New Wi-Fi solutions for King Air Operators

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales at Elliott Aviation

With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients. Think wi-fi is out of your price range? Think again! Photo courtesy

The importance of connectivity is often understated during flight. Historically, the use of your cell phone or internet in-flight was never an option. However, that paradigm seems to be shifting as businesses tighten budgets and workload increases. Business aviation continues to play a key role in shaping the future of many companies. With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients.

As employees and passengers alike travel more, a business may see flight time as an opportunity to recap an important meeting or prepare for the next. Or perhaps catch up on email to make sure you are responding to your customers’ needs in a timely manner. Your key employees can get work done on the aircraft so they don’t have to later that evening with the family. While the cost-analysis of productively over downtime might be somewhat intangible, ways to increase productivity have always been attractive to a CFO.

Wi-Fi providers for business aviation are delivering cost-effective solutions to the consumer, with owners and operators recognizing the benefits to these systems. However, King Air operators have long been searching for Wi-Fi solutions. Typically, only larger aircraft had Wi-Fi options available that made sense for the size and mission needs of their aircraft. Now, King Air owners and operators have a cost-effective solution with the Aircell ATG 2000for a fraction of the cost of the larger systems. Having your King Air equipped with Wi-Fi will keep you connected and your productivity high.

Recently, Aircell announced promotional pricing for the ATG-2000. From now until December 31, 2014, customers can own this system for $45,000, plus installation costs. In addition to lower installation costs, Aircell has lowered their monthly subscription costs and added a pay-as-you-go option.

The Aircell ATG-2000 provides Gogo Biz® in-flight Internet access for up to five connected personal devices. Passengers will have the ability to check email and browse the web. Additionally, the system allows for voice services via either the Gogo® OnePhone cabin handsets or on personal devices through the Gogo® Text & Talk service. The Gogo® Text & Talk service allows passengers to use their own smartphones and mobile phone numbers to call and text in-flight.

The Aircell ATG system operates in the 1.5 – 3.0Mbps range with future initiatives to increase speeds. Most information available on the web, including simple pictures in emails, has increased from 100K to 5,000K (5MB) in data size. This type of usage requires high-speed data transfer to view most content. Recently introduced systems have entered the market for a lower cost, but these systems only reach download speeds up to 100Kbps. Remember the days of 56Kbps dial-up service? This isn’t even twice as fast. With Wi-Fi routers, you now share that single data stream with multiple users further congesting the network. With an Aircell unit, you won’t waste your time and money waiting for an attachment to download.

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the ATG-2000 allows operation of Aircell’s all-in-one cabin entertainment system, Gogo® Vision. Gogo® Vision is business aviation’s first turn-key, on-demand, in-flight entertainment system that puts movies, TV episodes, news, weather, flight progress and more at your fingertips. It allows access to a full library of some of the best titles in entertainment via personal tablets and laptops. The service is delivered by Aircell’s UCS 5000, an all-in-one smart router and media server.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.