More than 2,000 Gogo Biz on-board broadband systems have been installed in business aircraft, Aircell announced today. This milestone was reached 4.5 years after the Gogo Biz service was introduced, which Aircell said makes “it the most rapidly adopted broadband service in business aviation history.” Jet Aviation performed the first Gogo Biz installation in June 2009 for the launch customer, a corporate aircraft operator based in the Midwest U.S. Gogo Biz allows passengers and crews to have Internet access above 10,000 feet in the continental U.S.
Honeywell and Inmarsat have finalized the critical design review of the GX Aviation avionics, which is promised to bring “home equivalent” high-speed broadband service to both business jets and airliners. Certification of the avionics is expected later this year, followed by product introduction during the first half of next year.
BizjetMobile has introduced the new Grrrilla Inmarsat-based portable communications device, which allows airborne users to access the Internet and send text messages and emails from almost anywhere in the world. Unlike its current Iridium-based systems, BizjetMobile’s Grrrilla enables users to download email attachments or surf the Internet for as long as needed.
The first Inmarsat-5 Ka-band Global Xpress satellite was launched successfully on December 8. The satellite was expected to reach its final position in a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit by the end of last month. This is the first of three satellites that will create the seamless GX Aviation high-speed satcom network, with performance up to 50 Mbps that can deliver streaming video. GX Aviation mobile broadband service is slated to begin next year, after two other satellites are sent aloft this year. Each satellite weighs more than six metric tons and can provide 89 Ka-band beams.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
Aircell will shut down the Airfone air-to-ground communications network as scheduled on December 31, and after that date Airfone users will no longer be able to make calls. Business aviation Airfone users have been using MagnaStar systems to make calls, and a variety of options are available to upgrade or replace those systems.
Just days after Aircell announced its new UCS (unified computing system) smart router/media server upgrade, Jet Aviation St. Louis signed the first after-market customer in the industry, according to the St. Louis Downtown Airport-based completion, refurbishment and MRO specialist.
“Business is looking up,” Western Jet Aviation shop supervisor Jason Mann told AIN during NBAA 2013. “I’ve taken about a dozen phone calls for pre-buy tech inspections just this month,” he continued, explaining that these inspections often turn into refurbishment work for the company. Western Jet recently tripled its avionics shop space and went from two to seven technicians to keep up with the work.
The business aviation community came together last night in support of the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), the industry charity that arranges for cancer patients to fly to treatment in empty seats on business aircraft. At this year’s annual NBAA-CAN Soirée, which was held during this week’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas, the silent and live auctions raised nearly $440,000 for the organization, about $70,000 more than at last year’s event.
Aircell’s new nationwide wireless content delivery network, Gogo Cloud, allows customers of Aircell’s Gogo Vision to automatically receive the latest updates whenever they visit a Gogo Cloud location. When an aircraft arrives at a Gogo Cloud location, Aircell’s UCS 5000 system automatically connects to the Gogo Cloud Wi-Fi signal and performs a complete content update. The transfer takes place in typically less than 60 seconds for a 30-minute TV episode, and about three minutes for a feature-length movie.
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