Getting a Grip

New concept for in-flight entertainment thanks to iPad mounting bracket

It's not just on the ground that the popularity of handy mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets keeps on growing; they are also gaining the upper hand for use in flight, replacing more and more integrated in-flight entertainment system (IFE) solutions on board aircraft. Whilst many providers continue to rely on fixed monitors integrated in the aircraft seat, Lufthansa Technik and Australia´s largest airline, Qantas Airways have cooperated to develop a completely new IFE concept that makes it possible to use the tablet via the seatback throughout the entire flight (Gate-to-Gate IFE). After the successful completion of all tests necessary for approval (including the HIC Test for Head Injury Criteria), Qantas will initially make the concept available in Business Class on its two class Boeing 717 fleet.

Working closely together with aircraft seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz GmbH, the first stage was the development of a system enabling the device to be mounted in the seat; the mounting is flexible enough to be used for other smartphones, tablets, e-readers and even books. ZIM integrated this so-called "Utility Shelf" in the backrest of the seat. The next step involved Lufthansa Technik and Qantas working together to develop the Personal Electronic Device (PED) Case, a tablet enclosure that fulfils the requirements for flight approval. The iPads made available by Qantas for the duration of the flight, installed in the PED Case, are snap-fitted into the Utility Shelf and can be used like a traditional monitor throughout the flight.

This IFE concept provides passengers with the latest hardware for on-board entertainment at all stages of flight including taxi, take-off and landing, with wireless access to films, TV and music, whilst they still have their hands and tray tables free. Airline customers can save on the extensive costs associated with the installation, maintenance and repair of fixed seat-back monitors. The PED Case can be retrofitted into any seat of any aircraft and can be modified to suit other manufacturers' tablets. Lufthansa Technik not only played a key role in the development of the product; the company also offers the highest level of competency in the integration, installation, approval and maintenance of the latest communications solutions and modifications for the aircraft cabin.

Lufthansa Technik can draw on many years of experience in the fields of cabin and seat modification. At the Hamburg site alone, more than 200 highly qualified employees in the various workshops implement optimal modification solutions for VIP customers and commercial airlines. These solutions range from new seat covers and upholstery to complete electronic refits of existing configurations. The in-house cable workshop can even produce all required cabling very quickly. Lufthansa Technik is particularly experienced in the field of on-board communication, for example the installation of classical IFE solutions, connectivity, and wireless content systems.

With innovation cycles becoming ever shorter and passenger expectations growing, commercial airlines face the major challenge of finding modern, flexible and cost-efficient solutions for the cabin. Instead of high purchase and ongoing costs for a completely new cabin interior, airlines can take advantage of more economical individually tailored modifications and products. Lufthansa Technik is a complete and competent one-stop-shop, providing tailored solutions, along with all the relevant services, from installation to maintenance.