EVERETT, Wash. Officials at Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS), a low-cost airline with headquarters in Norway, sought technology to help improve and automate aircraft data collection across the company’s fleet. They found their solution at Astronics Ballard Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corp. (NASDAQ:ATRO), in Everett, Washington. NAS engineers are installing Astronics Ballard Technology’s webFB Wireless Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) device on all of the airline’s Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) aircraft.
“For quite some time, we have been searching for a solution to improve and automate the collection of aircraft data, which currently is a manual process using physical media,” says Aleksander Geist, senior avionics engineer with Norwegian Air Shuttle. “The webFB, in conjunction with our EFBs, offer a very flexible and cost-effective solution.
“Astronics Ballard Technology has been very responsive in our aircraft trials and we are pleased with the data acquisition performance and the long-term benefit it will have for our organization. We are already looking ahead to future use cases that will allow us to further leverage our webFB technology investment,” Geist says.
The webFB from Astronics Ballard Technology enables aircraft operators to easily capture, record, and process aircraft data for use in-flight or for post-flight analysis.
Astronics participated with NAS in a year-long operational trial of the webFB to validate the suitability of the device in operation and the economic benefits of the solution. In the application, the webFB gathers data from the aircraft’s ARINC 717 databus and wirelessly routes it to the electronic flight bags, where it is automatically transferred by NAS to a data center and used for post-flight analysis. With the webFB already operating on 10 aircraft, NAS will install the product on all of their additional Boeing 737NG aircraft.
“We are very excited to be working with Norwegian Air Shuttle on this project. Their application is an ideal match for the high-reliability ARINC 717 data capture capabilities of the webFB,” says Jon Neal, president of Astronics Ballard Technology. “They also recognize the tremendous advantage of a simple, easy-to-install solution that minimizes aircraft downtime and allows them to quickly retrofit their fleet and gain immediate benefits.”
The ultra-compact webFB incorporates the capabilities of both an AID and a wireless server to safely gather aircraft data, convey it to applications hosted on the internal server, and deliver this valuable information wirelessly to portable EFB tablets. It installs in minutes, connecting directly to the system test plug of Boeing 737, 757, or 767 aircraft, minimizing costly aircraft downtime.
The webFB received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA, as well as installation approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada, and Direccíon General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC Mexico) for use on Boeing 737 aircraft.
Astronics Ballard Technology provides reliable avionics databus interface solutions. By producing quality, easy-to-use products available in a wide range of configurations, and providing free, world-class customer support, Astronics Ballard Technology has won the loyalty of aerospace, military, and government users worldwide, officials say.
Founded in 1993, Norwegian is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe and sixth largest in the world, with about 9000 employees. They operate over 500 routes to more than 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean, and the USA. They have 152 aircraft in their fleet and around 250 aircraft on order, boasting one of the youngest fleets in the world with an average age of less than four years.
Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ:ATRO) serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries with proven, innovative technology solutions. Astronics works side-by-side with customers, integrating its array of power, connectivity, lighting, structures, interiors, and test technologies to solve complex challenges. For 50 years, Astronics has delivered creative, customer-focused solutions with exceptional responsiveness. Today, global airframe manufacturers, airlines, military branches, completion centers and Fortune 500 manufacturing organizations rely on the collaborative spirit and innovation of Astronics.