SmartSky looks back over a year of milestones


Air-to-ground (ATG) inflight connectivity provider SmartSky has reported several key commercial milestones since announcing nationwide coverage at last year’s NBAA-BACE.

SmartSky customers have completed more than 1,000 flights on the network. The company recently announced the addition of Volato to its fleet customer ranks, and that Davinci Jets will be upgrading the majority of its managed fleet to SmartSky. The company has added six sales and installation partners, bringing the total to nearly 25. The SmartSky Flagship system is installed and flying on nine different aircraft models. The SmartSky LITE system is installed and flying on five different aircraft models. A further 17 STCs are either completed or in progress, bringing the total to 28 – the company will soon cover more than 14,000 tails in the business aviation market.

SmartSky’s next-generation network of 319 towers provides overlapping coverage nationwide and extending more than 150 miles offshore. It enables high-bandwidth applications in the cloud, video calls, livestreaming news and entertainment, and even online gaming. Each aircraft is assigned a separate connection, so no bandwidth is shared with other aircraft, for information privacy and a consistent experience. SmartSky does not limit the number of simultaneously connected devices and all its data plans include streaming.

“Our network utilises a patented and optimised combination of 5G and LTE technologies designed for the unique demands of aviation communications, such as beam-forming, to deliver a consistent high-speed experience nationwide,” said Dave Helfgott, CEO of SmartSky. “Our most active customer flights have consistently used almost 4GB per hour on the Flagship system and almost 3GB per hour on the LITE system. We define quality of service in two principal dimensions – ubiquitous, consistent connection and user experience – which combine forward-link speed, ultra-low latency, and return-link speed. We see Flagship customers achieving peak speeds of over 25Mbps, and LITE customers with peaks over 20Mbps. These are actual results, not theoretical. While these statistics are helpful metrics, the most important one is the inflight experience. Feedback from pilots, passengers and support on the ground includes statements like, ‘game changing,’ ‘connected for the entire flight,’ ‘lifesaver,’ and ‘real-time, no delay’.”

SmartSky has also expanded its availability via a rapidly growing dealer network and STC availability. It now has 25 sales and installation partners qualified to install its shipsets. Leading the effort today are partners Reliable Jet, Textron, Pentastar and Davinci Jets Services, each with multiple STC projects.

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