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Squawks & HeadlinesIridium WiFi Hotspot for General Aviation

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Iridium WiFi Hotspot for General Aviation

Submitted
A few months ago I started looking for a solution which would allow me to stay in touch with the office during long cross country flights. A trip last fall in a Mooney Acclaim from Washington to Miami during the mid-day time period convinced me that if I was going to be flying myself to meetings, I needed to have some way of keeping in touch while en route. I researched a bunch of different options, but because of cost and size, all seemed more suited for execs in jets. Aircells are great, but… (flightaware.com) More...

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q2fred
Forget the hotspot! 7hrs55 in the seat of a Mooney? Holy pisspot!

That's some wacky tracking at 7PM ... http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N411JL/history/20120427/1445Z/U42/KHEF/tracklog
blackmanr
blackmanr 3
please send all info to flyboy1327@hotmail.com
WilliamHayes
William Hayes 3
Scott, Could you please send the article , to hayes1111@bellsouth.net. I would like to know more about this process and how it works and with what equipment. Thanks, Bill
N5827P
N5827P 3
Please send full article to lgarrison4610@gmail.com also. This is very intriguing.
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
Holy pisspot indeed....and over 20 gallons left in the tanks at the end. That was my partner flying that trip. He had her leaned out to a little less than 11 gph and still had pretty respectable ground speed. The Acclaim is a great little machine. It has wifi now, but if only it had a bathroom!
q2fred
:) Thanks for the follow-up. I've always said that Mooneys are a pilot's machine. My partner & I flew a 201 from Homestead, FL to Hemet, CA in 16 hobbs hours ... but it certainly was *not* non-stop!
sparkie624
sparkie624 6
LOL, this is all private pilots needs... WIFI... I can see a student pilot at 3500 feet doing a google search for "How To Land Plane"
pilot0987
pilot0987 1
I like that!
blackmanr
blackmanr 2
I am a Commercial pilot. We have weather and Garmin 530. Often my passengers ask about Wi-Fi. Wonder if it can be included in Garmin 530?
pilot0987
pilot0987 2
Just buy a new cirrus and you will have both intergrated into the g1000.
rustycoon
rustycoon 2
As long as a pilot has a program and the discipline I don't see the problem. Especially with TCAS and ATC while IFR - above FL180...
It seems that some of you already know your own limitations and that is good.
CDHannah
Chris Hannah 2
Thank you for posting this Scott. I've been looking into AirCell, but the way technology is developing it's hard to spend that kind of money without knowing what value we'll get or if we'll be happy with it. This seems like a very cost effective way to get into the market. My passengers would like to have something like this.
joeymeier
joeymeier 2
Scott, Could you please send the article ,in its entirety, to N229BK@gmail.com. I would like to learn more about this process and how it works and with what equipment.
joshminer
Josh Miner 2
I like it!
NSGDC
Scott Keller 1
You're welcome, Chris. Completely agree with you on Aircell. Good stuff, but pricey. Just pulled the old equipment boxes out of my closet here in the office to be sure of the names. The phone isn't Motorola like I thought, it's called the Iridium Extreme. And the WiPIPE with the sat phone accessories is called Iridium Axcess Point. The Axcess Point box is saying it's compatible with Iridium 9555 and the Iridium Extreme. Hope it works for you and your passengers as well as it works for me.
GLK
GLK 0
You're welcome, Chris. Completely agree with you on Aircell. Good stuff, but pricey. Just pulled the old equipment boxes out of my closet here in the office to be sure of the names. The phone isn't Motorola like I thought, it's called the Iridium Extreme. And the WiPIPE with the sat phone accessories is called Iridium Axcess Point. The Axcess Point box is saying it's compatible with Iridium 9555 and the Iridium Extreme. Hope it works for you and your passengers as well as it works for me.
banderson321
Everyone,

I work with ASG Aerospace and we specialize in all types of options for Wi-Fi and OEM equipment providers, if anyone would like to contact me with questions please feel free.

Brian Anderson
Account Executive
ASG Aerospace, LLC.*
Tel: 305-760-6264
Cell:305-301-0067
www.asgaerospace.com
www.asginc.net
*A division of Avionics Support Group, Inc.
crk112
crk112 1
Will you please post the full article?
chalet
chalet 1
And the FAA and airlines bitch about pulling out a cell phone or turn on the iPad or whatever when taking off or landing because the signals are going to ruin the day and now these gadget-crazy fellows think nothing of bringing the office to the cockpit, what is next, personal TV antennaes so they won't miss a single soap opera crap (LOL!!!).
chalet
chalet -1
Children, children, please thou shalt not text-Email-play with computers while airborne, you shalt devote your attention to piloting lest you don`t mind overshooting your destination by a couple of hours or more compromising your safety and somebody else's, which was what happened to those Northwes tAirlines clowns passing for ATPs going way past their destination (Minneapolis )when flying from San Diego.
bimjim
Jim Lynch -5
Just what we need... ADD OCD hare-brained distracted GA pilots twittering when they are supposed to be paying attention. Flying an aircraft is a 100% attention requirement, in case you had not noticed. I guess we will lose some of the idiots through attrition (crashes), but I'm sorry for the other pilots (and passengers) they crash into. Will it take the downing of a 767 full of innocents to have the authorities ban "distractions" in the cockpit too? To you folks who think this is a GREAT idea, do you also refuse to wear seat belts? Maybe the authorities ought to force withdrawal of all autopilots from GA aircraft so you texters have something to occupy your thumbs and alleviate your obvious boredom - I seriously don't want you blind-piloted V1 bombs anywhere around me in the airspace.
captdaveh
David Harris 4
Jim, I think you should switch to de-caffe!!
ericvap
ericvap 2
Jim. I am just wondering if you have been in the front of a GA aircraft in the flight levels? have you ever heard the stories about hours of boredom. I can tell you that once you get above FL180 in a prop other than flip the radio about 1 every 30 min not too much happening. now if he was in the pattern that's a different deal!BUT that's not what he said!!!

Sounds cool Scott thanks for the info.

P.S when we installed one of the first air-cells in a C340 about 15 yrs ago I had the same comments. it was a great investment also.
chalet
chalet -1
If you are getting bored at FL 180 and above it means that long trips and high FLs are not for you so instead you should switch to a Piper 18 or whatever and fly VFR for a only few minutes around the pattern or to another airfield within spitting distance thence no need for gadgets to distract when you have to keep watch on the gauges and ATC.
chalet
chalet 0
To relief yourself even more from the so boring long hours in the high FLs have you tried phoning home/office using Skype, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than the Iridium phone; and have you not installed yet a portable TV system so you can watch games of all sorts, or the news if you are a news freak. Make sure that the antennae is supplied with an automatic tuning system to download clear/crisp pictures all the time so you won't have to do it yourself robbing precious time to make phone calls and send E-mailing and texting too. As the saying goes, the sky is the limit (LOL!!)
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
Connection is too slow for Skype. Thanks for the suggestion, though. Iridium minutes are economical when bought as a prepaid card and last a while....as long as you don't leave the phone on. (just on and off to download mail....)
crk112
crk112 1
I'm with Jim.. the last thing we need in General Aviation this day and age is some moron surfing the net while his airplane flies into a TFR, ADIZ, or building with a VIP inside. That's just what the mass media and the broke politicians need to cut GA out of the picture.
alistairm
alistairm -3
If you are privileged enough to own your own business and aircraft, you are privileged enough to be out of touch for 4 hours and have someone else take care of any issues. If you don't have a second in command at your company who can make most of the decisions you make, then what will happen to the company when you crash in your plane and die? Just as in texting and driving, i think this is an uneccesary distraction. Again, there must be someone on the graound who can take care of any issues, rather then you doing it while putting full concentration in flying your plane.
8428N
8428N -3
I bet you text while driving too! Man you must be a serious player. How have you gooten by in the past being out of touch with your facebook friends for 4 hours? I guess we will have to reserve a block altitude for tec geeks!!!!!!!!
NSGDC
Scott Keller 0
Nah.... I don't know how to do that Facebook or Twitter cr@p. I like flying myself to meetings, though. I own the business, so four hours is a lot of time to be out of touch. That's why email is a good option. The PIC must exercise good judgement as to when it is appropriate to check and when it is not. I have my own procedures I use. There are times I do check and there are times when the workload is too high. I'd like more business folks to buy and fly their own planes to work. I think it's good for the industry. This is one trick I thought I'd share to show how accessible business flying can be.
chalet
chalet -1
Right on, Alistair!! When you are piloting your own plane your are in the piloting business demaning 100% or more of your attention. When you are at the office you are a businessman a job demanding 100% or more of your attentyion. If you become distrated at either one, you are not doing a good job. Now would the ever abide by these simple principles. Well from what I read in the troll, I doubt it.
yankees368
is there more to this article? I click the links and just get a picture of the setup.
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
Thanks, Jason. Looks like it's not bringing up the rest of my post. I posted a lot more, but what I basically said was, Aircells are great, but not really feasible for a Mooney, Cirrus, Piper, Beechcraft or Corvalis, etc.... So I started using an Iridium phone connected to a device called a WiPIPE. I'm not a tech savvy person, so I can't explain how it works, but it works! I couple the WiPIPE with the WIFI functionality in my Blackberry and my iPad and email comes through as if I was sitting at Starbucks. I just flew from Austin to Washington a few weeks ago at FL 250 and the system worked perfectly. Took me 4.5 hours in the Mooney and I was connected to email the whole time.
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
You can actually surf the web, too. I go to fltplan.com and Drudge, but the connection is pretty slow. Too slow to update the weather on Garmin Pilot or Foreflight. GREAT stuff, though. I personally like the email function because I can look it over as work load allows. Truthfully, there's not a huge amount of work load during the en route phase at FL 250 with the GFC 700 engaged. When you get into IMC at 250, though, you are definitely too busy to check email. I'm usually staring at my TKS panels and making sure they're clearing ice!

yankees368
Very cool. This is quite an original use for a satellite phone. I know the data rate is somewhere in the 32kb/s range, so it really is only good for text based email or mobile browsing. Very cool home made solution though.
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
Thanks... Definitely not my creation. But I'm becoming a huge fan. You are exactly right about the data rate. Email and basic websites are great. Get into a lot of pictures and it's just too slow. My priority was email. For that mission it is the perfect solution. The phone is cool too. I fly in the Northeast a lot, though. Way too much going on for a long conversation. My Zulu's plug right into the phone. Very cool. True story, I had a failure in an EGT indicator recently. I was humming along at 17,000 feet, 30.5/2500 and suddenly had a red X pop up for the number two cylinder. I wasn't immediately concerned... I began cross checking and nothing else seemed to indicate a problem. Power was constant. CHT's were constant, etc... Everything was showing nominal. I suspected a bad EGT probe. I and called my A&P right then and we talked it through. Sure gave me a lot of comfort.
yankees368
Very nice use. Good luck with it.
delmartin
delmartin 1
what are the cost of these systems?

Del
NSGDC
Scott Keller 1
I think the phone I use is called the Extreme. It's Motorola. It's @ $1,200. Any sat phone will do, though. You just need to make sure it has a port for the WiPipe to plug in. The battery on my Extreme lasts a very long time. The WiPIPE is @ $100. The plug for the WiPipe is like the old blackberry charger plug...fatter than the current slim charger you now get with Blackberry. (sorry that's not very descriptive, I don't know what you call it). You buy blocks of time on the Sat. There isn't currently a data only plan, but I sure hope there is someday. I turn the phone on and off to download my emails. Probably need it on for 5 to 10 minute blocks depending on how many emails you get. The WiPipe battery is not as good as the phone's. Four hours on constantly burns it down. Again, though, I turn it on and off.
croninj
JAMES CRONIN -2
If your time is so precious, why not just do a Skype video conference instead? Save gas, time, and probably somebody's life.