"Every day we work to ensure that Boeing
passengers are travelling on the safest and most
advanced airplanes in the world," said Dennis
O'Donoghue, vice president of Boeing Test &
Evaluation. "This is a perfect example of how
our innovations in safety can make the entire
flying experience better."
This technology was first developed to more
thoroughly and efficiently ensure that signal
propagation met the regulatory safety standards
that protect against interference with an
aircraft's critical electrical systems.
Initially using a de-commissioned airplane, the
team from Boeing Test & Evaluation laboratories
conducted a series of such tests. The team
determined that potatoes were ideal stand-ins
for passengers, given their similar physical
interactions with electronic signal properties.
Much of the testing was conducted on the
grounded airplane with the seats filled with
20,000 pounds of potato sacks. The test data was
then validated on the ground with human
stand-ins for passengers.
A wireless signal inside an airplane can deviate
randomly when people move around. Boeing's new
test process takes advantage of state-of-the-art
technology and ground-breaking statistical
analysis to identify strong and weak signal
areas and balance them by adjusting the
connectivity system accordingly. The result is
increased safety and reliability.