Ground-breaking aviation technology, such as head-mounted displays for civil pilots, multi-touchscreen cockpits, and devices allowing passengers to watch live sport while in the air are on display at this week's Paris Airshow. Jim Drury went to take a look.
Connectivity is the buzz word at the Paris Air Show, with exhibitors aiming to improve the flying experience of passengers and pilots. Panasonic says its in-flight entertainment and communications systems are the most advanced in the world. Used on a range of airlines they help users undertake previously unthinkable activities, like watching live televised sport and conducting FaceTime with those on the ground. Panasonic's Matthias Walther.... SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR MANAGER, INTEGRATED MARKETING FOR PANASONIC AVIONICS, MATTHIAS WALTHER, SAYING: "What we're close to really delivering is the seamless travel process for the passenger. So there's no difference between the experience that you have on the ground and the experience you have on the aircraft." Honeywell's Ken Snodgrass lauded the U.S. conglomerate's cockpit design. SOUNDBITE (English) HONEYWELL AEROSPACE VICE PRESIDENT, KEN SNODGRASS, SAYING: "This is the Honeywell Primus Epic cockpit. We're actually sitting in the Dassault F7X. It's one of the most modern cockpits in the world. It has four very large screens, and you'll see things are set up to be very very graphical. There's a lot more now like you use on you mobile phone and also for your tablets." Snodgrass says it takes time for aviation to catch up with the interactive technology seen in phones and tablets, because of the advanced safety checks required. Thales Group is offering a series of prototypes, such as its TopMax head-mounted display for pilots. Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon tried it out for himself, guided by Richard Perrot. SOUNDBITE (English) MARKETING DIRECTOR OF THALES'S AVIONICS DIVISION, RICHARD PERROT, SAYING: "TopMax is a very light and easy-to-use system that can be fitted in any type of cockpit because the installation is very light." The Paris Airshow is the biggest in the world, with more than 2,000 exhibitors. It runs until June 21.