Honeywell's Boeing plane testing out new aviation technology

- One can call this Boeing 757 a test lab in the sky. It is one of many planes that Honeywell has in their fleet, which is based at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The plans are used to try out new technologies that Honeywell is developing.

Everything inside the airliner has been stripped out. Instead of seats, there are a number of engineer stations. Technologies being checked out of these test flights could eventually make it onto a commercial flight.

As soon as the 757 reaches cruising altitude, engineers in the back of the plane get to work.

"We can use this aircraft to take just about any product we make up airborne," said test pilot Joe Duval. "Get it up into the environment it's going to be used in for any consumer out there, and beat it up or put it through its paces and get it all tested."

The plane can be changed or retrofitted to run all sorts of tests, on any technology Honeywell is developing. For example, an additional engine mounted to the side of the plane was not used to power the plane, but for testing purposes.

"We can literally accomplish anything, because it's what we title a generic flying test bed," said Duval.

This plane is also equipped with Honeywell's new JetWave in-flight wifi system. Before it made its way to the consumer, the system was tested in the plane, all over the world.

"We're using it today," said Duval. "It's on a number of airlines. It works all over the world. It's high-speed broadband wifi right in any airplane we put it on. We've been testing it a number of years, and it's been very successful."

Honeywell is also testing weather radar systems, as well as something called SmartLanding and SmartRunway, which makes sure pilots are taxiing, landing and taking off where they should be.

Honeywell officials say it's all about making flying safer and more efficient for everyone.


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