Back to the Future

September 20, 2016 | Author: Julie Curtis

Revolutionary; cutting edge; state-of-the-art – was what the B757 was called when launched in 1981.  While these are not the words typically used to describe this particular bird
today. Honeywell's B757 Test Aircraft isn’t exactly a normal B757. Since 2008 our flying test aircraft has been at the forefront of many Honeywell innovations including the HTF7000 engine family as well as our advanced avionics solutions.

Back to the FutureSo when I got the opportunity to get on the Honeywell test plane earlier this month, and jump back into the future, I was thrilled. The Boeing® 757 with its red and white coat isn’t like getting on your typical aircraft. For starters it has a strange looking arm sticking out the side of the fuselage, which is for testing engines.

Secondly, as you walk on to the plane the cockpit doors are open, so I can say hello to the pilots – which is nice! At this point for a few seconds it looks like a conventional airliner, with four rows of seats, but that’s where it ends. The roof of the cabin is exposed showing the wiring, and there are unusual pieces of equipment bolted down in different parts of the plane.

Instead of having a flight attendant in uniform to do the safety announcement, we had aerospace engineers provide the briefing.

Back to the FutureOnce we are safely up, I jumped at the chance to go and check out the cockpit and all the avionics we have on-board. Having never been in a cockpit while in flight it was great opportunity to see our products in use. I was fascinated to see our Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). Invented by Honeywell and credited with saving thousands of lives, the system reduces the risk of controlled flight into terrain by providing flight crews with timely, accurate information about terrain and obstacles in the area. The system uses various aircraft inputs and an internal database to predict and warn flight crews of potential conflicts with obstacles or terrain. Having never been a huge fan of inflight turbulence I was relieved to hear that we weren’t testing the IntuVue RDR-4000 3D weather radar which provides the most complete, accurate and intuitive view of airborne weather hazards, resulting in improved hazard avoidance and increased safety. Intentionally taking the plane through thunderstorm or weather hazard to test the equipment, was not on the flight plan today thankfully.

The reason we were on the flight was to test the latest JetWave equipment, which connects to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network and delivers a consistent and outstanding high-speed connectivity experience for commercial and military users around the world. It was impressive to see people streaming YouTube videos live and FaceTiming people, while flying above Dubai. We are in a place where passengers will get the same connectivity in the air as they currently experience on the ground.

The flight was only an hour so the time went really quickly. But before returning to my seat I was able to witness another of Honeywell’s innovative safety solutions in action. With ever increasingly congested skies the Traffic Collision Avoidance System is becoming a more vital tool in delivering situational awareness, reducing the potential for mid-air collisions.

The Honeywell test pilots are a world class crew, having completed hundreds of test flights around the world, assessing and finalizing critical safety, mechanical and electrical products that are crucial to the past, present and future of aviation innovation. If you get the opportunity to take a ride, I highly recommend you to jump on board!

Julie Curtis

Julie Curtis

Julie is a Senior Marketing Specialist in the Defense and Space division of Honeywell Aerospace covering EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa and India) region. Julie joined Honeywell in May 2011 and has a background in events, marketing and public relations in the technology industry. She is based in our Dubai office in the Middle East.

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