Banyan Air Service received the first STC for the SwiftBroadBand 200 class of service in the U.S. The lightweight Inmarsat-based Aviator 200 “allows you to board the aircraft, sync your iPhone to the terminal, choose Wi-Fi mode and with a $2.99 application you can dial directly from your iPhone contact list using the unit’s voice channel instead of an Internet channel,” Alvie Barron, director of North American sales for Banyan Aviation, told AIN. “You can make a telephone call for about $1.50 a minute, surf the Internet or use your iPad with as much as a 200-kilobyte data transfer because it’s an Inmarsat-based system. That’s about a hundred times more than an Iridium system at 2 kilobytes of data, and it has a dedicated aircraft phone; your iPhone won’t work.”
Barron said the equipment takes seven to 10 days to install and costs approximately $75,000 complete. “I’ve used the phone and my iPad in the air; it’s faster than I anticipated. The pilots love the service,” he said.