WiFi Post

No chance for Boeing 787 in-flight wi-fi with FAA computer hacking fear

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FAA has recently grounded the Boeing 787 due to the concerns around the integrity of its computer systems. It seems that there are possibilities that any one passenger could hack into the airplane flight control systems from the data link terminal available from every seat on the new Boeing 787.

Apparently, the computer systems in the 787 that operate the flight controls/navigation and the system that operates the passenger in-flight entertainment share the same network which could open up a possibility of a passenger being able to hack into the plane flight control systems.

The reason for this particular system design maybe due to the fact that Boeing is trying to restrict the weight of the new aircraft to meet their new challenging fuel efficiency benchmark set for the 787.

Read our previous post about the 787 Boeing in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity system sacrifice due to the plane weight concern here.

It is likely that a firewall system in combination with a pilot control kill switch could be built to protect the flight systems from being hacked. However, due to the design of the plane network systems and equipment weight restriction the in-flight entertainment now may not be available to the passengers as Boeing has earlier promised.

This flaw in the design is likely to further lessen any chance for an in-flight Wi-Fi Internet service on board the 787. Unlike the Boeing 787, the Airbus A380 has not been cited by the FAA for any concerns in the integrity of its computer systems. The latest Airbus super jumbojet computer systems can also provide its passengers with an in-flight Wi-Fi Internet connectivity to boot.

Read our previous post about the in-flight Wi-Fi Internet connection on the A380 here.

It’s a shame that European air plane builder has again seemed to have an edge on our beloved Boeing…but I still have high hope for the 787 concept to be the future of air travel (smaller plane, more efficient and focus more on passenger experience.)

  • Airport WiFi Scout

    Jan. 16th 2008. Today Boeing official has made announcement that confirmed the rumored of a delivery delay of the first 787 plane for All Nippon Airway. The delay would pushed the plane delivery date further to early 2009 from the the latest delivery date of late 2008.

    Boeing blamed this second delay on its supply chain for the new aircraft which included many multi-national companies with plants scatter in all parts of the world.

    There was no mention of the earlier citation by the FAA on the integrity of the 787 computer systems as another factor for the delivery delay.

    Chances are that we in the U.S. won’t be flying high on the new Boeing aircraft well into 2009-2010 timeframe….and in-flight wifi on Boeing 787 is not likely.