DN - Defence Notes

iCACHE catches the eye of US Airways

15th February 2009 - 12:02 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Inflight Canada (IFC) has released further details of the Lumexis fibreoptic IFE installation now undergoing in-service trials aboard a US Airways A320 (Inflight Online, February 4).

Montreal-based IFC designed the installation for Lumexis’ FTTS (Fibre to the Screen) system in the Airbus and supervised the work, which was carried out last month by Empire Aero Centre of Rome, New York State.

The design combines IFC’s proven iCACHE system of under-aisle installation with new measures to protect the fibreoptic cables during the work at Empire Aero Centre and in subsequent revenue service. “iCACHE was deemed the most economical way to go and afforded the best protection possible for the cables,” says IFC president George Smallhorn.

In preparation for the US Airways project IFC sent a team to a Canadian Forces base to observe how the military install fibreoptic in combat aircraft. “All work on the aircraft was stopped while fiberoptic installation was going on,” says Smallhorn. “But the words ‘stop’ or even ‘slow down’ just don’t exist in the air transport world. So we had to come up with a way of completing the modification of the aircraft while simultaneously installing the fibreoptic.”

The result is a new version of iCACHE incorporating special routing rails allowing the cables to be quickly laid in place and then secured by means of a cushion clamp with a quick-release lock. “That allowed us to safely adjust the longitudinal location of each seat fibreoptic run in relation to the transverse beams,” says Smallhorn. “It saved hundreds of man-hours and protected the fibreoptic throughout.”

US Airways is the fifth carrier to see iCACHE employed on its aircraft. Launch customer Air Canada has it in 35 Airbus A319s, 41 A320s, ten A321s and 27 Boeing 767-300s. A total of 58 American 767-300s are equipped, as are 28 Virgin America A319s and A320s and a pair of Boeing 737-800s operated by Canadian charter carrier CanJet.

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