The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) 737 and 777 have been affected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order for the replacement of cockpit display units that the agency have said are vulnerable to Wi-Fi frequencies. The cockpit displays were made by Honeywell International Inc (NYSE:HON).
The agency and Boeing carried out tests on the displays and established that they are susceptible to Wi-Fi networks, resulting in blanking of the screens. FAA has also stated that the display is also vulnerable to mobile phone transmissions, satellite communications, and weather radar.
The screens are important for the pilots as they show important flight data such as speed, and altitude. If they fail, it means that for some time, the pilot won’t have access to such information, something that presents severe flight risks.
Engadget revealed that The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) had some time back carried out a test to establish the possibility of Wi-Fi interference with the function of the screens and came out with appalling results. The test showed that the cockpit screens would flicker and go blank for as long as 6 minutes.
Due to such findings, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) in 2012 started fitting new releases of the planes with improved displays that aren’t affected by Wi-Fi signals.
On the other hand, Steve Brecken, Honeywell International Inc (NYSE:HON) spokesperson, said that they haven’t received any reports of such displays going blank in-flight. He clarified that such blanking of screens were only witnessed on the ground.
“The only known occurrence was during a developmental test conducted on the ground. We worked with Boeing and addressed any concerns in 2012 with new display hardware,” he said.
The directive by FAA is effective in 35 days and should be completed within the next 5 years.