The Federal Aviation Administration has granted the first commercial Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communications hardware. The wireless in-flight connectivity system has been approved to fly on the Boeing 757 airplane.
The JetWave system uses the Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band service to provide flight crews and passengers with high-speed, wireless connectivity comparable to their earthbound experience.
“The ability to connect with others is not a luxury anymore. It’s an expectation of both passengers and pilots alike,” said Jack Jacobs, vice president of Safety and Connectivity at Honeywell Aerospace. “This first commercial certification for Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is a leap forward in making the system available commercially and accelerating access to reliable and fast connectivity for airlines and passengers traveling across the world.”
“Airlines have previously struggled to meet the expectations of modern-day passengers for reliable, efficient, high-speed connectivity on board flights, due to the lack of available technology,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “However, the entry into service of GX Aviation this year will mark an important turning point, allowing passengers in the air to browse the Internet, download files and watch videos online, just as they would on the ground.”
“The certification of Honeywell’s JetWave hardware is a key milestone in the program and we congratulate our partner on this achievement,” he added.
The certification was achieved following more than 180 flight hours and multiple rigorous tests aboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 test aircraft, which showed that the system would stay connected to Inmarsat’s GX network at various altitudes, angles and speeds, through several different types of weather, and over land and water.
An FAA Supplemental Type Certificate is required when modifications are made to an aircraft’s original design, including the addition of new equipment options like the JetWave hardware. To obtain the STC, Honeywell and Inmarsat followed the robust application-to-certification process required by the FAA for any aircraft modification, designed to show how the new equipment affects the original design and function of the aircraft. Similar certification processes apply in other regions of the world.
Certification on the 757 will simplify the path for FAA approval for the use of the JetWave hardware on other aircraft types.