Honeywell’s Aspire 200 in-flight Wi-Fi solution has been awarded a supplemental type certificate from the FAA. The satellite communications system can now be installed on the Airbus Helicopters AS350 AStar and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.
Along with onboard Wi-Fi, the system also allows for video transmission and telemedicine capability. It is combined with the SwiftBroadband High-Data Rate software package.
"There has always been a need for in-flight connectivity on helicopters, particularly to support VIP, air ambulance, police and military ISR applications," said Mark Goodman, product director for Honeywell Aerospace. "The small, lightweight Aspire 200 provides a robust, reliable link that works through helicopter rotors."
The solution can be complemented by Honeywell’s GoDirect Cabin Connectivity service. It includes access to some GoDirect apps, including GoDirect Satcom Toolkit and GoDirect Global Mobile Data. These apps, Honeywell said, improve productivity with real-time communications.
Aspire 200 was recently certificated by EASA for installation on the Leonardo AW139. Honeywell has applied for FAA certification for Aspire 200 on the Bell Helicopter 429 — Transport Canada has already awarded certification. The solution was recently used on a Canada-based 429 as it circumnavigated the world’s northern hemisphere. A father-son duo, along with one other crewmember, used Aspire 200 to document and share the trip on social media.
“We get to take pictures and video. We get to blog and share with the world in real time, thanks to the broadband connectivity on the helicopter made possible by Honeywell. It's really a game-changer,” Steven Dengler, the son in the father-son duo, told R&WI. “It means that rather than a solitary journey, we're going to be in constant contact with the world and chatting with fans and tweeting, but also sharing wonderful, wonderful images and videos of what we're seeing as we go along. That being said, from a very selfish perspective, having the data in the cockpit radically increases our ability to manage mission risk in real-time. So we'll get to see real-time weather; we get to be in contact with ground stations.”