Hawaiian trials SwiftBroadband as future safety service

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Hawaiian Airlines is set to equip its fleet of Boeing 767-300 aircraft with Cobham Satcom’s Aviator SwiftBroadband satellite communications systems, to be used for safety services data as well as for the provision of an IP pipe to the cockpit.

According to Cobham, installation of the systems on the Hawaiian fleet is a significant step forward in the process of approval for SwiftBroadband as a safety service by the aviation authorities, which is a requirement for the operation of the Aviator S series. This technology demonstration, under FAA supervision, could pave the way for other airlines and equipment manufacturers to allow the fast transfer of ACARS data messages over the SwiftBroadband link, as well as flight deck safety voice services and IP connectivity to the flight deck, enabling other flight operations and cockpit services.

During the safety evaluation period, the SwiftBroadband system will be used for FANS and CPDLC messaging, and will also be used for data transmission in support of Hawaiian’s new eFLIE electronic flight bag program.

Kim Gram, vice president of Cobham Satcom’s aeronautical business unit, said: “Using SwiftBroadband IP connectivity for all domains of the aircraft is new to the aviation industry and will provide safer and more efficient flights due to better overall situational awareness and transfer of operational data to and from of the aircraft.”

Ken Rewick, vice president of flight operations for Hawaiian Airlines, added: “SwiftBroadband enables us to provide our pilots with real-time weather updates on their Electronic Flight Bags, allowing us to efficiently navigate around Pacific storms, inclement weather and storms in real-time while providing the most comfortable flight experience for our passengers.”

Hawaiian’s B767s will be retrofitted with Cobham’s current generation Aviator SwiftBroadband Satcom hardware, which includes an IGA-5001 intermediate gain antenna. The system can provide both voice and data communications with the addition of features such as immediate aircraft tracking information and Ethernet ports for connecting devices like aircraft interface devices and electronic flight bags. Aviator S will be available early 2016 to coincide with approvals for FANS 1/A services over SwiftBroadband.

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