UTC Enters The Mobile Accessories Market
Nov 13, 2012 (Menafn - The Hartford Courant - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --United Technologies Corp. has designed sophisticated systems that filter air, control the temperature and run the electronics inside planes -- and now they've designed products to manage those systems in private jets using Apple mobile devices.
Engineers at UTC's Aerospace Systems, the division that combines the former Hamilton Sundstrand and Goodrich and headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., are responsible for the innovation, creating hardware and writing apps to work with Apple iPads, iPhones and iPods.
The accessories can be as basic as just a charging arm, made at UTC Aerospace's Interiors facility in North Little Rock, Ark., or they can be integrated into the cabin control system. The cabin control system does not have to be designed by Hamilton Sundstrand for the interface to work.
UTC also writes the software that allows any Apple device with Wi-Fi capabilities to be used to control cabin temperature, lighting, window shades and in-flight entertainment systems. The software is sold as part of the overall package.
The accessories are available on new Gulfstream, Dassault, Bombardier and other jets, but older private jets can also be refurbished with these options.
UTC Aerospace Systems Spokesman Andrew Martin would not disclose if any customers have bought the products yet. It has only been available for a few months.
"When you consider the customers' expectations and specific needs on board a business aircraft, as well as the sheer number of business jets that are privately owned or shared, and include the latest software applications (Apps) for controlling in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin management systems, the future is certainly bright," he wrote in an e-mail responding to questions.
"Making everyday technology accessible and easy to use in the business jet environment is the design focus," said Marcus Garrett, business development manager for Cabin Electronics, in a press release announcing the launch. "The iPad is quickly fitted into the Plug-In Arm's head with a simple lever, becoming secured and docked into a charging port. No need for external wires, cables, or the worry of a dead battery."
Martin said he couldn't estimate how much it would cost to buy a jet equipped with these accessories, or to refurbish one, because every set up is custom, and because it would depend on how quickly the customer needed the installation.
For the hoi polloi who fly commercial, don't expect to be able to use your iPad, iPhone or iPod to turn on your overhead light or control the in-flight movie any time soon.
"It is highly unlikely to see something like this on commercial passenger jets," Martin wrote. "When you think of the sheer number and variety of electronics available to the general public, it would be very challenging to set up commercial aircraft to accommodate [them]."
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