Connexion by Boeing has successfully met Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements and been granted certification of the airborne communication network that will bring mobile information services to airlines and their passengers. This type of certification grant is the first of its kind for a broadband service linking satellite-based resources and ground networks to commercial aircraft during flight.
Using a Boeing 737, the Boeing team completed extensive testing and data analysis of critical on-board hardware, software, systems and procedures that will be available to airline passengers, allowing them real-time, high-speed Internet and intranet access, television, entertainment and e-mail.
“Working closely with FAA officials, our flight test team has completed highly rigorous testing of the components necessary to bring high-speed broadband connectivity to the airlines and their passengers,” said Ed Laase, director of System Development for Connexion by Boeing. “One of the key messages we`ve heard from airlines around the world is `you have to have a system that works right the first time - don`t use us as the guinea pigs`. We`ve listened closely and this is why we`re certifying and continuing testing on our 737 aircraft to ensure service readiness on day one.”
The three-month certification process was conducted onboard Connexion One, a 737-400 model used for research, testing and demonstrations, to verify there was neither any impact to the structural integrity of the aircraft or interference with onboard systems or handling characteristics. The certification criteria also included a thorough review and analysis of all test data and processes for installing and operating the service equipment. The 737-400 was the first of the Boeing family of aircraft chosen, to allow for ongoing testing and global demonstration of the Connexion by Boeing service.
In an industry first, the final test summary paperwork necessary for certification was e-mailed to FAA officials in Los Angeles via the satellite communication link from the Connexion One airplane, while flying 35,000 feet above New Mexico. The document and supporting material, totaling 800 kilobytes, were transmitted to FAA officials in real-time in less than 30 seconds, representing a quantum leap over what passengers currently can accomplish using communication links currently offered by other service providers.
“We are extremely proud of the way the service has performed and how groups across Boeing have pulled together to make this certification process a company-wide success,” said Timothy Lemaster, certification program manager for Connexion by Boeing. “This accomplishment underscores that there is no company better qualified to pioneer a leading-edge service that blends technology, aerospace and broad knowledge of airline requirements.”
The Boeing team has conducted rigorous operational service testing by performing multiple simultaneous, high-bandwidth tasks ranging from two-way data transfer, pinging and full-featured e-mail to streaming video and global web site access in flight. Connexion by Boeing will continue testing throughout the year and cycling typical service users onboard to ensure a robust and service ready offering. These activities will continue over U.S. territories and waters under experimental licenses granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), while proving non-interference with in-flight aircraft and satellite-related assets and operators.
About Connexion by Boeing The Connexion by Boeing service is currently available to the executive services market in the U.S., which includes operators of private and government aircraft. The FCC granted full authority for services over US territory on December 21, 2001. Connexion by Boeing also remains on track with leading European carrier Lufthansa to begin service trial in late 2002. For additional information, visit the Connexion by Boeing web site at www.connexionbyboeing.com.