SMARTSKY 4G LTE ON DEMO FLIGHT
SmartSky has conducted multiple demonstration flights for current and prospective customers. The most recent were last month at the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas. A dozen demo flight were held over three days for current and prospective clients. During the flight, the media was encouraged to do multiple things online simultaneously. And they did. They conducted real-time video calls with colleagues across the country. They seamlessly streamed movies (no buffering), and used their phones to do everything from check their calendars to search the web. They easily accessed corporate clouds, and successfully sent and received data on multiple VPN sessions.
“Basically, we said, put us to the test,” says SmartSky Networks Vice President, Product Management Eric Brooks, who was on the flight. “They experienced what we’ve been saying from Day One: SmartSky delivers on the promise of office-like internet access in the sky.”
Following the flight, the media participated in a debrief at the Satcom Direct hangar, then toured Avidyne. SmartSky partners with Avidyne for the manufacture, certification and support of its air-to-ground wireless connectivity products. SmartSky and Avidyne have worked closely to develop specialized products for business aircraft, including airborne radios and antennas. Avidyne secures Parts Manufacturing Authorization (PMA) for new hardware, provides ground- and flight-test services, and develops the initial Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for installation. Avidyne has a 23-year history of advancing avionics products through the certification process.
“Our team of strategic partners truly is the best of the best,” says SmartSky Networks Vice President, Business Aviation Alan Goodnight. “Avidyne is a perfect example of that excellence and drive to transform inflight communication in both cabin and cockpit. It’s led to where we are today. We’re redefining what it means for multiple passengers to be able to stream, chat and text in real-time onboard a business jet.”
After the tour, the group returned to the Satcom Direct (SD) hangar for an interview with SD Senior Commercial Director Derek Donahue and Director of Sales-Strategic Partnerships Jim Huntoon. SD has achieved many firsts since its founding in 1997, including its patented Global One Number (GON) simplified calling to an aircraft in flight. Today, with SmartSky 4G LTE it enables smartphones and computers to work with the same reliability and speed in the air as on the ground. SD serves as SmartSky’s exclusive customer service and support provider. SD offers many value-added services and products, including the industry’s premier airborne router. Years in the making, SmartSky 4G LTE will go live nationwide in mid-2018 for business aviation operators.