Cabin Electronics Manufacturers

Buyers' Guide » 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 5:00am

We're all connected these days. We trade information on iPhones, iPads, laptops, Twitter and Facebook. We're talking, texting and e-mailing on our cellphones, and we're downloading electronic books. We're buying and selling everything from stocks to socks on the Internet and making payments on the Web.

So what about the business aircraft cabin? Are we still connected in flight? Imperfectly perhaps, but the answer is yes. And new technology is making the connection better and faster almost daily. In-flight Internet connectivity is approaching the speeds of ground-based connections, though not as inexpensively. Wi-Fi in the cabin can give passengers anywhere-in-the-world e-mail access through smartphones and personal digital assistants.

As for cabin entertainment, Blu-ray players are making high-definition audio and video a reality. For those bringing aboard their own entertainment, there are iPod and MP3 docks. And the ubiquitous moving-map display has been taken to a new level with satellite-derived imagery and real-time stock results and sports scores.

Will there come a day when aircraft cabin technology equals what you'd find in the most up-to-date home or office? Probably not, say those in the industry, because the latest electronics always appear first in ground-based systems. Then it takes years to certify the new technology to aviation requirements and bring it to the aircraft cabin. Even so, today's cabin equipment far surpasses what was available only a few years ago.

Here's a list of firms that contribute to this world of in-flight connectivity and entertainment.

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“Let me be straight with you. What I'd rather have is an airplane. We just had a third kid. I don't like flying commercial. I like to take my family to Hawaii. When I go east, I'd like to have pilots I know. ”