Inflight Connectivity Updates
CJP asked both Gogo Business Aviation and Bendix King to provide an update on the ever-changing inflight connectivity landscape for Citation owners. Below are articles submitted by both partners describing their company’s latest offerings.
Gogo Business Aviation
Delivering affordable inflight Wi-Fi designed to meet your needs
by Dave Mellin
Gogo Business Aviation has been providing connectivity solutions to business aviation for more than 25 years. During that time, the company has been behind many of the most impactful technological advancements in aircraft connectivity. One of the most exciting developments from Gogo took shape last year when the company announced Gogo AVANCE – a software-centric platform technology that is the heart of company’s comprehensive inflight Wi-Fi and entertainment systems.
What makes the technology so unique is the software, which enables aircraft owners and operators to add features and functions without taking their aircraft out of service to change systems and re-certify equipment. It’s revolutionary in aviation and saves operators time and money – a lot of money. The terrestrial modem – which allows you to connect to the internet while the aircraft is on the ground and is offered by Gogo at no cost – can deliver thousands in annual savings compared to other providers who add a hefty charge for that service.
The latest system to hit the market recently launched in January: Gogo AVANCE L3. Designed with smaller aircraft in mind, AVANCE L3 comes in a small, lightweight form factor and offers the most affordable pricing options in business aviation. This system can be configured to different levels without anyone needing to board the plane or touch the hardware – something that’s never before been possible for inflight Wi-Fi systems.
“We designed AVANCE L3 to provide a robust, high-performance Wi-Fi experience at an affordable price that gives customers the flexibility to add or reduce system capabilities as their business needs evolve,” said Mike Syverson, senior vice president of development for Gogo Business Aviation. “AVANCE L3 offers the ability to move seamlessly to different service offerings without being constrained by the hardware itself. It’s an ideal solution for someone operating a smaller aircraft like a CJ or Mustang.”
Using AVANCE L3, anyone onboard the aircraft can stay connected to email; send text messages and make voice calls with Gogo Text & Talk (service plan required); access their favorite flight apps such as moving maps, weather and flight information; or watch movies and TV shows using Gogo Vision (service plan required). For customers looking for full internet connectivity and a 3G experience, AVANCE L3 can connect to the Gogo Biz data network which covers the United States and portions of Canada and Alaska.
The AVANCE L3 offers three configuration levels available in one system – Core, Plus and Max. Each delivering a different customer experience and different benefits. It’s the ultimate in scalability and flexibility.
|CORE||For customers primarily interested in email, voice and light internet browsing capabilities, Core enables up to five devices. Hourly and monthly rate plans available.|
|PLUS||For customers looking for full internet connectivity in addition to email, plus enables up to seven devices. Monthly rate plans available.|
|MAX||Delivers similar capabilities that Plus does, but Max enables up to 25 devices. Monthly rate plans available.|
Additional AVANCE L3 features include:
- 11ac dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) for improved Wi-Fi performance
- Advanced router functionality
- Data and voice management
- Cabin management system (CMS) integration with many CMS systems
- Remote diagnostics, service activations and changes
- 4G/LTE terrestrial modem for free internet on the ground
Staying connected while in-flight
by Jeff Kauffman
We live in an ever-increasing connected world. As a business leader, you need to be in constant contact with the office and clients even while traveling. Though aviation was among the last frontiers where the connectivity tether was broken, that has rapidly changed as Air To Ground (ATG) and Satellite Communication (SATCOM) systems have become pervasive on the airlines. With decreasing systems and services costs, it is now possible to provide affordable connectivity solutions to owners and operators of CitationJet aircraft.
The BendixKing AeroWave 100™ is the lowest cost satellite based Internet solution for the Citation community. AeroWave provides service at any altitude and in most areas of the world with an hourly data plan that eliminates surprises associated with plans based on data used. The system heritage is from Honeywell’s air transport and higher end business jet solutions with an innovative lightweight small teardrop antenna appropriate for smaller airframes.
The AeroWave system utilizes the Inmarsat satellite constellation with its long history of providing connectivity in the business and air transport space. Worldwide coverage is provided by three satellites in geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles above the equator. Coverage goes from about 60 degrees south to 60 degrees north latitude. The system provides both internet connectivity and high quality voice calling.
So, what kind of performance can you expect? Technically speaking, the system itself is capable of up to 104 kbps of throughput in each direction with the hourly data plan. From a practical perspective, this level of performance is sufficient to allow you to be connected while in the air, although it does have some limitations. Sending or receiving a medium resolution photo that is 1 MB in size will typically take one-to-two minutes. Personally, I have been flying with the system for a couple of years and can tell you that once you are connected in-flight, it is difficult to take a flight in another airplane without connectivity! I typically have an iPad and one or two iPhones connected to the system. I use the iPad primarily as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) for checking METARS/TAFs as well as in-flight filing of flight plans. I might even check satellite or NEXRAD imagery, although it will not loop the imagery due to the size of the downloads. The iPhones are used for checking email as well texting either via iMessage or WhatsApp. I also use my iPhone for making phone calls using an app called MyStylus or Linphon. It has been invaluable, allowing me to make calls to FBO’s, business associates or awaiting family members.
While the system is invaluable, it does have limitations. Browsing smaller, non-graphical web sites like Fltplan.com or AirNav.com works reasonably well, but do not expect to visit CNN.com or FoxNews.com. Today, websites tend to be very graphical with megabytes of data so they will take several minutes to load. Other items to note: SMS cellular texting requires a cell network and will not work directly with an internet-only system (think of being at a Starbucks with a Wi-Fi hotspot but no cellular service). The system will also not support streaming services like YouTube or Netflix as streaming services are generally blocked by a ground firewall.
With the AeroWave 100 data plan, airtime is based on hours of use and purchased in 50 hours blocks for $1,999. Blocks are good for one year from date of purchase. That works out to be $39.98 per hour for connectivity and the connection can be turned on/off in the cockpit by the crew allowing control over internet use. The high-quality Inmarsat AMBE Voice add-on service is $1.47/minute. Hardware costs start at $24,995 plus $3995 for a data only router or $5995 for a voice and data router.
The system has been designed to decrease installation complexity and cost by including a built-in GPS eliminating the need to tie into other aircraft systems for position data. Total system weight is around 12 lbs. An AML STC is available for Part 23 airframes including the Cessna 501, 510, 525 and other airframes.
Product videos and further information may be found at the BendixKing website: http://www.bendixking.com/V4/AeroWave.