“"Many years ago, our company founder, Al Conklin, sold a new twin-engine business aircraft to a very successful entrepreneur. He had established a bit of a rapport with the individual and, after the sale, asked him straight out, 'How can you justify the cost of this airplane?' His reply? 'What is the cost of a divorce?'"–David Wyndham, president, Conklin & de Decker”
In-flight Cellphone Use Creeps Closer
Even as the FCC and FAA continue to find reasons not to approve in-flight use of personal cellphones, European authorities apparently have no such qualms. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Authority has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir services for use on the Airbus A318. It will allow passengers to use BlackBerry and similar hand-held devices. [GSM-for Global System for Mobile communications-is the most popular standard for cellphones in the world.-Ed.]
Following certification of other parts of the system (including its Thales TopFlight satellite communications terminals), the first service will become operational later this year on an Air France aircraft. An OnAir spokesman said the company, a joint venture with Airbus, currently is not targeting business aviation or the U.S. market, but that "it is coming."
Separately, France-based Thales announced that later this year a TopFlight terminal will be installed on a new business jet, which the company declined to identify. The terminal initially will be a voice-over-Internet-protocol system (VOIP) to avoid the country-by-country regulatory approvals barrier that the GSM services have to surmount.