A SmartSky LiTE 4G LTE air-to-ground (ATG) inflight connectivity solution is being launched for light-jet and turboprop business aircraft
Ryan Stone, SmartSky Networks President, said: “The legacy inflight connectivity providers have forced light-jet and turboprop owners to endure extremely slow inflight internet for far too long.
“We will change that with SmartSky LiTE, the only streaming-capable 4G LTE-based system tailored specifically for aircraft up to 19,000 pounds max takeoff weight (MTOW).
“SmartSky LiTE makes flying safer, more comfortable and more efficient, while delivering an office-in-the-sky experience to this previously underserved, yet significant, market.”
Turboprop and light-jet operators will have full access to internet throughout the aircraft, providing connectivity for both the flight deck and aircraft systems, as well as in the cabin.
The company says only SmartSky LiTE operates with low latency which is crucial for real-time video streaming, voice conversations and messaging applications – and for which there are also no incremental charges from SmartSky (although provider charges may apply).
It says SmartSky LiTE is designed to appeal to pilot owner-operators as well as charter and fractional companies who want fast inflight Wi-Fi in both cockpit and cabin.
SmartSky LiTE customers will also be able to access Skytelligence-powered applications from other providers such as those designed to optimise fuel management, maximise flight planning efficiencies, monitor weather or access dynamically optimised re-routeing recommendations.
“The pilot will now have the connectivity to see weather in high-definition and optimally adjust the flight plan, in real time, while the family streams the latest movie, surfs the web or video chats,” said Stone.
SmartSky says pricing has been designed for this value-driven market. By making a $1,000 deposit, initial customers will be signed up for an affordable monthly subscription that allows them to pay for actual usage, while still allowing unlimited access to data.
To celebrate the launch of SmartSky LiTE, SmartSky is offering a special introductory rate of $75 per connected hour. The airborne hardware is projected to cost less than $50,000, and up to six onboard devices will be able to access the internet at the same time.
“Business demands real connectivity,” said Stone. “SmartSky LiTE adds to an aircraft’s resale value. Consistent, reliable, fast Wi-Fi isn’t just a good thing to have, it’s table stakes.”
The SmartSky LiTE system will operate over the same patented SmartSky 4G LTE-based network currently being launched nationwide later this year.
Through its partners, SmartSky plans to secure supplemental type certificates (STCs) for popular light jets and turboprops, and expects SmartSky LiTE to be commercially available for installation in early 2019.
Using 60 MHz of spectrum and patented beam-forming technology, SmartSky says its network will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of the current industry standard ATG network, and at a lower cost per bit.