As business aircraft interiors grow ever more plush and connected -- broadband internet, telephone, fax and high-def video -- customers are demanding the same kind of operating ease they expect from home and office information systems. That's the driver behind Rockwell Collins' latest cabin information and entertainment product called Venue. The company's Airshow product, a first-gen system, is widely in use in hundreds of aircraft and Rockwell Collins' Tommy Dodson told journalists at NBAA in Atlanta this week that the company has made a major commitment to offer more sophisticated cabin systems. It also announced a range of software-based improvements for Airshow, including a new world clock feature, a detailed road atlas map for ground planning and a nifty flight instrument page reminiscent of Garmin's GPSmap 396/496, but based on the aircraft GPS and airdata system, not GPS alone. One upgrade includes a seat-side control panel with rocker switches, soft keys and a color GUI-based display for entertainment selection.
Airshow will remain in the product line while Venue will be a follow-on product offering high definition video from Blu-ray, X-box capability and other features all based on operating logic similar to home entertainment systems. Venue, says Dodson, will be scalable for aircraft of all sizes and has been promised for Cessna's CitationJet 4 in 2009.
The winner is an airplane and water again but not technically a floatplane. Edgar Tello took this beauty of a Seabee testing the waters on a pond at Sugar Valley Airport in North Carolina. Nice work, Edgar.