SmartSky Networks has reported success in demonstration flights of its beamforming technology at an experience day in Wichita, Kansas on 29th July. Participants – aviation professionals, prospective customers and keen amateurs – used the air-to-ground connectivity during the flights, with the company saying that multi-gigabyte per hour data transfer was provided across more than 10 devices on each flight, on which they could simultaneously stream videos, connect with social networks, and even do some work.
The ‘try-before-you-buy’ event and the aircraft used were organised by Global Aviation Technologies, a privately owned, FAA-certified maintenance and repair facility servicing charter, private jet, and general aviation operators.
“The day is really a first for business aviation,” said SmartSky’s VP of marketing, Brit Wanick. “With Global Aviation Technologies, we created a unique event that allowed our partners and customers to experience the power of SmartSky’s network first-hand before making a purchase – does anyone else do that? It was great to see the smiles of those stepping off every flight, each trying to outdo the other with all the things they could do on the jet’s wi-fi inflight.”
SmartSky’s patented nationwide ATG network and antennas use 60MHz of unlicenced spectrum to deliver data flow to and from the aircraft for passengers, flight crews, and aircraft operations. According to the company, the tailoring of advanced 5G technologies, such as beamforming and software-defined-networking, enables single-beam connections with each aircraft, and seamless hand-off between towers, even in the higher interference environments above urban areas.
SmartSky has completed STCs for the system on many popular models of business aviation aircraft, and partners such as Global Aviation Technologies are now installing the hardware on individual and fleet aircraft. Additional STCs for more aircraft types are nearing completion with the FAA, and customers have their choice of service plans.