The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft-powered version of Bluebox Aviation Systems’ ‘Bluebox Wow’ W-IFE technology. The STC, which applies to all Airbus A320 Family aircraft, was issued to Design Organisation Approval (DOA) holder, Aerospace Engineering Solutions. The STC was approved after testing was completed with a soon-to-be-announced customer in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Our original version of Bluebox Wow, with its swappable battery system, has been a game-changer in the IFE market,” said James Macrae, CTO of Bluebox. “But as the demand for W-IFE has grown… we’re attracting the interest of airlines with larger fleets. By utilising aircraft power, Bluebox Wow devices can deliver the same digital IFE services without a battery present, eliminating the need for logistics management of batteries, and still offering a considerably lighter and lower-cost system than fully fitted W-IFE.”
The STC also includes automatic ‘Pause on PA’ functionality that pauses IFE playback in the event of announcements from the flight deck or cabin crew. “Further, by removing the battery completely from this version of Bluebox Wow, we avoid the need for complicated battery/flight status logic and control and the possible risks involved with that – making it much easier to ensure our system is DO-178 compliant,” added Macrae.
Bluebox Wow is a lunchbox-sized unit that is typically stowed securely in overhead bins, with battery- and aircraft-powered versions available as a linefit option linked to Airbus’s Open Software Platform or as a retrofit using traditional avionics-grade hardware. As well as wireless streaming of IFE content to passenger devices (with either complimentary or paid access), the system can be used to offer onboard retail services, including the ability to order and pay via passenger devices, and pre-paid (booking path) purchases.