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Easing Flow of Data Off Aircraft For Analytics Goal of New Partnership

Teledyne Controls and GE Aviation signed a strategic partnership that should simplify the flow of flight data off aircraft and expand its value through GE’s cloud-based platform that can extract deeper value.

Lee Ann Shay, San Francisco

Teledyne Controls and GE Aviation signed a strategic partnership that should simplify the flow of flight data off aircraft and expand its value through GE’s cloud-based platform that can extract deeper value.

Aircraft generate 3-10 MB of data per flight hour and engines generate up to 25MB, but right now the value of a lot of it isn’t utilized. This partnership is designed to use Teledyne GroundLink technology, which uses higher bandwidth and transfers data via wireless cellular networks so it’s less expensive that ACARS, to flow data into GE’s Predix cloud-based platform for deeper analytics.

It can cost about $100 to transmit 1MB of data via ACARS opposed to a fraction of a cent via wireless cellular, says Willie Cecil, Teledyne Control’s director of business development, wireless and data automation solutions. ACARS also is not useful to collect big volumes of data.

“Customers want to know the value of the data,” but to scale the data you need to get it off the aircraft and into the cloud for analytics," says John Nelson, data product manager for GE Aviation, on the sideline of GE’s Mind + Machines event.  

The partnership was logical because Teledyne’s GroundLink technology is equipped on more than half of Boeing’s in-service aircraft and about 70% of the Airbus fleet—or about 10,000 aircraft total. “There has been a move to wirelessly enabled aircraft because it eliminates manual downloads,” says Cecil.

The partnership focuses on making the data flow more simply off the aircraft, enriching it with other sources to provide more value and quickening the process of delivering the value to the operators, says Nelson. 

Initially the partnership will focus on post-flight data collection for GE engine-powered aircraft data, with real-time data collection later. “There is still a lot of value to be gained from post-flight data collection,” capturing the low-hanging fruit that is easy to gain, says Nelson. 

The companies are starting pilot programs with GE customers that use Teledyne Control equipment and agree to flow the data into Predix for analysis. A second later step will involve building digital capabilities so airlines can view and analyze their own data. 

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