SmartSky Networks, which provides inflight air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity for business aviation, has been granted an FAA STC for installation of its Flagship system on a Dassault Falcon 2000EX. The work was done by hardware sales and installation partner West Star Aviation at its Grand Junction facility. Liberty Partners provided engineering support, commencing the project on 3 February.
The aircraft arrived for service at West Star in March, with the first-of-type installation and unrelated planned maintenance completed in just over a month, followed by a return-to-service in mid-April. The FAA STC was granted on 28 April, representing less than three months from start to finish for the entire project.
“SmartSky was a great company to work with on this STC effort,” said Aaron Berg, avionics technical sales manager for West Star Aviation. “The coordination between West Star, SmartSky and Liberty partners was excellent, and we are pleased to be part of enabling all Falcon 2000 series aircraft models to upgrade to SmartSky’s ground-breaking new technology. Its high-bandwidth and low-latency performance enables continuous data transfer to and from the aircraft powering inflight use of demanding applications like livestreaming, video-conferencing, and even gaming. This is the kind of performance our customers demand from their connectivity, and we look forward to installing more of the SmartSky systems.”
SmartSky’s two-way data flow was on full display upon the jet’s return-to-service flight from Colorado to the Bahamas, where nearly 7GB of data was used in just over three hours, with more than 3GB of data downloaded onto the aircraft and nearly 4GB of data uploaded off the aircraft. SmartSky offers a symmetrical, two-way data link, and in the case of this flight, 55% of the data used was sent off the aircraft.
The Falcon 2000 series, with nearly 450 aircraft in service, joins a growing list of aircraft types that have already been granted STCs for SmartSky’s patented ATG connectivity service.
“West Star Aviation is a fantastic partner,” said Chris Buff, MRO account management for SmartSky Networks. “Their ability to provide a flawless installation, while minimising downtime, enabled an extremely quick issuance of the STC from the FAA. We know Falcon 2000 owners, operators, pilots and passengers are going to love having this level of connectivity on their aircraft. With this first install under their belt, we look forward to more and faster installations with West Star in the future.”
Along with this STC for a Dassault-produced aircraft, SmartSky has already been awarded STCs for more than a dozen models from manufacturers such as Textron Aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace, Bombardier, Embraer and Dassault, with several more in progress and being scheduled.