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Helicopter in air
Helicopter in air

The Future of High Performance

The Challenge of Performance

Performance measures how well your aircraft can accomplish its purpose. That may mean taking off or landing over short distances, carrying heavy loads, covering long distances or maneuvering with agility.

Commercial flights are judged on comfort and the ability to get passengers to destinations without delay. Higher performance can mean carrying more passengers more quickly. For the military, maneuverability and accuracy in target acquisition can factor heavily into performance. In helicopters, trusted performance means power growth capability, low life-cycle costs and being able to effectively operate in harsh, high or hot environments. Accomplishing tasks safely and using fuel efficiently are key measures of performance as well.

The aviation industry faces new challenges, such as more crowded airspaces, changes in climate and the need for greater efficiency. For military aviation in particular, the challenges center on understanding and anticipating needs for the battlefield of the future.

“Honeywell continues to push the boundaries of propulsion engine performance, developing new technologies and design features to meet the growing needs of our aviation customers.”

—Brian Sill, President, Engines and Power Systems, Honeywell Aerospace

The Possibilities of Performance

Achieving greater performance in the face of these challenges will require new technologies, from precise navigation components that enable unmanned aircraft to new hybrid engines that allow for vertical landings in compressed urban spaces. The Connected Aircraft will also allow operators to view interactions between systems and optimize performance for the aircraft as a whole. 

We are at the forefront of these developments. Our physical and digital advances are improving the performance of individual aircraft and the industry as a whole through:

  • Better pilot visibility and control
  • More powerful thrust and propulsion
  • More accurate precision, navigation and maneuverability
  • Advances in lift and payload

We are also pioneering advances in the use of performance data—monitoring essential components in real time to keep aircraft at optimum performance levels. What your aircraft can achieve determines what your organization can achieve.

Ready to Talk?

Frequently Asked Questions

What capabilities are the greatest contributors to aircraft performance?

Performance isn’t a single measure but a combination of capabilities in categories such as propulsion, lift, drag, weight, maneuverability or control and how each of these influences an aircraft’s ability to accomplish its purpose. Atmospheric variations and degradation also impact performance. For the military, performance may also include measures such as the speed of target acquisition and the accuracy or precision of weapons systems.

Connected Aircraft capabilities include the use of data and communication, sensors and tracking from nose to tail and from aircraft to ground. Connected Aircraft solutions cover a number of categories:

  • Connected communications provide the ability to connect in real time and as needed, greatly improving command clarity and decision making.
  • Connected tracking can help you understand mission progress and reinforces the safety of personnel during hazardous missions.
  • Connected diagnostics in real time can reduce operational disruptions by as much as 35% and provide additional safety reassurance.
  • Connected flight bags and situational information provide for optimal flight paths and weather avoidance.
  • Connected ground operations reduce the time spent on the ground and cut troubleshooting costs.
How are today’s technologies increasing aircraft performance?

There are many evolving technologies that are helping increase potential performance in aircraft, including improved radar and weather tracking, new manufacturing materials, and augmented and virtual reality in cockpit systems. One of the most important breakthroughs in the aviation industry, however, and across all industries is big data analytics. Today, analytics offers entirely new ways to optimize performance. Insights about how weather, aerodynamics, weight and other factors influence each other can now be delivered in real time. As the industry continues to explore these advances, aircraft will be able to achieve missions faster or more efficiently—or take on new tasks entirely.

Connected Aircraft capabilities include the use of data and communication, sensors and tracking from nose to tail and from aircraft to ground. Connected Aircraft solutions cover a number of categories:

  • Connected communications provide the ability to connect in real time and as needed, greatly improving command clarity and decision making.
  • Connected tracking can help you understand mission progress and reinforces the safety of personnel during hazardous missions.
  • Connected diagnostics in real time can reduce operational disruptions by as much as 35% and provide additional safety reassurance.
  • Connected flight bags and situational information provide for optimal flight paths and weather avoidance.
  • Connected ground operations reduce the time spent on the ground and cut troubleshooting costs.
Where are the biggest advances happening to enhance performance in the aviation industry?

Through advances in hardware, data and software, individual aircraft and the industry as a whole are advancing in four major categories:

  • Pilot visibility and control – Connected Aircraft solutions gather data from nose to tail and aircraft to ground to provide a more holistic view of variables that impact performance, such as weather, air density, air traffic and hazardous terrain. Advanced avionics can give pilots easier access to these situational awareness tools.
  • Thrust and propulsion – Thrust-to-weight ratios of gas turbine engines have seen a 350% improvement.[1] At the same time, engines are also now quieter and more fuel efficient. Electric and hybrid-electric engines promise to reduce weight and fuel use and potentially reduce noise for future air travel.
  • Precision, navigation and maneuverability – Navigation has gone from being reliant on paper maps to providing pilots with extremely precise and constantly updated location data based on GPS. Aircraft maneuverability has made similar remarkable advances. Advanced, satellite-enabled air navigation using an ecosystem of information and 3D imaging will be able to provide aircraft with more precise flight paths.
  • Lift and payload – Current work to make aircraft lighter and performance higher includes the exploration of various new aircraft designs and wing types, including lifting body, flying wing, tilt-rotor, and flexible or morphing wing surfaces. New materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes are helping to make airplane wings more efficient by reducing weight and fuel consumption.
Why is it so critical to continually monitor the performance of my aircraft?

Aircraft components degrade over time. Aircraft in service are exposed to extreme temperatures, dynamic loads and unpredictable forces. These loads and forces modify an aircraft’s physical characteristics, often slowly or in very small degrees, but still significantly. Monitoring aircraft performance can help pilots and operators adjust expectations for aircraft capabilities as well as help crews detect when changes veer out of normal ranges and might indicate safety hazards.

Connected Aircraft capabilities include the use of data and communication, sensors and tracking from nose to tail and from aircraft to ground. Connected Aircraft solutions cover a number of categories:

  • Connected communications provide the ability to connect in real time and as needed, greatly improving command clarity and decision making.
  • Connected tracking can help you understand mission progress and reinforces the safety of personnel during hazardous missions.
  • Connected diagnostics in real time can reduce operational disruptions by as much as 35% and provide additional safety reassurance.
  • Connected flight bags and situational information provide for optimal flight paths and weather avoidance.
  • Connected ground operations reduce the time spent on the ground and cut troubleshooting costs.
What performance-boosting products or solutions does Honeywell offer?

We have a broad and deep portfolio of solutions designed to enhance the performance of your aircraft. From Connected Aircraft solutions that maximize visibility into aircraft systems to avionics systems that increase situational awareness and flight safety, we are continually developing new ways to keep your aircraft flying at peak performance, comfort and safety. We also offer a full line of components, such as engines, auxiliary power units and actuators, that power your aircraft—and navigation and monitoring solutions that make flights more efficient and reduce fuel usage.