SmartSky's Fast Five with Dana Kirchmar

Posted by Adrienne Fouts on Jul 5, 2019 7:30:21 PM

One of the newer members of the SmartSky team, Dana Kirchmar joined us in May as VP of Product Management. Her decades of experience in the aviation/aerospace and telecommunications industries in a variety of roles, including engineering and technical leadership positions, make Dana a valuable addition to the team.

Get to know Dana in the latest installment of SmartSky's Fast Five!

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Topics: Employees, Fast Five

Fortnite In Flight

Posted by Brian Staik on Mar 26, 2019 3:02:26 PM

As SmartSky Networks deploys its 4G LTE network across the country, we’ve been fielding a surprising number of questions around the ability of our network to support online gaming – something that requires a low-latency and bi-directional network connection. Most inflight connectivity networks struggle to support a positive gaming experience due to their high latency.

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Topics: Knowledge Base

Vacaville to Virginia: A Cross-Country Adventure

Posted by Bruce Holmes on Jan 31, 2019 8:19:07 PM

On Nov. 20, 2018, Bruce Holmes — pilot, former NASA employee, and current VP of Digital Aviation at SmartSky Networks — embarked on an epic cross-country solo flight from Vacaville, California, back home to Williamsburg, Virginia. This was no ordinary trip, however, but a special mission to deliver his own, brand new aircraft: the innovative, amphibious ICON A5. The following post contains excerpts and photos from a blog that Bruce and his wife wrote together about the expedition. Enjoy following along on the journey.

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Topics: Employees

SmartSky's Fast Five with Patrick Van Wie

Posted by Adrienne Fouts on Oct 15, 2018 2:58:11 PM

Coming from a significant background in FAA and STC development and management, Patrick Van Wie joined the SmartSky team in July as Director of Aircraft Certification and Product Assurance. Patrick's work includes managing SmartSky's ongoing and future STC efforts, providing product certification guidance, assisting with quality assurance, and monitoring for aircraft systems failures and returns.

"We are very fortunate to have Patrick on the SmartSky team," said Darren Emery, VP of Product Support. "His extensive experience in avionics certification and product assurance is already paying off and will be an enormous benefit as we rapidly expand our STC effort and quality management initiatives at SmartSky."

Get to know Patrick, and his dog Toby, in the latest installment of SmartSky's Fast Five!

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Topics: Employees, Fast Five

How to Boost Your NPS: IFC for Airlines

Posted by Kerry Radigan on Sep 27, 2018 4:37:11 PM

Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to prioritize decisions affecting the passenger experience was a theme during the APEX Expo Educational Sessions earlier this week. From ticket prices and flight reliability to passenger comfort and airport lounge experiences, a multitude of factors influence NPS for airlines. How does inflight connectivity fit into your score, and how can you tie a better Internet user experience to increased brand loyalty?

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Topics: Trade Shows, Commercial Aviation

Wi-Fi Speed Tests Are a Thing of the Past

Posted by Brian Rudloff on Sep 26, 2018 2:15:34 PM

In the aviation connectivity industry, we are all striving to provide a better end-user experience, whether that experience is for the passengers in the cabin, the flight crew, or the team on the ground. Our goal is to enable these users to do the activities and tasks that they want and need to do with their devices: send and receive emails, hold calls and video chats, collect and analyze in-flight data. However, confusion creeps in when connectivity is not what one might expect— especially when everyone starts talking about “speeds up to _” as if that is the performance one sees all the time.

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Topics: Knowledge Base

Network Characteristics: Coverage Footprint and Beamforming

Posted by Darren Emery on Sep 21, 2018 10:38:07 AM

As a frequent flyer, my first thought when boarding a flight is often focused around whether there will be space for my carry-on, competing with my fellow passengers for the limited space available. I confess it can be difficult not to be frustrated when several large bags have hogged all the space, leaving me with no option but to check my bag.

Similarly, the aircraft and passengers often experience the same dilemma at 35,000 feet, but for another reason. This competition is for the availability to exchange data on and off the aircraft, or “bandwidth” over the in-flight connectivity service. It is quite likely that you never give a second thought to the physics nor the technological advances that make it possible to connect to the Internet in the sky. But you may ask yourself: given all of these advances, why do we still struggle for “space” in that proverbial data pipe used for in-flight connectivity?

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Topics: Knowledge Base

SmartSky's Fast Five with Rich Pilock

Posted by Adrienne Fouts on Sep 17, 2018 4:08:43 PM

Recently published in Business Aviation Advisor Magazine, Rich Pilock is the Director of Support & Delivery for SmartSky Networks. His responsibilities include leading program and product management, as well as acting as a technical liaison for delivery and support for the Skytelligence program and the Retail Distribution Partner program for Commercial and Business Aviation.

"Rich is an integral member of the SmartSky team," said Blane Rockafellow, VP of Digital Solutions. "His strong background in the aviation industry with cybersecurity has been extremely valuable throughout the development of the Skytelligence program."

Learn more about Rich in the latest installment of SmartSky's Fast Five!

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Topics: Employees, Fast Five

Network Characteristics: The Importance of Return Link Capacity

Posted by Brian Staik on Sep 6, 2018 11:58:54 AM

You might not give much thought to your Internet connection's overall speed, but you probably do pay attention to your overall user experience. Most people think speed tests are the key to putting a measurable quantity on user experience – and most only pay attention to the speed to the user, not the speed from the user to the provider. You might be surprised to learn that in addition to latency, upload speed, or speed from the user to the provider, is key to a great Internet experience.

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Topics: Knowledge Base

Network Characteristics: How Latency Affects User Experience

Posted by Brian Staik on Aug 10, 2018 2:03:51 PM

Everyone loves to rate their user experience with connectivity and often have found the inflight connectivity experience of the past to lag behind their user experience on the ground. Unfortunately, this has been generally true on both corporate and commercial air travel. What is it about connecting in the air that can negatively affect our experience on the internet?

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Topics: Knowledge Base


  1. the distance between successive crests of a wave, especially points in a sound wave or electromagnetic wave. 
  2. a person's ideas and way of thinking, especially as it affects their ability to communicate with others.

The Wavelengths Blog is SmartSky's hub of information about our company and industry happenings, featuring profiles of our team members and their accomplishments, as well as thought leadership in the aviation sector.

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