Research Proposal

This is lecturer comment: 

Your research question is not a question, so you will need to re-visit this. Your aim is rather broad and would benefit from a narrower, clearer focus. The objectives of your research will be hard to achieve with your primary research. Whilst the topic of your proposed research is interesting, you should probably re-think your specific aim and objectives, and modify them into ones that are more feasible and achievable.

Critical review of the academic literature:
Your review of the literature is interesting and well written. There are not enough academic literature sources utilised in this section though, and you will need to evaluate the academic literature more widely in your actual research project. The scope of your literature review is quite broad, as a consequence of your broad aim and objectives. It may be better to focus your research on in-flight entertainment and wifi connectivity only, as these are more relevant to passengers and they are more likely to be able to provide research data on this.

This section is rather unclear and not enough thought has gone into it. You state that you will adopt a qualitative approach, but then go on to discuss the questionnaires and surveys you will employ (quantitative research methods). You do mention focus groups as well, which would make it a mixed methods approach. Overall, this section is too vague and unclear. You do not provide any information on your sampling methods. There are also no references to the research methods literature; academic or non-academic.

Proposal interview:
You appeared confident and interviewed well. You have a better understanding of the research you wish to carry out than you were able to communicate in your written proposal. You have a good knowledge of the topic area, but really need to re-evaluate the aim and objectives of your research.


Provisional title (expressed in 10 words or fewer): 
Future In-flight entertainment and communication systems

Aim of research project: 
This should be a statement of your research question or hypothesis. 
What are you intending to achieve from your dissertation; i.e., what are the research aims and objectives and the research questions/problems that you will address?

Research question: 
Future of Aircraft Communication

The broad aim of this research exercise is to identify future technologies for aircraft communication in all facets including navigation, air traffic management, inflight entertainment as well as cyber security. 

Some of the key objectives in this research endeavour are as follows: 
1) To study the concept of e-enabled aircrafts in terms of future communication technology such as ADS-B and IP ATN
2) To study the impacts of future technology such as ADS-B and IP ATN along with other technologies to streamline air traffic management as well as reducing the load of pilots during aircraft navigation
3) To identify key communication tools for passengers during in-flight entertainment in the future.Theelimination of back of seat entertainment systems and replacing them with WiFi and digital content services and the feasibility of the same 
4) To highlight some of the key threats due to increased use of software and identifying potential deficiencies in some of the proposed aircraft communication systems
While, the objectives cover a vast range of possible areas for future aircraft communication, the present research will focus on upcoming technology for in-flight entertainment as well as cabin communication tools
The rationale for undertaking the research: 
Researchers predict that air transportation is going to at least double by 2050 (European Commission,2014) .Doubling of air transportation will result in overcrowded skies which thus would require state of the art communication technologies. After being at the forefront and thriving for the last century, aircraft systems are aging today and don’t have the capacity to meet up with future demand (Wiley, 2008). Commercial as well as non-commercial aircraft users are demanding higher efficiency and predictability in aircraft operations. Rapid globalization and an increasingly aging population have highlighted air travelers’ desire for more information. They require the ability to connect personal devices for entertainment and healthcare in flight. Furthermore, there are potential risks from physical threats such as bad weather, solar flares which require persistent information availability. In such situations aircraft communications plays an extremely key role. Whilst, an increasing number of airlines are provide their customers with better in-flight access to the internet, pilots are still working with technology from a bygone era. They don’t have access to high-speed data to obtain real-time information. Currently the pilots operate in an isolated setting wherein they must rely on decades-old analogue voice communication systems and non-IP low bit-rate data links (Sampigethaya, et al., 2011). This results in extremely complex, inefficient communications which are potentially dangerous. This can result in overly complex, disparate and inefficient communications which may potentially delay his reactions to unforeseen events. Thus, it is necessary to make strides in aircraft communications to ensure better efficiency, safety and satisfaction of the travelers. This forms the basis hypothesis of the project. It is necessary to identify key aircraft communication areas and technologies that will enable efficient, safer, faster and more enjoyable flights.

The context of your study: This section will evolve and expand into your literature review for your final written project. What key concepts are involved in your proposal? Define your concepts and relate them to the literature. Find at least different 12 sources of information (references) connected to the work you propose to do and analyse them to show how your work will fill a gap in existing knowledge or how it may extend existing knowledge.
This section will evolve and expand into your literature review for your final written project. What key concepts are involved in your proposal? Define your concepts and relate them to the literature. Find at least different 12 sources of information (references) connected to the work you propose to do and analyse them to show how your work will fill a gap in existing knowledge or how it may extend existing knowledge. 
To ensure that aircraft manufactures and airlines are able to cope up with future demand, there are several key areas wherein communications improvements can be targeted (Sampigethaya, et al., 2011): 
a) In depth pursuit of E- enabled aircraft concept
b) Enhancement of Aircraft Mobility in Air Traffic Systems 
c) Enhancement of digital content delivery
d) Recognizing security considerations for future aircrafts 

E enabled aircraft 
Researchers have touched upon the concept of “E-enabled aircrafts” for modernization of civil aviation communications. One of the primary examples of the same is the Boeing 787 (Shetty, 2002). The e-enabled aircraft concept possesses advanced communications and networking capabilities through the use of onboard system integration and software modules. Research has shown that the concept of e- aircraft shall possess an intelligent node that will result in a global communication between air, satellite, ground systems so as to ensure that the right information is available at the right time and is dispensed to the right place. Researchers propose that in future e-enabled aircraft, aircraft-to-ground and aircraft-to-aircraft communications will be enabled so as to control and monitor traffic in the airspace system (Shetty, 2002). Communications will be over Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS–B) data link and IP ATN (Internet protocol – Aeronautical Telecommunication Network) which will help the aircraft navigate in 4-D routes. As each route would typically begin and end at an airport it would have a terminal area as well as an en-route flight phase. Air traffic controllers would then be able to fuse data from multiple sensors on the ground such as radar, multilateration stations along with ADS-B data so as to monitor the position of the aircraft along with its movement as well as the conformance of the aircraft to its route. Any change in the flight route and schedule would be timely coordinated with air traffic controllers and airlines using the IP ATN data communication technology. Furthermore, information such as real-time weather update, air traffic and temporary airspace restrictions would be communicated seamlessly over ADS-B link or IP ATN thus enabling a faster and more efficient system (Sampigethaya, et al., 2011). 
Enhancement of Aircraft Mobility in Air Traffic Systems
The enhancement of Aircraft mobility in Air Traffic Systems is closely linked to the E-enabled aircraft. Presently, data for Air Traffic Management systems is through the use of radars and requires a significant human presence to control traffic which can lead to errors. Future communication systems in ATS would make use of the concept of ADS-B as explained earlier in the preceding section. In such a situation is the aircraft would compute its present 3-D position using GPS and use a datalink to broadcast a message containing vital information such as the computed position, time, and other spatial data such as velocity and intent (RTCA, 2002). The use of the ADS-B system would result in accurate, frequent and widely available position feedback from aircraft. Misra and Enge (2001) are of the opinion that amongst other benefits the use of ADS-B along with GPS would reduce inter-aircraft spacing to less than 3 Nautical Miles. This would result in significant system performance gains and would result in greater efficiency of Air Traffic Management. Air traffic management and seamless integration of communication systems is being undertaken by the European commission under Project SANDRA (European Commission, 2014) and in
Enhancement of digital content delivery 
With modern entertainment increasingly moving to cloud based services, future aircraft will require their digital content to be increasingly rich due to enhanced demand from travelers. Not only will the demand for in-flight entertainment increase, aircraft software will have to evolve to manage every single aspect of flight. This will also lead to aircraft software size to increase exponentially (Sampigethaya, et al., 2008). As, aircrafts will move towards greater software integration, large volumes of data will be produced from a variety of sensors. Passenger applications will also become more media sensitive. Hence, there will be a need to transfer and store large amounts of data. Therefore, timely refresh as well as retrieval of digital content will be of paramount importance to future aircraft communications. Thus floppy and compact discs are no longer usable. Cloud networking as well as tight integration between aircraft and ground systems via broadband IP networking will be the order of the day. 
To highlight this, there are proposals that are looking at discarding back of the seat entertainment systems as more and more people are using smart devices to access media content and communication tools (Moskvitch, 2015). This will allow customers to avail custom content through an app on their smart devices (Kwak, 2014)
Security Concerns
While future aircraft communication would lead to higher efficiency and faster data transmission, there is a “cyber-physical” threat due to risk to onboard integrated systems from portable devices brought in by passengers (RTCA Special Committee 216, n.d.). There is also a greater dependence of flight on data communications which are susceptible to malicious disruptions and threats. Future aircraft communications might also be vulnerable to outages (especially in GPS) due to inclement weather, solar flares, icing etc. Details of some of the threats and some potential solutions have been discussed by some researchers (IFALPA, 2013) (Sampigethaya, et al., n.d.). One such threat has been successfully demonstrated by making use of an android app to hack aircraft communication systems (Pasciuti, 2014).

Methods (How you will do your research): This section explains how you plan to conduct your research and how you propose to answer the question or to investigate the hypothesis that you have stated. 

What methodology will you adopt and why? Why have you chosen this approach? Explain and defend your choice.

Research approach (for example, quantitative, qualitative, or a combination of these)?

Research methods (for example, questionnaires/interviews/focus groups/observation etc)?

Sampling/population (who do you intend to study)?

Anticipated difficulties and feasibility of your research (for example, access, finance, time constraints).

Research approach: 
Research Approach will be qualitative and will be an exploratory research. This approach can be justified by the fact that obtaining communication data for future in-flight communication and entertainment systems cannot be done quantitatively. It requires in-depth research to gain some understanding of the problem. 

Research methods:
Research methods will involve the use of small focus groups i.e. group discussions as well as sample surveys with a small target audience within the module as to what they expect from in-flight entertainment systems. 

Sampling methods: 
Sampling methods will involve preparing a brief questionnaire as well as noting down opinions from group discussions. 

Anticipated difficulties and challenges: 
Owing to the complexity of the technology involved the key difficulty would be identifying future ready technology pertaining to in-flight entertainment systems as well as obtaining data on the same. 
Owing to lack of information amongst the group and the sample audience, it will be a challenge to pick out appropriate information from the data collected as well as prepare a questionnaire that aims to identify the right questions to ask the audience. 

References list 
List your references using the Harvard referencing system:
European Commission, 2014. Networking the sky with new aircraft communication technology. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 1 November 2015].
IFALPA, 2013. Cyber threats: who controls your aircraft?. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 2 November 2015].
Kwak, C., 2014. Condé Nast Traveler. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 3 November 2015].
Misra, P. & Enge, P., 2001. Global Positioning System: Signals, Measurements, and Performance, Lincoln, MA: Ganga-Jamuna Press.
Moskvitch, K., 2015. BBC-Future. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 November 2015].

Pasciuti, C., 2014. New Potential Terror Threat: Cyber Attacks On Aircraft. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 3 November 2015].
RTCA Special Committee 216, n.d. Aeronautical Systems Security. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 2 November 2015].
RTCA, 2002. Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B), s.l.: RTCA.
Sampigethaya, K., Poovendran, R. & Bushnell, L., 2008. BSecure operation, maintenance and control of future e-enabled airplanes. IEEE, 96(12), pp. 1992-2007.
Sampigethaya, K., Poovendran, R. & Bushnell, L., n.d. A Framework for Securing Future e-Enabled Aircraft Navigation and Surveillance. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 2 November 2015].
Sampigethaya, K. et al., 2011. Future E-Enabled Aircraft Communications and Security: The Next 20 Years and Beyond. IEEE, 99(11), pp. 2040-2055.
Shetty, S., 2002. System of systems design for worldwide commercial aircraft networks. Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B). 
Wiley, J., 2008. FAA test challenges in the 21st. ITEA J, Volume 29, pp. 117-119.


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