FAA certifies Connexion

Boeing is set to give its customers airborne access to wireless information services after the FAA granted certification to Connexion, Boeing’s airborne communication network.

Connexion by Boeing has successfully met US 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 said to be 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.

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 is also said to have 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 what is reported to be 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 aeroplane, while flying 35,000 feet above New Mexico.

The document and supporting material, totalling 800 kilobytes, was transmitted to FAA officials in real-time in less than 30 seconds, representing what Boeing describes as a quantum leap over what passengers can currently accomplish using communication links currently offered by other service providers.

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 US 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.

More information about Connexion can be found at www.connexionbyboeing.com