Business aircraft and component manufacturers and completion centers continue their quest to make the environment at 40,000 feet feel just like home. Thanks to new products ranging from high-tech cooktops and more comfortable seats to higher-resolution monitors and faster Wi-Fi, life at altitude keeps getting better. Here are some of the latest innovations that will increase the joy of private jet travel.
Steak au poivre in the stratosphere
Rewarmed food, no matter how noble the origin, can never compare to freshly prepared. That’s the impetus for Lufthansa Technik’s induction cooktop, which facilitates the preparation of pan-fresh food, from steaks to eggs to sautéed veggies and sauces. The platform fits into most aircraft galleys and features a clever all-in-one design that includes a power unit, an exhaust fan, and special cover and locking systems to ensure that cookware remains in place during turbulence. The cooktop works not only with pots and pans but also with a special rice cooker and a toaster.
Aircraft Cabin Systems has launched a line of ultra-high-definition 4K monitors in sizes from 15 to 75 inches. Depending on size, each 1080p monitor can support two or three internal modules and the SDI and HDMI modules include one and two inputs, respectively. The manufacturer assembles monitors to meet customer requirements.
That warm, toasty feeling
Automobiles have been available with heated seats for years but the convenience is just now finding its way into small private business aircraft. This year, Daher announced that it was making heated seats standard on its 2018 model TBM 910 and 930 turboprop singles. The feature is activated via a master control in the cockpit; after that, each passenger can choose light or moderate heat settings.
You won’t stand for this
Last year, Embraer introduced new seats for its bestselling Phenom 300E light jet and in May it did the same for its midsize Legacy 450 and 500. The 300E seats feature extendable headrests with bolsters, extendable leg rests, and retractable armrests; and the seatback has been broadened for greater support. The coverings can easily be removed for repair or replacement. The seats have improved backrests and headrests and offer more stitching, leather, and color options than their predecessors.
No more stains
Lantal’s TEC-Leather looks like leather, but holds its shape better, cleans up easier, covers cushions more smoothly, and is lighter and less expensive. The material is based on an elastic polymer that stands up over time and resists stains and fungus.
A better lavatory floor
There are places on an aircraft where you don’t want carpeting—like in the lav. Still, you want a sense of style. Infinity Woven Products may have just the thing: luxury woven vinyl flooring. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, cushioned, and—important for a lav environment—antimicrobial and able to repel water fast.
A “Nuage” for seating
Bombardier’s new flagship, the large-cabin, long-range Global 7500, will feature a seat that the company calls “Nuage” (French for cloud). It took seven years to develop and is designed to conform to the natural predilections of the human form better than earlier seats. When the seat back reclines, the rear of the seat pan drops or tilts to provide a more relaxing position. The headrest not only raises and lowers; it can tilt, and you can adjust the angle to your preference. The seat pan is designed to accommodate passengers of various heights. A leg rest can be deployed at the passenger’s option. The swivel mechanism is built into a floating base, which eliminates the need for traditional seat rails. The seat is covered in sculpted foam with a hard-shell back, and there’s built-in aisle-side storage for books, magazines, and tablet computers. You can personalize your seats with deeper seat pans for taller passengers, various shapes of armrests and headrests, and diverse types of upholstery and stitch patterns.
Can you hear me now?
Gogo Business Aviation’s Avance L5 uses the company’s 4G network to provide a high-speed, low-cost Wi-Fi solution for business aircraft. Introduced last year, the system combines Gogo’s network with hardware and software to create an integrated inflight connectivity and entertainment platform with enhanced network capacity. Avance allows for live streaming of video and audio, video conferencing, on-demand movies, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support while in flight. Gogo expects the system to be installed on 500 aircraft by the end of 2018.
AviationGlass & Technology has developed AeroGlass mirrors, transparencies, and decorative panels for cabin interiors that are 50 percent thinner and 25 percent lighter than traditional polycarbonate products. Available in a wide range of colors, they provide 99.9 percent transparency and scratch and UV resistance. This year, the company unveiled a translucent mirror that transforms with a touch of a button into a screen that can display passenger announcements.
Content is king
In March, FDS Avionics announced that it was bringing the first-ever wireless high-definition streaming content to business jet passengers via its do Capsule system. The company has secured movie rights from six big Hollywood studios via a licensing agreement with Global Eagle, a leading content provider to the airline industry. Aircraft operators insert a solid-state drive into the do Capsule, enabling up to 22 passengers to simultaneously navigate and watch any of hundreds of high- and standard-definition titles. Three entertainment packages respectively offer 90, 180, and 360 films.
Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik are harnessing newfangled OLED panels—which are made from carbon-based materials and are thinner and emit more vibrant light than traditional LCDs—to the passenger controls on the “nice Touch” cabin-management system for the Bombardier Global 7500. The system features a new compact side-ledge dial that you can use to control entertainment options, local lighting, and window-shade settings. It provides on-demand audio and video; supports Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs; and features 40-inch displays, 4K picture quality, and surround sound. The full-spectrum lighting system has preset options from up to 200 shades with day/night simulations to mitigate jet lag. The system is built on a high-bandwidth fiber-optic backbone with two wireless dual-band access points and incorporates three Bluetooth 4.0 modules plus USB 3.0 ports at each seat that enable passengers to charge devices or transfer content to or from the airplane. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices and supports standard Ka-band cabin connectivity.