This week’s cover shot is from the NBAA floor and we feature a couple products we have heard about and thought our readers might find interesting. Since it came in fist, here is Sky Definition’s new 4k Ultra High Definition, 50″ Network Display. Sky Definition is a small Redmond, Washington company headed up by Bill Baltra Jr. and is exhibiting a device at the show. It is interesting that biz jet aircraft will probably become the debut arena for the Ultra HD technology. UHD comes in 2 flavors, 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p) and you can learn more here. This amazing bulkhead display has a built in media server and can share media content with other network devices – it is a complete entertainment answer for business jets. Drop by booth C11240 if you are at the show.

The second story that rolled out at the 2013 NBAA in Las Vegas, NV is from Aircell. The company, already well known in the commercial IFE/Connectivity business, will now feature wireless DRM content delivery and air-to-ground connectivity to passenger devices specifically geared for smaller aircraft such as business jets. Today, they announced an entertainment solution that dovetails with their connectivity products… and a few more products and services that support them, not to mention some early sales activity.

The Aircell story comes via a discussion with John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, in which he told IFExpress, “If you are going to be at NBAA you should stop by. We’ve got a BUNCH of really exciting announcements that Aircell will be be releasing… a few real game changers, and I’m not exaggerating!” The next thing we knew, we received five news releases detailing the announcements and here are the releases in summary:

1.      Aircell Introduces Gogo Vision. Business Aviation’s first complete, turn-key in-flight entertainment system. Provides on-demand movies, TV episodes, news, flight information and destination weather. Includes the industry’s first fully-automatic content updates. This announcement also has historical significance because it marks Aircell’s entry into the in-flight entertainment business.
2.       Aircell Announces Gogo Cloud. The industry’s first nationwide digital content distribution network, allowing fully-automatic wireless updates for Gogo Vision, Aircell’s new IFE service. Gogo Cloud is available at select Signature Flight Support locations – as well as for individual flight department facilities.
3.       Aircell Introduces the UCS 5000. The industry’s first all-in-one smart router and media server.
4.       XOJET Selects Gogo Text & Talk. Will be first full-fleet operator of the service, which allows passengers to call and text using their own smartphones – and their own mobile numbers.
5.       Clay Lacy Aviation Selects Gogo Text & Talk. Service to be deployed throughout Clay Lacy’s charter fleet, allowing passengers to call and text using their own smartphones – and their own mobile numbers.

To recap, Aircell has announced the following new product/service offerings and here are the IFExpress ‘Cliff Notes’ on their function:
· UCS is… A system that gives you all the next-gen router features you need – PLUS it’s a fully-functioning media server – all in a single box. Not just a router, not an empty server. The first all-in-one smart router and media server in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Vision is… A complete, turn-key in-flight entertainment and information service – on-demand movies, TV shows, news, flight info and destination weather. Not a “bring-your-own” solution. The first service of its kind in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Cloud is… A service that gives you fully-automatic Gogo Vision updates. It’s available in two places – select Signature locations and your own hangar. The first service of its kind in Business Aviation.
· Gogo Text & Talk is… A service that lets you use your own smartphone to call & text in flight – with your own number. It works over Wi-Fi with Gogo Biz service. The only service like it in Business Aviation.
· Gogo OnePhone is… A next-generation cabin handset.

Got it?

One new feature that we were still trying to wrap our minds around is the Talk & Text service offering. According to Aircell’s John Wade the service doesn’t behave like a microcell, but rather uses Wi-Fi and Aircell’s onboard digital data connectivity (via their ground-based or satcom-based connectivity) and not the user’s cell provider to make the connection – the PED becomes the handheld entertainment and connectivity device on the plane. “This,” John told IFExpress, “is the way Aircell (and many others) see the future of onboard entertainment and connectivity and it is certainly the future for business aircraft. Except for bulkhead mounted monitors, we see our approach as the future on business jets.”

Lest we forget, the Aircell folks have solved the problem of getting DRM-based hardware to the plane itself and has developed and begun implementation of a wireless content uploading solution that supports the new WI-Fi solution. Called Gogo Cloud, the service will be available at select Signature Flight Support facilities, as well as available for individual corporate flight department hangars. In flight the DRM content is stored aboard their server and obtains a key from a transmission to the ground to OK the service and log the planes content usage. This connection assures legitimacy and provides a database of usage for the operator.

Finally, during our interview with John, he offered to let IFExpress test the Aircell Talk & Text system by calling him from the ground while he was airborne on a biz jet which he was about to board. So, exactly two hours after we finished and were sure he was airborne we rang his cell phone, and rang and rang, and rang. Our call went to voice mail and we left a message. Naturally we thought the worst. It works sometime but not all times – “Typical, for airborne connectivity magic,” we noted. Two minutes later our phone rang; “Hello,” the voice said, “It’s John and I was on the phone when you called, but I got your message and am ringing you back. We are somewhere over Cedar Rapids at 36,000 feet and I can hear you fine.” “Hello John,” I said, somewhat shocked and taken aback. “I guess you win. This might just be the future.”

  • Bringing GSM and Wi-Fi to world’s longest passenger aircraft

Las Vegas, NV [NBAA 2013] | October 21, 2013– OnAir will provide the fully certified complete range of its inflight connectivity products on Associated Air Center’s (AAC) Boeing B747-800i VVIP completion programme, for an undisclosed customer. This marks the first time Boeing’s flagship aircraft type has been equipped with OnAir’s GSM and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The OnAir solution, comprising both Internet OnAir and Mobile OnAir, will be installed by Associated Air Center. The owner, and the plane’s passengers and crew, will have access to the full range of connectivity options, including email, calls, text messages and the Internet. As a result, passengers will be able to use their own personal electronic devices in exactly the same way as they do on the ground.

“This project is a fantastic culmination of a great twelve months for OnAir’s VIP programme,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Many of our existing customers have extended the deployment of our connectivity throughout their fleets and we have seen a whole raft of new customers. The consistent feedback is that aircraft owners and operators appreciate the ease of working with us. They know we will deliver on our promises. Installing the lightweight hardware is always a smooth process, as is the certification, support and programme management around it.”

OnAir connectivity technology is highly flexible and can be fitted both in the factory and as retrofit to a wide range of VIP aircraft. It is certified on the Falcon 7X, the A320 family, A330s, A340s, B737s and is now undergoing certification on B747-800i.

Boeing’s fourth generation 747 passenger aircraft entered service in July 2012 and this OnAir-equipped aircraft will be delivered in 2015. TriaGnoSys’ GSMConneX hardware will be installed on the B747-800i, linking the OnAir services to the ground over Inmarsat’s global SwiftBroadband network.

“We are very pleased to have a strong partnership with Associated Air Center,” continued Dawkins. “We provide the most comprehensive inflight connectivity package on the market and AAC is one of the finest completion centres for both Boeing Business Jets and Airbus aircraft. The synergies are obvious and we look forward to working on more projects with AAC’s professional and highly experienced team.”

OnAir also works with a growing list of completion centres around the world. VIP, government and business jet owners and operators can therefore use their preferred completion centre to equip their aircraft with OnAir inflight connectivity.

“We pride ourselves on ensuring our customers’ aircraft not only meet but exceed expectations,” said Jack Lawless, Associated Air Center’s Chief Executive Officer. “Inflight connectivity is a must for any VIP aircraft. Working hand in hand with the OnAir team makes the whole process of installing connectivity, from certification to final activation, very efficient.”

OnAir provides worldwide connectivity, with a unique geographical reach. It has regulatory authorizations from nearly 100 countries and roaming agreements with over 350 mobile network operators. OnAir uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband global service, the only one designed to provide global connectivity.

  • Gogo Cloud delivers fully-automatic IFE updates at select FBOs and individual hangar facilities

LAS VEGAS, NV [NBAA2013] | October 21, 2013 – Aircell (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces Gogo Cloud, the company’s new nationwide wireless content delivery network.

The first service of its kind in the business aviation market, Gogo Cloud allows customers of Aircell’s new in-flight entertainment (IFE) service, 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 does a complete content update – all without any intervention from the flight crew. The transfer takes place at ultra-high speed – typically less than 60 seconds to load a 30-minute TV episode, and about three minutes for a feature-length movie. Aircell’s UCS 5000 system is business aviation’s first all-in-one smart router/media server.

John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “Part of what’s kept business aviation’s in-flight entertainment experience in the dark ages is the challenge of quickly and affordably delivering such large data files to aircraft. With Gogo Cloud, we wanted to make updating easy – and it’s hard to get easier than ‘automatic’,” concluded Wade.

Beginning in January 2014, Gogo Cloud will be available at select Signature Flight Support facilities, and equipment packages will be available to individual flight departments that want to bring Gogo Cloud capabilities to their own hangars.

Signature Flight Support Named Launch FBO Partner
Signature Flight Support has been selected as the exclusive FBO launch partner for Gogo Cloud.

Initial facilities are already equipped with the service at IAD, MCO and LAS and approximately 15 key business and resort Signature locations are expected to be live by the end of 2014.

Maria Sastre, President and Chief Operating Officer, Signature Flight Support, said, “Gogo Cloud will be a great addition to Signature Flight Support’s world-class customer experience. Business aircraft can get their in-flight entertainment updates and all their flight support services met in a single stop. We’re well underway with Gogo Cloud deployment – three facilities are already up

and running, including our FBO at McCarran International right here in Las Vegas. We look forward to additional facilities being added to the system in 2014 starting with key business and resort locations” concluded Sastre.

Aircell’s Wade commented, “We’re thrilled to have Signature Flight Support as the launch FBO partner for Gogo Cloud. Their facilities are located at many of the busiest business aviation airports, giving customers easy access to Gogo Cloud when they’re away from home base,” he concluded.

Gogo Cloud Available for Individual Flight Department Facilities
Flight departments can get the convenience of IFE updates at their own facilities by purchasing a

simple equipment package that turns their hangar into a Gogo Cloud location. This provides continuous, fully-automatic updates any time their aircraft are at home.

  • Gogo Vision offers on-demand movies, TV episodes, news, flight updates and destination weather – and the option of fully-automatic content updates.

Las Vegas, NV [NBAA2013] – October 21, 2013 – Aircell (NASDAQ: GOGO), a leading provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, announces Gogo Vision, an on-demand in-flight entertainment (IFE) and information service for the business aviation market.
The first service of its kind in business aviation, Gogo Vision offers a complete, always-rotating library of the latest movies and TV episodes – along with news, flight progress information and destination weather. Rather than being a “bring your own” approach, Gogo Vision content is stored in an on-board server and streamed directly to personal electronic devices such as tablets and laptops. The library of content aboard the aircraft can be refreshed as often as the aircraft owner chooses.
Because Aircell has distribution and licensing agreements directly with the biggest names in global entertainment, including NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and Magnolia Pictures, Gogo Vision offers many of the most popular titles.

Fully Automatic Updates via Gogo Cloud
In another first for business aviation, Gogo Vision customers have the option of fully-automatic content updates via Gogo Cloud – Aircell’s new, nationwide content distribution network. Available at select Signature Flight Support locations, Gogo Cloud uses Wi-Fi technology to automatically load a 30-minute TV episode in approximately 60 seconds or a feature-length movie in about three minutes when the aircraft arrives.

Individual flight departments can also purchase a simple Aircell equipment package that brings Gogo Cloud capabilities to their own hangars, giving them continuous updates any time an aircraft is at home base.

John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “Gogo Vision puts a broad, constantly-rotating library of the hottest Hollywood movies and TV episodes at passengers’ fingertips.” Wade continued, “With the option of fully automatic updates, Gogo Vision requires almost no effort from the flight department – no more trips to the video store, no more guessing what passengers might want to watch and no more manual downloading.”

Aircell’s new UCS 5000 – business aviation’s first all-in-one smart router and media server – is the hardware that powers Gogo Vision. UCS uses fully-certified, DO-160-compliant aviation componentry, which eliminates obsolescence issues found with off-the-shelf, consumer-based technologies. If a customer has UCS in place aboard the aircraft for router functions, Gogo Vision can be activated simply by purchasing a software key – no additional hardware is required.

Gogo Vision is currently expected be available starting in January 2014.

  • GX Aviation remains on track for service entry in early 2015

NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, Las Vegas Nevada | October 22, 2013– Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of mobile satellite communications services, and Honeywell Aerospace have announced AircellGogo’s (NASDAQ: GOGO) business aviation subsidiary, as a GX Aviation distribution partner for the business aviation market. Aircell is already an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband distribution partner.

The formal GX agreement is between Aircell and Honeywell, the designated business aviation reseller for Inmarsat’s ground-breaking Ka-band connectivity services.

“GX Aviation is rapidly gathering momentum and everything is coming into place. The first satellite is scheduled to be available to support a launch as early as December this year. The development of the ground infrastructure is progressing as planned and Honeywell is moving ahead with the airborne terminals,” said Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation. “With the addition of Aircell to our list of distribution partners, we have signed up all the major inflight connectivity service providers and we are already having very positive discussions with aircraft owners and operators.”

Using Ka-band technology, GX Aviation will be the first globally available high-speed broadband network. It will offer the unique combination of global coverage from a single operator, consistent higher performance with true broadband speeds, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned.

John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “We’re pleased to be selected to offer this important new service to the business aviation market. Aircell already offers one of the most comprehensive in-flight connectivity portfolios in the industry, and offering GX Aviation service is a very logical addition.”

The first of the Inmarsat-5 satellites which will make up the GX constellation is currently in final preparation for shipment at Boeing’s El Segundo satellite manufacturing facility. It will be traveling to Kazakhstan in the next few weeks.  GX Aviation is scheduled to enter service in early 2015.

Redmond,WA | October 15, 2013–

Sky Definition will debut its 50” 4k Ultra HD display at the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention.

The monitor is designed for use with Business and Commercial Aviation Inflight Entertainment Networks. It includes the following features and capabilities:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video Playback
  • Built in Media Server
  • Share Media Content with other Network Devices
  • Stream Real Time Content

    Design Specifications include 4th generation Intel CoreTM i7 processor, 8GB Ram, and a 240GB Solid State Drive. Inputs consist of two GLAN, three USB, one HDMI and one RS-232 port.

    Audio Outputs include Digital S/PDIF and Analog Stereo. Other features include an Ambient Light Sensor, IR Sensor with Remote Control, LED Power/Signal Indicator and Programmable Discretes. Network Control of Display Settings is optional.

    Sky/Definition utilizes LED backlit Industrial Grade LCD panels which contribute significantly to the Low Power, Weight, and dimensions of the monitor.

    The 50” Production monitor, qualified to DO-160, will be available starting in early 2014. A 39” version will be available 2nd quarter 2014.

    Please visit the Sky/Definition Booth C11240 at NBAA 2013 in Las Vegas, October 22–24, 2013.