October 17 2023  |  Connectivity & Satellites

SmartSky meets key commercial milestones ahead of NBAA-BACE 2023

By Robynne Trueman

SmartSky and Reliable Jet Maintenance recently completed a premium ATG connectivity installation on a Phenom 100, equipping the aircraft with SmartSky’s leading inflight connectivity solution.

ATG provider SmartSky is reporting several key commercial milestones following its NBAA 2022 announcement that it would provide nationwide coverage. The key milestones include:

  • Completing more than 1,000 flights on the network
  • Announcing upgrades for the majority of Davinci Jets in the fleet to SmartSky
  • Addition of Volato
  • The company has added six sales and installation partners, bringing the total to almost 25
  • Installation of the SmartSky Flagship on nine aircraft models
  • Installation of the SmartSky LITE system on five aircraft models (allowing for no-device limit, streaming capabilities)
  • 17 additional STCs are completed or in progress, totalling nearly 28

SmartSky’s next-generation network consists of 319 towers providing overlapping nationwide coverage, up to 150 miles offshore. The network allows the use of high-band with applications like online gaming, live streaming entertainment and making video calls. Every aircraft is assigned an individual connection, ensuring that bandwidth usage on one aircraft doesn’t affect the user experience on another. There is also no limit on how many devices can be connected at one time. All data plans through SmartSky including streaming.

“Our network utilizes a patented and optimized combination of 5G and LTE technologies designed for the unique demands of aviation communications, such as beamforming, to deliver a consistent high-speed experience nationwide. 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,” said Dave Helfgott, CEO, SmartSky.

“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 25 Mbps, and LITE customers with peaks over 20 Mbps. These are actual results, not theoretical.”

Helfgott continued, “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.'”

In addition to its milestones in performance and experience, SmartSky is expanding its availability across the nation. The company now has 25 sales and installation partners (including Reliable Jet, Textron, Pentastar and Davinci Jets Services) that are qualified to perform installations.

This year's NBAA-BACE 2023 event will be held on October 17 to 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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