A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner was on show at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK earlier this week. The new 254 passenger plane took to the air and showed off its manoeuvrability and quiet economical performance. As it climbed the 787 displayed a signature upward curve in its carbon fibre composite wings. Qatar Airways have taken delivery of five of these aircraft and they will be flying the Doha – London route in the coming months. British Airways is also signed up to buy similarly equipped 787s.
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The Qatar Airways Dreamliners have a very interesting sounding IFEC (In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity) system – the Thales Avant TPMU (Touch Passenger Media Units). The 22 people in business class get a 17in LCD to prod while economy class folk have to settle with a 10in LCD. According to the guys over at VR-Zone the Quatar Dreamliner uses the “i8000 Avant TPMU, it is a completely integrated unit consisting out of STMicro airline grade dual-core processors based on the ARM architecture, 1GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD. That's right; a single 787 airplane entertainment system will feature 508 ARM Cores, 254GB of memory and 63.5TB of SSD space. This however, is not all, as the central server comes with a 32-core processor (Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron, your guess is as good as ours), 128GB of memory and 4TB storage… all SSD, of course.”
The system runs Google Android and a custom application suite. Importantly to the aviation industry, the whole system weighs 80 per cent less than a previous generation one, which will save a fortune in aviation fuel.
The Qatar Dreamliner is also equipped with Wi-Fi and 3G GSM connectivity letting passengers connect phones, tablets and laptops for their business or pleasure. Also that means the Google Play store works and you can enjoy web browsing, email, online gaming, shopping and more.
This is an impressive IFEC system which would be a great distraction on a long haul journey. The London to Doha flight is over 6 hours, hopefully the i8000 Avant TPMU will help time fly by.