GENEVA, Switzerland, May 16, 2011 — Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition that it will offer Aircell’s Aviator 300 worldwide in-flight data system as an option on new Citation XLS+, Citation Sovereign and Citation X aircraft beginning in 2012.
The Aviator 300 system is a small, lightweight Inmarsat SwiftBroadband system that provides customers with connectivity speeds up to a maximum of 332 kbps — several times the speed of traditional 56k dialup service — and is compatible with wireless-equipped personal devices such as laptops, tablet devices, electronic flight bags and smartphones.
The system uses Inmarsat’s I-4 geostationary satellites, which offer global coverage, except in the polar regions. Major system components include a SwiftBroadband unit (SBU); a high-power, low-noise amplifier/diplexer (HLD); and a mechanically steered, teardrop-shaped, intermediate gain antenna mounted on top of the aircraft. In addition, Aircell’s Axxess II dual-channel Iridium satellite telephone system and its associated wireless cabin telecommunications router (CTR) must be installed. The 332 kbps maximum data rate is suitable for in-flight email access; light internet use; and corporate virtual private network (VPN) access.
Cessna plans to offer the system as a retrofit to existing Citations, though details are not yet available. Cessna already offers the optional Aircell Gogo Biz in-flight internet system for in-flight connectivity above the continental United States.