The ability to surf the Internet at broadband speeds aboard midsize business jets took a step closer to reality last month with Arinc’s announcement that it is developing a reconfigured version of its SkyLink airborne data system. Key to the project will be identifying a Ku-band compatible antenna that is small enough to fit atop the fuselage of jets in the category of Gulfstream’s G150. So far, only large-cabin corporate aircraft have been equipped because of the large space needed for a tail-mount satellite antenna.
“We anticipate having an ultra-high-speed broadband satellite solution for small to midsize business aircraft by late next year,” said Dave Poltorak, Arinc vice president for business aviation services. He added that the company is working with ViaSat, which provides integrated avionics for the fuselage-mounted version of SkyLink, to identify new technology.
One candidate for a fuselage-mounted SkyLink antenna mentioned by Arinc is the Mini-Mijet product launched last month at the NBAA Convention by Starling Advanced Communications, a small technology firm owned by a number of Israeli defense contractors that is seeking to redesign civil aviation antenna systems originally developed for military unmanned aerial vehicles.