Is it really a business jet if it has no internet connection?

When traveling abroad, understanding a few basic foreign language phrases can go a long way in making it a better experience, versus not having any at all.

The same goes for internet in a business jet – even having a little bit of connectivity makes it a better experience, compared to not having it at all. In fact, many newcomers to a business jet – the very people who will drive future demand for aircraft – are a surprised to find that many aircraft don’t automatically come with some kind of internet connection.

So what is the range of your aircraft connectivity options? What’s the connectivity metaphor to knowing a few phrases, versus being a United Nations linguist? Here’s a quick breakdown of the options available today.

If you need the basics

Iridium SATCOM – Iridium is a constellation of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites that give worldwide coverage for voice services but with lower bandwidth data rates. Most aircraft can take advantage of Iridium SATCOM using a blade-mounted antenna. While this solution is versatile and relatively low cost, the low bandwidth will limit connectivity options to telephone calls and text messaging only.

If you need a little more bandwidth

Inmarsat Swift Broadband – This is currently one of the more popular and capable systems. Using a geo-stationary constellation of Inmarsat’s I-4 satellites, this option is a versatile and higher-bandwidth solution that supports a variety of internet activities across a wide variety of aircraft. Depending on the antenna fit (blade or steerable dish), data rates can get from 200 to 432kbps, or nearly 0.5Mbps. Streaming media is possible, but some smart things have to be done in the router to bond channels together and increase available speed. Router management can also increase capabilities by enabling compression software to improve efficient throughput. Because it provides safety services, SBB is a complementary solution to the options below.

If you have more passengers on board

Yonder Ku and 2Ku – The Yonder Ku option leverages the same collection of geostationary high-bandwidth satellites used for broadcast television, allowing for “office in the sky” applications. The high bandwidth allows you to send and receive email, establish VPN connections, stream video and participate in video conferencing. The Yonder Ku antenna fits larger business aircraft with room to accommodate a 30cm antenna, while the fuselage-mounted 2Ku antenna solution is used almost exclusively in air transport. This is a capable solution to consider with some limitations when transiting oceans.

If you’re traveling globally with multiple passengers

Inmarsat Ka band – Branded as JX (or Jet ConneX) in business aviation, Ka-band is made available via a worldwide platform of recently launched I-5 satellites. JX offers The highest bandwidth quoted for the satellites is up to 50Mbps, and a typical business jet antenna can expected rates of up to 15Mbps. This high-speed connectivity will allow more devices to be in use on board an aircraft at the same time.

Let’s face it. Today the world – and your passengers – speak through and with the internet. Ask yourself: will your passengers want to fly in your aircraft if it doesn’t speak their language?

Read more about author James Hardie.

Flying to the 2016 Summer Games

First and foremost, Landing permits

As we inch closer to the long awaited Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, deadlines for necessary arrangements are approaching to ensure fluid travel into the lively city. While all destinations require a certain amount of pre-planning, Brazil’s unique systems require a bit of additional attention. While landing in Brazil can come with the typical slot challenges, the slot revision process can be troublesome if not handled correctly. These slots can be especially difficult to obtain during times of high flight traffic such as the Summer Games.  With such a highly anticipated event, it would be best to begin your arrangements as soon as possible.

Brazil’s airport system requires you to have your landing permit in hand prior to reserving a slot.  Travel schedules also need to be concrete and verified before landing permits can be secured. The Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC)  will only allow three changes before canceling a request, making you start the process over. So, when sending aircraft and crew documents along with the permit request, it is critical to present the most current and legible copies. Improper documentation will be returned and will be considered the first of the three permit changes.

Although landing permit approvals typically take 24 hours around the time of a large event, the wait can be significantly longer. During the Summer Games you should anticipate four business days for approvals, assuming that all documents are in order.

It is very important that clients arrive in Rio/SBGL during the approved times (0500-1100z, 0200-0800 lcl).

If a client wants to arrive outside of the authorized time it will be considered yellow zone air restriction time and there will be strict procedures in place. These are mandatory and will require entering via a predetermined HUB airport (Manaus/SBEG, Recife/SBRF, Salvador/SBSV) to clear customs and going through an extremely thorough special inspection by the Federal Police. This process will need to be requested well in advance as it will take quite some time, as well as incur extra fees. So, we strongly recommend avoiding yellow area air space restrictions.

Security throughout Rio, including at airports, is expected to be intense to maximize safety for all in attendance. ANAC has already clearly stated to all handlers that crew changes will be scrutinized rigorously leading up to the event. Primary pilots (a maximum of three) may be registered on the landing permit. Alternate crew members (a maximum of three), must also be specified and accounted for, however alternate aircraft will not be accepted on the request.  If multiple aircraft are heading to the event, separate crews are required for each tail.

Here’s a breakdown of some key facts about the documents required for travel to Brazil:

Crew |Three (3) legible and valid documents:

  • Pilot License – Front and back copy of most current license
  • Medical Certificate – Must be valid until after the final departure date. (1 yr. validity from exam date; 6 month validity if older than 60 years old)
  • Passport

Aircraft [Part 91] | Three (3) legible and valid documents:

  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Worldwide Insurance – Indicate worldwide coverage, third-party coverage, third-party coverage amount, and full operator address

Aircraft [Part 135] | Five (5) legible and valid documents:

  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Worldwide Insurance – Must indicate worldwide coverage, third-party coverage, third-party coverage amount, and full operator address
  • Air Operator Certificate (AOC)
  • Operations Specifications – Must include tail of aircraft that will be landing in Brazil

Note:

  • Private aircraft registered in charter companies fall under Part 135.
  • Some airports, customs will request chartering contracts, including a list of passengers.
  • All aircraft (Part 91 and Part 135) will need to provide a letter explaining the purpose of the trip as well as a letter of authorization for the SLOT request (template will be provided).
  • A letter of authorization will be required for each tail requesting a slot. If any changes need to be made, Brazil will cancel the existing slot and issue the new one as a new request, both of which will incur a charge.

Need someone to walk you through the logistics of traveling to Rio for the Summer Games?  Our International Trip Services team is waiting to help.  Contact them at +1-713-430-7200 or ops@rockwellcollins.com.

Read more about author Michelle Torres.

*Rockwell Collins is not a sponsor or in any way affiliated with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.