Gogo’s testbed, a Boeing 737-500 (reg. no. N321GG) dubbed the “Jimmy Ray”
You might have heard of Gogo, that company that lets you
check Facebook watch Youtube be productive while you’re 30,000 feet in the air. And you might have been one of those who sighed loudly when your cat video kept pausing and buffering.
From the power user traveling for work, to the new user who will update their status to, “I’m posting this from the plane!”, most can agree that data speeds inflight are nowhere near what we’re used toÂ on the ground. We take connectivity on land for granted, but in the air the concept is still novel and exciting (before it disappoints us multiple times with the infinite spinning “Loading…” circle).
An #AvGeek testing Gogo’s speed
Gogo wants you to have really, really fast Internet, and they invited AirlineReporter to come check out their new headquartersÂ in Chicago’s Loop, as well as to experience their test bed in action (or in #AvGeek-speak, fly on their private, tricked out Boeing 737-500). Can Internet access actually get better, and what does it mean for the regular passenger?
N580HW, a 61-year-old Convair 580 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com
Those of us in the Seattle AvGeek scene are all too familiar with Honeywell Aerospace Flight Test’s Convair 580 (reg N580HW) based at Paine Field (PAE) [where Boeing makes their 747, 767, 777 (for now) & most 787 aircraft]. The aircraft is serial number 2, it was built in 1952. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to see a 61-year-old aircraft in operational service, let alone fly on one. This was my lucky day.
Before making theÂ drive to the “Honeywell Museum of Flight” at Paine Field, I was at Honeywell’s Redmond laboratory to partake in a demonstration of Honeywell’s advanced Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning SystemÂ (EGPWS), Traffic Collision Avoidance SystemÂ (TCAS), and landing monitoring research.
At the time, I was not sure if I would be getting a flight on the Convair or their Sabreliner (N670H).Â Shortly after my arrival, I was told that we would all be hopping aboard N580HW — I was thrilled, but also at the same time kind of jealous of the Sabre crew!
What is cooler than flying on a new Boeing 747-8F? Fly in it with no gravity. It brings up reminders of the ‘ol vomit comet.
Although this looks like fun, it is all about serious testing. Taking the aircraft to her limits to make sure she is ready to start flying cargo around the world. Although watching the test crew go weightless is pretty awesome, I think seeing the wing bend is unreal. Learn more from Boeing’s website about this test.