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Honeywell Responds To Highly Inaccurate Bloomberg Story On Flight Safety

Posted by Honeywell

Honeywell issued the following statement in response to a Bloomberg story about alleged issues with Wi-Fi and cell phone use on certain aircraft:

“Honeywell is thoroughly disappointed with Bloomberg’s decision to publish an inaccurate, highly misleading story about use of Wi-Fi or cell phone devices on certain aircraft as it relates to Honeywell display units. Despite our cooperation with the reporter to ensure she had the available information on hand to understand a complex technical issue, the publication chose to ignore the facts and sensationalize the story.

“The implications that cell phones and other radio signals have been shown to cause safety issues on aircraft with respect to Honeywell’s products are patently false. Wi-Fi and cell phone signal interference is not an operational safety issue on aircraft with respect to our products.

“The issue cited in the story dates back to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness directive in 2014. Unfortunately, the publication chose not to mention the fact that there has never, ever in the airline industry in its entirety, been a report of our display units blanking in flight as a result of Wi-Fi or cell phone signal interference.

“Furthermore, the article also did not mention that Honeywell acted immediately when the Wi-Fi or cell phone signal interference concern first surfaced in 2012 based on a ground test at radio frequency (RF) levels well above those found in flight. Work to improve the RF resiliency of the affected display units was well underway by the time the FAA issued its directive out of an abundance of caution two years later. There have been no reports of any of Honeywell’s units ever blanking in flight as a result of Wi-Fi or cell phone signal interference.

“The article also states falsely that ‘potentially hundreds of aircraft’ worldwide are still flying with so-called unsafe systems – a blatant attempt to scare the public. The fact that we provided to the reporter – and she acknowledged – was that Honeywell has replaced 8,000 out of 8,400 display units, and the remaining 400 units might represent 70 or fewer aircraft. Also, there is no evidence that these units are operational – many of them could be on retired aircraft or simulators. The article goes on to cite all the progress that airlines have made in replacing their units pursuant to the 2014 airworthiness directive.

“Finally, the article cites pilot reports from the Aviation Safety Reporting System database that are completely unrelated to the Wi-Fi and cell phone issue. Pilots have reported blanking incidents that could arise from a variety of causes, including aircraft power interruptions or display reconfigurations. Upon learning of these incidents earlier this year – which were reported at a small number of remote airports and only on a particular flight path – Honeywell swiftly and extensively investigated the issue, which has been remedied through operating manual updates and pilot training for those affected airports. We have already developed a software update that is currently in flight testing and we expect it to be FAA certified this year. There is no safety of flight issue with the remediation in place and the software upgrade will simply be a convenience to pilots flying into these remote airports. In addition, display units are backed up by multiple redundant, independent systems that allow for continued and safe operation of the aircraft even if a blanking incident were to occur. Honeywell continually monitors pilot reports and thoroughly investigates them. If warranted, we work with our partners, including regulatory agencies and OEMs, to provide mitigation and permanent solutions to ensure safe operations.―CT Bureau

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