Lufthansa Systems and GE Aviation are the first providers in the airline market to offer a solution that allows for the inflight synchronization of the flight plan between the GE Aviation flight management system (FMS) and Lufthansa Systems pilot applications directly on-aircraft. The first demonstration of the connected FMS using operational use cases will be presented this week at the EFB Users Forum in Chicago. The new FMS feature will be available following a software update from GE Aviation.
"GE Aviation and Lufthansa Systems collaboration creates innovative capabilities and value for our joint airline customers, while positioning our products to support future reduced crew operations and SESAR/NexGEN initiatives," said Gary Thelen, director, FMS Product Management at GE Aviation. "With this joint development, we are opening up entirely new possibilities on the flight deck."
Flight crews rely on flight-operational information available in their EFB devices in various applications, which today is typically entered manually into the flight management system (FMS). Inflight, the FMS manages the flight plan by computing an optimal trajectory and provides pilots with guidance along the computed trajectory. The manual entering of data into the FMS during pre-flight preparations or inflight can lead to partially hazardous consequences if entered incorrectly.
"Integrating solutions and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalization and connectivity to help airlines achieve total mission optimization (TMO) is at the core of the Lido vision. Utilizing the capabilities of a connected FMS is one of the first major building blocks in achieving this vision," said Dr. Bernd Jurisch, Head of Flight & Navigation Products & Solutions at Lufthansa Systems.
Lufthansa Systems, in cooperation with GE Aviation, are the first providers in the market to make use of the capabilities of a connected FMS. The new solution has an interface that enables the Lido Pilot Solutions to read flight-plan data processed by the FMS and send flight-plan information from the EFB to the FMS. "Utilizing capabilities of a connected FMS is a true milestone for digital navigation in aviation, because it automates the daily manual data entry processes of pilots, which are quite prone to error, and enables the data flow between different applications," said Jurisch. "This synchronization of valuable flight-relevant data between the FMS and pilot applications reduces pilots' workload and greatly improves their situational awareness, while also significantly mitigating errors through incorporated cross checks that are even graphically visible for the crew."
The first demo of the connected FMS focuses on the bi-directional data integration. First, before takeoff, flight plans can be sent from the Lido Pilot Solutions to the FMS where they are automatically loaded. Second, manual changes during a flight, for example due to air-traffic control instructions or to circumnavigate bad weather, are automatically transferred to the mapping applications where the route is graphically displayed in real time. The use cases from this demo are just the start; there are many other potential applications that will significantly reduce the pilots' workload.
The EFB Users Forum takes place twice a year and is one of the most important events in the EFB industry. At the event, hardware and software providers demonstrate their latest developments and discuss the technical and operational trends surrounding the Electronic Flight Bag with airlines and other relevant industry representatives.
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