Avionics News January 2017 - 29
he world seems to be moving toward a state
with small-message-service texts and airborne internet
in which we can connect to anyone at any
connectivity that, while generally not (yet) in the same
place from anywhere and, of course, anytime.
speed and bandwidth range as ground-based, hard-wired
Smartphones, tablet computers, Wi-Fi and
and Wi-Fi internet, but still robust enough to take care of
Bluetooth together treated the world to a washed-on-hotbusiness - and at costs far more reasonable and affordable
dried-on-high cycle that made it shrink even more than
our earlier communications technologies.
Consider these options available today.
As the world gets busier and smaller in the connectivity
sense, the need to connect went skyward - primarily in
Calling home or surfing online ...
larger Part 25 aircraft.
all are options
Avionics makers now offer solutions suitable for
With the proper equipment installed, some of today's
light aircraft - that is, Part 23 aircraft - and continue
systems provide passengers with the option to phone home
to develop more suitable for
from the sky, but without using
everything from the businessthe expensive and limited flight
turbine aircraft at the upper end of
phones of years past. Instead, some
the segment right down through
of these systems support direct
factory-built piston and propjets
calls using the passengers' personal
and further to light sport aircraft
- when the LSA manufacturer
That's right - that Android,
approves the installation - and
iPhone or Windows phone in your
pocket. No special codes or access
It's been a long, slow slog, but
keys needed by the folks on the
today, operators of light aircraft
ground - and only an app loaded
- THAT IS,
- piston, turboprops and jets -
into the phone to let it connect to
PART 23 AIRCRAFT -
enjoy access to systems offering a
the airborne hardware supporting
variety of ways to stay connected
the service. So folks at the office
AND CONTINUE TO
to people on the ground.
- the land-based office - can reach
DEVELOP MORE ...
It all started decades ago with
you the same way they always do:
the first flight phones, systems
dial your number.
with high installation costs,
expensive operating costs and
hardware limiting them to aircraft at the upper end of the
Honeywell's BendixKing division recently announced
spectrum. The connections frequently were tenuous, the
the start of shipments of its new low-cost AeroWave 100
audio quality uneven and the time-based usage fees high
system with component and system enhancements created
enough to limit their customers from dialing up a ground
to broaden its appeal and expand its applicability.
number to only the most-important situations.
The AeroWave 100 in-flight internet solution now
According to numbers quoted by several avionics
employs a new Active Low Gain Antenna package and
executives, 15 years ago, fewer than 10 percent of
the option to add Wi-Fi routers, both of which simplify
the world's aircraft employed any sort of in-flight
installation and provide easy voice or data connectivity for
connectivity; today the number is nearing 25 to 30 percent
passengers and crew.
- and in another 15 years, connectivity capabilities will
BendixKing prices AeroWave service plans to make
be in 90 percent of the aircraft flying. And consider that
them more affordable - and attractive to users - with an
forecasters expect a significant larger fleet will be flying
hours-based billing structure. This approach is easier for
in 15 years. Clearly, in-flight connectivity is growing -
customers to decipher than billing based on data use.
AeroWave not only provides voice and internet
Today's in-flight access works across a much broader
Continued on following page
spectrum. Voice communications remain an option, along