De Havilland Canada is claiming an industry-first OEM collaboration with SpaceX’s Starlink to enable high speed, low latency broadband internet on its Dash 8-400 aircraft using Starlink’s lightweight antenna.
The new inflight entertainment (IFE) system will provide passengers with wireless access on personal electronic devices with a single-line replaceable unit that can be powered by batteries or by aircraft power and that can be installed in overhead bins, reducing weight and maintenance compared to seat-back IFE solutions.
USB in-seat power will be available at all passenger seats and will not impact passenger legroom and is compatible with all seat types to ensure passengers can easily connect and power their personal devices.
Other improvements include illuminated signage that facilitates the remarketing of aircraft by eliminating the need for signage translations and an upgraded interior décor that includes soft materials for carpets, dado panels, bulkheads, seat dress covers etc. For earlier models of Dash 8-400 aircraft, brighter LED cabin lighting will provide a cool, dimmable lighting system along ceiling panels, and under the bins, as well as adjustable PSU reading lights.
De Havilland Canada also announced design Dash 8-400 weight increases of up to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) in payload (maximum zero fuel weight) and an increase of up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) to the maximum take-off weight which the airframer said would significantly enhance the aircraft’s operational capability to carry more passengers, more bags, more cargo, and more fuel to increase range.
“As we work toward relaunching the production of the Dash 8-400 aircraft, our design weight increases and cabin enhancements, which are available to retrofit in-service aircraft, illustrate De Havilland Canada’s ongoing commitment and investments to support the worldwide fleet,” said Jean-Philippe Côté, vice president, programmes, De Havilland Canada.
“Our solutions offer our operators many opportunities to increase operational flexibility and to provide a passenger experience that is equivalent to that on new production aircraft. In addition, our design weight increases for the Dash 8-400 aircraft will allow operators to meet the increasing passenger weight allowance requirements mandated by Transport Canada, the FAA and various other aviation authorities, without any impact on revenue.”
Since entry into service, updates have been made to the cabin, including LED lighting, new window design, enlarged overhead bins, and more.