Cathay Pacific airlines chooses avionics interface from Ballard to safeguard flight controls
EVERETT, Wash., 8 Aug. 2014. Avionics integrators at Cathay Pacific airlines in Hong Kong needed avionics interface technology to protect flight-critical aircraft control systems aboard long-range passenger jets from potential corruption from in-flight entertainment and other non-flight-critical systems. They found their solution from Ballard Technology Inc. in Everett, Wash.
Ballard Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corp., will supply the aircraft interface device (AID) for the Cathay Pacific eEnabled Aircraft program. Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong.
AIDs are parts of commercial aircraft avionics systems like electronic flight bags (EFBs), in-flight entertainment systems, and connectivity (IFEC) systems, Ballard officials say.
AIDs serve avionics data while protecting aircraft control domains from interference and corruption. The Cathay Pacific eEnabled Aircraft program supports aircraft connectivity and integration with ground systems.
The Cathay Pacific eEnabled Aircraft program is developing an information-exchange network that will replace existing manual processes to record, manage, and distribute information for flight operations, line maintenance engineering, and cabin defect management.
The Ballard AID is small, lightweight, and rugged, and features an embedded microprocessor, high I/O density, and an internal PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) slot for functionality and I/O expansion.
"We enhanced our Aircraft Interface Device to include our Ethernet Switch Module, which allowed the unit to satisfy two of Cathay Pacific's key system requirements in a single package," says Peter Gundermann, the Astronics president and CEO. The AID reduces avionics size, weight, and power consumption aboard Cathay Pacific passenger jets, he says.
Ballard Technology partnered with Cathay Pacific in a two-year development on the eEnabled Aircraft system. The airline is evaluating the system on three Boeing 777 widebody long-range passenger jetliners.
After completing the operational evaluation, Cathay Pacific leaders say they plan to roll out the eEnabled system across their fleet of Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 passenger aircraft, as well as on Boeing 747 freighter aircraft.
Cathay Pacific also will implement the eEnabled technology in the Airbus A330s, A320s, and A321s in the passenger fleet of Group airline Dragonair, officials say.