Greg Hamelink, senior manager of flight operations and maintenance at Stryker Corporation, a Fortune 500 medical technologies firm, has been managing inflight connectivity systems on corporate aircraft since 2010. In fact, for Stryker executives the aircraft internet is a must-have business tool when they fly. Hamelink jokes: “We could be minus a wing or an engine and passengers wouldn’t care, but if the internet isn’t working we’ve got a problem.”
Overall, the current inflight systems (which includes a Gogo ATG 5000 and a global satellite solution) have allowed the executives to do what they need to do when they fly: email, sending large attachments, browsing the internet. But, when the time came to purchase a new aircraft, Hamelink wanted a system that could continue to support his executives’ needs, but also provide more capacity to accommodate larger passenger loads and more devices. “Over time, the passenger demands on our onboard internet have increased. Evolving digital technology and how our customers are using their mobile devices consume more bandwidth in the background than ever before.” Hamelink explains. “Things like background data refreshes and account syncing on a smartphone or tablet have greater repercussions when connected in the aircraft cabin, than they do on the ground. In the cabin, these activities degrade overall connectivity performance and cost a lot more money.”
Over time, the passenger demands on our onboard internet have increased. Evolving digital technology and how our customers are using their mobile devices consume more bandwidth in the background than ever before.
Hamelink chose to install the Gogo AVANCE™ L5 inflight internet and entertainment system that operates on the Gogo Biz 4G network on a new corporate jet, a Dassault Falcon 2000. His main driver for the upgrade was less about the ability to do more online, but more about the ability to improve in-cabin Wi-Fi performance for all his passengers.
For Hamelink, the advantages the AVANCE L5 offered are:
- Ability to accommodate an increasing amount of online activity with improved speeds and greater capacity
- Internet connectivity for passengers from “wheels up to wheels down” with the advanced router capabilities that switch from one bearer to another seamlessly
- Ability to upgrade service with a phone call, rather than a hardware replacement
Hamelink stated: “In theory, with the Gogo AVANCE L5, I won’t have to do any updates or upgrades to the system (minus software updates) for the next five or six years. I won’t have to take the aircraft out of service to install a new system to gain more bandwidth. With AVANCE, I can easily ‘get more data’ with a phone call to Gogo.”
While passengers are doing basically the same online tasks as they had before with Gogo’s ATG 5000, they’ve definitely noticed a difference in performance with the Gogo AVANCE L5 system. Hamelink explains that he’s seeing better connections, improved performance in the cabin, and greater reliability when it comes to providing a seamless connectivity experience on the ground and in the air.
For Hamelink, Wi-Fi on the aircraft is about keeping the executives productive, but also about improving their quality of life. Inflight connectivity allows them to do work on the aircraft, so when they land they can go home with peace of mind. And, ultimately when it comes to inflight connectivity, Hamelink wants his job to be seamless too. He states: “I’m not an IT guy, I’m trained in aviation. The less I need to touch the box, the better.”
Hamelink adds: “At the end of the day, my goal is that my passengers aren’t talking about the inflight Wi-Fi. Why? Because it’s always there. With Gogo, I’m able to do that. It’s a company I’ve trusted and relied on for a long time. And, with Gogo AVANCE the company continues to deliver in looking forward and providing the services that my organization needs.”