Millions in Asia-Pacific Region Follow Along With a Connected Aircraft Party at 25,000 Feet

August 7, 2017 | Author: Sherry Shen

17:30, July 8, 2017 @ Incheon Airport, Korea

A group of passengers got off the aircraft but were still lingering on the tarmac. They were looking back at the plane, taking pictures with it and seemed reluctant to leave to the terminal. I was one of them.

Along with a group of media and aviation influencers, I just had experienced a memorable flight from China to Korea. And through Honeywell Connected Aircraft technologies, an audience of millions “flew” with us and shared our excitement.

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Honeywell’s Boeing 757 flying test bed attracts attention wherever it flies.

Its exterior includes a third engine pylon on the starboard side so it can be used to develop and test Honeywell propulsion engines, making it the only third-engine B757 in the world. The aircraft also sports a new paint job highlighting our nose-to-tail Connected Aircraft solutions for all kinds of planes.

This unique laboratory in the sky visited the Asia Pacific region in July as part of our hugely popular Power of Connected World Tour. The aircraft visited China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. At each stop, the Honeywell flight crew and technical team gave customers and others a full demonstration of our Connected Aircraft capabilities.

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12:30, July 8, 2017 @ Ningbo Airport, China

On July 8, we invited 10 journalists and social media influencers to fly with us from Ningbo, China, to Seoul, Korea. The crew on duty was Pilot Scott Nyberg, First Officer Jason McMahon, Flight Test Engineer Ian Bell, Sr. Project Engineering Manager Stephane Klander and Market Development Director Paul Nef.

After we went through the security check, a shuttle bus carried us to the tarmac. When the B757 came into view, all the passengers were too excited to stay in their seats. Some of the social media anchors kicked off their Weibo Live broadcasts right then.

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We jumped off the bus as soon as it stopped. Sunshine shone on the plane and the Connected Aircraft livery was glittering under the blue sky.

We took some time walking around the plane while explaining all the exciting Honeywell technology onboard, like the next-gen cockpit, wheels and brakes, pylon for the third engine and the Connected Auxiliary Power Unit. But of course the star of the show was JetWave, which enabled all the Connected Aircraft technologies by providing high-speed and seamless connectivity during the flight.

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JetWave, which exclusively powers the Inmarsat GX Aviation and JetConneX services, gives passengers the best inflight Wi-Fi service in the sky. It’s fast and reliable and lets passengers connect to the internet with the kind of service they experience on the ground. After the briefing outside the plane, our guests couldn’t wait to get onboard so they could try it themselves upon takeoff.

For anyone stepping into this B757 for the first time, you could not help but gasp at the scene in front of you. There are only 20 seats installed in the cabin, which originally held 200. Also in view: the open cockpit gate, countless cables, several engineering stations and more equipment than you’ve likely ever seen in your flying experience.

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After the safety briefing by Ian, everyone was seated, buckled up and ready for takeoff. I was by Ian at the engineering station, where the seats and seat belts are different from the others. The five chairs are standard flight test engineer chairs with belts identical to those worn by the pilot. There were headsets near each chair but it was not for in-flight entertainment – you could hear the conversations among the crew and the audio alerts from the avionics – way cooler than the regular headsets.

Once we reached our cruising altitude, Stephane became a very popular guy – after all, he had the Wi-Fi password!

The flight quickly turned into a “party in the sky” when all the passengers used our fast, reliable Wi-Fi to connect with their offices, video chat with friends and family, and post to the internet.

Seven of the social influencers started Weibo LIVE and shared their extraordinary experiences with their followers – numbering more than 70 million people! People were thrilled to see the interior of the aircraft. When they realized it was live in the sky, we saw a lot of “Wows” on the screens!

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Our guests (and their audiences) were extremely complimentary about the Connected Aircraft experience. They were demonstrating to their audience how easy it is to stream live videos, shop online and video-call your friends at 25,000 feet! We also were very proud to invite the anchors to visit the cockpit and watch how our GoDirect portfolio of Connected Aircraft services and applications support our pilots Scott and Jason.

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For example, they saw a live demonstration of the Weather Information Service, which gives flight crews the most up-to-date weather information while in flight. They also saw the GoDirect Flight Preview app, which gives pilots a highly accurate preview of the runway and surrounding terrain – long before they begin their approach.

By the time we began our own approach into Seoul, everyone on the journey had become a Connected Aircraft ambassador, sharing their experiences with their audiences, followers, friends and family, and enjoying the experience of flying in the most connected aircraft in the sky.

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The plane landed at the Incheon International Airport about two hours later.

Standing on the tarmac and looking back at our 35-year-old Boeing 757 test bed that now is equipped with the most advanced Honeywell aviation solutions, I was filled with pride.

I reflected for a moment on just how far Honeywell has come over the past 100 years. We have brought many game-changing technologies to aerospace, but few have been as impactful as the Connected Aircraft solutions we now are pioneering.

More and more airlines and business aircraft operators are showing their confidence in JetWave and GoDirect, which will bring a superb inflight Wi-Fi experience to passengers. Because of Honeywell, flying will never be the same.

The best is yet to come.

 

Sherry Shen

Sherry Shen

Sherry Shen is the digital communications manager and marketing communications coordination leader at Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific. She’s also leading the HHS initiatives in China and High Growth Region in APAC.

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