GDC Technics & Hillwood Airways Soar To New Wireless Service Levels With Delivery Of 1st Falcon 300 System On Boeing 737-700

July 15, 2020

GDC Technics has announced the delivery of its first Falcon 300 equipped aircraft to Hillwood Airways, a Texas-based premium airline.

Through the development partnership with Hillwood, GDC is striving to redefine the standard for in-flight connectivity and cabin-based media delivery platforms via an open network – offering service provider flexibility to its customers. GDC and technology collaborators Thinkom, Kontron, and Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), are pushing to achieve extraordinary performance, thus assuring passengers an internet experience rivaling "at home" media services. In line with these performance expectations, and leveraging the power of the Hughes JUPITER™ System, the Hillwood Boeing 737-700 demonstrated strong performance in both service level adherence, as well as "on demand" capacity during its test flights. These tests emphasized maintaining a "typical" performance bundle of 25Mbps, but with the ability to provide 150Mbps or more when missions and passengers dictate a higher quality of service and application responsiveness.

The GDC Falcon 300 system is a new Ka-band SATCOM and Cabin Wireless Connectivity platform for the aerospace industry. Building upon Thinkom's resilient, responsive, and robust Ka-2517 phased-array antenna, the GDC solution pairs with premium Wi-Fi and media server elements from Kontron to provide exceptional end-to-end performance to all cabin passenger and crew devices. Furthermore, the system is assured to be "always on" by leveraging a multi-modem SATCOM array. The multi-modem array is designed to communicate and switch between several Ka-band networks to meet the needs of our customers' mission profiles. The multi-modem architecture maximizes current and future connectivity options including new GEO, HEO, LEO, and MEO Ka-band constellations.

The Hughes JUPITER System powers the connectivity to the GDC Falcon 300 system and includes the Hughes ModMan, a dual high-performance aero modem with a full-featured airborne server, and high-throughput satellite (HTS) capacity from the JUPITER 1 (EchoStar XVII) and JUPITER 2 (EchoStar XIX) satellites, all provided by Hughes as a managed service.

"Powering a connected future everywhere is what Hughes is all about – even in an airplane at 35,000 feet," said Paul Gaske, executive vice president and general manager, North America Division, Hughes. "It's exciting to see the JUPITER System in action with GDC's Falcon 300 to deliver connectivity for Hillwood's aircraft, enabling the in-flight Internet experience that travelers want and need."

The certification of the Falcon 300 on Hillwood's Boeing 737-700 will be the first of many STC's for the GDC system. Building upon commitments from other global aircraft operators, GDC anticipates further installations on Boeing and Airbus platforms in the second half of 2020. With these installations, the company will extend the STC/Kit options available for installation at GDC facilities in the US, or via its partnerships around the globe – including GDC supported facilities in India and the Middle East. The company will also continue to build upon its experience with Hughes and extend Service Provider options.

"Our challenge to GDC was to create an industry leading wireless cabin for our premium clientele," stated Ched Bart, CEO of Hillwood Airways. "Since our inception, we have focused on providing our passengers the safest, most comfortable, productive, and connected experience as they traverse the globe. With the new GDC Falcon 300 system, our aircraft will provide passengers with "gate-to-gate" Wi-Fi and unfettered access to streaming media, collaboration, video conferencing, and social media sites, all at speeds heretofore unseen in any airline environment."

The availability of the Falcon 300 system breaks more than just performance barriers. Staying true to the company's commitment for a modular, open, and extensible platform, the GDC system will be made available to all solution providers, including GDC's competitors.

"We are seeing a new era for in-flight connectivity services," said Brad Foreman, CEO of GDC Technics. "At GDC, we want to lead the industry with the highest performing aircraft SATCOM terminals – offering very high throughput, but also setting new standards for reliability and system longevity." Foreman added, "The new Falcon 300 Kits will offer our clients, partners, and service providers a new platform for innovation, at price points that allow commercial airlines to start exploring free connectivity options to its passengers."

GDC's Falcon 300 system is available for immediate installs across the Boeing 737 family. The company also anticipates STC's and availability for the A320/319, A330, B787, and B777 prior to the end of 2020.