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Four Ways Always-On Cloud Connectivity Changes Flying Forever

Four Ways Always-On Cloud Connectivity Changes Flying Forever

Get ready for a whole new avionics experience with Honeywell Anthem, the world’s first always-on cloud-connected flight deck. 

“Always-on cloud connectivity gives pilots unprecedented levels of situational awareness throughout every phase of flight,” said Vipul Gupta, Honeywell Vice President and General Manager for Avionics. “We’ve put the experience of more capable, rapidly developed mobile applications at the pilot’s fingertips in an electronic flight bag (EFB) window on the forward displays. This eliminates the awkwardness of loose or separately-mounted iPads.”

Simple, quick and intuitive pilot interactions make this avionics suite as easy to use as commonplace consumer electronics, reducing workload and allowing pilots to focus on their main responsibilities—to aviate, navigate and communicate.

1. Making preflight preparations easy

“Honeywell Anthem’s always-on cloud capabilities make preflight planning easier and less time-consuming,” said Jason Bialek, Product Line Director for Honeywell Anthem. “Pilots can do most of what they need to do to prepare for their flight in the calm environment of their hotel room the night before. This removes the pressures of passengers and other distractions that inevitably happen at the airport.” 

Before arriving at the airport, pilots can save cockpit settings, flight plans and other important preflight setup information securely to the cloud, using Honeywell Forge Flight Services tools and their tablets or smartphones. Setups are retrieved securely the moment the avionics are powered up when they arrive at the aircraft.

This flight plan cloud storing and sharing capability is an industry first that lets pilots save and later recover performance parameters. That way, any disagreements in planned fuel versus loaded fuel and other changes or errors are highlighted when the pilot arrives at the aircraft. In all, Honeywell estimates pilots will be able to reduce their preflight prep time by as much as 45 minutes with the functionality built into Honeywell Anthem.

“Plus, pilots don’t have to worry about forgetting to save a preset on their tablet or having any of their devices fail, because they can always get to the information they need on the cloud, through the avionics, at any point before or during the flight,” Bialek continued.

2. Delivering the right information at the right time

“Always-on connectivity means Honeywell Anthem can deliver the right information to the pilot at precisely the right time,” Bialek added.

Using a simple EFB window viewed on cockpit displays, pilots can view flight plans, web-cameras, OEM or third-party designed web applications – and much more. The window is seamlessly integrated and viewable alongside other pilot interface windows, multi-function windows and map displays.

Honeywell Anthem is the first cockpit to feature a secure cockpit browser so pilots and even mechanics, who may be supporting the aircraft remotely, can access operationally-approved third-party web applications and sites, accelerating routine maintenance operations and troubleshooting, even with less experienced mechanics.

This window also gives pilots the ability to display live weather cameras or radar imagery from their destination airport, and other alternate weather sources. Connectivity features are built into the avionics systems and supported by a subscription similar to third-party flight planning applications. Optional upgrades such as global SATCOM coverage are also available for more demanding operational needs.

3. Creating a two-way flow of information

Of course, information moves both ways through the cloud and Honeywell Anthem helps pilots and aircraft systems communicate in real time with support teams on the ground, ranging from maintenance personnel to fixed-based operators to caterers.

For example, pilots can use Honeywell Anthem’s Mission Manager function to arrange ahead of time, at key points along the flight plan, to send messages to passengers for updates to the Estimated Time of Arrival or to FBOs for fuel orders. This way, during the flight, the pilot can focus on flying instead of complex logistics. If the flight plan changes in flight, pilots can still make changes to what they have set up. These communications are sent through secure ground-based infrastructure in Honeywell Forge.

“It’s never been easier to move information on and off the flight deck,” said Gupta. “Capturing the power of connectivity to seamlessly move information from the ground to the flight deck and vice versa was our primary goal from the very inception of the Honeywell Anthem development program. It was never our intention to make incremental improvements to the aircraft cockpit. We wanted to truly change the experience of flying an airplane.”

4. Making flying a whole lot easier

Constant connectivity makes flying safer, easier, more intuitive, and more fun for pilots. Pilots are now able to make better decisions more often. “With our always-on access to the cloud, pilots have a secure ‘tunnel’ of information that puts the most current and relevant information at their fingertips in a non-distracting way,” Bialek added.

The new EFB window on the forward displays together with existing or even new, easily-created, well-designed web applications, could even allow less-experienced pilots to be monitored while they are flying. Monitoring by OEMs, flight instructors or mentor pilots helps pilots with important judgement calls until they build more flying time and gain experience. Even pilots with more experience can benefit from staying more connected with Directors of Operations or Chief Pilots administering that flight department’s Safety Management System.

With the Connected Mission Manager, the flight deck anticipates the needs of the pilot by providing a simplified view that minimizes the number of touches required to get key tasks done. Tasks such as the next checklist to be completed, the next radio frequency to select and transmit on, or the appropriate approach chart or taxi diagram to display are now presented in a time-based format as a “what’s next” visual presentation to the pilot. This makes it considerably easier to complete the next task in sequence, without compromising safety by creating distractions or forcing things to be done at an inconvenient time.

Generations of pilots have relied on Honeywell avionics systems, dating back to the earliest days of electromechanical instruments. “Now, we’re very excited to bring always-on connectivity to the cockpit for the first time,” Gupta said. “First applications will be with two urban air mobility (UAM) companies –  Vertical Aerospace and Lilium – but we’re looking forward to making this exciting system available for all kinds of aircraft, from general aviation to business jets to air transports.”

Learn more about Honeywell Anthem today.

Rafael de Azevedo
Customer Marketing Intern

Rafael de Azevedo is the Customer Marketing Intern supporting the Americas team at Honeywell Aerospace. Passionate about aviation, Rafael is an undergraduate in Aeronautical Sciences and also a student pilot working on his commercial pilot license (CPL).