another company is presenting the world’s first mobile IFE system in a small trolley, capable of distributing appropriate programmes to up to 30 iPads and tablets. The energy requirements could be met by a trolley from another entrant, which functions as a small power station inside the cabin.
￼A play and fitness area with an integrated Nintendo Wii invites passengers to work on their physical fitness. And for those who prefer to enjoy the flight with a quiet drink and snack, there is a new system for ordering and cashless payment. Parents will be pleased about the multifunctional bulkhead that can be placed in front of the galley or the toilets. Not only does it include one large air show monitor and three smaller IFE screens, it also has a foldout bassinet for babies.
These are just a few examples. The international jury of 25 experts, including representatives of various airlines, aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, and technical service providers, along with university professors, consultants and specialist journalists, is now evaluating all accepted entries so that the finalists for the seven categories can be nominated a few weeks before the Aircraft Interiors Expo (8 – 10 April, 2014). The winners will be crowned, as they are every year, in association with Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. There will be one trophy each in the following categories: Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment; Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts; Material & Components; Passenger Comfort Hardware; Passenger Comfort Systems;Premium Class & VIP, and University.
The following sponsors are supporting the Crystal Cabin Awards in 2014: Airbus, Aircraft Interiors International magazine, Aircraft Interiors Expo (Reed Exhibitions), APEX, Diehl Aerosystems Holding, Embraer, Ferchau Aviation Division, Jetliner Cabins, Aircraft Cabin Management and Zodiac Aerospace.