The Information Mode provides passengers with up to the minute flight information. This can be customized depending on operator's specifications and can include units of measure for such things as altitude, temperature and speed. One popular device is a Relative Location Indicator (RLI), which can display the aircraft in the center of the video monitor and show cities or other points of interest relative to the position and distance to the aircraft. Video graphics are used to show fixed points such as the main corporate office and in addition, make it possible to reproduce a corporate or company logo, aircraft photograph or artwork and bring it to life while welcoming passengers on board.
A flight deck controller can be activated by the crew for a fully automated safety briefing or to deliver in-flight messages such as "Fasten Seat Belts." By combining video and audio technology, the passenger's attention can be focused on a high-resolution video showing exactly how to operate safety equipment.
The "Airshow Network" has been developed by ASINC to provide aircraft with specific services from the ground. This is accomplished by using the flight phone or Satcom to connect with an information service that will provide Bloomberg Financial News. This service provides customized stocks, bonds, equities, commodities and foreign currencies. CNN enables passengers to keep on top of breaking events throughout the world. The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition alerts to developments in the business world and financial markets; Sports Ticker offers up to the minute scores and standings for the sports that you choose; and Intellicast, which displays current weather maps and a four-day forecast of the aircraft destination. Weather updates can be included for selected custom cities. Executive Office is a feature available to corporate users and gives the advantage of being made aware of information directly related to their specific business. Private company news, corporate reports, personal e-mail, faxes and files can be uplinked directly to the aircraft through this system.
Linking the aircraft to the ground is made possible by using a Data Communication Unit (DCU) in place of the DIU. This new device has the capability to interface with the airborne radio telephone or Satcom system. A mouse controller is provided in the cabin and when the passenger wants to view up to the minute information, all that has to be done is to select the "Update" Queue from the Main Menu displayed on the cabin video monitor. After that, everything is automatic and within a short time, current information is available to all subscribed programs.
In addition, the crew has the ability to obtain Worldwide Satellite Images (WSI) for display in the flight deck. This enables the crew to view any destination airport in the continental United States (CONUS) or Canada. Also, information such as Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) can be updated.
Selection of the proper video equipment requires significant planning. In aircraft, there are always constraints on available space and weight. Other considerations should be given to suitable electrical power and equipment's resistance to electrical spikes and vibration. Ample ventilation is another important consideration along with equipment Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) emissions.
Video Cassette Players (VCP) have long been a mainstay of home entertainment and numerous varieties are available to the aircraft industry. Different video formats are used for televisions in different areas of the world. In North America, the National Technical Standards Committee (NTSC) determines the arrangement. Unfortunately this means that videotape made in Australia may not work with an NTSC video system unless the player has a selectable output. Four-head VCP's will provide a high degree of resolution to the projected images. Needed features should be considered when selecting a VCP such as Visual Search — most units would include Pause, Play, Stop, Fast Forward and Rewind. As with most home video systems, the remote control is often considered essential equipment and just like with home systems, InfraRed (IR) remotes are routinely installed in aircraft entertainment systems.
Flight Display Systems has received Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) from the FAA for three upgraded cabin entertainment products.
The King Air 350i is the first business aircraft on the market equipped with the new Rockwell Collins Venue™ cabin management system (CMS).
American Eurocopter has successfully installed and delivered the first Eurocopter EC 145 with a Select Cabin Management System (Select CMS).