Posted on: 20 April 2015 by Ross McSweeny
SITA OnAir and UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) have announced the launch of AircomConnect, the new electronic flight bag (EFB) and aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) software solution, which two airlines are set deploy in the 3rd quarter of 2015.
AircomConnect is a ‘plug and play’ offering, so EFB applications will be able to access ACARS narrowband connectivity for all phases of a flight. This new messaging capability means airlines can experience the many benefits of ACARS, including: aeronautical operational control (AOC) messaging; enhanced route optimisation and reduced detours thanks to real-time weather updates sent directly to the EFB; free text messaging between dispatchers, maintenance engineering and flight crews, enabling effective defect troubleshooting during flights; downloading of automated reports, such as exceedance and cruise reports; dispatch data reports; and flight crew requesting ramp service requirements during the approach to the destination airport.
Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITA OnAir, commented, “We have a history of collaborating with UTC Aerospace Systems to bring our customers innovative solutions. By combining the UTC Aerospace Systems hardware with the AircomConnect software, we can offer our customers the exact functionality they desire for their EFB solutions. Increasingly, those EFB solutions are tablet based.”
Jim Tuitt, manager of business development for aircraft data management at UTAS, added, “The UTC Aerospace Systems tablet EFB, in combination with the SITA OnAir AircomConnect software, enables an airline to maximise the benefits of paperless operations. We look forward to applying our extensive experiences together in developing and supporting EFB systems worldwide and to help airlines implement value added solutions.”
AircomConnect gives airlines the choice of two messaging service options. The first is standard ACARS, which while constrained by message size limitations is compatible with any ACARS ground host processors and with most ACARS routers. The second option is AEEC 841 Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM) over ACARS. This overcomes the ACARS size limitations, enabling third party applications to transmit large messages over any networks, including VHF, VDL Mode 2, Iridium and Inmarsat.
UTAS has received FAA and EASA approval for AircomConnect to be used on their EFB hardware platforms on a range of commercial aircraft types.