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Qatar May Be First Airline to Fly a Jet Like It’s an iPad: Touch Screen Makes Flying Intuitive, Increases Passenger Comfort

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Honeywell Aerospace technology is at the core of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s new G500 and G600 aircraft, unveiled today. And Qatar Airways has committed to buy up to 20 of the beauties.

These aircraft will be the first to feature Honeywell’s new touchscreen technology in Gulfstream’s new SymmetryTM flight deck. As Honeywell explains, technology is “aimed at making displays more intuitive, integrated and significantly more user-friendly for pilots.” Honeywell claims that new touch capabilities will ease pilot workload and improve communications in the cockpit.

“The integrated touchscreens will be used for system controls, flight management, communications, checklists, and monitoring weather and flight information,” states Honeywell in its announcement.

Honeywell Advanced Avionics and Mechanical Products on the G500 and G600

  • Honeywell’s SmartView synthetic vision system. SmartView significantly improves the flight crew’s situational awareness by providing a large, 3-D color synthetic image of the outside world to enhance safety and efficiency.
3D AMM – Airport Moving Maps is new technology from Honeywell that gives pilots a complete view of the ground environment, increasing safety on the runway (the most dangerous stage of flight is takeoff and landing). /Honeywell
3D AMM – Airport Moving Maps is new technology from Honeywell that gives pilots a complete view of the ground environment, increasing safety on the runway (the most dangerous stage of flight is takeoff and landing). /Honeywell
  • Touchscreen controllers. Using an 8-inch diagonal LCD, the touchscreen controllers are fully integrated with cockpit and aircraft systems, providing advanced functionality from flight planning and audio control to checklist and aircraft systems control, as well as the capability to expand.
  • 2-D and 3-D airport moving maps. The 2-D moving map shows runways, taxiways, airport structures and signs at many airports on the cockpit navigation displays, while the 3-D moving map integrates the Synthetic Vision System for an “out the window” view of the airport on the Primary Flight Display.
  • Cockpit display of traffic information. This presents the position of nearby aircraft equipped with ADS-B transponders on the flight deck multifunction display, giving the flight crew better awareness and understanding of airborne and surface traffic.
cockpit_LaunchAd1_v02r02
The Honeywell-Tech-Powered Cockpit
  • Flight deck connectivity. Wireless data loading enables pilots and maintenance personnel to wirelessly transfer data files, such as terrain and navigation database updates, through a mobile app.
  • HGT400[G] auxiliary power unit (APU). This integrated system supplies pneumatic and electric power for the aircraft while on the ground or in flight. Honeywell’s newest large-cabin business aviation APU is derived from a successful lineage of the proven RE220 APU. The system is approximately 30 pounds lighter than the average APU in its class with industry-leading technological advancements to maximize performance and reliability. The HGT400[G] is also equipped with Honeywell’s latest electronic controller technology, allowing for smooth communication with the integrated flight deck.
  • Environmental control system and cabin pressure control system. Integrated systems that provide a more comfortable, quieter experience for passengers by minimizing changes in the cabin environment and reducing workload for the crew.

“Gulfstream and Honeywell share a long and esteemed history of working together to introduce industry-leading flight deck technologies,” said Dan Nale, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “The SymmetryTM flight deck, featuring Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, continues this tradition by offering the most integrated and streamlined flight deck in business aviation. With touchscreens, the SymmetryTM flight deck dramatically reduces the number of switches, thereby enhancing pilot and passenger safety.”

“Pilots use touch screens in their daily consumer devices and because of this are much more accustomed to interfacing with machines through interactive screens,” Jeff Merdich, director of Product Marketing for Cockpit Systems at Honeywell Aerospace explains. “Our engineers are responding to this change by bringing consumer device interaction to the cockpit and matching the modality to the mission. The Honeywell User Experience, a Honeywell human-centered design approach, gives pilots the information they need, when they need it – in the most intuitive way.”

The two new Gulfstream jet models optimise speed, provide wide-cabin comfort and improve efficiency, offering Gulfstream customers advanced performance and safety features.

“The new G500 and G600 represent extremely advanced business aircraft and continue the strong innovation partnership between Honeywell and Gulfstream,” said Brian Sill, president, Business and General Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace. “From consumer-like touch functionality in the cockpit to mechanical systems that reduce weight and increase flight efficiency, collectively we are providing customers, pilots and passengers with the best flight experience possible.”

There’s a nice Infographic from Honeywell on all the new Gulfstream G500/G600 Tech: 

Honeywell Technologies on G500 and G600 Infographic/Honeywell
Honeywell Technologies on G500 and G600 Infographic/Honeywell

 

Jet service forms a part of the VIP services for a number of airlines.  Emirates offers a lavish private Jet service, using A319 aircraft, Etihad has built the private-jet experience into its Etihad Residence product, and Qatar Airways doesn’t want to be left behind.

Qatar Introduces VIP Jets

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Qatar Airways for the purchase of up to 20 aircraft. The agreement was announced in conjunction with Gulfstream’s introduction of an all-new family of business jets, the Gulfstream G500 and G600.

The Memorandum of Understanding constitutes an initial agreement for Qatar Airways to order up to 20 Gulfstream aircraft, including firm orders and options for the all-new, wide-cabin G500 and the flagship G650ER.

“This agreement is evidence of the industry-leading performance of Gulfstream’s flagship aircraft, the G650ER, and of our commitment to deliver on the promises we have made for our new family of aircraft, which includes the G500,” said Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream. “With their unmatched high-speed capabilities and class-leading cabin comfort, the G650ER and G500 will allow Qatar Airways to introduce a new level of service to their customers in the Middle East and abroad.”

Said His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, group chief executive, Qatar Airways, “Qatar Executive has been on an accelerated growth path since its inception and is held to an exceptional standard of quality that is widely known by our global clientele. In order to keep pace with the future strategic growth plans of our private jet division, the fleet is being expanded with aircraft that meet the needs of our guests, providing a wide range of options. Today’s announcement of the Memorandum of Understanding for G650ERs and G500s signals a next step for Qatar Executive’s relatively young and buoyant history.”

Why this all makes sense for Qatar:

Complimenting regularly scheduled service with private charter jet service is smart business for airlines which want to attract more affluent Business and VIP passengers.  One of the big advantages for these passengers of these services (besides the flexibility of scheduling the flight when they need it) is avoiding the standard Terminal; enjoying time at the Private Jet lounge instead.  Lufthansa Private Jet, in collaboration with NetJets, is a great example of this.  The airline offers a dedicated First Class terminal experience at Frankfurt with private security clearance and, of course, a limousine service to drive VIPs out to their jets.

Making the flight controls for these VIP aircraft more “intuitive” should allow these carriers to have an easier time recruiting and training their VIP pilots–a sure way to pump up profits on what is already a high-margin product.

What this means for the future of flying:

With Honeywell developing the technology behind these systems, and commercial pilots already operating fly-by-wire commercial aircraft with joystick controls and using tablet-based flight bags, it’s not really a stretch to imagine that we’ll see some of these features translate into larger aircraft at some future date.

This technological development brings a completely different meaning to a “touch-and-go” flight experience.

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