SmartSky Networks is delivering a fully connected experience to customers that meets the needs of everyone on the aircraft. Owner-operator and pilot David Natinsky, co-owner of Texas flight school Stature Aviation and president of SAGE\Quick Technologies, has been talking about the performance.
His 2023 Citation CJ3+, which was installed with SmartSky by Textron at its Wichita, Kansas facility shortly after delivery, will be in the SmartSky static display AD19 at the Henderson Executive airport during NBAA in Las Vegas. Additionally, Natinsky is making himself available to meet with those interested in learning more about his first-hand experiences with SmartSky.
"We've all flown with other providers, and we all know the majority of the time when you try to send something, it doesn't go through until you land," Natinsky says. "On a trip last week, I had eight passengers who were on the internet the entire time. We landed and everyone was ready to go; on the way back, we landed, and everyone was ready to go. What usually happens is when you land, you're going to the hotel or going home and spending the next hour or two catching up from when you were flying. With SmartSky, you're not having to do that anymore."
SmartSky offers two hardware configurations, SmartSky LITE for smaller aircraft and SmartSky Flagship for mid to large cabin aircraft. Both systems deliver streaming-level connectivity, and all service plans include streaming and no limitations on the number of simultaneously connected devices.
"It is gratifying to hear these kinds of comments from our customers who are actively flying and using the SmartSky system because it meets all of their connectivity needs. Those needs and expectations don't change when they leave the ground," says Rich Pilock, vice president of sales for SmartSky. "It is unusual for an IFC provider to invite customers to speak publicly about their experiences because the experience with other providers can be unpredictable. Not so with SmartSky."
Natinsky notes that he was shopping for connectivity at NBAA-BACE last year: "Everyone harps on about the numbers - speeds, latency, throughput. When my son decided to FaceTime me from the back of the plane at 45,000ft, I could see him behind me in the cabin as we were going back and forth, onscreen. The reality was it was as close to being real-time as it could possibly be; I don't need to know the numbers, it just works.
"When I was doing my homework and investigating connectivity options, the one thing I wanted to make sure of was that I wasn't putting my money and effort into a service that wasn't going to deliver. After flying it for almost 100 hours, I know I made the right decision when I chose SmartSky."
SmartSky has STCs for a wide variety of aircraft models, with nearly a dozen in-progress or awaiting certificate issuance from the FAA.